I made something for you because you are special and because the world is so weird right now.

So this is week 3 of isolation and every week I’m sharing a drawing for you to print out and color or burn or ignore or tape to the door of a stranger so that they don’t know if it’s a compliment or a very strange threat.  Anyway, it’s yours.

drawing of a path leading to a home with "every day, she said, I make my twisted way home" written underneath

Click to embiggen

And now I’m asking you for something.  Today is my sister’s birthday and while she’s still feeling much better than the super-scary-can’t-breathe-sweating-to-death days she’s still sick and that means that she is STILL locked in her room away from her family and today is her birthday.  So if you have a funny joke or a nice story or something lovely happened or you found a great thing to binge watch then share it in the comments for her?

Happy birthday, Lisa.  You are the best and for your birthday I think you should lure a bunch of moths in your room and make them your new birthday squad.  I did that yesterday but then the cats murdered them.  They were really happy though.  The cats, I mean.  I’m going to stop talking now.  Happy birthday.  We love you.

And now…time for the weekly wrap-up:

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Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by StoryWorth, who I love desperately.  From them:” These days it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with your loved ones. If your phone calls with family are starting to sound repetitive, StoryWorth is a great way to prompt meaningful conversations. Once a week for a year, they’ll receive an email with a question about their life. All they have to do is reply with a story, which is forwarded to you and any other family members you invite. After a year, their stories are bound in a beautiful keepsake book your family will cherish!”  For real, I’ve done it for both my parents and it is fantastic.  Plus it’s a really good distraction.  Click here and you’ll get $10 off.  

This is not easy. Give yourself credit.

Tonight makes three weeks since I’ve seen anyone I know in real life other than Victor and Hailey.  I’m not alone in this.  My sister is still relegated to her bedroom after close to two weeks (she’s doing so much better though, thank God) so compared to her I’m lucky.  And compared to the people who have no choice but to expose themselves to help others or themselves she’s lucky.  But knowing that others are suffering more doesn’t really make it easier for anyone.

I see so many people struggling with working from home and trying to suddenly homeschool their kids and I see other people who have their shit together and are giving advice about how to get through this like a badass but here’s the honest truth:  I work from home.  So does Victor.  Hailey goes to online high school.  I am near reclusive at times.  But even for us?  This shit is hard.  It’s hard to concentrate.  It’s hard to prioritize.  It’s hard to finish deadlines and not feel stressed out and have cabin fever and feel like you don’t know what the shit you are doing while everyone else seems to be doing 10 zoom meetings a day and creating a home gym and learning three new languages while doing perfect yoga and making homemade jam.

But I suspect that most of us are just getting by…just watching this slow-moving crisis and surviving and trying to make the right decisions even when it’s hard as hell.  We get mad at others who are not doing their part.  We get mad when others aren’t aware of what we’re going through.  We break apart and cry and worry about so many things at once that eventually we just freeze up and refresh the internet a million times and yell at people we love because we’re worried about them and can’t keep them safe and feel helpless.

I know it’s not like this for everyone.  Some people have it easier or care less.  Some people have it harder and feel desperate.  But I think a lot of us are stuck right here…in that still but strange paralysis…waiting for it to get better…waiting for it to get worse.  Waiting for it to be over somehow.

I don’t know what the future holds.  But I do know this.  We will do our best.  We will falter.  We will struggle.  We will help others and be helped ourselves.  We will become stronger together by surviving this.  We will deal with the damage and mourn people and places and events and moments that we took for granted would arrive but won’t.  We will emerge with new stories and new memories and new tools and very different perspectives…and there is the potential for so much good.  I see family members and friend who struggle, but still push forward.  I see people I love make terrible sacrifices to care for strangers and each other.  I see strangers become heroes.  I see assholes, yes, but frankly if we’re being honest, most of those people were assholes before.  But mostly I see us.  We fight in strange ways and we hope and we reach out and we try to help.  We grow.  We make mistakes.  We learn.  We remind ourselves that we don’t know everyone’s story and try not to judge.  We hold the people we do know accountable even if it’s awkward.   We survive the day, and even when it’s just binge-watching tv all day with the cat that can be a victory.  This time is painful, I know.  But don’t short-change your victories and actions in this fight.  If you can find small ways to make this experience life-changing or rewarding you totally should.  But if you can’t, THAT IS TOTALLY FINE TOO.  

Remember that you are not alone.  Even when you feel it.  The quiet of the streets and the closing of the doors is a sign that people care.  It is a huge and incredibly quiet revolution of sorts…of people stopping the world to protect others.  Who would have ever thought so many people around the globe could work together to protect the most vulnerable amongst us?  And as painful as it is to live through it, I’m glad to be able to witness it.

I hope you are too.

I am sending you love tonight.  And I know maybe you can’t feel it but I’m there. We all are.  You can hear us in the silence and see us in the twinkling window lights at midnight.  We’re here.

The votes are in…

Okay…the votes are in and thousands of you have made it clear that 1. we’re all a bit bored and in need of distractions at the minute and that 2. my taxidermied llama/alpaca (that died of natural causes, I assure you) clearly had one name rise to the top during our voting period.

Introducing…

llama wearing pink, standing next to reese witherspoon wearing pink

FLEECE WITHERSPOON.

PS. Tomorrow at 2pm (central) I’m taking over the Mom2summit instagram page because they asked me to do a quick livestream talking about how I deal with writer’s block and I didn’t know how to do that so I just tried it on my instagram and then 1,000 people accidentally showed up and so I did a tour of my taxidermy.  It’s on my instagram, I think?  Not sure how long it stays up before it disappears but if you want to see it and my messy house and ridiculous pets I think it’s somewhere?  I suck at technology and instagram is purposely confusing.  Sorry.

PPS. Special thanks to everyone who suggested names and voted and to @finn_viqueen who I believe first suggested “Fleece Witherspool”.  🙂

Let’s color. Again.

So, every week until we can leave the house again I’m sharing one of my doodles with you.  You can print it, color it, use it as toilet paper.  IT’S UP TO YOU.

This one is a bit emotional but honestly this week has been a little hard and if you read the words it’s actually very positive.  I think.

drawing of crying girl. Text says "you don't have to hide your pain. Use it to move yourself forward. Remember that sometimes pain can be extraordinary. Just like you. It won't always be like this. Keep breathing. Keep moving. Keep fighting."

Click to embiggen.

Keep fighting.  We’ll get through this.

And now…time for the weekly wrap-up:

********

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Wild Yonder Botanicals.  Even if  you can’t be there in person, you can send a bath of love from afar! Wild Yonder Botanicals is offering an amazing way to connect and show some love while still social distancing. With Baths of Love you can send a packet of salt soak to a loved one, which includes a printed love note and  free shipping for only $7.  And they also offer more size choices. And they are donating 25 cents of each Bath of Love order to Feeding America because they are amazing. Send love…share the love…check them out right here.

This plague needs more vampires.

Hello, everyone!  Do you want to read some kick-ass books while helping Nowhere Bookshop and other indie bookshops?  Are you wondering where to get books right now since so many of the big stores aren’t shipping them?  Then this is the post you need to read.

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club I already emailed you about this because you are my favorite pen pal/hostage but skip down to the last several paragraphs because I have a question for you.

So.  How are you feeling? Me too. Like, literally any answer you have I would say, “me too” because everything fluctuates so much from minute to minute that I’m like if a mood ring could be people. One thing that’s helping me? Day drinking. Wait, no, reading. I meant reading. Also binge-watching tv while I work. Did you watch that Tiger King show on Netflix? HOLY CRAP, WAS THAT BAT SHIT BANANAS OR WHAT???  How are all those people even real? Wait…I got distracted. Reading.  That’s what I was talking about.

I’ve been reading a lot lately and I know I am not alone. It is a kick-ass healthy distraction that can give you perspective and comfort, while accidentally making you feel smarter than everyone else for the moment and one small advantage of living through this plague year is that suddenly those of us who have to stay home have no excuse not to read all the books in the world.

We’ve had such great response on the book club (seriously, thank you. You are keeping us in business even when we’re not able to be in business) and the biggest complaint I’ve seen so far is that you actually need more book suggestions right now because you’re going through them like crazy and need distractions. RELATABLE.

So…if you’re a member of the book club then next month’s book (Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby) will be headed to you in April but if you want a double helping of goodness to weather the storm of slow-moving-crisis we’re offering a extra book in case you need to double up.  And if you’re not already part of the bookclub you can buy this extra book and see what it’s like to be part of the team of weirdos reading together around the world.

BUT HOW, JENNY?

Easy. I just finished a book that was the perfect distraction and it comes out next month too so if you want to order it and read along with us you totally can. And we’ll open a discussion on it and do everything basically the same as the normal Strangelings Club.

SO WHAT BOOK IS IT?

I’m so glad you asked. It’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.

picture of vampire book

I was sucked in with the fantastic cover and stayed fully riveted with a horror story that was odd, terrifying, funny, and so completely different from what’s going on in the world that I was able to exercise my anxiety on a world where the worst thing going on is predatory vampires and 1980’s era patriarchy.

We should come up with a name for this but I can’t think of one. Quaranreads? Isoliteracy? Con(Fine-I’ll-Just-Read)ment? Fict-Shun Everyone Who Doesn’t Practice Proper Handwashing Techniques? Silent-Sequestered-Reading? Oh wait. I like that one. Silent-Sequestered-Reading. Because when I was a kid the best thing that ever happened in school was when the teacher would call for Silent-Sustained-Reading (that’s not just a rural Texas thing, right?) and it got quiet and everyone was reading together but at their own pace and for the readers and introverts in the class it was pure heaven.

Yep. That’s the one.

“BUT DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HELPING BOOKSTORES?”

Oh, fuck.  Yes, I did.  Sorry.  Okay, there’s a website called bookshop that will send books out for us (and other indie bookshops) which is incredibly helpful when me and the team are all sheltering in place.  If you buy books through the Nowhere Bookshop portal of Bookshop then it raises money for our store and all indie stores that use it divide up a portion of the profits at the end of the month so that means if we do well it helps other indie stores too.  This is also great for authors who are struggling with selling books right now since Amazon isn’t shipping books for at least 2-3 weeks.  So click here to go to our portal.   Or click here to order our extra book club book for next month.  We have suggestions, or if you’re looking for something particular you can search for it in the search bar at the top of the page.  I bought a book yesterday from them and it was super easy.  As long as the Nowhere logo shows up on top of the page we get credit but if you have a local indie store you want to support you can change it to any one that is listed on the site.

So if you want an extra book for Silent-Sequestered-Reading next month you can get it here to support our store. Or you can pick it up from the library if they are open or buy it from your local indie store because a lot of them are offering curbside delivery and that’s pretty awesome. No pressure either way. We have enough of that already.

Right now I’m reading a bunch of books to find the perfect one for May.  I finished one that was great but a little to close to what’s going on in the world right now to feel escapy enough, and then another one that I liked but wasn’t quite perfect and now I’m reading a dark fairy tale that I think it going to be the perfect choice.  Here’s the thing though.  There is something about reading these books to choose for you that makes me feel like I’m reading them to you.  Like when Hailey was little and I’d find the perfect book and I couldn’t wait to share it with her.  It makes me feel like we’re all together, in the dark, sharing stories and opening minds and escaping.  I wouldn’t have that without you and it’s given me a strange new way to read and to enjoy books.  These books have saved me, recently.  And you have saved me by giving me reason to read them.  Thank you.

And now I have another favor to ask you.  Right now I think we all need a little comfort and so will you share in the comments what your go-to book is when you need comfort?  Maybe it’s horror, or comedy or a children’s book…what is the one book that the rest of the world might need right now?

For me, it’s anything by Ray Bradbury.  He is the warmest blanket in my library.  If you click here and scroll down to “Jenny Recommends” you’ll see some more of my comfort reads.

Your turn.

Name that…um…thingie.

Okay, so I asked you to help me name my taxidermied alpaca/llama and you did not disappoint.  Also, you can’t tell if it’s an alpaca or llama either so we’ll just say it’s both.

Also, my new favorite thing is when delivery people ring my door I answer holding my alpacallama and I pretend it’s struggling in my arms and yell, “THANK YOU! I CAN’T ANSWER THE DOOR BECAUSE THIS NEW DOG IS BITEY SO FEEL FREE TO FAKE MY SIGNATURE IF YOU NEED TO” and they sort of stare at me until I walk away and then I can rest easy knowing that I’ve given them a story to tell anyone who would believe it.

Here are the most popular suggestions.  Make your vote below:

And on another note, we’re going into day 10? 11? of self-isolation and at this point even us introverts are feeling a bit alone and I’m pretty sure you need to check on your extrovert friends because they are not okay, so today on twitter let’s be friends.  Just post a tweet introducing yourself if you want to be friends.  (Example:  My name is Jenny.  I’m a writer.  I like cat memes, zombie movies and vodka.  I like misfits and true crime.  The genre, I mean.  Not the *actual* crime.  That would be weird.  #bloggessfam)  Make sure you use the #bloggessfam (not #bloggessfaN) hashtag so we can find each other easily.  Then you can follow people and engage and maybe feel a little less alone.

(In the past we’ve opened up address sharing for pen pals and that was AMAZING but I know there are concerns about overloading our mail carriers so we will do that again soon but maybe not today.  If you really want to share your email you totally can in the comments but personally I’d recommend making a new account for that in case someone grabs them for spam or other bullshit.)

You maybe can’t feel it but I’m hugging you all.

And now for something completely different.

Today we’re going to concentrate on something different because for the last week I’ve been dropping hints that we need to adopt chickens to live in the house because while we’re self-isolating this would be a great chance to train them and Victor keeps saying something about our HOA not allowing chickens but I’m pretty sure that rule is doesn’t pertain to indoor chicken and if it does that’s just because they’ve never seen a pet chicken in a fancy ass tuxedo (Which they would totally wear all the time so people take them seriously).   Victor says chickens are not pets but I knew a chicken named Nugget who was a real sweetie and only pooped on me once and I’m pretty sure they probably make good anxiety companion animal.  Victor disagrees so we compromised and that’s how this bit of fried gold we saw on Facebook ended up in my life:

taxidermied adolescent alpaca with a road kill raccoon on it's back

(It died of natural causes on a farm, btw.  I checked.  And if you’re new here, the raccoon was roadkill.  Don’t throw blood on me.)

I spent several hours brushing it out and looking for a good name…Lorenzo Llama?  Llama Delrey?  Llama Mia?  and then Victor was like, “That’s an alpaca” and I can’t come up with a single good alpaca name so I need your help.  Suggestions?  Leave it in the comments.

PS.  HANG ON….VIRGINIA WOOLf?  Not sure that one works unless I spell it out every time.

HELP.

Greetings strangelings!

Yesterday’s post was heavy and I can’t thank you enough for your love and support.  My sister sends you non-germy long-distance hugs.

Today we’re going to concentrate on happier things because today we open up the discussion for this month’s Fantastic Strangelings Book Club pick, We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry.  Have you started it yet?  Have you devoured it?  Are you certain that Greta Gerwin and Ava Duvernay need to pair up and make it into a movie?  Are you waiting to read it when things get better and you’re on a lovely beach?  All answers are fine because, as always, there are no rules with this book club.  But if you have read it and want to discuss it you can do so on the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club Facebook page, or if you don’t do Facebook you can leave your thoughts here.  Or you can lurk.  I’m a big lurker.

If you’re a paid member of the club then you already receive my ridiculous emails with the Q&A and got a sneak peek of next month’s book but for you honorary members, I’m so excited to announce that next month’s book will be WOW, NO THANK YOU by the always hysterical Samantha Irby so we’ll be sending those out in a month.

(FYI…Samantha’s new book is a paperback so it’s less expensive than our normal $25 book club fee so we’ll be sending you something special along with the book to make it even more worth your while.  YAY FOR SURPRISES!)

Also, a quick thank you here.  The opening of Nowhere Bookshop is on hold until we can assure it’s safe for us and for you to be open.  This book club is literally sustaining the store and our employees during this time.  I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to have you.  And for those of you who live overseas or who buy the book month to month on your own, consider buying from your local indie bookshop whenever you can.  Lots of them are moving to online sales for the moment and have great books to hold you over.

And now, a Q&A with Quan Barry:

Me:  Okay, I LOVED this book. Thank you for writing it! I was concerned when I first started it that I wouldn’t be able to keep all the characters apart but they were so fully formed that I could picture each of them easily and I actually missed them when the book was finished. How in the world did you do this?

Quan:  I wish I could say I worked really really hard to make sure they were each distinct and memorable in their own way, but honestly, because I knew who these girls were pretty much from the get-go, it wasn’t difficult to show them in all their glorious messiness, warts and sparkles and Jordache, et al.

Me:  Is there a character that you related to more than any of the others?

Quan:  Hmmm…not really, but maybe I wish I were a little more like Abby Putnam.

There’s a fearlessness in her that I admire. I don’t think of her as being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she’s kind and reliable and a rock to her friends and pretty non-judgmental to boot. True, her raw vegetable diet would drive me nuts after a single meal, but in every other way she’s a keeper.

Me:  There were so many times I screamed “YES! THIS EXACTLY” while reading your book that it was a bit insane and I probably scared everyone in my house.  There are so many themes and life lessons that run through your writing but I think my favorite one was this: “AJ Johnson made a mental note to herself: always be laughing. The woman from the shop who’d read Sue’s Tarot just 30 minutes before was already being proven right. Fuck ‘em.” There’s a lesson I wish I’d learned in high school. Are there any other lessons you wanted to impart in the book?

Quan: I don’t think there are too many BLLs (Big Life Lessons) I condensed down into lines like the one you quote, but hopefully there’s a lot of little wisdom sprinkled throughout. There’s stuff about mother-daughters, about living your own dreams, about being creative and what it means to be a member of a team/community. Also, when the girls chant, “Be. Aggressive. B-E aggressive,” maybe what they’re really saying is stand up and be counted, be in whatever number you want to be among as you come marching in, head held high.

Me:  What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as an author?

Quan: As any kind of artist (and probably in any field in general), you just have to put in the work and let the chips fall where they may. Consequently, I readily acknowledge the importance of having said chips fall in your favor. We don’t like to admit how much luck and good fortune play prominent roles in our lives, but they do. We want to think we got where we are today solely on our own initiative, but the truth is that our success is often predicated on things beyond our control. This keeps me humble. I know loads of talented writers, and for most of them, their audiences will remain relatively small not because their books aren’t amazing, but just because of what Le Splotch would call that certain je ne sais quoi otherwise known as bonne chance.

Being an author has taught me to be grateful and humble about my work—grateful to be able to share it with an audience, and humble to know that I didn’t accomplish this in a vacuum.

Me:  Amen.  So what’s next for you?

Quan:  I’m working on a highly meditative and hopefully thought-provoking book about a young Buddhist monk who goes on a search for a reincarnated lama in Mongolia. I’ve been lucky to have traveled extensively in Asia in many specifically Buddhist spaces and have spoken to a lot of people—monks, academics, everyday citizens, etc. I still have my work cut out for me, but although I’m not Mongolian and wasn’t raised Buddhist, I’m hoping to be as true to that culture and place as I can be.

Happy reading!

PS.  If you’re anything like me you’re reading more than ever right now and are needing wonderful book distractions so please share your favorite comfort book or current read in the comments.  Right now I’m reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel.  If you like horror I think you’ll love it.  It comes out in a few weeks.

Wash your hands.  I super crazy love you.

I didn’t want to write this post.

Okay, if you are having massive anxiety and can’t deal with any more bad news and you’re already doing hand washing and social distancing then skip this post and feel this giant hug from me and go read a book in the bath.  I super love you and we’re all going to get through this.

Everyone else?  First off, I apologize for writing this because I know you come here for laughter and we need laughter more than ever but I have some stuff to tell you and I need to vent and I need you to listen.

Most of you are doing all that you can to stay safe and keep others safe.  Some of you are heroically working first responder jobs or other essential jobs and I can’t thank you enough.  Some of you are posting bullshit on Facebook about how coronavirus is a hoax and you’re not changing anything and are encouraging others to do the same because no one you know is sick.  *INSERT GLARE HERE TO SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO I LOVE BUT WANT TO STAB IN THE KNEE WITH A FORK*

I have 5k Facebook friends so I see a lot of people’s lives through the screen.  A lot of them are sick or have sick family members.  Most can’t get tested so you’re not hearing their numbers.  Some have been tested and are positive for coronavirus.  At least one of them has died.  There will be more.

But still I see people I love say, “It’s not real.”  Or “I’d rather get it now and get it over with.”  Or, “It’s just a hoax.”  It is not a hoax.

My sweet niece was in Europe when this started getting scary.  And before you start yelling about irresponsible traveling she was actually living in Belgium to help Syrian refugees so she’s a goddam saint.  My sister Lisa insisted she come home to California, which was the right call but she was exposed to a lot of sick people on the plane and in the overcrowded airports that were in disarray so she’s in full quarantine at their house…like sheets over her part of the house like in ET and unable to throw her trash away and just a crazy sort of living that makes us all feel lucky that they have the ability to do it.  She’s feeling fine (but bored probably) but a few days ago my sister started feeling sick.  She’s sicker now, with a fever that goes from 100-103 and so she’s quarantined in her room until further notice.  Does she have covid?  Probably.  But you won’t see her number on the lists because the tests aren’t easily available so it’s not being reported.  There is so much misinformation or lack of information that honestly I’m afraid to even share this stuff because it all changes so fast, but I’m going to share what I know as of now so you can have a better idea of what it’s like living through this and not really knowing.  I’m not calling Lisa because it makes her cough so we communicate through texts.  Here’s what it’s like in her world right now:

(By the way, the tylenol thing (in case you haven’t heard) is a great example of how fast information changes.  The WHO said that anti-inflammatories could aggravate COVID but a few hours ago they just announced that now they think it’s fine.)

So here’s the deal:  My sister will probably be fine.  The majority of us will either avoid the infection or we’ll survive it.  But a lot of people won’t.  And a lot will have serious health problems for the rest of their lives from it.  That’s why it’s important to stay home when you can, to social distance, to support the vulnerable who need help, to thank the people who are out delivering groceries or working at the pharmacy, to support businesses in safe and responsible ways and to not spread fear, racism, or misinformation.

I see people in my Facebook feed saying that we should just get this over with now and let everyone get sick at once and recover.  I thought myself until I realized that it was so contagious and serious that there literally are not enough ventilators or beds to keep people alive if we flood the system.  Plus, the doctors and nurses are getting sick so there are less of them to help save the people we love during the peaks.  That’s why that “flatten the curve thing” is important.  We have to slow the spread so there are enough vents and doctors and nurses and beds for everyone who needs them.  This is why I am asking you (if you aren’t already) to social distance, to wash your hands, to call the vulnerable in your neighborhood who need help and may not know how to get supplies that they need and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop posting bullshit about how this isn’t real or important.

Right now a lot of people have this backward.  They think they should wear a mask to keep from getting sick when they are out.  You wear a mask to keep others from getting sick from you.  You should assume you are infected and work in a way that keeps other people safe.  Because honestly you very well may be sick.  Many, many people are asymptomatic and are spreading it without realizing it.  You may be sick right now.  I may be too even though I haven’t seen anyone outside of Victor and Hailey in what feels like forever.

We are very, very lucky in that Victor and I work from home and Hailey goes to correspondence school and we have the resources to stay home for now.  Not everyone does and if you want to yell at me here you totally can because a lot of people are in super shitty situations and need to vent.  There’s a lot of bad out there and a lot of fear.  But there’s also a lot of good.  And I see so many people staying home as a sign of love to the people who will have a better chance of surviving this if we slow this down.  And I see people reaching out to help others when they can.  And that’s a good thing.

A special note to those of you who, like me, deal with mental illness.  This shit is fucked up, right?  I know.  I know it exacerbates all your issues and you can’t escape your house and it can trigger anxiety and depression and OCD and it’s a quick spiral.  You are not alone.  Keep taking your meds.  Get sunlight.  Take walks if you can.  Drink water.  Keep your appointments with your doctor who should be happy to do them on the phone.  Know that this is not forever.  Enjoy the laughter when it comes.  You are not alone.  Neither am I.

For the people who are suddenly working at home with their family and are thinking that the real fatalities are going to come when you all strangle each other, just know that this will end and that it will make an amazing story you’ll tell your grandkids.  About all the memes you sent each other.  I don’t know.  Actually, wait, I do have one thing that helps.  In our house we have an imaginary coworker named Kevin and when something goes wrong (the house is a mess, no one let the dog out, etc.) we blame Kevin.  The thing heard most in our house right now is, “FUCKING KEVIN“.  Honestly, he’s a real dick but thank god he’s here.

Another hint that’s helping me?  Zoom.  I didn’t even know what it was and tech scares me but it’s basically like a free online meeting room where you can invite all your friends and have a video call/happy hour together in your pajamas.  It was super easy to install and I’m an idiot and did it myself so try it.  (This isn’t an ad, I swear.)

Fingers crossed that sometime soon this will be a strange adventure we all lived through.  We will probably always remember what we did during our plague year so make it memorable.  Play cards with your kids.  Read all the books you ever wanted.  Attempt to work even though it’s impossible to concentrate.  Write.  Binge watch everything.  Be kind even when you don’t have to.  Remember others.  Take care of yourself and know your limitations. Realize it’s okay to not be perfect or to feel whatever you feel.  Laugh.  Cry if you need to.  Ask for help.  Call your family.  Watch the stars from the backyard.  Make your kid teach you tik tok dances.  Don’t panic.  Forgive people for being dumb.  Hold politicians accountable.  And most of all, remember that we will get through this.  But only if we work together.  (But separately and from your own home.)

If you have any hints of things that have helped you in this weird time please leave them in the comments.

I super crazy love you guys.

PS.  There may be angry people in the comments.  Sometimes justifiably angry and sometimes not.  That’s okay.  You can yell at me.  Don’t yell at each other.  Focus on the good.  It’s harder to see sometimes, but I promise you, it’s there.

 

It’s gonna be okay, y’all. Let’s play.

Right now many of us are settling into a long and somewhat unsettling bout of social distancing or quarantines and the world is scary.  So first off, here is a reminder that whatever you feel is okay to feel.  If you’re scared or sad or relieved or silly or laughing or crying or a combination of all of them in rapid succession that is perfectly human and I salute you.

Secondly, I am a natural introvert so I’ve been training for this for my whole life, but don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy for hermits.  Personally, I’m feeling very grateful that Victor and I already work from home and Hailey has been in correspondence high school so this shouldn’t really feel very different for us but honestly it really is and it’s very easy for me to fall back into my agoraphobic tendencies and spiral into a depression or let my anxiety spin me out so remember to take care of yourself and others mentally during this time.  Go for walks if you can, drink a lot of water, laugh as much as you can, give yourself permission to discover a new way of life and remember that this is a strange adventure that we will remember living through for the rest of our lives.  For example, this was my yesterday:

I have a bunch of drawings I’ve done that I should really be saving for my next coloring book but life is weird right now and I think we all need a distraction so I’m going to be sharing a new drawing every week here for awhile that you can print out for free and color if you want to.  If you don’t have a printer you can order it on zazzle right here and have it printed on heavy matte paper and color it and hang it on your wall.  It’s on sale today.

Here’s this week’s coloring page.  Click to embiggen:

It’s gonna be okay.  Get those colors out.