Have I really been inside for 80 days?

Day 80: Monday, June 1, 2020. Our dear friend Joel died this morning. It wasn’t a surprise – he’d been sick. He was young – 50 (ish). Such a tragedy. You’ll recall he had cancer. Then he had chemo and they declared it a miracle. Then it was a disaster again. And I guess the only good thing was that he didn’t linger too terribly long. But of course, dying in the time of Covid means you don’t see your friends. I last spoke with him Thursday and he sounded like Joel but drugged up to the max (he was dying at home, with purpose, and had good pain meds). They got a new dog – a rescue who’d been hit by a car and had two broken front legs. A pit/boxer cross. He was excited. Kept telling me “what a good dog” he is. I was glad to hear that joy in his voice. It came from helping a suffering creature.  That’s who he was. That was four days ago. 

RIP, Joel. May you slip the surly bonds of earth.

He was a foodie, too. Built an incredible kitchen and was an awesome cook. Loved to entertain. Leaves behind a grieving family of three (who we also adore). Via con Dios, Joel. Goddamnit. 

That’s four down in the four years we’ve been here. First was Adrian. Brain tumour. Seemingly out of nowhere. Mid-70s. Then Ruthie. Only 58. Who, I have to admit, committed slow suicide with alcohol – but had her reasons. She is the friend who wanted to do the memoir – whose husband and love of her life was kidnapped and murdered here in Cuernavaca. Then there was Kiki – who died from an infection that they couldn’t control – either a new one or from a botched hip operation she had down here a few years prior. She was 75.

And now Joel who is barely 50 (if). With a super rare cancer bile duct cancer. But liver cancer – stage 3 – killed him. It’s all like a bad dream and all the days float around in my head. I remember the day he went to the hospital, thinking it was an ulcer but the rest of us extremely worried because he was getting jaundiced. I can’t even remember when that was. Last summer? Last fall? Hard to pin to weather as it rarely changes.

And then, knowing he had cancer, but with reason for optimism from his response to treatment, he officiated over a renewal of vows for family members – and we were all there. He was slim by then. But having a good day. And it was a beautiful moment. And then came Coronavirus and that was the last we saw of each other (except on Whatsapp). RIP, brother. You deserve a rest. And we’ll see you when we get there. Wherever it is.

Okay, I was just walking the dog when the final call came at 8:19. He’d previously lost consciousness so he was gone, but his heart hadn’t stopped yet. Then it did. That moment when you realize. And the world stops. And you remember him. And the sky looks so blue and the trees so green and the clouds so white. And then you take a deep breath and keep walking. Because you have to. That’s what it’s like, right? On a condensed scale. 

So, day 80. Staying in until June sounded so disastrous in March. But here we are. And not too concerned about staying in another three months. I don’t know what to think about this house. Except we have projects and I’m on hold and the entire country of Mexico is in the red. Except Zacatecas.

That happened quickly. This was two weeks ago:

Day 81: Nothing much happening today. I shouldn’t say that. We finished the first round of DogStar editing and put all the parts together. That was actually exciting. Now to polish – but we went through the chapter outline and spent some time breaking it up and putting the changes in – it really just needs a polish now. The graphics guy has it for flow and length but we’ll give him a final within a week I hope. And I have a date to chat with a really old friend after dinner. One of my favourite old hippies 🙂

So that’s good. We’re having chow mein with our own homegrown bean sprouts. I didn’t take photos this time. You’ve seen it all before. Yesterday was spaghetti casserole. The day before was spaghetti. Nothing special. But i want to find a good cheesecake recipe. I’ve made salted carmel whipped no bake cheesecake and it was good. But I need something *else* this time. Hmmm.

Almost dinner time. I might come back later or might see you tomorrow. I was busy editing for a long time today … just didn’t have many other thoughts!

Day 82: Well, I washed floors again today, I couldn’t stand it. And cleaned all the glass stuff. Everything is glass. Or stainless. There is some wood. Oh well, looks much better and I feel better.

I’ve been working on a logline and synopsis for an old project. Older than DogStar. This pandemic has been incredible for reviving old projects. Anyhow, the project *may* be hot again. Or may not. In the meantime, I found a ‘leave behind’ that had a pitch paragraph, all finely tuned, on four really good story ideas.

But the thing I want to know is … this old project is actually 35 years old. At the time, it got interest but it was controversial. Today I guess it’s trendy 🙂 Anyway, the thing I want to know is, when we came here in 2012 – why did I bring my single four-page outline of this project, which I only own on this printout, done with a dot matrix printer on a CPM machine (maybe it was early DOS, but I don’t think so). By then, it was 27 years old and no one had said a word about it in two decades at least. What prompted me to put it in the “creative” folder I brought? I may find out. Or not.

But Mercury Retrograde is coming and it’s a great time to work on old projects – not to mention the pandemic again but June and July will be fantastic for going back to things and reworking them or finishing them (right?)

So, Covid. I don’t want to even go there. Mexico is just getting higher. supposed to peak in a couple few weeks. The US is on fire – and there will be more cases after all these protests. JMFC. Many of the police across America have lost their MF minds. I take no joy or pride in saying I told everyone so – about four years ago. Only in the beginning, it was prefaced with, “If you elect him …” I can’t believe people voted for him who are not Duck Dynasty types. Although many were. The Duck Dynasty president. FM.

For fun, I searched “duck dynasty president trump” on google and got 4,370,000 pages in 51 seconds. FM.

I don’t think the protests are going to stop until civil war erupts. What does civil war look like today? One state’s national guard pitted against another’s? I can’t imagine. Or is it simply revolution (as in, revolt). Do you know they took a mock full-size guillotine to the Governor’s mansion in Puerto Rico to protest? Whatever it morphs into, it’s terrible and I’m sorry it’s happening.

But things could not continue the way they have been. So while I’m sorry for the violence and the pain and the families that will be affected by the negative effects, I think it’s been bubbling up for so long that it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

I learned about the civil rights act in the 1980s – it had only been enacted 20 years earlier. I had no idea (we hadn’t been taught that part of American history in school, that’s for sure). Coming from Canada, I assumed that everyone had the same rights no matter what colour skin, what religion, what race. I thought America had long since reformed. I remember where I was when I found out that it had been a mere 20 years earlier, 10 after I was born, that blacks actually got laws that made discrimination illegal. Chicago. Old Town. Schiller Street, just down the road from Treasure Island. With my American cousins. In the kitchen with the brick wall. Some good those laws did, by the way.

So, I have no time today. I have to catch up on a few things after spending a couple of hours cleaning and then I did two loads of laundry. We still don’t want our housekpeer back until the virus peaks. It’s been a long time now. Well, 82 days, LOL. Going to watch Obama. Back maybe. But probably not.

Day 83: Time flies. Sometimes. Another showing on the weekend, maybe. I need to prep for it regardless. And I’ve got a million things to do. Well, not a million but I’ve been busy. Nothing that really pays the rent at this specific moment, but many of these seeds will grow into something. Things are happening, and things are changing. I feel it in my bones. And in my horoscope. June has *always* been my favourite month. This is no exception. So what if we’re locked down. Make hay.

They’re saying Wuhan has tamed the dragon – there has been no second wave, despite opening up. This would be very good news for all of us: READ STORY HERE. It’s from Forbes, so it’s not a frivolous story – they are fairly reliable. So take heart. It may be getting better (in some countries, but not Mexico).

We are just staying inside. That’s our plan. What else can we do?

Day 85: Sunday, June 7, 2020. Yes, I missed Day 84. Just slid right by. No showings this weekend. That’s ok. I half cleaned but didn’t get to the office floors yet. I think the rainy season is here, it rained two nights ago and again this afternoon. Maybe. Ojala. I revived the old synopsis, God help me. Spent two days doing that, really. We’ll see. But you know me and those dead horses 🙂

Rainy season is here for sure!

Between cleaning and the synopsis and a long letter to someone who has no email (I know, right?) and the podcast (bits and pieces) and managing the water supply and paying bills and training with the dog – who is an angel now – I have no time. We have until the 15th (in our own heads) to finish the final polish on DogStar and I haven’t gotten back to PADI yet.

I need to repot these herbs. Wait until you see what I’m doing with them. You’ll be impressed. For now, this is how they are growing.

Two kinds of Basil

So, Sunday again. It pissed rain last night and this morning, all good, we love it. Things get so green, so quickly. And it mostly rains at night.

I bought a phone. I’m horrified. I’ll let you know when it gets here. Buying a phone online is not the best thing to do. But I’m not going out. And my phone keeps ghost calling people. And the touch screen seems to be screwed most of the time. I *can* make it open Whatsapp, which is a requirement for using Whatsapp on the laptop, so that’s good.

A, Umair. He never ceases to impress me with this thoughts. This is the next Umair story you have to read: It’s Time For Americans to Start Thinking the Unthinkable

And in case you don’t (spoiler), here is the kicker:

Because a democracy has never needed to be on a higher alert than America does right about now. Do you really think Trump doesn’t want to corrode, steal, or thwart the next election — and make his kids the strutting, preening Gadhafis and Saddams and Putins of a broken, cowed America? Don’t kid yourself.

That’s probably as good a note to end on as any. I wouldn’t have believed that anything could take over Covid in the news cycle, but then that cop knelt on George’s neck, suffocating him for almost nine minutes, while he called out for his dead mama, until he died.

We’re back to 1967/1968. Only worse, because America doesn’t have a leader this time. We’re horrified in the rest of the world. Horrified. You are a racist society that was built on the backs of black slaves. Still is. Who generates the most income for your “for-profit” prisons? And WTF is that – “for-profit” prisons? Fucking seriously? No room for corruption there. Oh yeah, same thing with your health care. EVERYTHING in America is for profit. Everything. You’d sell your mothers for that 15 seconds of fame someone promised you. It’s all about gold toilets and growing up to be a monied psychopath like donald trump. Keep your damn American Dream. That’s the real virus.

Geez, why don’t you tell us what you really think? I have good American friends, at least I did until I wrote this, anyway. They aren’t dt psychopaths. They despise him. But this is happening despite them, and despite people like them. Why is that? How can this happen if half of you don’t support this? I’m flummoxed. But also Canadian. And I read a lot of Umair. I’m afraid he’s got it right.

Okay, I am not going to end on such a down note. And it’s not like we don’t have our own race problems in Canada, we do. But we don’t have America’s history and we (for the most part) have not been brought up to think we are better than everyone, and especially black people, hispanics and now asians. White people’s votes count for more: It is in their constitution, the “Three-Fifths Compromise“.

“Its effect was to give the Southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free people had been counted equally.”

That’s the electoral college that put trump in power despite losing the popular vote. Oh god, nobody needs a US history lesson. I hope.

Anyway, the clouds have broken and it’s a beautiful day out there today. One dog walk done, I’ve put fertilizer into the water lillies, and eaten a tuna sandwich. Barely 9am. Oh yeah, and fixed the wireless printer. I did that at 4am, I had an idea and it worked. And then it was too late to go back.

Ok, printer fixed. I have the first final edit of DogStar back to look through. So I think I should close now and publish and catch up with you again next week. I hope you are all making it through the weeks okay. We’ve come a long way with the pandemic, but we still have a fair distance to go. So remember:

Stay safe, stay informed, stay kind.

I leave you with a Jeff Tiedrich tweet



  1. Lou Christen Reply

    Remember when it (Self-isolation) was going on for two weeks? That seemed really bad and now it’s almost 3 months!—but who’s counting?

    Noticed sudden adverb use restraint.

    Big Hugs, Lou


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