Musings

What Day Is It? #QuarantineLife

Just kidding.

Of course, I know what day it is.

The 327th day of March.

Alright, it’s the 30th and so far, LilDude is on his second week of distance schooling. He woke up at 10 A.M. only to tell me he needed to sleep in. Since I was in the middle of doing post-production on what was supposed to be a Facebook Live video, I let him and proceeded to finish editing the 1:30 minute clip, post it, and then get him ready for “school.”

School is all done on the laptop through Google from Google Classroom to Google Meeting. From 11:00 to 12 noon, LilDude had breakfast and did his work, then played from noon to about 12:30 when he made himself a PB&J sandwich and got us both snacks and juice and we settled for a spot outside the garden to have lunch before doing another round of homework.  Then I decided to set up the beach tent canopy thing and I think that’s where we’ll be doing his classwork from here on especially if the weather is great like it was today.

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I don’t know about you but #Quarantinelife has been strange. I’ve baked, gardened, even sewed four face masks and a seat cover, and it seems like laundry and dishes are endless. By the time I sit down to write, my mind is blank — and that’s why I have to outline just so I can remember what I want to write from one moment to the next. Maybe it’s a result of the anxiety that comes with Covid-19. I hope I can find my normal soon though because it often feels like I’m living in an alternate universe.

Heck, maybe we all are!

I wish I can remember to write a diary so I can write down my thoughts. Definitely my anxieties which can change from day to day. Yesterday it was my teeth (crap, do I need to see a dentist now?) and today it’s my back that’s hurting after sitting on the floor while transferring crushed styrofoam popcorn from the bean bag to the trash bag even though I’ve got nothing to fill the empty bean bag with. And then there’s my sleep. I’m not sleeping too well. It doesn’t help that I watch shows like War of the Worlds on Epix right before bed.

In the meantime, my gray roots are showing and while I can do them myself, there’s no point right now since it’s not like I am going out. I am doing videos though, like the one I did this morning so maybe I should color my grays, right? At least, now I have all the time in the world to play with all the apps I’ve bought through the years and use them in post-production!

What about you? How’s #quarantinelife treating you and your family?

Musings Over Coffee: Self-Care Tip 1

With a lot of us staying home to limit the spread of Covid-19, it’s easy to lose ourselves on online forums and social media as we follow up on the latest updates. Before long, we’re overwhelmed and our shoulders tighten, our jaws lock and we’re an emotional mess. Maybe not all of us, but I’m sure some of us are feeling some stress.

If that happens, if you notice some shoulder tightness, here’s a way to relieve shoulder stress in 60 seconds.

Did you do it?

Did you feel your shoulders relax? I hope so! I’m going to do this whenever I feel my shoulders tighten while also setting aside the social media updates.

I’m going to try and write today in between the LilDude’s distance learning activities. And at least 30 minutes on the exercise bike and weights, too, to get some blood circulation going.

What about you? What have you been doing to relax in the time of corona?

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Musings Over Coffee: #QuarantineLife Week 1 Update

I don’t normally grind my teeth when I’m stressed (or I don’t think I do) but I do know that my shoulders get really stiff when I am. I also start feeling agitated. Imagine high school chemistry when the teacher talks about molecules zinging all over an enclosed space as it’s heated.

Well, that’s how I woke up feeling this morning.

And I think it has to do with the constant barrage of news and articles and updates about coronavirus or Covid-19. I mean, you have to be living under a rock (or in Jared Leto’s case, a silent retreat in the desert or for the cast of some French reality show, isolated from the world while they were filming) not to know about Covid-19, Wuhan, Italy, and #quarantinelife. So as of today, I’ve decided not to read Twitter or watch the updates on TV about what this official or that official is doing to combat this awful pandemic. I mean, I’ll still take a peek but I won’t do the deep dives I’ve been doing during the last week.

#QUARANTINELIFE

LilDude’s school is closed until May and they started online/distance learning today. It was interesting to see his classmates chat in the Google classroom and heartwarming to see them miss each other, too. His homeroom teacher has been amazing in making sure everyone is positive and that the parents aren’t stressed out. Today, they had their weekly assignment and LilDude was more than ready to start working on it.

And with hubby “Deemed Essential Worker” because his company processes medical claims, our new normal has him going through a decontamination procedure every time he comes home.

I’m just not thrilled by the paranoia. For example, yesterday, LilDude wanted fast food for breakfast but after hubby saw the uncertainty on my face, we ended up scrapping that idea and he made burgers that were even better than drive-through stuff. If anything, I’ve actually been cooking more. I’ve already made banana bread from scratch with flour that I didn’t realize was gluten free until after I put it in the oven (the banana bread isn’t bad but you could knock a person out if you threw it at him). Right now, I’m making corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot.

I did dig out the soccer ball and basketball and even the hula hoop so we have some outdoor activity every day. Who knew a minute doing the hula hoop was already taxing? But at least I remembered how to keep the hoop from falling. Just keep moving!

I also dug through my fabric stash hidden away in the garage on Saturday and sewed three face masks by hand. I didn’t have to make them by hand but it was actually meditative to do something other than write the next book. We got to do what we got to do. I’ll have to take down the sewing machine tomorrow so I can make a few more. I used a pattern from Freesewing.com to make the masks although the one in the photo isn’t from that but close. I needed to find something that would fit our faces – a small size for the LilDude, and a medium for DH and me. I made a large one and it turned out too large for us.

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That colorful mask is for the LilDude and I figure it will shrink after I throw it into the wash. Can you tell I finally have time to play with my photo apps?
ON THE WRITING FRONT

I released a book last week. Doctor’s Orders was originally scheduled for release last year before everything went to hell but it’s finally out now. It’s a fun and lighthearted novella (26k words) about a one night stand, a hot doctor in a small town, and big city dreams. It’s still 99 cents as of this blog post and and if you’ve got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s a one-click to add to your library! Don’t have Kindle Unlimited? Try it out FREE for a month!

How about you? Are you under quarantine where you are? How are you spending your time?

Doctor's Orders romance novella

DOCTOR’S ORDERS: A SMALL TOWN ROMANCE

Apparently, not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…

When last year’s one-night stand turns out to be her small town’s newest and hottest doctor, advertising executive Ava Turner must decide whether her big city dreams are more important than a chance at settling down with the perfect man.

But when you’ve spent the last seven years going after that promotion—and that coveted corner office—falling in love with the right man just might be easier said than done.

Here We Go: The Weekend Edition

What strange times we live in, eh?

Today, LilDude’s school district announced that they would be closed for five weeks. Then hubby came home with a bad cough and later told me that he’s been experiencing aches and pains in the last week or so but chalked it up to all the painting he was doing in the front house which we need to get rented out.

I’ve canceled LilDude’s therapies which either had people coming to the house or us going to a park for social skills. I’ve already stopped his boxing classes at the beginning of the month and will have him practice his jabs at home instead since we have a Quiet Punch unit and they have weekly workouts through their app.

Yesterday, my brother’s co-worker failed to show up at work and so he had to work on his day off. But he kept trying to get a hold of his coworker who had moved to a new apartment but didn’t share the address with anyone. Luckily, he found a phone number of one of her friends and they knew where she now lived. Turns out the coworker had suffered a stroke and had been on the floor of her new apartment for at least five to six hours before her friend came and called paramedics. She suffered extensive brain bleed and no longer has higher level functioning. Her daughter flew in to be with her but the building management won’t let her into her mother’s apartment unless she has power of attorney which her mother didn’t have. So now my brother tells me we need to have power of attorney forms in addition to our living wills, something we never even thought to do.

I called my mother today to ask her how she’s doing (all stocked up and prepped to the gills they can barely move around their studio apartment) and she couldn’t stop talking about some publishing company called Triumph books that sends out books about the Revelations for free. She even signed me up to receive the books and the newsletter without my consent because didn’t I know that the Vatican is behind so many crimes throughout history and “how can you still follow your religion after learning that?”

I can only pick so many battles and hills to die on and the Vatican wasn’t one of them but at least, I got to talk to her and let her know I was thinking of her during these crazy times.

After all, we’re living in wild and crazy times where people are fighting over toilet paper and racing along Costco’s aisles to be the first to grab 2 cases of water before the store runs out by midday. Today, my local food store was suddenly packed with people shopping for everything – not a single pound of ground turkey or chicken left on the racks (I went to get Italian sausage for spaghetti tonight and that was all gone). The woman behind me in line drove from 40 miles away because she said their local stores had no toilet paper or paper towels left and she needed them for their church services this weekend. When she heard the little beach town I live in still had them, she got in her car immediately.

It made me wonder if we have everything we need and I think we’re okay for the next two weeks. Tomorrow I’m going to be writing the possible menu choices available so LilDude knows what’s up. He’s such a picky eater but during times like these, he has to learn to eat what’s there. I also need to teach him not to be wasteful because he is. It’s strange to see kids these days getting everything they want and having so much of whatever they want that they don’t think twice about wasting that half bottle of water or bowl of food. I’m now in that stage of life where a lot of what I say starts with, “when I was your age…” only to see it land on deaf ears.

On the writing front, I’m writing a different book for now and when it’s done, I’m simply publishing it and the rest of the books without fanfare. No cover reveal and all that jazz. Hell, I’ve even given up on Instagram because there are really only so many hours of the day. I can really only do so much and keep a calm head about me with everything going around.

What about you? How’s your weekend going?

Update: Currently Down

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Photo by Olga Mironova on Pexels.com

As the title says, I’m currently down (again) with the remnants of the flu from last week. Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped taking the medicine, thinking I was fine because the congestion returned with a vengeance and boy, even my sinuses hurt a day ago.

Through it all, I kept working, writing the first chapters of the next book in the series (Gabe’s) and I even dictated, something I’m getting better at although my Dragon software might beg to disagree because I now have the voice of a man with this cold. Unfortunately, whatever I wrote just didn’t feel ‘together,’ and I’ve had to set it aside and start over about three times.

Finally, while getting ready to do an hourlong writing sprint with my writing partners on Zoom, my body finally said, rest. So I said goodbye to my accountability buddies and crawled into bed and it’s something I’ve been doing on and off for the past three days as I work out the last of this nasty bug.

I still come up with ideas and just wrote a few hundred words of a new story that’s not linked to any series (man, I sure miss those days when I just wrote whatever story popped into my head, “you-must-write-a-series” advice be damned) but I’m not writing, like, that next book in the series.

I’m also worried about the coronavirus that seems to be spreading with each passing day. As a writer who doesn’t have to go out much anymore, I’m good, but I worry about my kid who has to go to school and be around so many people. Today, he came home feeling rundown and took a nap instead of attending boxing class. He did give up meat for Lent and didn’t have a lot of choices when it came to school lunch today so he ended up with just yogurt and fruit. I made him Mac n Cheese and I hope he’ll feel his usual self in the morning.

What about you? How’s life treating you? How’s the coronavirus looking like in your neck of the woods?

 

Thoughts on Netflix’s Messiah #messiahnetflix #review

messiah3In another round of Procrastination 101, I decided to go to bed early last night and watch Messiah on my rarely utilized Fire tablet. At first, I figured I’d simply watch it for an hour and see how much battery would get used up since the Fire, or at least, my Fire tablet, doesn’t really hold that long a charge.

Next thing I know, it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m on episode 7 wondering WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SERIES ABOUT?

Sure, I could have stopped watching but I also couldn’t. And maybe that’s the way these things work (I did have to switch watching episode 7 on my iPad at 2:30 AM).

Unlike my last binge of The Witcher where you basically knew what you were getting into the moment you saw the first five minutes, in this case, Henry Cavill walking in front of the camera in tight trousers (and man, are his thighs, like, perfect!), I can’t say the same for Messiah, a ten-episode series that premiered on Netflix in January 2020.

If you haven’t heard or seen Messiah on Netflix, its logline on IMDB goes like this:

When a CIA officer investigates a man attracting international attention and followers through acts of public disruption, she embarks on a global, high-stakes mission to uncover whether he is a divine entity or a deceptive con artist.

Messiah got under my skin in the first ten minutes or so. It’s a story about religion, faith, and politics and how all three make a grand mess when told to play nicely. The soundtrack is ominous, the scenes at first jarring, placing you in the Palestinian desert one moment and some Texas border town the next. Mehdi Dehbi who plays the lead character, Al-Masih, has this mesmerizing gaze and surreal calm that holds you where you are. Before I knew it, I was enthralled, caught under his spell while my writer’s mind was trying to figure out what was going on. What’s the plot? Where are the beats? Where are the plot points?

I might as well have thrown all those questions out the window because you won’t find any answers until the last two episodes when everything ties together but also not—only because the season leaves you with more questions than you started, although this time, they’re different questions.

Is he really the Messiah? Or the Anti-Christ? And why are we as a people so desperate to believe in something that we’re willing to leave everything behind to follow someone we know nothing about all while the powers-that-be (governments, institutions, and all that) do whatever it takes to tear all that down?

But I digress.

The beauty in Messiah is in its parts (or rather, the characters each with their own stories), from the broken and hollowed out CIA officer Eva Geller (Michelle Monaghan) to the even more broken and hollowed out former Mossad agent Aviran Dahan (Tomer Sisley) who wears his sins like armor. And then there are Syrian orphan Jibril Hassan (Sayyid El Alami) whose heartbreaking introduction begins episode 1, He That Hath an Ear, and his friend Samer (Farès Landoulsi) who character arc was both heart-wrenching and inevitable. Him reading The Little Prince to his friend sealed the deal for me. This kid also has the most gorgeous eyes. 

There are other characters, too, from the epileptic Rebecca (Stefania LaVie Owen), daughter of a Felix Iguero (John Ortiz) rudderless preacher and his alcoholic wife Anna (played by Melinda Page Hamilton whose beauty reminded me so much of my friend April), herself the daughter of a televangelist preacher, and Will Mathers (Wil Traval), an Army veteran-turned-FBI JTTF agent. Oh, and then there’s Dermot Mulroney as the President who at 54, would make an excellent hero for one of my romances!

Overall, I liked Messiah and hope it gets renewed for Season 2. Sure, it started out slow but every scene was worth it. To me, it showed how one’s faith, whether too much or too little, can either lead you to inner peace or not. And what about that soundtrack, eh? It permeates every single scene and adds that feeling of anticipation and dread.

What about you? Have you seen Messiah on Netflix? What did you think?