Random musings of a harmless madwoman.

There’s something strange happening these days.  Nearly everyone I talk with says they’re not having sex or they’re not having sex as often as they’d like.

Now, I happen to be one of those people, but that’s because I’m single and I quit dating sites well before Covid hit.  I’m talking about those who are coupled up.  Married, not married, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50+ – people are saying they’re not getting it and I find it very disconcerting.

I joke with my coupled-up friends who say they’re not interested, not in the mood, too tired to take one for the team!  FFS, some of us would love to be getting some and the fact that they can but won’t is just not right.

Quarantine has us stuck at home, bored, and frustrated – which, to me, seems like a perfect recipe for sex. Instead, people are working on their recipe for sour-dough.

Seriously?

I hear couples talk about how tired they are – and granted, working, home-schooling, and keeping kids busy take A LOT of energy.  That kind of tired is well-earned.  But what about relationships?  Those need energy too.  You know what’s reinvigorating?  Sex.  It helps us sleep better, boosting our energy.  It releases endorphins, boosting our mood.  When you sleep better and are in a better mood, you’re not as tired.

I’ve also heard the complaint that only one partner is in the mood and the other is too tired, causing disappointment and disconnect.  I absolutely believe that sex should be enjoyed by both parties, but sometimes, creating desire starts with one person giving and/or doing for the other.

I don’t want to assign blanket gender stereotypes, but I will use gender for these examples with the understanding that it can really apply to men and women.

Fellas, I’ve heard it said that if you want sex on Wednesday, foreplay starts on Monday.  Meaning, if – especially if – it’s been awhile, or if your wife/partner/girlfriend is saying she’s tired, taking things off her to-do list leaves more energy to put toward you.  Pour her a glass of wine, tell her to go watch some tv while you make dinner or get the kids ready for bed.

As to men, let’s be honest, men typically don’t need foreplay.  But if your man does, use the above example.

One of the sexiest things one partner would do for me when I was too tired was say, “Just you tonight. Let me take care of you.”

The first time he said this, I wondered, What’s the catch?

There was no catch.  He understood that sex would be really good for me and he was unselfish enough to take care of me.  It was a brilliant move, actually, because that just made him even more desirable to me.  I wanted to give back to him – if not that same night, definitely the next.

I’m not saying partner relationships require sex, but sex and sexual intimacy differentiate a couple from roommates.  Sex and sexual intimacy keep couples connected outside the bedroom as well as under the sheets, fostering deeper understanding and appreciation for one another.  I don’t understand why people choose to let that fall away.  Do people give up?  Do they stop caring?  Are they planning to ride out the relationship until one leaves or dies?

I have no answers, just a lot of questions.  But when the desire to connect ends, I think that signals a warning of complacency.  Complacency kills relationships.  It’s like a slow-growing cancer, eating away at the connection.

If you see yourself represented here, I hope you’ll take steps to ‘connect’ with your partner.  Life is really stressful lately.  Sex is the perfect stress-reliever.  Take one for the team.

 

Social-distancing:  Week 19; Day 2

Covid-19 cases continue to soar in more than 15 states.  As a nation, the US has the most cases and the most deaths worldwide with more than 3.8 million cases and more than 142,000 deaths.  President Trump still won’t order a mandatory mask mandate and has only been seen wearing a mask twice.  While it’s still deemed too dangerous for employees of federal agencies to work in their offices, the Trump White House is proclaiming that schools must open in the fall.  Most countries continue to bar Americans from crossing their borders.

_______________________________________

I stopped posting updates for several reasons.  Aside from cases going up and the US performing so badly, there wasn’t much new to discuss.  Also, I found myself with a case of pandemic fatigue where I have little to no motivation to do much more than binge-watching.  It’s a near Herculean effort to do life-basics – showering, getting dressed, laundry, dishes, etc.

With warmer temperatures and travel plans cancelled, people have been flocking to parks, beaches, and large-group activities – driving up infection rates.  After weeks of living in the fight-or-flight state in the early days of Coronavirus and the ensuing quarantine, I think people started to become numb, fatigued, as I mentioned.  As cities started to reopen in phases, people let their guard down and/or just quit taking Coronavirus seriously, and the curve fattened instead of flattened.

Now, with the school year set to start in a few weeks, the virus that could have been kicked to the curb with 4-8 weeks of consistent, mandatory mask-wearing, is now threatening to keep schools on remote-learning and to come back with a vengeance – the second wave – in the fall.

Living alone continues to be an emotional and mental challenge.  Not having human contact, hugs, a shoulder to cry on, has been hard to say the least. Grief and despair make daily check-ins.  Happy and joy are quarantining somewhere in memories.  I do laugh on Zoom calls but it’s not sustained nor often enough to really change the overall mood of my days.

Hoping for better days.

I’ve been crying a lot today. Not because of world events, but sadly, again, because of family hurt and injury. As many of you know, I’m estranged from many family members. On my mother’s side, alcoholism laid waste to relationships like a swarm of locusts. When I was married to Chloe’s dad, he came home from work too many times to his wife crying and yelling on the phone with my mother, an uncle or aunt. If you kick a dog enough, it will either attack or run away. I’m not a fighter, so I distanced myself.
Yesterday, I received an envelope stuffed with legal papers, alerting me exactly 5 months after the fact, that my uncle had passed. It included probate papers. The attorney said I’m not a beneficiary but ‘we’re just required to give you notice as relatives’.
I never expected any kind of inheritance, but I had hoped that my uncle would have reached out to apologize and make amends (long story).
I’ve never heard of any such notice being ‘required’ for non-direct descendants (parent/child/grandchild). Today, it just hit me like a giant ‘FUCK YOU’, just meant to hurt. I’ve cried and offered up some giant FUCK YOUs of my own.
Fuck you for not believing me. Fuck you for not helping. Fuck you for not reaching out to apologize once you realized I was telling the truth. Fuck you for feigning care and concern for my mother when you actually distanced yourself so you didn’t have to be inconvenienced, you didn’t have to see the truth.
A big part of me wanted to lash out at my uncle’s surviving wife. Instead, I bought a sympathy card. I never talked directly to her about my mother, so perhaps she was just letting her husband, my mother’s brother, deal with his family matters.
This is what I wrote:
J,
 
I’m truly sorry for the loss of your soulmate. I hope J went peacefully and I also hope knowing he’s with Mary-Kate (my grandmother), Helen (my mother), and Marty (my uncle killed in Vietnam) brings you some comfort.
 
Once J realized I was not exaggerating that Helen needed help, I had hoped there could be amends. It’s sad the family was just too broken.
 
I wish you peace.
 
Peggy
Addiction is insidious. Its reach is long, its grip is strong, its damage is viral, and in some cases – as in my family – it decimates relationships.  Denial isn’t just a trait of the addict, but often of loved ones.  ‘Losing someone’ is something
experienced over and over, long before someone actually dies.
I caught a lot of flack for keeping my daughter away from my toxic family dysfunction.  At times, I questioned if I was denying her.
As I find myself still sobbing – at 53 – from family pain, my answer is a resounding, Fuck no.

Social-distancing:  Week 12, Day 2

The US finally surpassed the heartbreaking milestone of 100,000 deaths last week.  The largest counties in Washington state are still in Phase I of the stay-at-home order, but hope to move to Phase II this month. Spain just announced their first day without a Covid-19 death.  Trump claims he’s stopped taking hydroxychloroquine and he still refuses to wear a mask.

_____________________________

In addition to a global pandemic, record-setting unemployment, and reports of murder hornets, in Minneapolis, there was yet another killing of an unarmed black man by white police.  Riots were set off in Minneapolis and continued throughout the week.  Over the weekend, protests spread to other major cities in the US and around the world.  UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, New Zealand, Iran, Syria.

Mass protests during a pandemic while social-distancing is in effect.  Despite many people wearing masks, not everyone was, and of course, it was as if no one had ever heard of social-distancing.  Spikes in cases are expected.

That said, as one protester expressed, “I’m more worried about the virus of racism than the coronavirus.”  People everywhere are outraged and they finally realize that keeping quiet is no longer an option.

The protests have not been peaceful.  Many have started peaceful, then violence and vandalism erupt.  Most of the damage has been attributed to white people who came to cause chaos.  A small minority were venting their rage.  While I don’t condone violence or vandalism, I understand why people who have long been ignored and marginalized and have lost loved ones to racism and police brutality, act out.  Businesses already ravaged by the pandemic have been gutted and looted by the protests that turned violent.

Trump chastised governors for not using more force to quell the protests after he was whisked away to the presidential bunker when protesters showed up at the White House – the White House that’s protected by the Secret Service, bulletproof-glass, and fortified walls.

The rest of the world sees us falling apart by our own selfish choices and actions.  Their reactions are ranging from pity to ridicule.  America is burning and there’s no rescue in sight.

Social-Distancing:  Week 10, Day 3

Over 90,000 deaths in the US and 1.5 million cases.  States are reopening, several are seeing a spike in cases. Germany has a couple towns that reopened and cases spiked so they’re back in quarantine.  President Trump announced yesterday that he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine.

____________________________________

The Mental Health Coalition started a campaign called How are you really? to get people talking about where they’re at mentally, particularly during the stresses of the Covid19 pandemic.  I heard about the campaign on the radio over the weekend and the question has been going through my mind off and on since.  It’s as if someone wants me to really address it but I keep distracting myself so I don’t have to go there.

But now I think it’s time.

I live alone, except for a cat.  Since quarantine was put in place, my daughter has visited three times.  The only physical contact I’ve had has been hugs from my daughter, and one hug from a friend, but it was an accident.  We’re both huggers and hugging in greeting is so automatic that we both momentarily forgot that we’re supposed to be social-distancing.  I’ve had about six socially-distant visits/meetings since the start of the quarantine.  Despite lots of interactions on social media and Zoom, it’s become lonely even for this introvert.

I see lots of posts and admonishments towards people who have had in-person meet-ups – socially-distant, with hand-sanitizer, sometimes with masks, sometimes without, depending on circumstances (indoors, in a park, on a walk in the neighborhood).  A great majority of the criticism comes from people who are quarantined with family or significant others.  In other words, they’re not alone.  They have someone to talk with about the state of the world, fears, and concerns.  They have a shoulder to cry on and someone to hug them when things seem a little overwhelming and they’re struggling to keep it together.

When you have that, it’s easy to wag a finger.  And it’s easy to forget to ask yourself, What if I was having to do this alone?

So, how am I really?

Lonely.  When it’s just you you’re livin’ for, eh, some days it’s hard to find motivation to do what needs to be done, to give a shit about cleaning, cooking, working out, self-care, all the things that you could be doing.  Some days, I get up and the timer starts for getting to the end of the day so I can sleep through a bunch of hours until I get up to face another Groundhog Day.

Disheartened.  It also doesn’t help to see the continued callousness of people not wanting to help protect others, calling it all a hoax, dismissing the loss of life and the trauma of those who survive.

Grateful.  I know it could be so much worse.  I’m not being bombarded by mortars.  I have food and safe shelter.  I have heat, hot water, electricity, and internet.  So far, I haven’t lost anyone I love to the virus.

Heartbroken.  Seeing the loss of humanity in my country is hard to reconcile.

Social-Distancing:  Week 8, Day 6

The US has 1,313,798 confirmed cases; 77,925 deaths.  More young children are being afflicted with Covid19 with far more serious symptoms than in earlier months of the outbreak, including high fevers, body rashes, shock, and heart failure.  Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask.  Two White House personnel have tested positive and now Trump has ordered that all WH staff to wear masks.  A barber in Washington State and a hairdresser in Texas have opened for business despite governors’ orders.  The hairdresser was sentenced to jail for one week.  The barber has had long lines of customers and is benefitting from a local sheriff who refuses to enforce the business closure.

__________________________________

People continue to dismiss the severity of Covid19 and the impact it can have on everyone by refusing to wear masks – even when places of business insist on it.  A security guard was shot to death for blocked entry to a woman who refused to wear a mask.  With the nicer weather, people are crowding parks, social-distancing be damned.  I’m at a loss for words at how selfish we, as a society, are showing ourselves to be.

I’m also at a loss for how our country continues to show its ugly, entitled, racist, xenophobic side, even in the grips of a pandemic.

I met with a small group of gym folks today.  Instead of class, our trainer changed it to a walk in memory of Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man who was out for a jog in February when two white men, a father and son, drove up to him, jumped out of their truck, attacked, and murdered him in cold blood, in broad daylight.  Video has existed all this time.  All this time, prosecutors had the video and would not file charges – until the video got into the public.  The father and son were finally arrested this week nearly three months later.  The walk/run was organized by protesters to bring awareness and call out the racism.  Our small group practiced social-distancing, a couple of us wore masks, but mostly, we balanced caution with the bigger cause to protest against a heinous crime against another young black man for nothing more than being black while jogging.

I’m sure some will say that we were a tad too close.  Others have expressed that white people walking in protest doesn’t make sense nor is helpful.  More negativity poured onto two already difficult events.  And the naysayers are entitled to their say. I’m not going to directly engage with it.  I will say it was healing just to walk together, to stand against hate, bias, and injustice.

We can’t get on a plane to Georgia to protest with Ahmaud’s family.  We can’t gather in a large crowd to protest without risking the health and safety of others from Covid.  But our little group – of white and brown folks – we did what we do whenever struggles get real.  We gather in love.  We gather in peace.  We show up and we hold each other up.

Rest in Peace Ahmaud.  May justice be done and bring peace to your family.

Social-Distancing:  Week 7, Day 7

Governor Inslee extended the Stay Home Stay Healthy mandate through May 31st.  The list of essential businesses has expanded so while we still can’t attend sports events, school, or church, we can get our hair done, go to restaurants that are serving at half-capacity, and non-emergency surgeries may resume.

Protests have been happening along beaches in California, at the capitol building in Michigan – many protesters armed with automatic weapons – and other places around the country.

Spain just reopened to allow for outdoor exercise beyond walking one’s dog.

_______________________________________________

I’m still struggling with the rage over quarantine measures.  The selfishness and the privilege of some having to do their part for the health and well-being of their own society is astounding.

This is nothing new.  Laws and rules are put into place because people don’t always do what’s best for others, or even for themselves.  Seatbelts, stop lights, speed limits, car insurance, drunk driving, no-smoking, legal drinking age, food inspection, mandatory schooling, laws against theft, murder, sexual assault – these are all things enacted for the health and well-being of society.  If you want to be part of a society, you follow the rules.  When you egregiously break the rules, you are removed from society and jailed to protect society from your reckless abandon.

The outraged few who are being inconvenienced to do their part – to protect society as a whole, the greater good, to protect the many versus some – are spewing some of the loudest righteous indignation.  What’s striking is that they are the same ones who would also loudly decry the unfairness, the insult, the inconvenience of being robbed, being hit by an uninsured driver, being victim to someone’s irresponsible whim.

Go figure.

I’ve seen protesters with signs that say, “Give me Freedom or Give me Death!”  I’m like, okay, how about both?  I see the crowds with no masks, of course, no social distancing, chanting for their freedom and I think, that’s one very large petri dish for Natural Selection with a bit of Karma.  And I have to say, I don’t feel any empathy, and I have no grace – except for the kids whose parents dragged them to these protests.

Homelessness is a good example of what happens when we, as a society, fail to protect the vulnerable.  The domino-effect is crime, illness, unhealthy streets and parks, economic impact that affect us all.  If we fail to do our part to protect one another from Covid-19, there will also be a domino-effect that affects us all – illness, crime, economic impact – far worse than we’re experiencing now – in essence, an unhealthy society.

It’s true that a society is only as strong as its weakest member.  We already have a lot of weak members in our society.  Do we really want to increase the number of weak members, through wide-spread illness, if we can proactively prevent it?

Social-Distancing:  Week 7, Day 1

The US has more than 55,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19; globally, there have been over 203,000.  During a press conference last week, Trump actually asked his one of his healthcare experts about the possibility of ingesting or injecting the same disinfectants that kill the virus on contact into the body.  He also discussed the idea of hitting ‘the body with a tremendous whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light’ as a way of treatment.

In the 18 hours after Trump’s astounding comments, poison control centers saw a 20% spike in exposure calls about disinfectants.  New York Poison Center received 30 exposure calls – double the amount received in the same time period last year:  10 involved bleach; 9 were about Lysol; 11 others regarding other household cleaners.

_______________________________________

Clearly, there’s much fear, anger, angst, despair.  Being stuck at home makes it hard to release it, hard to blow of steam in our usual ways.  Despite virtual workouts, virtual happy hours, and binge-watching – we’re still struggling.  We’re eating too much, sleeping too much, sleeping too little, drinking too much.  In the US, alcohol sales are up 55% since the week ending March 21st, and since this time last year? Up 75% for spirits, beer 66%, and wine 42%.

You know what else is also up?  Sales.

Clothes, books, music, art, gift cards, appliances, electronics, home improvement.

And while on the surface it appears unhealthy – and should it become extreme, certainly would be unhealthy – I see it as a show of faith.

Yes, I carry debt and making non-essential purchases at this time wouldn’t be considered prudent on paper. But despite the brightest minds on the planet, working the best algorithms, creating the best flow charts, crunching the all relative data, life proves again and again that all of that is based on what has happened and cannot, with 100% accuracy, show what will happen. 

If we hoard what we have and whatever morsels we can obtain and we deny ourselves access to what we have in case we need it in the future, that’s fear.

Given all that is happening around Covid-19, it is very easy to understand why people make choices out of fear.  Times are scary.  And the longer the holding pattern of shelter-in-place continues, the more unsettled we become because, humans aren’t good at being stuck when it’s not our choice, when someone or something else is in control of calling the shots.

The act of doing something, in plans for the future, gives us a sense of control, and the surprising by-product of faith.

The books I ordered, from a local bookstore – with the faith that they will not go out of business during this pandemic – reinforce that need to learn and grow.  The shoes I bought?  An act of faith that I will have a job when the pandemic is over – not necessarily the same job, but a job nonetheless.  At the very least, I have faith that I’ll still have feet.

People buying gift cards to restaurants, have faith that businesses will reopen and celebrations will happen again.  Purchasing items for our homes tells the collective Universe that we’re not going to be evicted or foreclosed, we will still live ‘here’ when this is all through.  People buying cars have faith that when this is over, they have places to go and they’re going to go in style.  And blessings to all of you who have made purchases in the creative like art, music, writing, gourmet food. You are particularly lovely souls.  To believe in the power of creation so much that you are willing to invest in something that brings beauty and enjoyment into your world, a world that despite its current turmoil, is being created and remade every moment of every day, THAT is faith.

 

Social-Distancing:  Week 6, Day 3

Trump has halted immigration cases.  Oil prices were at an actual negative number.  South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas have announced plans to reopen including businesses such as tattoo parlors, furniture shops, jewelry stores, and gyms.  Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, “…there are more important things than living,” in his defense to lift restrictions and get back to business because losing 500 out of 29 million Texans is a collateral damage he can live with.

_______________________________

I’m struggling again.  This time with people – friends – who are posting articles with pseudo-science against the stay-in-place restrictions so they can get back to work.  Some who are unapologetically refusing to wear a mask in public.

It’s disheartening to see the irresponsibility and the irreverence.  Essentially, if the virus hasn’t affected them or people they love, they don’t understand – nor even trying to understand – the severity of the situation.  Unfortunately, it reminds me a bit of things I heard after 9/11.  I’m from New Jersey and was living in the Seattle area, where many people only know life on the west coast.  The magnitude of over 3,000 lives lost in one day, and two New York City landmarks wiped out, overwhelmed me.  Some of the Seattle locals, found it easier to not relate because it was something tragic that happened over there.  They felt very little connection even though it happened in their own country.

With Covid-19, I’m hearing a similar sentiment.  It’s only old people. It’s only sick people. No one I know has it.  Even though this is happening in the Seattle area, unless someone loves someone who:  has contracted and/or died from the virus; lives in a minority community; are in healthcare, police, fire/paramedic; and or lives in fear of getting or transmitting the virus because they’re immunocompromised, they don’t care.  They’re inconvenienced because they can’t work, can’t socialize, can’t go to sports events, can’t send their kids to school, can’t travel, can’t shop, can’t live their lives the way they have come to expect.

If you’re reading this and feeling a little bit uncomfortable, Newsflash:  Your (mostly white) privilege is showing.  You might want to tuck that back in.

There’s no denying this is hard!  It’s taking a toll on everyone.  There are people who are at risk but still have to go to work.  For the most part, no matter how much or how little we make, we’re not allowed to be removed from our homes, our utilities cannot be turned off and in many cases, late fees cannot be charged, and even though it’s painfully slow in coming, government appears to be trying to get relief funds to us.  Our systems were not created to handle everyone all at once in need of help.  We all have to be patient and we all have to do our part.  Spreading the virus will not make things better.

So, let me break it down.  People who don’t want to get cancer, don’t smoke.  People who don’t want to get an STD, don’t have unprotected sex.  People who don’t want to get the flu, get a damn flu shot.  And people who care about the health of their community, wash their hands, wear a mask, social-distance, and quit whining.

 

Social-Distancing:  Week 5, Day 7

President Trump tweeted to ‘Liberate’ states from shutdowns so the country can get back to business.  Losing more lives to Covid-19 is a lesser concern than the economy.  Florida is reopening its beaches.  Over 6.6 million have filed for unemployment.

______________________________

There are protests happening where Trump called to have them liberated.  One was in Brookfield, Wisconsin where ‘patriots’ held a ‘Freedom Rally’ – waving flags, holding signs, no social-distancing, not many masks.  It’s a race to the bottom to be the next ‘hotspot’.

This week, I visited a friend and her husband for a front-yard, social-distancing happy hour.  It was a glorious three hours.  Still so hard not to hug loved ones when I see them.

The days are just blending together, demarked by getting up in the morning, going to bed at night, and a long half-time in between.  Today, I found myself looking up an old crush from high school.  I know I’m not alone in that.  Nothing came of it.  Apparently, he’s still hot and still happily married.  Worth a look-see and it burned some of that long, half-time stretch.

Five weeks and I’ve managed to avoid Costco, but tomorrow, that streak will end.  I am so not looking forward to that.

Seriously hoping that when our governor eases restrictions on businesses that salons are top of the list.  We are not aging well through this.  Video calls bring that into painfully sharp focus.  What kills me is that there are ways to hide it.  Pulling hair into a ponytail, using hairbands and scarves, picking up DIY hair color, and hey, have any y’all heard of hats???  SMH  To each his/her own, but it’s not helping Washington’s rep for fleece, Birks, and granola. Just sayin’.