A bunch of stuff for Sunday

  • We’re all looking for ways to cope with pandemic anxiety. You may find this free workbook from the Jung Center to be of help.
  • Several things have helped me cope. First, I don’t have to leave the house often. Also, I have chores (like mowing the yard) and enjoyable work (a new novel in progress). As you get older, you’ll discover that even with a riding mower, cutting the grass is a multi-day project. One day to cut it and several days to recover from all the aches and pains that arise from riding over a fairly rough yard that was part of a farm several years ago.
  • I’m re-reading Jeff Shaara’s historical novel A Chain of Thunder about Grant and Sherman’s siege of Vicksburg. Vicksburg is often overlooked by those who study the Civil War because the battle ended one day (July 4, 1863) after the Battle of Gettysburg (July 3, 1863). Both were important Union victories, but Vicksburg was far away in what was in those days called “The West” and Gettysburg was close at hand.
  • I know all of you have been waiting with bated breath for news about the pot roast I mentioned recently in my slow cooker post. It came out great. We’ll finish it at supper tonight: that means I’m not spending the afternoon in a hot kitchen. My wife grilled some asparagus for a tasty side dish.
  • With most of our regular TV shows done for the season, we have been turning once again to old movies. In addition to Netflix, we find many of them on Turner Classic Movies which is part of our basic package on DISH. The Noir Alley films air at midnight on Saturday. (We archive them to view later.) Many of TCM’s movies are introduced by hosts who provide a little background. I especially like Noir Alley’s Eddie Muller because he provides interesting facts about the movies, directors, stars, and trends before and after the films.
  • A favorite author of mine said she has a new book coming out soon. I can’t tell you who she is or the name of the book because it’s not yet in release and if I mention it here before the publisher announces it, there will be hell to pay. Fresh hell, probably.


My novel Mountain Song is free on Kindle through the end of the day today.

A mix of stuff, i.e. a potpourri (without herbs)

  • My latest post “How are You Feeling?” was written in hopes followers of this blog would respond with their own comments and stories about coping with the pandemic. I was disappointed in the lack of response.
  • I’m coping by working on my next novel. It seems to be about halfway done, though I’m usually the last to know. It continues where my Florida Folk Magic Trilogy ends, though it’s by no means a sequel (unless my publisher tells me it’s a sequel).
  • I’m also coping by re-reading old books, currently James Patterson’s Instinct about a serial killer who leaves cryptic clues to his next victim by placing a playing card next to each person he murders. The novel came out in 2017 and was co-written by Howard Roughan. It demonstrates the problem with the police using the services of an expert. If the murders keep going on and on an on, the expert really isn’t solving anything. If the murders stop right after the expert solves the whole case on page 20, you don’t have much of a novel.
  • My wife and I see to be trading the low-grade flu back and forth. Not sure how to fix that except for both of us to take it easy and get extra sleep.
  • I listened to Queen Elizabeth II’s brief pandemic speech on TV last night and though it was a reasonable appeal for working together to solve this crisis as Brits have done before. She’s old enough to remember the Blitz, the country’s attempts to find safe places for the children, and the resolve with which everyone mobilized for efforts in battlezones and on the homefront.
  • Comfort food is a high priority with us right now. I just took a squash casserole out of the oven to be warmed up for several meals. My wife’s been making pies and rice casseroles. We usually pair these with whatever we can find on TV, including “How to Get Away With Murder.” Our joke with that series is that (like “Lost”) we seem to know less and less about what’s going on after watching each episode.
  • Stay well.


How are you feeling?





Those of us who aren’t old enough to remember the fear and uncertainty, the rationing, and all the shortages and economic changes during World War II, will probably see the COVID-19 pandemic as the nation’s greatest crisis. The last U. S. figures I saw showed 277,205 cases and 6,593 deaths. We are told that these numbers don’t include cases and deaths we don’t know about and that they’ll go higher. We’re also told that a vaccine is probably at least a year away.

Historians are comparing this pandemic with the 1918 influenza pandemic that impacted 500 million people throughout the world, 50 million deaths worldwide, including 675,000 deaths in the U.S. That’s not reassuring even though it sounds long ago and far away with no one alive with personal memories of it.

I’m reminded of the polio scare in the 1950s, with 57,628 cases in 1952. The Salk and Sabin vaccines generally put an end to the outbreaks, but prior to that, there was a fair amount of fear and unease about the safety of one’s children. (My younger brother had a mild case.)

Whether they’re joking about it or trying to deny the real danger to themselves, my sense from news reports and social media is we’re seeing off-the-scale unease, uncertainly, and frustration that exceeds the 1950s polio scare, one that has captured the country’s consciousness like the national efforts to mobilize on the homefront for World War.

Cases and deaths are spreading across the country for a disease with no cure but to try to simply lessen one’s chances of getting it and to endure it if one does get it. The economy is, of course, a resulting tragedy as stores and other venues close, travel is restricted, and employees are furloughed, and businesses facing bankruptcy. The pandemic seems like a sword with multiple sharp edges.

The Internet is filled with ideas for things to do while quarantined. These ideas probably help, but I doubt they’re a real substitute for unemployment, disruptions in products and services, and concerns about any flu-like symptoms one has had. It’s nice to see news stories about people pulling together: they offset some of the stories about the political squabbling as well as the crazy people who ignore guidelines and/or purposefully try to infect others.

My younger brother and his wife were planning a European trip. My wife and I were planning a trip to Maryland to see my daughter, her husband, and my two granddaughters. These trips have been cancelled. Thousands of people are probably having similar experiences.

Day to day, I’m impacted by news stories and the latest lockdown style regulations and lack of many grocery items in the stores. I try, though, to focus more on the book I’m writing, the TV shows we watch, our two cats, and life around the house rather than becoming obsessed with the pandemic.

How about you? How are you feeling and how are you coping?