Ham and Beans

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Jaws and some fluffy friends. 

Here I sit, on this chilly March day, about to enjoy a cup of coffee. I am alone. But I know I do better, in all ways, when alone than with others. I am solitary by design and nature and oh yes, the stay at home orders from our local governments.

As Idaho has, as of today, joined other states with the shut downs. Oregon took it seriously last week. Washington State, of course, did as well. California declared that people should amuse themselves at home. Probably not that exact wording.

I’ll not write the oft-repeated name of the Virus.

My dad, he who watches Fox News far more religiously than he ever attended Missouri Synod Lutheran Church services, does not take this seriously at all. It’s getting better, my brother said not a couple days ago.

I have stocked up. I managed to find some toilet paper yesterday while running errands for a friend of mine who’s put himself into self-quarantine. I dropped off his order by his mailbox. He has helped me in the past and I feel this is a tiny way to repay some of that. If people need help, I find I help them if I can.

I do the same with baby birds, stray dogs, starving kittens with broken jaws. I have a kernel of utter kindness somewhere in me yet.

Today I am making ham and beans. From scratch. I’ll add hot biscuits. The American version, not the British cookie. The broth tastes fantastic. I added a bit of liquid smoke. I had oregano from my garden to toss into the pot. A cast iron pot, at that. I cooked the beans yesterday, all day. They are gorgeously perfect, somehow. Yeah, it’s not that hard to cook dry beans, okay. I’ve cooked dry beans before. I will again, perhaps.

I’ve been listening to podcasts mostly. Cheerful ones. The God Awful Movies boys have kept me in raunchy stitches. I enjoyed Maggie Mae Fish’s video on T.S. Eliot and Cats. I learned a lot about that poet and how the musical is the antithesis of everything he stood for. Sort of, anyway. 

I try not to obsess over EVERY LAST UPDATE on the Virus.

I’ve also been obsessed with Pet Saga Animal Rescue, something like that. It’s free, so hey. Instead of writing or oh, sewing or pickling things, I am trying to match up colored blocks, bombs, earn rockets that can take out a whole row, puzzle out the puzzles. Instead of writing.

My mind seems empty.

I am saving actual quotes from this time period. Actual awful things said. Such as the elderly should just sacrifice themselves to save the economy. That America will re-open by Easter, with packed churches. That we should give even more money to the super-rich because the super-poor are super-poor. And then I have to retreat.

My dad is now sneezing, joking he ‘might have it’. Sigh.

I haven’t watched puppies herding ducklings since yesterday. I have a raspberry plant now. Jaws snoozes on the bed, belly exposed.

Bluegrass of God

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Hi and hello.

The writer’s workshop happened. I went to it, despite my cat and the dogs conspiring to keep me up all night the night before.  It was. Interesting. I had a whole post about it but decided to just let it go and focus on being the best cat lady ever. 

My short play, the Bluegrass of God, is included in the Santa Ana River Review for winter 2020.



Terrible Happiness

from Day by Day. 

My brains seem empty. That oft-played scenes in Westerns, with the tumbleweeds tumbling across the landscape. Yes, that is my brain right now. Eastern Oregon does indeed have the tumblin’ tumbleweeds. They pile up along the fences, or among the piles of debris, irrigation pipes, parked farm equipment. You carry them over to the burn barrel or the spot designated as the ‘burn spot’. The flames so satisfying! At least to me. I am something of a firebug. I do love to set fires. A rake, a box of matches, a weedy bank or stretch, I am a peaceful, happy collection of bones, skin and muscle.

This weekend, I do plan on attending a writer’s workshop. It’s free and offered in Nampa, Idaho, by the Death Rattle crew. Maybe my sluggish gray matter will burn those tumbleweeds to ash as it offers me a bit of a rush or even a new Idea. Or the needed impetus to work on a neglected project.

So, I’ll make this short and end with a poem…




Be happy or there’s hell to pay.
Smile or they won’t leave you alone.
Pretend real hard and post pictures of bread
you made while saving pennies
to buy cat food if you get to retire.
Put a grin on your face
or get called names
or be asked why you hate
your country.
Be terribly happy
or be labeled a traitor.
Wave that flag
until you dislocate your shoulder.