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!

 

 

 

 

June 2020 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation summary: June saw more than 800,000 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the United States to more than 2.6 million.

June 1 – Louisiana is reporting 40,341 positive cases of COVID-19 today. Alabama reports 18,020 cases.

I went out to watch the sunrise from the end of the dock. Not many birds and, those that were flying, were too far away to capture with my camera. On the walk back, I took a picture of the day lilies mom planted 21 years ago and have reappeared every year since.

The Louisiana governor announced that Phase 2 will begin on June 5th. I’m not sure we can all Open Safely but the alternative is more and more know-nothings flaunting their non-compliance and we’ll all be in worse shape.

The New Orleans mayor announced that NOLA would not be moving into Phase 2.

June 3, 2020 – 1,842,080 cases in US with 105,852 deaths

My uncle and aunt stopped by with some shrimp they had picked up from a shrimper buddy of theirs. Made shrimp toulouse for lunch recipe here

Finished another puzzle. This one was part of a trade and was mailed from my friend in California. Maria has been doing some difficult puzzles but this one was not only a pretty picture but just the right level of challenge.

One of the organizations on whose board I serve (Independent Women’s Organization) put out a message in support of Black Lives Matter.

June 4 – Louisiana has 41,562 positive cases of Covid-19. Alabama has 18,766 positive cases.

Today was Michelle’s birthday. I mailed a card on Monday and she didn’t mention it so I think it hasn’t arrived. I’ve also been teasing her with the birthday gift I’ve ordered for her.

I imagine this pelican is singing the happy birthday song, very loudly and most definitely off key.

I decided I needed more sweet in my life, so I made these pecan joys with chocolate morsels, sweetened condensed milk, pecans and coconut. Yum. Recipe here.

June 5 – Cases in US are now at 1872,097 with 107,110 deaths. Louisiana is 41,989 cases with 2,801 deaths.

Louisiana begins Phase 2 reopening but New Orleans is staying at Phase 1.

They announced a Tropical Storm Watch for all of Southern Louisiana ahead of Cristobal making its way across the Gulf. The storm will cover all of the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday, so who knows how much wind/rains we’ll be getting.

June 6 – Louisiana has 42,486 cases with 2,814 deaths. Alabama has 19,709 with 685 deaths

I got up at 4:30 am and drove to New Orleans to storm proof my house. I took down the hanging plants, pulled in the glass tops to the tables and shelves, secured the porch plants and other outside items, grabbed my mail and got back on the road. I was back in Foley by noon, being chased by rain the entire way back.

I storm proofed Dad’s dock (securing the boat and all the loose items like crab traps, ladders, coolers, chairs, etc) and around the house. I think we’re ready for the tropical storm.

June 7 – today the Louisiana Department of Health reported 42,816 positive cases

Tropical storm Christobel had a surge, wind and rain bands (we got a total of 3 inches) but other than a very wet lawn, no damage. Here is a short video:

Christobel

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QQaYytVAc1X3GxDk9

June 8 – Alabama reported 20,590 cases with 714 deaths. Louisiana is reporting 43,050 cases

I drove dad to the Pensacola Naval Air Station Hospital for xrays and for him to get more pain pills. While sitting in the parking lot, I watched a lady with snow-white, short cut hair go in with the rolling gait of a hip replacement. She comes out later with a nurse pushing another older woman (short, snow-white hair) in a wheelchair.

They get into a minivan and I can’t help thinking they are long-term lesbian lovers, survivors of the post war purges and DADT. They were WAVES or WACS, perhaps. A patriotic love story just begging to be written.

I had a Forum board meeting in the evening. We discussed the national LGBTQ statement on Black Lives Matter and have decided to craft one for us.

June 9 – 1,952,442 cases in US with 109,507 dead

Neighbor came by to help with a leak in the roof after the storm. Found out the squirrels had been chewing up the lead protectors of the vent pipes and had given themselves access. He put on sleeves and I helped use flex tape to protect the places where they had dug into the roof. Hopefully that will fix things.

My Dad and I got into a conversation after he made a statement about All Lives Mattering and I asked him how he would have felt if the radiologist in the emergency room started x-raying his legs or ribs or even the other arm. All bones matter but we must focus where the pain is. Right now, with all the black victims of extrajudicial execution by police officers, is when Black Lives Matter.

June 10 – Louisiana had 44,030 cases with 2,855 deaths.

Neighbor came by with a repellent to heat up the squirrels feet. He started up the ladder, after waving me off, and then came tumbling down as he hadn’t locked it. He was a little bloody and scrapped up but nothing broken and still insisted on finishing the job on the roof. Such a good neighbor.

Ran to the credit union, cigarette store, bank and H&R Block. Deposited my stimulus check and dropped off my taxes to be done.

Had a FFE PAC board meeting

Placed amazon order for laser thermometer and extra long reach toilet paper wand for Dad.

June 11 – 2,012,500 cases in US with 112,200 dead

Took dad to the orthopedist. He has shattered his shoulder, not fractured his humurus The X-ray shows the multiple pieces of his shoulder:

They immediately scheduled surgery for Monday at 9am for a reverse total replacement. We then went to the preadmit clinic for him to have a COVID test, EKG, chest xray, blood and urine analysis.

Walgreens didn’t have his pain medications ready so I ran by Krystals and then took him home to eat, take a pill and nap.

Made puddin pops after dinner with homemade chocolate pudding and cool whip. Recipe here.

June 12 – 44,472 cases in Louisiana with 2,874 deaths. Alabama 22,474 cases with 750 dead

Made pizza for lunch, pretzels for happy hour. We are doing a socially distant happy hour now that my niece has made it down from DC with her sister, my sister and her husband with Mom, Dad and I staying at least 10 feet away.

Made sangria with the fruit I had in the house plus the remainder of a bottle of Lambrusco we had left over from dinner the other night. Recipe here.

Another organization on whose board I serve (Forum for Equality) has put out a statement supporting Black Live Matter.

June 13 – US cases are at 2,062,890 with 113,595 deaths

Went to fix a flat tire then to Kurpensky farm for sweet corn, Home Depot for charcoal and a farmers market for honey and tomatoes

Made a tomato pie with the heirloom tomatoes. Recipe here

Picked up meat that my brother-in-law smoked today – boston butt stuffed with sausage and wrapped in bacon.

June 14

Had a bit of an issue at lunch with my swallowing and hiatal hernia that meant I couldn’t get anything into my stomach. I regurgitated water and spit until my diaphragm finally relaxed around 5am. Not fun at all.

June 15 – Alabama cases 25892 with 769 deaths. Louisiana 47,172 with 2906 deaths

Took Dad to the hospital for shoulder surgery. Because of the Coronavirus, I dropped him at the main entrance with a suitcase – I wasn’t allowed in the building.

I ran several errands on my way home – got groceries, replaced the key fob batteries for my mom’s car at the Honda dealership, stopped by the post office, got gas and lunch at Arby’s, then got more charcoal and picked up my completed taxes.

Dad’s surgery was successful and finished before 3pm. The doctor says he should be released in the morning.

I was so pleased to see the Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ employment. The decision on Title VII was a critical win for equal rights and its a big fucking deal for people like me who like in Southern states and who have been fighting for employment non-discrimination laws for years (I’ve been fighting since 2009 in Louisiana with Forum for Equality).

June 16 – US cases 2,103,240 with 114,389 deaths

Picked up Dad a little after 3pm. He was groggy and compliant, so it made an easy trip home.

June 17 – Louisiana cases 48634 with 2950 deaths. Alabama 26914 cases with 784 deaths

Ran errands in the morning and then took Dad to physical therapy in the afternoon.

Cut dad’s toenails – he hasn’t been able to cut his own since his hip replacement.

June 18 – US has 1,177,951 cases with 116,587 deaths (more than WWI)

Started the day with my nieces doing a walk in the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog. There is nothing like walking among carnivorous plants to put things back into perspective.

Got ahold of my doctor and was able to get an urgent referral for a gastroenterologist to rescope my esophagus. I was able to get them to make an appointment for July 15th

The United States has been stuck at more than 20,000 new cases a day for nearly three months.

June 19 – US 2,209,604 cases with 117,275 deaths

Repotted plants, dad to pt, ran a bunch of errands

June 20 – US 2,242,081 with 117,819 deaths

Swept the screened in porch, farmers market, virtual IWO annual meeting. I was elected president of the organization.

US has 4% of global population. 27% (and rising) of global #COVID19 cases.

June 21 – Louisiana 49,778 with 2993 deaths. Alabama 29598 with 829 deaths

Grilled steak for Dad and then grilled pears for dessert. Grilled and Filled Pear recipe here.

Mom and I finished another puzzle. This one was super hard as the lavender was just a blur of purple.

June 22 – Worldwide 8,986,000 cases with 467,000 deaths. US 2,282,399 cases with 118,182 deaths

Home health nurse came to asses Dad. Took him to PT in the afternoon and I traded another puzzle and filled the car with gas.

June 23 – Louisiana 51,595 with 3021 deaths. Alabama 30,670 with 854 deaths

Fajitas for lunch. Started a new puzzle

The President of the United States has threatened anyone who destroys a statue with 10 years of prison time. My response – Statues are not history. Statues are mythology. Statues are hagiography. History is a discipline. It is a way of analyzing the past and using a critical examination of source material to present an explanation for causes and events. Tear them all down!

June 24 – Alabama has 31,624 cases while Louisiana has 52,447 cases.

Took dad to physical therapy, bought corn and peaches at the farm stand. Terrible rainstorm as I drove back to pick him up.

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the Up Stairs Lounge arson. The fire remains the deadliest in New Orleans history (32 victims) and, until the Pulse massacre in Orlando in 2016, was the deadliest crime against #LGBTQ folks in U.S. history.

June 25 – Louisiana has 53,415 cases with 3051 deaths. Alabama has 32,753 cases with 880 deaths

June 27 – 125,000 dead Americans and President Trump goes and plays golf today

Went to the farmers market for tomatoes

June 28 –  56,236 cases in Louisiana with 3086 deaths. More than 500000 people worldwide have died from the coronavirus.

Grilled chicken and sweet potatoes. Did the beer can up the butt method and managed to drop the chicken after I took it off the grill. Hot beer and a few grassy notes to the chicken but it still was darn tasty and super moist. Recipe here for Rosemary, Garlic, Sage Rubbed Grilled Chicken.

June 29 – 2,575,029 cases in US 124,289 deaths

Took dad to PT. I stayed outside as I just read that half of the new COVID-19 cases detected in recent weeks have been in adults under 35 and I didn’t want to be around anyone!

June 30 – The country is now seeing more than 40,000 new infections a day while the European Union, which has more people, is seeing fewer than 6,000. About half the new cases are coming from California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Florida’s cases increased by 277 percent in the past two weeks; Texas’s by 184 percent, and Arizona’s by 145 percent. The national confirmed deaths are approaching 130,000 people.

Took dad to see the surgeon. He is healing well, incision looks good and his range of motion is coming back. This is what a total reverse shoulder replacement looks like:

We’re 160 days into the US pandemic and are averaging 16,500 cases per day and have lost the lives of more than 126,000 Americans. I have to wonder what the next month will bring in terms of loss and the national response.

May 1-31 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation summary: April truly was the cruelest month. During April, the United States lost 50,000 souls, and 20 million jobs. In May, unemployment dropped to 13.3% as many places of business reopened. However, some researches estimate that 42% of all job losses will be permanent. Of course, if more people don’t take basic precautions of wearing face coverings and maintaining distance, it will be more then the losses of jobs that will be permanent.

I’ve been finding it harder to keep up with the journal – watching the number of cases is becoming overwhelming and I spend hours online just going through my Facebook and Twitter timeline.

May 1 –  28711 cases in Louisiana with 1927 deaths.

Did a grocery store run and to the bank. Fewer people seem to be wearing masks. Kathy and Wayne over for pizza.

May 2 – Louisiana 29,140 with 1950 deaths

Woke at 4am to grill a brisket. Not only is this National BBQ Month but it there is also a call to grill in your front yard to safely be a part of your community. Here is my recipe:  https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/frontyardcookout-beef-brisket/

May 3 – US cases 1,144,944 with 66,844 deaths

I stayed with the grilling theme and grilled salmon with lemon juice and butter and served it with asparagus and cornbread

May 4 – Louisiana has 29673 with New Orleans having 6538 of those cases

Got up early and ran to the grocery store to buy more brisket for Dad, Wayne and their next door neighbor. The smallest was 11 lbs so it will be good times for everyone.

Made salmon cucumber spread with the leftovers from yesterday’s grilled salmon. Recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/cucumber-and-salmon-sandwiches/

Got to watch a replay of the US Women vs China 1999 Women’s World Cup Final. Such a great game – Michelle Akers playing her heart out, Kristin Lily heading the ball away from the goal, Brandy Chastain taking off her shirt and the US winning it all.

May 5 –  1,189,581 cases in US with 69,876 deaths. 29,996 cases in Louisiana

Made tacos for lunch and then seven layer dip with the leftovers for dinner.

May 6 – US 1,218,576 cases with 72,464 dead. Louisiana had 30,399 cases.

May 7 – 1,235,993 cases in US with 74,569 deaths Louisiana had 30,652 cases with 2135 deaths

Grocery run. Most everyone in Publix was wearing a mask. Only one other person at either Dollar General was wearing one (the cashier).

May 8 – Louisiana 30,855 with 2154 deaths. Alabama 9221 cases with 375 deaths

Made a coffee cake like the one before but this time I put in apple instead of blueberries. I grated the apple and think that next time I will use more and mix it in with the batter.

Dropped tax stuff off for mom and dad and then mailed a couple of puzzles we’ve completed to a friend in GA. The US post office was the first place I’ve gone with 100% mask wearing.

Made a pizza when I came home. After a nap, I made pretzels with the rest of the dough.

May 9– World 4,017296 cases with 278,936 deaths

We called in an order of 5lbs of royal red shrimp and 2 lbs crawfish from Undertow, a dive bar in Orange Beach for a pre-Mother’s day celebration. Wayne and Kathy picked them up and then came by for us to eat outside on the porch. Mom loves shrimp and this was a perfect way to enjoy them – boiled to perfection with lots of butter.

May 12 – World 4,249,764 with 290,714 deaths. US 1362953 with 81,607 deaths

Bad cramps so I slept most of the day away. Grilled cheese for lunch and baked sweet potato for dinner.

I’m concerned about all the places opening up with people venturing out without wearing face masks or maintaining six feet distance. Of course, they won’t go out without their guns, like that will help against a microbe.

May 13 – 1,383,789 with 83290 dead in US

May 14 – Louisiana 33,489 ⬆️ 827 Total Deaths: 2,351  ⬆️ 36

My niece is going to drive down from DC as she’s been furloughed to Sept/October from her event management job at a DC hotel/convention center.

May 15 – US 1433,423  with 86,466 dead

My sister and her husband came over for dinner. Gosh, I love pizza!

May 16 – Louisiana 33,837 2382 deaths. US 1461048 with 87,646 deaths

Went on a walk on the beach in Gulf Shores. We had to go a different route as the powers that be are doing construction of the Gulf State Park Pier (in background of picture) so it is closed.

Lots of people walking at sunrise (we were closer to the hotels) and no-one but us even had masks – we had them around our necks in case we stopped to talk to anyone.

After the walk, I went to Walmart where I wore my mask and got looks from all the other folks who didn’t bother to wear one.

May 17 – Worldwide 4704847 with 313,947 dead. US 1480609 with 88454

Today the number of Americans dead from COVID-19 now equals the combined total of Americans killed in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

They had bone-in turkey breasts on sale at Winn-Dixie so I bought two the other day. I grilled one of them today. I used a brine that works on chicken, too that includes Herbes de Provence. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/herbes-de-provence-turkey-brine/

Mom and I finished a really tough puzzle of the Victory of Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus

Later that day, I fried mozzarella cheese sticks. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/fried-mozzarella-sticks/

May 19 – 1521,903 us cases with 90679

Grilled some Boston Butt country style ribs and served them sweet potato rounds. So good and good for you!

Recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/21/grilled-sweet-potatoes/

May 20 – 1544519 cases with 92152 deaths

The Forum for Equality is taking advantage of this period to do some serious thinking. Day 1 of the FFE Strategic planning session was held today and we focused on our values.

May 21 – US has 1570154 cases and 93436 deaths. Louisiana has 35,315 cases 2485 deaths. Alabama has 13058 cases with 528 deaths

Went to farm stand for sweet corn and picked up a couple green tomatoes as well. Went to the post office to drop off a puzzle and, in sharp contrast to last visit, I was the only one in a mask – not even the guy running the register was wearing a face covering.

IWO candidate forum via zoom was held last night and I was able to watch the recording today.

I also did more Zoom FFE strategic planning – Day 1 where we discussed threats and opportunities facing the organization.

Made pretzel dough for an over night rest for beer pretzels for Wayne.

May 22

Dad went to get his haircut. Learned the barber hadn’t ever closed, even during the lockdown. He’d just tell people who called to park around back and come in that door. On his way home, Dad stopped at Whataburger for lunch. They made people paying with credit card come in and cash customers use the drive through – no seating indoor, just take food to go.

Made pretzels from yesterdays dough – recipe here:https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/beer-pretzels/

The cool thing about this recipe is you can freeze them before the boil stage to eat later.

Kathy and Wayne came over. She cut Mom’s hair and I made pizza.

May 23 – US at 1609041 with 95753 deaths

IWO held a virtual endorsement for the First City Court Judge race to be held on July 11. We had two rounds of voting using Election Runner application and then needed to do a dual endorsement as neither of the top two candidate got 60% (as that is the threshold for an endorsement).

May 25 – US cases 1,654,943 with 98,218 deaths. Deaths in NOLA continued to trend downward with 502 total deaths and 70005 cases

On this Memorial Day we have now had more COVID19 deaths than several of our nation’s wars. It is a chilling reminder of what we could lose if people don’t take precautions.

We grilled ribeye steak for lunch. Mom and I finished a puzzle with butterflies. It had lots of odd shaped pieced so it was a challenge.

May 26 – US 1,680,301 with 98,875 deaths. Louisiana has 38,054 cases with 2596 deaths. Alabama 15,650 with 580 deaths

I had a bit of a conflict today. It was day 3 of the Forum for Equality strategic planning session but also an IWO board meeting. As we were voting on the Board slate for the next two years, I couldn’t miss that. I went to the FFE one for 30 minutes and then jumped over to the IWO one.

The board approved the slate (with me as president) and we will be posting it to the membership for their voting in the next couple of weeks.

May 27 – 1691431 with 99,238 deaths

Went grocery shopping. About half the people in Rouses had on masks, maybe 10 to 25% of those in Wal Mart wore masks but almost everyone in Publix had a mask on.

May 28 – 1713750 with 100446 deaths

My boss with Barbara’s books let me know that my job hasn’t returned. Although the Macy’s stores in Louisiana reopened on May 18, we’ve had no book sales so they don’t want me returning to work yet.

May 29

Kathy and Wayne brought fried chicken for dinner. Kathy cut my hair.

Mom and I finished another puzzle. It is called the Bizarre Bookshop and it had lots of great titles on the books: ‘Lady Chatterley’s Pullover’ ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Bean’ ‘The Spy Who Came Down With a Cold’ ‘20,000 Leeks Under the Sea’ ‘The Gulls of Navarone.’

May 30 – Alabama has 17,359 cases with 618 deaths. Louisiana has 39,577 cases with 2680 deaths.

There were lots of squirrels and a cotton tailed rabbit in the yard today:

Made pizza and a small batch of banana pudding. Recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/small-batch-banana-pudding/

May 31 – Worldwide 6,118,000 cases with 369,000 death. In the US 1,778,901 cases with 103,015 deaths

Wearing a mask

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I’m not particularly religious but I have enough Methodist left in me to have taken John Wesley‘s most famous aphorisms to heart:

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

And that leads me to wearing a mask in public. While I walked on the beach at Gulf Shores at sunrise on Saturday without one, I put one on before I entered the grocery store and kept it on until I finished my errands and headed home.

I’m not a brainwashed fool. And the people I’m listening to aren’t fools either.

The World Health Organization cautiously recommends using a mask in conjunction with other preventative actions while staying aware of the risks of cross contamination, etc:

Wearing a medical mask can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. However, the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. Other measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene should be adopted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings:

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Louisiana Public Health recommends masking up:

Heck, even the White House requires all staffers entering the West Wing to wear a facial covering and, in the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, states:

  • Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit.

Wearing a face covering does not require a surrender of your civil liberties. It isn’t a yellow star or a pink triangle and a grocery store refusing to serve someone because they won’t wear a mask isn’t discrimination. All this fighting about a “right to not wear a mask” just results in the further spread of a deadly virus across our country and around the world.

We know coronavirus spreads through the air by droplets from someone who is coughing, sneezing or even talking within a few feet away. Anecdotal reports hint that it could be transmissible through particles suspended in the air. A choir practice in Washington State in early March had dozens of people diagnosed with or developed symptoms of COVID-19 even though they had not shaken hands or stood close to one another and at least two of them died. After dining at an air-conditioned restaurant in China in late January, three families at neighboring tables became sickened with the virus—possibly through droplets blown through the air.

Wearing a mask in most non medical situations isn’t to protect healthy wearers from COVID19 – it’s to keep people with the virus from spreading it to others. A significant number of infected individuals remain asymptomatic – from 25%, 44% or 50% depending on the study. With all those potential carriers walking around with no idea that they are transmitting the virus, erring on the side of caution and wearing a mask seems like just common sense.

A new poll from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project finds 71% of those surveyed said they are worried that the social distancing restrictions are being lifted too quickly. Speaking as someone with vulnerable people in my life, I’m less inclined to go out and spend the money we need to restart our economy without some assurances that I won’t be bringing the virus back home to my parents. Requiring people to wear a mask seems like a simple step so we can reopen America.

For my Second Amendment friends: If you support open carry so that you are ready to stop a bad guy with a gun but you won’t wear a mask to stop a pandemic from spreading, it shows me you aren’t really concerned about protecting the people around you. Let us unite against a common enemy that is killing us – as of May 19, there have been 317,910 worldwide deaths of which 89,248 are Americans.

You want the economy and society to open back up?
Wear a mask.

You don’t want to live with permanent stay home orders?
Wear a mask.

You don’t want everything to close back up again in 2-4 weeks when new cases go through the roof and the death rate rises catastrophically?
Wear a mask.

Please wear a mask. It is quite simply the least you can do to help keep other people safe and healthy.

I pledge to wear my face covering to protect you and I beg you to wears yours to protect me.

Please. Wear a mask.

April 16-30 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation Summary: A new study out of New York tested more than 200 pregnant women admitted for delivery in two hospitals for coronavirus, whether they showed symptoms or not. Thirty-three women tested positive, but 29 of them showed no symptoms. Over the last week of April, the US only averaged 220,000 tests a day, according to the Covid Tracking Project, which gathers state data. While that is an improvement from the earlier weeks in the month, when the US averaged around 150,000 tests a day, it still far short of what experts say is needed.

April 16 – US 667,801 with 32,917 deaths. Louisiana has 22,532 confirmed cases with New Orleans at 5847 cases. Alabama has 4,345.

Went grocery shopping. I just went to Publix today and there were very few people wearing masks in the store.

Made red velvet cupcakes, as tomorrow is my birthday and I didn’t want to cook then. Recipe here.

The IWO board met via conference call.

April 17 – World cases reached 2,224,426 with 153,177 deaths. US confirmed cases reached 692169. Louisiana has 23118 cases with 5906 in New Orleans.

I helped Dad get his boat back in the water. He always takes it in for a spring checkup and no virus was going to stop him.

Sister and her husband came over with fried chicken for dinner. They immediately took a shower before even greeting anyone.

April 18 –

I enjoyed driveway cocktails with some of the neighbors. We petted dogs and bemoaned the lack of presidential leadership.

April 19 – 6000 confirmed cases in New Orleans, 23928 in Louisiana.

For breakfast, I made sausage gravy and biscuits. Recipe here.

I used my day’s sourdough starter discard to begin a new batch for a family friend. I sterilized all my equipment – bowls, measuring cups, containers and then fed theirs and mine. I drove it to their house and hope they’ll enjoy using it to bake lots of delicious bread.

April 20 – US confirmed cases are now at 766212 with 40995 deaths, Louisiana cases are at 24,523 with New Orleans at 6148. Alabama’s confirmed cases are 5055

April 21 – US has 804,194 confirmed cases with 43,006 dead. 6169 cases in New Orleans. Louisiana has 24,854 confirmed cases.

I got up early so I could make a run to the Foley Wal-mart. There were only about 100 people in the store with me with 4 register lanes open (plus the self checkout). I was able to get supplies for my family and one of their neighbors and get out about an hour. Some of that was searching for unfamiliar brands. I’d say about three quarters of the folks in their had masks. Most were being respectful of the 6 foot social distancing.

It was still stressful and I took a nap after I returned home and took a shower.

April 22 – US has 823,367 confirmed cases with 45,548 dead. 25258 cases in Louisiana with 6209 cases in New Orleans. 5495 cases in Alabama.

We held the IWO board meeting via zoom.

April 23 – Worldwide there were 2,659,557 confirmed cases with 185,494 deaths. US cases are at 843,981 with 46,859 deaths. Louisiana has 25739 confirmed cases with 6263 in New Orleans. 5703 cases in Alabama.

Made a seven layer dip for dinner. Recipe here.

April 24 – There have now been 50,312 US deaths with 875,566 confirmed cases. 26140 confirmed cases in Louisiana.

As my sister wasn’t feeling well, they stayed home tonight. Instead, I used some of my sourdough starter to make pizza for lunch. As the dough makes two pizzas, I divided it and then made pretzels with the second half of the dough. Very yummy.

I saw a smaller heron at the bulkhead and when I walked toward it with the camera, it jumped onto a stump and posed for a picture.

April 25 – 2,887,194 worldwide confirmed cases with 202,168 deaths. The US has now had 933,836 cases with 53289 deaths

For breakfast, I made a blueberry sourdough coffee cake. Recipe here.

For lunch, I made cast iron skillet, oven fried chicken. Recipe here.

Mom and I finished another puzzle. Very red!

April 27 – There have now been 3,033,626 confirmed cases worldwide. 983,892 cases in US with 55,592 dead

April 28 – US has reached the horrible milestone of 1,008,471 confirmed cases with 57,979 deaths

I worked with the accountant for the rental property to get the Schedule K completed. Luckily, she was able to figure out what I had forgotten to include and, with a little back and forth, everything was reconciled and the taxes were completed.

I also made an almost no knead sourdough bread. It wasn’t good enough to blog about, so I will try again in a couple weeks.

April 30 – the US death toll has now reached 62,545

Took my dad to the dermatologist to get cancerous legions removed from his back. While he was in the doctor’s office, I went to Publix and bought groceries and then sat in the parking lot and read on my kindle. More people with masks and much better at social distancing.

They believe they cut out all the cancer but we will go back on May 12 to have a further check.

April 1-15 Coronavirus Journal

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I started writing a journal about what I’m seeing in the news, how local, state and world leaders are responding, how my family, friends and I are dealing with this global crisis. The history of the public health emergency is out there but we need to make sure our individual stories are told as well.

CDC’s COVID-19 webpage
WHO Coronavirus webpage

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Situation Summary: In December 2019, Chinese health authorities identified an outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, coronavirus which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. The first US death was at the end of February, 2020. On April 1st, the US recorded 4476 deaths.

April 1 – 203,608 cases in the US. Of that, 6424 cases were in Louisiana and 2270 of those cases were in New Orleans. 1060 cases in Alabama with 20 cases in Baldwin County.

Made meatloaf with ground venison as Dad was out of ground beef. As venison is quite a bit leaner than beef, I made a panade to keep it moist. Recipe here.

April 2 – Louisiana cleared a backlog and jumped to 9150 cases with 310 deaths. Alabama jumped to 1251 cases with 32 deaths. Total US cases are 236, 339. Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases is now 1,002,159 with 51,485 deaths.

Went grocery shopping for the month. I started at Rouses and Wal-Mart in Gulf Shores, went by the credit union, then to Publix and Target. Dad found a sale for diet cokes so I went out to Winn-Dixie and Family Dollar after a shower and a nap. I took another shower when I got home.

I prepped the strawberries I bought for macerating and use in strawberry shortcake this weekend. Recipe here. I also prepped the dough for sandwich sourdough bread for my niece.

April 3 – New Orleans cases 3476 with 148 deaths. Louisiana cases 10,297 with 370 deaths. Baldwin County is 28 cases. Alabama cases 1535 with 38 deaths. US cases 276,995 with 7406 deaths.

Spoke on the phone with the IWO president about how we are going to handle voting for officers at the annual meeting which, according to our bylaws, is held in June. The program chair is looking for a local speaker so we might switch to an electronic or vote by mail. If the nominations committee can get a slate by Mid-May, we can send it to the membership with a request for additional nominations. At the end of 7-10 days, send out ballots to the membership for a vote due by a date in June. That way, our meeting will not have that business and anyone who is unable or unwilling to attend a large gathering still gets their vote recorded.

The plumbers came over to fix a valve that kept sticking and shutting off the hot water. While they were here, I got them to be witnesses on my advance directive for medical care, as I forgot to bring my forms over with me when I came. I confirmed that my parents, sister and girlfriend all either have or will fill out their forms.

I’ve done the dough for the sourdough sandwich bread and it is on its final proof in the loaf pans. Recipe here.

My sister and brother-in-law came for lupper (later than lunch but not quite dinner) around 3pm. Wayne had done a Boston Butt on his smoker and I made seasoned baked French fries.

The Alabama governor finally did a stay-at-home order, effective tomorrow at 5pm.

April 4 – US numbers rose to 301,902. 12496 cases in Louisiana and 3966 cases in New Orleans. In Alabama 1633 cases with 29 of them in Baldwin County.

I went with my sister and brother-in-law to their house for breakfast. Mom was running out of cigarettes so I needed to make a run to the tobacco store for her and the store is near my sister’s house. On the way home, I stopped by a bloodmobile bus in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot and tried to give blood. They took one look at my Louisiana license with its New Orleans address and turned me away. This despite me being away from there for 14 days and having no fever or cough.

Is New Orleans drivers license the new scarlet letter?

I read a Washington Post article – The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged

Absolutely devastating how badly things were botched

Some of it:

The CDC learned of a cluster of cases in China on Dec. 31 and began developing reports for HHS on Jan. 1. But the most unambiguous warning that U.S. officials received about the coronavirus came Jan. 3, when Robert Redfield, the CDC director, received a call from a counterpart in China. The official told Redfield that a mysterious respiratory illness was spreading in Wuhan, a congested commercial city of 11 million people in the communist country’s interior.

Redfield quickly relayed the disturbing news to Alex Azar, the secretary of HHS, the agency that oversees the CDC and other public health entities. Azar, in turn, ensured that the White House was notified, instructing his chief of staff to share the Chinese report with the National Security Council.

…Trump was not substantially briefed by health officials about the coronavirus until Jan.18, when, while spending the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, he took a call from Azar.

 

…On Jan. 22, Trump received his first question about the coronavirus in an interview on CNBC while in Davos. Asked whether he was worried about a potential pandemic, Trump said, “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. . . . It’s going to be just fine.”

April 5 – Worldwide cases are at 1,263,976. US cases are at 331,234. 13101

I made sausage biscuits for breakfast. Buttermilk biscuits paired with rounds of bulk sausage and a little grape jelly. I even had one biscuit with sourwood honey Mom brought back from North Carolina.

Played with some sand dollars I had left here. Cleaning them up and then thinking about how best to use them. I talked to Mom and she pulled out a number of bags of macramé supplies she has. I’m thinking of doing a wall hanging. Dad pulled out a broken windchime and I think I’ll use some of the cool wooden beads from Mom’s macramé stuff to make a replacement.

The sand dollars needed cleaning, so I put things on hold while they dry from their bath.

We had leftover shish kabob meat, so we made fajitas for dinner. The margarita I had with them made them taste extra good.

April 6 – US cases are at 362,759 with 10,689. Louisiana 14,867 with New Orleans cases reaching 4565, Alabama 1999.

I started the day playing with the sand dollars and some macramé from Mom. Dad pulled out several large driftwood pieces that he said I could use. I laid everything out and think it is going to look pretty cool.

The more I looked at it though, the more I realized I need more sand dollars to attach the sets of four to each other. Good thing I have a large jar filled with sand dollars at home. I took it apart and set it up to take it back with me to New Orleans.

I started to work on the windchime when I got a phone call.

The regularly scheduled pest spraying happened at the rental property. The tech saw a squirrel scamper down the power line and into the attic. On an inspection, he found 7  holes. My renters have never mentioned hearing animals or scurrying in the attic but I believed him and authorized him to put up barriers and traps. That cost $350.

I began paying my bills online. I tried to go online for the Sewerage and Water bill but needed my account number and meter number to use the online system. I called customer service but because I didn’t know the PIN number, she wouldn’t give out the info. I then called again and got into the automatic system. Seems that accounts are tied to my cell phone number. I was able to pay both bills, although the payment plan we were on for the rental property was not recognized so I had to pay almost $2000 on that bill. While I know that the Mayor has said that no power or water will be shut off during the crisis, but I can’t take the risk that my renters would be without water during this crucial time.

That meant I had to have Dad transfer money into the account and I then had to drive to the Regions branch and deposit a check to cover the expenses we hadn’t budgeted for. On the way home, I saw that Wal-Mart was selling gas at $1.62, so I filled up Mom’s car.

April 7 – US cases 398,809 with 11,830 deaths. Louisiana has 16284 cases with 583 deaths. 4942 cases are in New Orleans. Alabama is 2197.

My niece came over to print out patterns for facemasks and to borrow mom’s sewing machine.

I tried to take pictures of the supermoon but it was too cloudy.

April 8 – 404352 cases in the US. 17030 Louisiana cases, of which 5070 were in New Orleans

Forum board meeting via zoom. My parents DSL went out so I could only join by phone. We discussed some of the nuts and bolts of the organization but mainly checked in with everyone to make they were well and taking care.

April 9 –  452,582 cases in US. Louisiana 18283 with 5242 of those in New Orleans, Alabama cases2769

April 10 – 475,749 cases in US. Louisiana has 19252, Alabama 2999

April 11 –526,396 cases in US. 20041 in Louisiana and 5535 in New Orleans

April 12 – US cases hit 530,200 with 20,614 deaths

2017-2018 season, saw 61,000 deaths were linked to the influenza virus. The 2018-2019 season’s seen 34,200 flu-related deaths. Those are deaths over the course of the year. COVID19 deaths in the US are just from the first case in March.

April 13 – 5600 cases in New Orleans, 21016 in Louisiana

April 14 – 5718 cases in New Orleans with 276 deaths. Louisiana 21518 with 1013 deaths. Alabama 3953 with 114 deaths. US 594,207 cases with 25,402 dead.

The WHO posted a strategic preparedness and response plan that outlines the public health measures and takes what we have learned so far about the virus and translates that knowledge into strategic action that can guide the efforts of all national and international partners when developing context-specific national and regional operational plans.

April 15 – US cases now at 614,482 with 27,085 dead. Louisiana cases are 21,951 and Alabama cases are 4149.

I made pork schnitzel and scalloped potatoes.

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell has extended the stay-at-home order to May 16. Here is the proclamation.

 

March 16-31, 2020 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation Summary: On March 16, 2020 the White House issued a Coronavirus Guidelines for America. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the stock market as the Dow recorded its worst one-day point drop in history. The human toll of the virus continues to grow – more than 4,500 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States and 88 have died. Globally, the death toll is just over 7,100.

March 16, 2020 – 136 cases in Louisiana, 94 in Orleans Parish (with 3 deaths) and 16 in Jefferson Parish

I started the day by contacting the store managers of the Macy’s stores in Baton Rouge and Metairie to see if the hours had changed or if there were other things I needed to know before going to them this week. They said they were going on a conference call today to hash out details of their response. We’ll see if I’m driving to Baton Rouge tomorrow.

It was then time to gather up my financial documents for the rental place and scan them all in so I could send them to the accountant to the do the taxes. As I need a Schedule K to do my taxes, I always try and make an appointment to do TGG Enterprises tax prep in the middle of March. Debbie is working from home, so getting everything to her electronically actually helps.

I reached out to the tenants and spoke to both of them about their situations and decided to forgo any rent for April. We will revisit in May but I will talk to my dad about waiving May rent, too, should the stay-at-home order continue.

I made chicken salad for lunch and pulled aside some sourdough starter for more bread baking.

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (which has failed us badly in the past with water pressure and breakage issues) released a statement that the water was safe. EPA has confirmed that the sanitizing done by the City is sufficient to protect it from viral contamination.

My Barbara’s Bookstore boss let me know that the Philadelphia Macy’s store was to be closed until the end of March and that they wanted me to not go to Baton Rouge for the next couple of weeks. Then, there was a press conference by Mayor Cantrell where she spoke about more aggressive measures to stop the spread, including closing movie theaters, malls, gyms, bars, casinos, etc.

The IWO board agreed to cancel the March 21st Candidate Forum and Endorsement meeting and move it to May. We held the meeting by conference call as we didn’t want to disobey the social distancing directives.

March 17, 2020 – 171 cases in Louisiana, 136 in Orleans Parish, 4 deaths. 5894 cases nationwide

For St. Patrick’s Day I drove over to my parents in Alabama. We had corned beef sandwiches and I went through their pantry to go on a food and staples run for them. Alabama has only had 39 cases, most in the county in and around Birmingham. My parents live in Baldwin county and it only has one case so far. My plan is to hit the grocery stores and bank for them tomorrow so they can go thirty days without leaving home. They are both in their mid-70’s and mom is a lifetime smoker who is very susceptible to bronchial issues in a good year.

I heard from my publisher, Bella Books, that they are significantly reducing staff in the warehouse (down to one person every day). Those who can are now working from home. They are going to have a St Paddy’s day sale today to help people stuck at home with nothing to read a boost but they were informed by Amazon that they are pausing any ordering or fulfilling for products that are not household staples, medical supplies, or other high demand products. On a positive note, Ingram says that they are well positioned to fulfill any Amazon orders direct to consumers once Amazon starts to order again.

All of the Macy’s stores are closing at the end of business today, so I that means no work at all for me until the end of the month, as most of my nonprofit clients are under shelter in place orders (California) or facing the same strictures I am here.

I also learned that our tax preparer’s husband, Billy, is in the East Jefferson hospital with pneumonia. Keeping a good thought for Debbie and her family.

I may stay for longer than planned at my parents, as it isn’t like I need to be in New Orleans now that my work is closed through March and, likely, most of April, too.

March 18, 2020 –7323 cases in US. 46 cases in Alabama, only 1 in Baldwin County, 280 in Louisiana with 196 in New Orleans with 7 dead

I went shopping today to Publix, Wal-Mart, CVS, Winn Dixie and Piggly Wiggly. Some places were out of flour, low on meat and out of bread, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. I got everything on my parent’s list but rubbing alcohol and sanitizer and am glad I remembered to bring my toilet paper from home when I came. I also ran by the credit union to deposit money from Mom to my niece who has been laid off.

I was amazed at how courteous folks were being – lots of excuse me, please and thank you. This is definitely time to give the hardworking folks at grocery and convenience stores who are dealing with same stresses but are still having to work full shifts in front of the public.

All the stores had wipes available at the entrance, so I was able to wipe off the cart handle to begin and clean my hands as I left.

I was reminded by a friend (and fellow introvert) to check on our extroverted friends during this time of crisis. All the social isolation and event cancellation must be hitting them hard. I won’t go crazy and call but I can text and check in online.

Speaking of online, I’m seeing a whole of people posting about Facebook sending notices about posts being removed for not meeting community standards. One of mine, about Octavia Butler books being published by the Library of America, was reported as well. I appealed and the post is back.

Who has the time for that nonsense?

I came home and brought stuff to the door before I removed my shoes to come in and washed my hands. After helping mom put everything away, I showered and changed clothes. Not sure if I’m keeping them from getting exposed but I’m doing my best.

My uncle and his wife came over that evening for drinks and appetizer. They are from the northern part of the state (with the most cases) and with heart and health problems, coming to their beach house was a pretty good plan.

March 19, 2020 – 249 cases in New Orleans. 392 in Louisiana with 10 dead and 78 cases in Alabama.

First day of spring and the earliest spring in 124 years. I saw a cottontail rabbit in the front lawn and took a picture.

Dad went out fishing with his brother and a couple of his friends that came down from the north of the state. Most of the fish they caught were too small and under the limit, so he left the ones they could keep with his brother for them to have for dinner.

We’ll have some fish from last year’s fishing trip for a meal once the fillets thaw.

Learned that one of the first people I met when I moved to New Orleans Corinne Barnwell’s husband has been admitted to the ICU for pneumonia. The Rev William Barnwell is an amazing activist for racial justice and I’m keeping him in my thoughts.

March 20, 2020 – 326 cases in New Orleans with 10 dead. 537 in Louisiana with 106 cases in Alabama.

Gulf Shores is closing their beaches today. The state of Alabama still hasn’t but, then again, neither has Florida. This means parking lots controlled by the city and their public beaches will be closed.

I had a conference call last night that started about the Louisiana legislative session which has been temporary adjourned until March 31st. As more people talked about their organization’s (and personal) difficulties the call became more supportive than advocacy. There still is plenty to do to protect our democracy and ensure that free and fair elections still go on as well as to protect women who may be in isolation with their abusers and to address the digital divide that keeps some children from being able to keep up with online schooling.

My sister and her husband came by with a couple of pizzas they picked up from Pizza Hut. We ate and then sat around chatting on the back porch as the sun went down.

March 21, 2020 –22043 in US with 763 cases in Louisiana with 20 deaths, 131 in Alabama. 418 cases in New Orleans

Made blueberry sourdough pancakes (recipe here- https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/blueberry-sourdough-pancakes/)

Did some more bird watching and took this picture of a red bellied woodpecker.

March 22, 2020 – 30,788 in US, 837 cases in Louisiana with 20 deaths. 451 cases in New Orleans, 15 have resulted in death. Alabama has 138 cases

Dad and I enjoyed oven baked fish with cornbread. The mackerel was basted in lemon butter sauce. He also made coleslaw and had some peas but I didn’t have any of those although I did have 3 pieces of cornbread. Recipe for the cornbread here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/one-fish-two-fish-fresh-fish-good/

March 23, 2020 – 1172 cases in Louisiana, 567 cases in New Orleans, 196 in Alabama, 33404 cases in US

I pan fried pork chops and made gravy and biscuits to go with them. Excellent comfort food.

One of the ospreys that is nesting nearby used one of the pine trees in the yard as their base for hunting.

I think it was a young bird as it took a while before they caught a fish. I was lucky to catch it flying off with dinner with my camera.

March 24, 2020 – 675 in New Orleans with 26 dead, 1388 in Louisiana, 242 cases in Alabama, 52145 US cases with 544 dead

My dad went to a doctor’s appointment over in Florida. It was the final one after his back surgery last year. He did get a final set of physical therapy appointments from it, so that was good but I’m not sure when the physical therapists will be able to see him.

I was able to convince him not to go grocery shopping although he did hit the Class VI store at the Pensacola Naval Air Station to pick up 4 cases of beer. He has his priorities, after all.

March 25, 2020 – 62,873 confirmed cases in US with 894 dead, 1795 in Louisiana with 827 cases in New Orleans, 386 cases in Alabama

I woke up and started venison tenderloin, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion in a marinade for us to have shish kabobs for lunch today. I then headed down to the boat launch on the far side of the neighborhood and birdwatched for a while. I saw white egrets, a great blue heron, a couple of pelicans, a million seagulls and a porpoise.

Dad went out for a physical therapy assessment that took a little over two hours and left him wrung out. Upon his return, I made him immediately take a shower. I then wrapped his clothes in the bathmat and washed a load. I’m not taking any chances, even though there are only 4 cases in Baldwin county.

In the evening I had a conference call with the Executive Committee of the Forum for Equality and we decided to make sure thank yous went out to all the donors and attendees of the recent legislative event and to do a check in with all members of the Equality Club. Instead of the usual board meeting next week, we will do a check in with the board by video conference to keep everyone up to date and engaged.

Our best case scenario is that the two really horrible bills already filed (and the other two being threatened) are not bought up in the shortened session that could be reconvened before the end of April (although we think it may be put off to May). After hurricane Katrina, the session focused on recovery and budgeting issues and we’re hoping that the members have the same mind set post-COVID19. However, with the last of the term limited legislators out of office, we’ve seen more and more ideologues who may not care for focusing on recovery and instead try to push their partisan agenda. We have to have our eyes on the session and be ready to act immediately to stop those bad bills.

March 26, 2020 – 80,021 confirmed cases in US with 1,136 deaths. 466 in Alabama, 2305 in Louisiana, 997 in New Orleans

I got up early again to head to a location across Wolf Bay where I was hoping to catch some pelicans. Unfortunately, it had a big gate so I couldn’t go exploring. I went instead to a boat launch in Miflin but the fog made it hard to see any birds. I could hear them, though. I did take one picture.

There had been a bit of an odor outside bedroom window where I’m staying and I showed my Dad how the area near the septic tank was flooded and the standing water was bubbling. He was able to get a guy to come out and look at the pump. He will return tomorrow with his guys to replace it.

March 27, 2020 – Alabama cases rose to 639 with 3 deaths, 1170 cases in New Orleans and 2746 in Louisiana with 119 deaths. Cases in the United States rose to 101,657 with 1581 deaths. 579 cases in Mississippi

Started the day waiting for the septic tank pump replacement. It was quite the incredible smell, as Han Solo would say once the workers opened the tank for emptying. The weight difference from a pump installed in 1993 and fixed about 10 years ago and the replacement was astonishing – the guy in charge says it will lift as much liquid as before, maybe even more.

The Facebook and Twitter timeline was full of the ‘gotcha’ type interview Wolf Blizter did with Mayor Latoya Cantrell, trying to blame New Orleans for being an epicenter on Mardi Gras. What the news seems to forget is that the President of the United States was still downplaying Covid-19 at that time. The first Louisiana case wasn’t identified until 9 days after Fat Tuesday (Feb 25).

Considering how quick the Mayor was to cancel St. Patrick’s Day celebrations (and how quick people were to pooh-pooh her actions at the time), it is infuriating that she was supposed to know more than the Federal Government and anticipate how bad things were going to get. Trump’s tweet from the day before Mardi Gras Day was: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”

You don’t hear anyone going after CPAC event which ran from February 26-29 or the Florida governor who didn’t shut state beaches until March 19 (after most spring breakers returned home to infect their colleges). Heck, Disney didn’t close their parks until March 13th!

My sister and her husband came for dinner. I made 2 sourdough crust pizzas (recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/02/01/cast-iron-skillet-sourdough-pizza/) I made one a mushroom pepperoni and the other a green pepper and onion plus mushrooms and pepperoni. Everyone raved about it and we ate all but 1 slice.

I found out from a friend that William Barnwell has died of Covid-19. My deepest condolences go to Corrine.

March 28, 2020 – Louisiana cases hit 3315 with 137 deaths. 1298 cases in New Orleans with 70 dead. Alabama has 668 cases with 3 deaths. 6 cases in Baldwin County. 663 cases in Mississippi with 13 deaths.

I went out early with my sister and her husband to putter around Wolf Bay in my Dad’s boat. It is charmingly named “At Ease” as he was a career military officer. We saw heron, pelicans, thrush, osprey and seagulls during our morning cruise.

For lunch I made Greek souvlaki with tzatziki. I love firing up the grill and the pork loin cooked pretty quick on indirect. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/greek-gyro/

I was grilling barefoot and stepped on a coal – ouch! I filled a cooler with ice and water and shoved my foot in it while the meat cooked. At least I had prepped everything else (the pita bread, cherry tomatoes, onions, etc) so it wasn’t much for my folks to do to bring it together.

It is my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary. They sat on a porch for a while talking about the passage of time and then sat down in front of the TV for an all-day ‘Mythbusters’ marathon.

March 29 – US cases 142,106 with 2479 deaths

The first US death from coronavirus was on February 29th. The 1000th death was on Thursday, March 26th. The 2000thdeath was yesterday, 48 hours later. That is exponential growth.

I started the day by watching the sunrise on Wolf Bay.

Then, I got up and made sourdough pecan waffles for me and my parents. Very yummy. Recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/sourdough-chocolate-pecan-waffles/

After breakfast, I recorded a reading from my last novel, Bitter Heart, on Soapbox. Of course, I was forced to shower and put on a nice shirt first! The organizers at Saints and Sinners have requested it. The Literary festival had to be cancelled but they’re now offering readings from the authors who were scheduled to attend (plus links to buy the books from a local bookstore, Tubby and Coos Mid City Book Shop).

March 30 – 159,184 cases in US with 2945 deaths. In Louisiana, we saw a jump to 4025 cases of which 1480 cases are in New Orleans. Alabama has 907 cases of which 17 are in Baldwin County.

Mom and I finished a 1000 piece puzzle of rainforest animals that she started before I arrived so more than 2 weeks to put it all together. What a challenge!

For lunch I made a chicken and mushroom pot pie using some BBQ chicken I found in the freezer and picked off the bone. Recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/skillet-chicken-mushroom-pot-pie/

Dad had physical therapy but this time, he didn’t complain when I made him immediately take a shower and gather all his clothes together for washing. I think the increase of Baldwin County cases are making him take notice – or maybe it was the death of Joe Diffie, a country music singer that he has always liked.

Their next door neighbor called that he was watching two eagles fly overhead so I went out. They were too high up to get a good picture but hypnotic to watch. After, I went and took some pictures of some of the azaleas my dad has cultivated. This one is a native honeysuckle azalea, known as Flame.

March 31 – US has 174,467 with 3416 deaths. 1834 cases in New Orleans, 5237 cases in Louisiana, 974 cases in Alabama

I started the day by making cake donuts (recipe here https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/national-donut-day/). I made several with a cocoa cinnamon sugar (3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon cinnamon whisked together) and the rest with cinnamon sugar. Dad wants me to make them again with blueberries.

I have now been in Alabama 14 days. It looks like I’ll be here for another month.

 

 

 

March 1-15, 2020 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation Summary: By March 1, 2020 the outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, coronavirus had resulted in thousands of confirmed cases across 60 countries with the global death toll reaching 3,041.

The Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 webpage only updates their information once per day based on data received by 4pm the previous day, so I’ve been getting daily data from other sources

For the global picture:
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

March 1-7, 2020 No cases in Louisiana

I started the day having to deal with a plumbing issue at the rental property Dad and I own in Gert Town. I got the repairs guys working on that and replacing the bathroom door that had swollen up from the flooding and replacing all the molding. I’m not sure they entirely fixed the problem that existed from before we bought the property in 2013 but we’ll go in and check it weekly to make sure the repair holds.

I went to the Lakeside mall to fix up the Macy’s store book displays and headed home by way of the gas station as I’ll be heading out of town tomorrow and I wanted a full tank to start the drive.

Forum for Equality held a fundraiser/legislative event that evening with local politicians to talk about the session. It was held in a beautiful mansion on St Charles Avenue.

I helped set up and worked the door, getting people signed in and getting them name tags as well as catching up with everyone I hadn’t seen in a while. There were a couple of mentions of the coronavirus but we were all hugging and kissing our greetings as we talked about the importance of defeating a horrible anti-trans bill and getting our own employment non-discrimination bill passed in this year’s Louisiana legislative session, which begins on March 9th.

The next morning, I headed with Michelle over to my parents’ home in Foley, Alabama.

That evening I watched the US Women’s National Team play England in the She Believes Cup. The US women (and reigning World Cup Champions) won 2-0.

I voted for the Ann Bannon popular choice award and Tee Corinne award for excellence in cover design for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Goldie Awards held during their annual literary conference. I bought my ticket to the conference last year and made hotel reservations and I’m really hoping that the July 6-12 conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico is able to go on as scheduled.

My sister and her husband came over on Friday, March 6th for Happy Hour bringing with them pizzas from Pizza Hut. We sat on the porch and chatted for a while after dinner.

On Saturday, March 7, Michelle and I went to Waterfront Rescue to see if the thrift store had anything fun. Michelle bought a lamp she can fill with Mardi Gras beads/doubloons plus a video game console. Afterwards, we did some Shopkicking in Walgreens and bought some raisin bran muffins at Public. Then we went to the Foley Railroad Museum and the Model Train exhibit before joining my sister at the Copper Kettle for tea and scones. This is a very intimate little tea shop with lots of knick knacks on the walls and quilts used as tablecloths. My sister and I shared a chrysanthemum blooming tea that was as beautiful as it was delicious.

That evening I grilled steaks and baked potatoes and made a spinach salad for mom, dad, Michelle and myself. I had a bit of trouble choking on the meat so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

March 8, 2020 – US reports 539 cases across 34 states with 22 deaths

On Sunday, Michelle and I were joined by Kathy and Wayne plus Kathy’s daughter, Kim, and her three kids (Dani, Michael and Xavier) for a chilly, sunrise walk on the beach at Gulf Shores State Park by the Pier.

We even saw an eagle flying!

Michelle and I swung by Publix for snacks and shopkicking on our way back to my mom and dad’s house.

I watched the US Women play against Spain in the She Believes Cup and win the game 1-0 because of some simply awesome play by Julie Ertz (she also scored in the 86th minute). Of course, we find out US Soccer sent a letter the day before the game making an offer for equal pay but only for matches under its control.

It was tacos for dinner!

March 9, 2020 – first case reported in New Orleans, Louisiana

On Monday, Michelle and I left early in the morning and drove on I-10 and I-65 through Mobile to get onto Highway 98. We got gas in Semmes, Alabama before stopping at the Wal-Mart in Petal, Mississippi. We shopped there before going to E&B Discount Grocery Store and then hitting another Wal-Mart in Hattiesburg. For lunch we went to Panera Bread for soup (baked potato) and sandwich (turkey and avocado BLT) for me and sandwich (chipotle chicken) and mac & cheese for her. We stopped at Ollies for some pots for plants and other bargains. After getting some gas at Keith’s we went to her house in Seminary, Mississippi and unloaded the car of her stuff and repacked it with my stuff. That evening, we went to her Aunt Sue’s house for dinner with her mom and dad and older brother, Bo. Smoked chicken and spaghetti.

March 10, 2020 – 2 more cases in New Orleans, six cases total in Louisiana

I drove from Michelle’s house in Seminary, Mississippi to Baton Rouge, Louisiana using the backroads of Highway 84 to Brookhaven before taking I-55 south. I then took I-12 to Airline Highway and got gas at the Wal-Mart and then went to the Mall of Louisiana. I went into Best Buy for Shopkicking and spent about 45 minutes in the store scanning products. There were just five people in the store, including myself, who weren’t employees. The Macy’s store was very quiet as well. I made sure to wash my hands well once I was done with the books before I headed back to New Orleans.

I also posting a blog post I had worked on over the weekend about my opposition to two horrible anti-trans athletes bills. LA SB 172 and LA HB466 are bad for kids, bad for anyone who supports Title IX and horribly intrusive. The link to the blog post is https://marygriggs.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/filling-the-unforgiving-minute/

I get home to news that in a court filing, US Soccer wrote that the men’s team carries more responsibility and that “indisputable science” of biological differences means women should be paid less because the men’s team “requires a higher level of skill.” Such bullshit and it was released the day before the US women face Japan in the final game of the She Believes Cup.

March 11, 2020 – There are now 13 cases in Louisiana of which 10 are in the New Orleans area

WHO Director General declares COVID19 a pandemic with 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people dead.

I went to the Lakeside Mall’s Macy store for work on Wednesday. They had obviously been busy over the weekend as the kids section was a mess. I was able to quickly fix everything then I washed my hands before heading over to Target – all the Purell, Clorox and other cleaning supplies were out. Lots of empty shelves downstairs but the food section on the second floor was full, so I got some snacks and headed home.

I learned on Facebook that a local retirement and assisted living facility, Lambeth House, has a case of coronavirus. Two very good friends, Jody Gates and Marilyn McConnell (and another friend Regina Matthews) all live at Lambeth House. I’m worried about them but Jody says CDC is on site and they are staying in their apartment as much as possible.

Later that evening I was on a conference call with the Legislative Agenda for Women for the Equal Pay Lobby Day. Every year, women’s and progressives set up events on a date specifically chosen to represent the additional 62 days from the end of the previous financial year that women have to work to earn the same as men. This year, that date falls on March 31st. I made the suggestion we take it virtual and the group agreed to do virtual advocacy (with or without the in-person event) contacting each organization’s own members to ensure they know their legislators, and send emails, faxes, tweets, and make calls to legislators about Equal Pay Day and the bills that are relevant to pay inequity and economic security.

The US Women won against Japan (3-1) but I missed the game as I don’t have cable anymore and I didn’t want to go out to one of the bars I usually go to (Rusty Nail or Bayou Beer Garden) to watch it with the increased number of coronavirus cases in the city. I was gratified to learn that several of the sponsors (Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Visa, Volkswagon, Allstate and Secret) all condemned US Soccer’s legal filing and most said they planned to meet with the Federation to discuss whether or not they’d be continuing.

March 12, 2020 – Two cases of coronavirus in Tennessee and 1 in Arkansas have possible links to Mardi Gras in New Orleans (https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/2-tennessee-1-arkansas-case-of-coronavirus-came-after-visits-to-mardi-gras/289-83032172-03f7-4bad-b214-7ef2b5057fd6)

I spent most of the morning repotting my succulent plants and planting the camellias I got from Dad. I had brought a 5 gallon bucket of compost back from Michelle’s house that I mixed with the dirt I had so I was able to repot a cactus from my sister Kathy into 6 pots, plus divide a huge aloe into 5 pots and a number of others that needed dividing or replanting after our warm winter.

I received an email from the Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival that they were going to cancel the event, scheduled for March 27-29. I had signed up to participate on a panel titled Writing In and Across Genres: Pushing Against the Stereotypes. Rick Reed was to moderate Alex Meyers, Elliott Foster, James K Moran and myself. I’m disappointed not to see my all my writerly friends and attend the panels but, better to be safe than sorry.

I read an article about the heartbreaking decisions Italian doctors are being forced to make with more patients than they have ventilators or hospital beds. I wrote on Twitter – Canceling parades and large events, closing schools is all to slow the spread of #COVID19 and to keep it from overwhelming our health care system. Be patient and maintain social distancing. Do it for those more vulnerable than you. Do it so our doctors don’t have to make these decisions.

I was so sore from all the bending and crouching, that I took a long soak in a bubble bath that evening. I used a new one to me – Dr. Teal’s Glow and Radiance with Vitamin C and Citrus Essential Oils foaming bath with Epsom salt. Very orange – it smells like I mugged a Florida fruit stand.

US Soccer canceled all the upcoming men’s and women’s teams matches for March and April. The USWNT was scheduled to play Australia and Brazil in the lead up to the Olympics. There were going to be 6 matches in total but the others hadn’t been announced yet. The USMNT had games scheduled in Wales and Cardiff.

March 13, 2020 – There are now 26 cases in New Orleans, 36 in Louisiana

State of emergency declared in New Orleans and Louisiana. All public schools in the state closed, limits placed on all gatherings of 250 or more.
(https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/mayor-cantrell-joins-governor-edwards-to-update-ci/). White House declares national emergency.

I started the day laughing at an ABC News/Ipsos poll that still had 43% of Americans approving of the way President Trump has handled the crisis. I wasn’t aware there were so many door knob lickers out there but things are divided along partisan lines with only 17% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans not concerned about getting the coronavirus. Quite a spread. I wonder if the virus will run rampant in the MAGA crowd, since they don’t seem to be caring about it yet.

Today was a cooking day. I started by pulling out some sourdough starter and feeding the mother. I plan to make a focaccia for dinner tonight and so I left it on the counter for a while to develop a sponge.

I then made a batch of Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies – deeply dark with chocolate that is brought out even more with a pinch of flake salt on the top. Recipe here (https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/chocolate-pecan-truffle-cookies/)

As the cookies were baking, I began making chicken stock for soup tonight. Once the stock was fragrant and the chicken cooked, I strained out the solids and let it cool to bring the fat to the top. Later in the day, I made a Lemon, Chicken and Rice soup that was truly awesome (recipe here: https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/03/14/lemon-chicken-and-rice-soup/). To go with it, I made a garlic focaccia with the sponge I started earlier.

About midday, I had a long phone call from an organizer friend, Lynda Woolard. During our wide-ranging conversation, I learned the Louisiana Secretary of State was going to delay the April 4th primary election (and presidential primary preference vote) for at least two months to June 20th. The runoff would be held on July 25th. I sent an email with a link to his statement to the IWO board and this set off a firestorm of emails as we had been in the process of cancelling our Candidate Forum and Endorsement meeting scheduled for March 21st. We finally ended up scheduling a conference call on Monday, 3/16 to discuss it.

I learned at the end of the day that there are now 8 confirmed cases at Lambeth House. I’m worried about my friends but Jody says that they’re taking turns walking up and down the staircases for exercise and the weather has been good, so they’ve spent a lot of time on their balcony.

The US Soccer president, Carlos Cordeiro, resigned effective immediately following the furor over the legal filing. Forum USWNT player Cindy Parlow Cone will take over as president until the next meeting (Feb 2021) when they vote to fill the remainder of his term. She is the first woman to be US Soccer president and the second national team player in that role.

March 14, 2020 – 77 cases in Louisiana, 53 in New Orleans, first fatality in New Orleans.

I went to the Jefferson Highway Wal-Mart at 6:30 am on Saturday. The parking lot was full and the store had only been open for 30 minutes. I filled up on gas (only $1.88/gal) and went in the only door that was open. The grocery side aisles were full of desperate people panic buying everything. Virtually no cleaning products left, especially those with bleach. Very little left on the shelves anywhere. I went into the pharmacy side for alcohol and they only had 2 bottles of hydrogen peroxide left on the bottom two shelves.

I received two deliveries – one from Amazon on a replacement egg/mushroom/strawberry/spam slicer and 9 inch lazy Susan and another from Bass Pro with some pants I ordered back in January. I had the Amazon gal and USPS carrier just leave them on the porch and opened them out there and immediately trashed the packaging.

I used the lazy Susan in my cabinet reorganization with a set of Spicy Shelf Deluxe U shaped shelves I installed a couple of weeks ago. I’ve now got more my spices displayed and it is amazing how much room I have in there and on the counter now. If nothing else, my social isolating is helping me clean up the house!

There was a big St. Patrick’s gathering on Magazine Street at the Tracey’s Irish Bar in defiance of the requests to limit large gatherings. I’d say anyone who gets sick from being that stupid, it is their own damn fault but the issue is not so much them getting sick but transmitting it to others. I’m taking Dr. Graham Medley (Professor of Infectious Disease Modeling) advice: “Most people have a fear of acquiring the virus. I think a good way of doing it is to imagine that you do have the virus, and change your behavior so that you’re not transmitting it.”

I filled out my 2020 Census online. It is really important we all do so Louisiana gets its fair share of federal funds and ensure political representation at all levels of government is fairly allocated.

I read the historian Heather Cox Richardson’s column (subscribe here) regularly but today’s really resonated. From it:

“The fight over whether to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously, as well as the administration’s inept handling of it, is the outcome of forty years of assault on the American government. Since 1980, when Ronald Reagan ran for office on the warning that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” Republicans have made war on the idea of an expert bureaucracy in charge of our government.

Over the years since, Republican leaders have continued to cut taxes, regulations, social safety nets, and infrastructure, all in the service of shunning socialism and promoting individualism. Whatever needs to be done, businessmen can do it best, they say. Government bureaucrats are inefficient and wasteful.

We have decimated our government bureaucracy and expertise, slashed taxes and the social safety net, and crippled our infrastructure, all in the name of promoting American business and the individualism that, in theory, encourages economic growth. The president, along with his enablers in the Senate, have tried to cement this ideology onto the country through the courts.

And now, the coronavirus pandemic is putting their system to the test. So far, it is failing miserably.”

March 15, 2020 – 2nd fatality in New Orleans, 75 cases in New Orleans, 103 cases in Louisiana, 2952 cases in US, 57 deaths nationwide.

WHO reports worldwide there are 153,648 cases in 146 countries or territories with 5746 deaths.

I woke up this morning to see that the New Orleans Archbishop sent out word that the obligation to attend Mass has been dispensed for the next 30 days. He ended the letter with “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us!”

During the day I got a visit from my friends Charlotte and Thomas after their Costco run for her to drop off yarn for Michelle and for me to give her an aloe plant I repotted plus some of the cookies I baked.

Shared with me on Facebook was a resource guide for activists, organizers, and others who are looking out for the community through personal preparation, collective care, mutual aid and advocacy. Link to the google document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dpMzMzsA83jbVEXS8m7QKOtK4nj6gIUk1U1t6P4wShY/edit?usp=sharing

CDC is now saying gatherings of 50 of more should be cancelled for the next 8 weeks. They’re advocating social distancing through early May.

At the Democratic Debate Sunday night, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders went head to head in CNN’s studio instead of in front of a live audience of 5,000 as originally planned. They had an elbow bump instead of a handshake. Biden promised a female running mate

February Coronavirus Journal

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I saw a post on Twitter about starting writing a journal about what we’re seeing in the news, how communities are responding, how you and your friends are dealing with what is becoming a global crisis. The history of the public health emergency will be written but many personal stories will not. It is especially true that women’s letters and journals are sometimes the only way we learn the real information of their lives.

Here is my small effort. I’m starting in February, 2020 and plan to continue monthly as things develop. I will publish the previous months journal during the following month.

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Situation Summary: In December 2019, Chinese health authorities identified an outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, coronavirus which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. CDC’s COVID-19 webpage has the most up to date information.

February 5, 2020 – 11 cases in US, none in Louisiana

Daily data is coming from Ready.NOLA.gov.

On Friday, February 14 (also Valentine’s day), I attended the League of Women Voters luncheon event on Gerrymandering over in Metairie. We heard from Senator JP Morrell on the importance of citizen engagement on all aspects of the redistricting process, starting with the Census2020. I attended with several members of IWO and we gathered for a picture as lunch was being served.

IWO members Clay Latimer, Lisa Manning Ambrose, Anita Zervigon, Leslie Bouie, Rosalind Cook, Julie Schwam Harris and I (peeking over the back)

That evening, I went to two parades mainly because my friend, Charlotte, was riding in Cleopatra. I saw Oshun and Cleopatra from the intersection of St Charles Avenue and Marengo Street, meeting up with Thomas after Cleopatra had begun to roll. I’m attaching a pic of her float.

My sister, Kathy, and her husband, Wayne, arrived later that evening to stay through the weekend and go to parades. Wayne made omelets for Saturday’s breakfast and I grilled ribeye steaks for dinner that night. After a very rainy Sunday morning where we all lazed around the house, I took them downtown for the Krewe of Barkus festivities and we had homemade lentil soup (recipe here) for dinner. They left on Monday morning.

On Mardi Gras Day (February 25), I walked out to the Rex parade along Napoleon Avenue but didn’t go to any other parades that day.

That evening I did my annual tweetstorm about the meeting of the Courts of Rex and Comus. It is a hilarious way to end Carnival Season by roasting the ‘royalty’ and the fawning reporting from the local PBS station that shows the event live while we locals take to the hashtag #RexComus and live tweet our snark. Some people make a drinking game out of it but that could lead to alcohol poisoning. Others play BINGO. I made it to the dancing heads around 10pm and called it a night.

February 27, 2020 – 60 cases in US (most from Diamond Princess cruise ship), none in Louisiana

On February 29th, I attended a legislative event at the Broad Theater with IWO, a Democratic Women’s Organization.

Nakita Shavers, Jacqueline Brubaker and myself

We had over 150 people in attendance, including a busload of young women students from Florida to hear legislators speak about their agenda for the upcoming Louisiana Legislative Session.

Representatives Jason Hughes, Matthew Willard, Mandie Landry, Candace Newell and Senator Joe Bouie

The national numbers of coronavirus cases went from zero to 60 pretty fast and the next month shows no sign of slowing.

Filling the Unforgiving Minute

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The title of this piece comes from the final stanza of the Rudyard Kipling poem If

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if—

Growing up, sports were a huge part of my life. I started playing soccer at age 6 and only retired as I approached age 50. I also competed in gymnastics, track, golf, tennis, equestrian gymkhana and shooting events.

The many lessons I learned on athletic fields have served me well in life.

Lessons about teamwork, fair play, and setting and achieving goals. The most important might have been after I played against those who were stronger, more powerful and better skilled — as more of my character was revealed by how I handled a loss than how I celebrated a win.

I don’t discount other tangible benefits I gained from sports. Beyond improving my general health, my active youth helped me become more comfortable with my developing body. Being physically fit helped me have the energy and mental focus I needed to get things done off the field, too.

I’ve found lifelong friends among my teammates and competitors. Some of my best memories are of the enormous fun I experienced playing games and the places I went and people I met while doing so.

So, when I tell you that everyone should have athletic opportunities, I know what I’m talking about. In fact, I believe we should be expanding rather than restricting access to sports.

That’s why I’m opposed to Louisiana Senate Bill 172 and House Bill 466. These bills are before the legislature this session and would ban transgender students from participation in school sports.

The misnamed “Save Women’s Sports Act” doesn’t do anything to protect students from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. You can tell this because the very groups that have been in the trenches, fighting for equal justice issues for women and girls oppose these bills. As a point of fact, I belong to two of the almost twenty women’s organizations who penned an open letter to the bill’s authors expressing their opposition. From the letter:

SB172 and HB 466 violate the basic rights of young transgender Louisianans, expose the state to expensive litigation and economic pressure, and attempt to police gender norms in a manner which distracts from the genuine crises facing women and girls in the world of athletics while violating their privacy.

Let me address some of the reasons that are given by supporters of this harmful legislation, a similar version of which was just passed by the Arizona House of Representatives.

The biggest argument comes from the theory of scarcity, which argues that trans athletes are taking a spot away from someone else or there are only so many opportunities for girls and women to play at the top level or there are so few scholarships handed out making it unfair to allow trans athletes to compete.

People are right to worry about sex discrimination in sports but transgender athletes are not why there are inequalities in opportunities and allocation of resources for girls sports.

The premise that trans athletes will outperform their peers is not supported by the evidence. It just isn’t true that everyone assigned male at birth is automatically bigger, faster and stronger than anyone assigned female at birth. The playing field is not entirely level. There will always be those blessed with physical and mental abilities beyond one’s ken. I was a good soccer player but I was no Michelle Akers or Marta. Should they be penalized because they were so much better at the game?

Speaking from my own experience, there were no girls soccer teams when I moved to Georgia in the late 70’s and so I petitioned to play on the boys teams. Well into high school, I could outperform many of my opposite sex age mates and, when I lost that extra step, I could still beat many of them with craftiness and experience. Should I not have been allowed to play the game I love simply because there wasn’t a girl’s team?

Expanding opportunities and resources so everyone can play seems a far better solution.

Advantages in sports also go beyond physical prowess or skill. Some students have wealthy parents who pay for private coaching, strength training and summer camp. Should those athletes be put in a separate league?

Let me be clear. I ❤️ Title IX. This federal law outlawed gender-based discrimination for federally-funded education programs and led to the creation of college teams in a myriad of sports, which in turn spurred the creation of elementary and high school teams.

Title IX gave me opportunities to compete at a higher level than I ever could before. I started college where there wasn’t a women’s soccer team but was able to start one with a Title IX challenge. By my senior year, as a result of my efforts off and on the field, I received a scholarship for athletics and was recognized as an Academic All American.

Title IX also gave me a chance to see women compete in sports traditionally denied to women and girls. Women athletes fought for inclusion at every level, pushing schools until there was enough interest and public support to make the concept of professional women athletes seem common place.

While we still have ways to go (like getting equal pay or equal media coverage for women’s sports), we can’t move forward by putting barriers to the athletes coming behind us.

The echoes of those early fights for equality in athletics are being seen again today with transgender athletes. They are competing in the category which best fits who they are and we need to honor their willingness to step out and try.

Another argument against trans participation comes from the horrible canard that you can tell by looking at someone what their gender identity is.

We really saw a lot of this during the Cold War with the gender policing of Eastern European women athletes because they weren’t feminine enough to be ‘real women.’

I hated those arguments as I’ve always had short hair and small breasts and proudly wear the label tomboy. I have also experienced the humiliation of being pulled from women’s restrooms because I didn’t fit someone’s judgement of my gender.

Try to imagine how traumatizing it is to be pulled aside because someone didn’t think you belonged on the field and demanded you show chromosomal or hormonal proof or submit to a physical genital examination to prove your bonafides?

Do you realize how easy it would be for a competitor or opposing coach to make such an accusation to explain their loss? There is enough bad sportsmanship out there already without weaponizing sports against anyone who is gender non-conforming.

These hateful bills by Senator Mizell and Representative Amadee create a test for establishing sex using four characteristics (internal and external reproductive anatomy, testosterone levels, and genetic analysis), which can then be used to bar transgender people from appropriately gendered teams and leagues.

That isn’t fair and it certainly isn’t equal. I advocate for equality for all women, not just a certain type of woman, not just for those who pass or don’t challenge gender stereotypes or societal conceptions of properly feminine behavior. 

The most pernicious argument about trans participation is the one about how unfair it is for men to compete against women in sports. Sometimes added to this is the need for safe spaces in locker rooms and restrooms.

The tired old myth of burly, bearded predators of vulnerable girls has been used as clickbait by the Alliance Defending Freedom in their many attempts to restrict bathroom access. They try to use fear and discomfort with the Other to justify their hostility and distortions of science and the law.

In actuality, trans students have more to fear from their peers when it comes to being bullied, harassed and sexually assaulted while trying to use the restroom that best matches their valid identity. Almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted.

Cisgender boys are not trying to sneak into girl’s sports to try and dominate the competition. Further, transgender participation hasn’t led to a surge in transgender girls and women winning national championships. Most trans athletes perform within expected ranges for their age and gender identity. It is highly unfortunate that the few transgender girls and women who have achieved some level of sports success have faced backlash instead of celebrations of their victories.

Trans girls are girls. Period. Misgendering transgender youths is an attempt to erase them from public life and is an attack on the basic dignity and humanity of transgender students.

I really wish women’s rights activists would stop repeating the talking points of the religious extremists. Please trust me, if the people aligned with you on this issue are not the ones who are aligned with your other core issues, then you need to consider getting better friends.

We should be wary whenever an alleged concern for “protecting” us is invoked to justify our exclusion from something. Remember, it wasn’t so long ago the idea that physical exertion would harm women’s reproductive organs or that women’s bodies were inherently inferior was used to “protect” women out of participation in marathons and contact sports.

41 percent of transgender folks consider suicide because they aren’t allowed to be their true, authentic selves and the daily discrimination they endure. Subjecting transgender student athletes to added barriers against full participation in sports, from onerous medical requirements to segregation in locker rooms to outright bans on their participation, serves only to deepen the harm to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

There is so much to be gained from participation in sports. To deny those benefits to transgender students is not feminist, not legal, and is just plain wrong.

Let them play, Louisiana. Let them play.

 

Protecting You and Your Neighbors on November 16

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Voters in Orleans Parish will have the opportunity on November 16 (or, if they’re early voting from Nov 2-9) to add an amendment to the New Orleans City Charter to create a Human Rights Commission.

Ballot language for HRC Amendment – Art. V, Secs. 5-1101 through 5-1103 – CC:

Shall Article V of the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans be amended to add Sections 5-1101 through 5-1103 thereto to create a local Human Rights Commission to safeguard all individuals in the City of New Orleans from discrimination and to exercise all powers, duties, and functions provided by applicable state and municipal law?

Currently, New Orleans has a Human Relations Commission, established by ordinance in 1991. We should be rightly proud of a forward thinking City Council that created this advisory body to prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. Unfortunately, though, because of a court injunction, the existing ordinance has no process for enforcement. It means that if a resident has experienced discrimination, their options are to file an expensive lawsuit on their own or navigate a complex patchwork of federal and state enforcement bodies.

Louisiana state law (LA Rev Stat § 51:2236-2241 (2017)) allows cities to create a local human rights commission. Such a commission would provide a single place for New Orleanians to file discrimination complaints. State law outlines the administrative process, so complaints can be investigated and, many times, resolved through mediation and education instead of through expensive litigation. Should the arbitration not resolve the issue, a charter-recognized commission would be empowered to draft a finding of the violation of law and send it to Civil District Court for enforcement.

I support creating a Human Rights Commission in the City Charter because I believe doing so will better protect residents from discrimination and strengthen the New Orleans’ human rights laws.

For those who scoff at the need for such a commission in this day and age, I believe even a single discrimination complaint is a stain on New Orleans reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to visit or to stay. In fact, the 2018 Annual Report of the Human Relations Commission reports 25 discrimination complaints, clearly showing why we need to create a commission that can investigate, mediate and resolve discrimination complaints.

To those who fear additional litigation arising from this amendment, human rights commissions can often resolve discrimination complaints before they get to court, providing businesses and employers with an option to address issues and receive training.

I urge you to vote yes for the Human Rights Commission Amendment on November 16 to protect your rights and those of your neighbors.

Toward that end, I’m working with the Greater New Orleans Human Rights Coalition (www.gnohrc.org) for passage of this important ballot measure. Individuals, activists, business groups, LGBTQ organizations and civil rights groups all have stake in this initiative. Together, we can help safeguard everyone who calls New Orleans home.

Further information on this and other ballot measures is available from ActionNewOrleans.

Storm Prep Tips on Katrina’s Anniversary

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It has been 14 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall and just a few days before Hurricane Dorian comes ashore in Florida. Over the past few years, I’ve collected some tips on storm preparation that some might find helpful. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments, as we learn best from each other.

Let’s start with that old joke about not being able to boil water – if true, New Orleans may not be the best place to live. We spend lots of time making our water holy by boiling the hell out of it and that is outside of storm events!

Under a boil water advisory, you want to make sure you boil tap water for 1 full minute – start your time after the water is boiling. If using unsafe water, boil for at least 10 minutes or chemically disinfect it by using 5 drops of liquid household bleach to each gallon of water and let sit for at least 30 minutes for disinfection to be completed.

Take a good volume of clean water and freeze it. I use two five gallon containers and freeze one a few days before the storm for transferring to the fridge before landfall (or before going to bed when the storm is about to hit) and then putting another in its place to freeze. It will keep the fridge cool plus give chilled drinking water as it melts. I also use frozen water bottles to fill every nook and cranny in my freezer so that things will stay colder longer.

Plan on enough water for you and each of your family members, including pets, for a minimum of 72 hours. That is about 1 gallon per person per day for three days. I stock up on bottles of water that go on sale immediately after the last emergency. Restock your bottled water once per year.

As there ain’t no party like a hurricane party, stock up on the adult beverages, too. Beer is good to have on hand but it isn’t particularly good warm, so it will need to be consumed first. Then, be sure to have the makings for mixed drinks. Consider making a vat of hurricanes or other themed drinks. Just scale up from this recipe on making a single hurricane serving – mix together one part lemon juice, one part dark or spiced rum, one part light rum, one part passion fruit or pineapple juice, and one part orange juice. You’ll want to serve that with ice, so be sure you have a cooler of ice for drinks. Sipping whiskeys and red wines are also good, as they don’t require ice. Of course, please drink responsibly and make sure there is plenty of extra water as alcohol dehydrates the body.

I have a small cooler that I fill with ice and call it my washcloth cooler – there is nothing like a cool cloth to wipe your face when you’ve gone hours with no air conditioning. Rinse off the washcloth before dropping it back in the cooler.

Fill the bathtub with water. I am a big proponent of the Water Bob as it keeps 100 gallons of water fresh and clean up to 16 weeks! Use open bathtub water for cleaning and flushing the toilet but don’t drink it as it could have soap scum, dust and debris in it.

Bathe and do all your laundry ahead of the storm. During a boil water advisory, you don’t want to be putting that water on your body, hair or clothes.

In lieu of using too much clean water for bathing, fill a spray bottle with 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and your favorite essential oil so you can spritz that on your clothing and on your body to refresh yourself and take the stink off. My favorites are rosemary and lemon.

Have a big bottle of mouthwash to use instead of water for brushing your teeth – dip your toothbrush in a small glass of mouthwash, brush, then rinse your mouth out with mouthwash. I keep a bottle of water next to sink to rinse the brush (and to wash hands after using the toilet).

Do not walk, wade or, God-forbid, swim in flood waters. E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia, Hepatitis A & C and all the other horrible bacteria in the waters can cause serious illness and even death. If you do end up in the floodwater, change your clothing and wash yourself immediately. Before the flooding happens, get your tetanus shot renewed. Be very careful cleaning up after flooding as the danger isn’t over just because the water went down. See this OSHA fact sheet.

Do not drive in flood waters – you don’t know how deep the water could be or if the road has been washed out underneath. If you have to go through standing water, do not drive more than 5 miles per hour. Not only is driving any faster unsafe and illegal but it pushes water into nearby homes and businesses.

For Orleans Parish, view reports of street flooding at http://streetwise.nola.gov.

Stock up on fresh, dried and canned fruit, dehydrated meals, shelf stable non-dairy milk products like almond milk, breads, trail mix, jerky, MRE’s and other food products that don’t require refrigeration. Have plenty of snacks and comfort foods as most folks tend to stress eat during this time. If you’re a coffee addict and don’t like instant, grind coffee for “stovetop coffee” or invest in a percolator or French Press.

Know how to locate the valve behind your stove or other gas-run appliances (like water heaters) and turn it OFF in the event of flooding.

Check to make sure you have charcoal and other supplies for your grill if you’ve got an electric stove or want to keep the heat of cooking outside of your house. After 48 hours without power, start cooking from your freezer (try not to open it before then). This is a good time to work with your neighbors and have a block party to share perishable goods before they go bad.

Charge all devices and charge your backup phone batteries. If you have a generator, run a test of it and make sure you have plenty of fuel for it. If you have a car, make sure it has a full tank of gas and the battery is charged.

Flashlights are great (with extra batteries) and candles give a lovely glow once the power goes out. Of course, pillar candles dedicated to the patron saints of flooding (St Florian) and storms (St Medard or St Walpurga) and New Orleans (Joan of Arc or Our Lady of Prompt Succor) help ensure you’re well covered and well lit for all contingencies.

Unplug everything if the waters rise. I usually unplug small appliances ahead of the storm so I don’t have to run around at the last minute. Roll up area rugs and put them up out of the water’s way or use them as barriers around doors.

Gather all your pertinent documents – passport, birth certificate, banking info, proof of residence, car registration, all insurance documents, etc into a waterproof folder and know exactly where it is. Take this with you when you leave.

Prep a go bag or bug out bag with clothes, medicines, food, reading materials, etc in case you have to leave in a hurry. Pack one for each family member (including your pets) so you don’t have to rush around at the last minute or, worse, have to make a run to the store after driving for hours because someone forgot their underwear.

If you do evacuate, prep your house by securing your trash cans and any outside furniture or plants. Also, freeze a cup of water in your refrigerator freezer. Before you head out, set a quarter on top of it. Check for melting once you return: if the quarter is still on top when you come home, all is well. In fact, your food is probably safe to eat if the quarter is only 1/3 down the cup. If it is halfway down or on the bottom, your food was unrefrigerated for too long and is not safe to eat.

Resources for hurricane preparedness/updates:

Department of Homeland Security Disaster Guide
www.Ready.gov

State of Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide
http://gohsep.la.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Prevent/2016EmergencyGuide_English.pdf

American Red Cross Mobile Phone App
http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps

National Weather Service Radar Loop
https://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar_lite.php?rid=LIX&product=N0R&loop=yes

Parish government webpages:

Orleans Parish
www.ready.nola.gov

Jefferson Parish
www.jeffparish.net

St. Bernard Parish
https://sbpg.net/165/Homeland-Security-Emergency-Preparedness

Plaquemines Parish
http://plaqueminesparish.com/homeland-security-emergency-preparedness/

Tangipahoa Parish
www.tangisafe.com

St. Tammany Parish
http://www.stpgov.org/residents/emergency-preparedness

Washington Parish
http://www.washingtonparishalerts.org/emergency-updates.html

Let me know your tips. Oh, and if you’re having a hurricane party, be sure to invite me.

Congratulations to the 2019 Goldie Winners

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Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists of the Golden Crown Literary Society Goldie Awards.   

Debut Novel

Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne

Compass Rose by Anna Burke

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

Combined Non-Fiction

The Liberation of Ivy Bottini: A Memoir of Love and Activism by Judith V. Branzburg

Romantic Blend

Ask Me Again by E. J. Noyes

Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne

My Lady Lipstick by Karin Kallmaker

Humorous Novels

Great Bones by Lynn Ames

Contemporary Romance: Short

Breakthrough by Kris Bryant

The Neighbor by Gerri Hill

The Promise by Claire Highton-Stevenson

Poetry Poems/collections

Lovely by Leslea Newman

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Alias by Cari Hunter

What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka

Young Adult/New Adult

Snowsisters by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

A Wish Upon a Star by Jeannie Levig

Blend by Georgia Beers

Love At Cooper’s Creek by Missouri Vaun

Pursuit of Happiness by Carsen Taite

Paranormal/Occult/Horror

Gnarled Hollow by Charlotte Greene

Erotic Novels

Breaking the Rules by Larkin Rose

General Fiction

Bird on a Wire by Tagan Shepard

Perfect Little Worlds by Clifford Henderson

Fiction Anthologies

Language of Love by Astrid Ohletz & Lee Winter

Historical Fiction

Lies of Omission by Elena Graf

Contemporary Romance: Long

Gold by E. J. Noyes

It’s Not a Date by Heather Blackmore

Just for Show by Jae

Three Reasons to Say Yes by Jaime Clevenger

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Lucky 7 by Rae D. Magdon

Proxima Five by Missouri Vaun

Waking the Dreamer by K. Aten

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award

A Proper Cuppa Tea by KG MacGregor

Tee Corinne Outstanding Cover Design

2 Degrees cover by Ann McMan

Directors’ Award

Jenny Fielder

Lee Lynch Classic Award

Loving Her by Ann Allen Shockley

Trail Blazer Award

Sandra Scoppettone

Many of the books many be purchased at Bella Books or other fine retailers.

Next year’s GCLS Literary Conference will be held in Albuquerque, NM, beginning on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 and ending on Sunday, July 12, 2020. More info may be found HERE.

The Star-Spangled 4th of July Marathon Reading of the Complete Mueller Report

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How will you be spending the Fourth of July?

Me? I will be reading a portion of the Mueller report. The readings will run from 6am on July 4th until 2am on July 5th. My reading time is scheduled for 6pm. Event organizer, Michael Martin, will perform the report’s redactions as Russian folklore character Baba Yaga.

There will be music, food and drink available throughout the day. The Facebook event is HERE

This event is a benefit for ACLU Louisiana. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Buy tickets at : impeachableyou.brownpapertickets.com

Event location:
HappyLand Theater (Venue information)
3126 Burgundy St
New Orleans, LA 70116

We got a write up in Gambit!

I hope to see you there for food, music, fun and freedom!