“Shadow Man”


He’s always there
lurking around
Standing there
in front;
Sneaking up from behind.

I see him there
he laughs at me
Stands so close
whispers in my ear;
“What do you think you’re doing?”

Like my conscious
he’s in my sleep
Like my dreams
he wakes me up;
Constant reminder of being alone.

He never speaks
but says so much
Roaring volume
everywhere I go.
Do others hear him to?

Sightless eyes
black as night
Faceless form
watches me;
Moves with my every move.

I turn left
he’s still there
I turn right
he’s still there;
I statuesque black form.

I walk away
he follows me
I run to hide
he chases me;
Somehow he always finds me.

Running
Running
Running

Sun sets
alone with myself
I look around
he’s finally gone;
My anxiety starts to melt.

The smallest voice
I push away
I see his face
I begin to cry;
He’s swirling in my glass of wine.

“Day 59”


Day 59 ~ COVID-19 Pandemic

The Tejano music made my mouth water.  It’s been about 3 months since I’ve had a good salty margarita and basket full of chips and salsa.

I walked on the beach feeling the sand on my feet and the wind on my face. 

Not feeling much else.

The beaches opened a couple of weeks ago.  Packed with no one doing social distancing; but, no worries.  Restaurant’s opened with a 25% occupancy.  We pick up right where we left off.  Life goes on as normal.

Not normal.

We wear face masks in public. It’s not cool to hug or shake hands. I hugged three people yesterday.  People I had not seen in quite a while. 

It felt good.

We need physical contact.  We need human interaction.  The Lord designed us with this need; with this desire.

2020  has not been so good.

As bad as I think it has been, others have it far worse.

I have my family, my job, my home, my health……

Today a friend; a sweet young man lost his life in a car accident.

He was my son’s age.  Late 20’s, with a young wife and a 6 month old baby girl.

My heart is broken for them.

I am numb. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed to us….not matter what precautions we take.

We hide away from a virus we can’t see.  Isolate ourselves from those we love and trust all will be alright.

Life is meant to be lived.  It’s meant to be loved.  Shared with and experienced with the ones we love.

Hug your loved ones, hug you neighbor, hug your friends.  Let go of differences; let go of grudges.  Life is to short; to sweet, to waste your energy on that.

Get rid of the face masks; have dinner with your friends, kiss your babies and walk on the beach.

Eat the chips and drink the margaritas.  Stop running from something we can’t see.

Live life.

Tomorrow is not a guarantee or promise…………… it’s a blessing.  

“Are We Disposable?”


Day 35 of “shelter-in-place” ~

There is a plethora of information on our current world and nation situation. We are inundated with statistics, opinions and stories through social media, the internet and news media. So much so that it’s overwhelming. Information overload. Numbers and comparisons. Charts and graphs. Trends and patterns.

Lies and truths…….

What do you believe?

Do you believe what comes out of our leaders mouths?
Do you believe what’s written by our newspapers?
Do you believe what’s reported on our 6 o’clock news?
Do you believe the personal accounts of frontline people filling our social medial news feeds?

If you watch the briefings, it’s quite obvious not all of the executive staff is in agreement 100% of the time. Tongues are clipped. They only say what they are allowed to say or they don’t speak at all and questions from the media are almost not allowed.

And Lord have mercy; everyone has an opinion. That’s our God given right. But when sharing your opinion and comparisons about this horrible virus we are dealing with, let’s at least compare apples to apples.

Everyone has a difference of opinion on the closure of our country. It is a proven fact (and I think we all agree with this) that containment, social distancing and strict mitigation drastically slows the spread and detrimental outcome of this disease.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and my eye caught an article about the number of deaths in the US and how we have the most, blah, blah, blah. This article was shared by a friend. The post had a number of comments so I clicked on them to read the thread. In the thread I noticed a conversation between a few people complaining about the extension of the “shelter-in-place” and social distancing order. But what really caught my eye was the comparison they were using to justify the “reopen us already” comment.

The comparison was the number of overdose deaths to the number of COVID-19 deaths. First of all; what kind of comparison is that? Apples to oranges (roll my eyes). One death to overdose is one to many, just like one death to COVID-19 is one to many. At this point; in our current situation; the common denominator with the two diseases….there is no cure for either one. However; there are steps ~ totally different steps ~ that can be taken to help with the outcomes of both.

I’m not a numbers person, but in my simplistic mind it didn’t make sense what they were saying. Talking about recovery percentages based on the number affected; based on the number per capita……..I don’t understand that shit. But I do know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

The whole thread was based on this comment……..”67,000 people die from overdose and we don’t shut the country down, but 37,000 people die from a virus and we shut the whole place down.”

I frown as I read this. I’m thinking; with my simple mind; of our current situation at hand……that’s horrible! Why is no one talking about this? So of course, I want clarity; I look it up……

What was not said; I quickly find out ~ and again, one death to overdose is one too many and I’m not trying to down play the seriousness of the disease, but the 67,000 was an ANNUAL number as compared to 37,000 in 2 MONTHS. 17,000 of those deaths were in one state.

Come on people, break it down; based on the numbers we currently have to work with and reminding you the COVID-19 numbers are largely a reflection of the outcome of no social distancing or strict mitigation until the middle of March.

(Please note I rounded down all numbers to make it simple for me)
67,000 is 5,500 a month based on 12 months.
37,000 is 18,500 a month based on the 2 months of data we currently have.

If we continue on that course, using the current numbers, the total ANNUALLY would be 222,500 as compared to 67,000. What kind of comparison is that??

Now…….let’s lift all restrictions and send people on their merry way. “And just re-open already.”

Let me remind you, at this current time all major hospitals are predominantly functioning as COVID-19 facilities……basically nothing else and they are struggling. But…….we’re gonna lift that.

All major sporting events are going back in full swing and we are going to cram stadiums and arenas full to capacity. Don’t forget we cancelled the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Houston, Harris County is still a potential hot spot. But we are going to disregard that and just roll with it.

All festivals are going back into full force…..

Let’s fill a cruise ship full of passengers……

How about an airplane; where you sit so close to the person next to you, you can smell their breath.

And let me just give you some more food for thought; the estimated reproductive rate for COVID-19 is ~ for every 1 person with the virus they infect 3 to 4 other people. And we have no vaccine for treatment.

Can anyone remotely come up with a potential number of lives that could be lost???

I personally don’t like the idea of being a target in a game of whack-a-mole. You all know how the game works. You didn’t get hit today, but you may get hit tomorrow.

The people on this conversation thread were retired and work-from-home. I wondered if they were “essential” workers, perhaps a nurse, x-ray tech, respiratory therapist, cashier, stocker, police officer, or someone from our criminal justice system; if they would have a different opinion, or the very least a more appropriate comparison.

Human lives are dropping like flies and they just want to “reopen us already”.

It sadness me that some people think human lives are that disposable.

“Corks”


I kept the corks

from the wine we drank,

me more than you;

but that was ok.

They’re in a basket;

just tucked in a drawer,

They’re in a jar

I can see on my stove.

The special ones,

the ones with screws;

remind of times

without a corkscrew.

I’ll keep those,

I can’t let them go;

But the other ones….

I just don’t know.

Grape Creek and Fiesta

the trips we would take;

Fredericksburg, TX

it was my favorite place.

The corks they remind me

the times that we shared;

back to a time

when both of us cared.

“One Spring Day………..”


Day 26 “shelter-in-place” ~ 468,027 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide

*New York ~ 162,882
*New Jersey ~ 51,027
*Michigan ~ 21,504
*California ~ 20,146
*Massachusetts ~ 18,941
*Pennsylvania ~ 18,637
*Louisiana ~ 18,283
*Florida ~ 16,826
*Illinois ~ 16,422
*Texas ~ 11,832

World wide confirmed cases as reported by worldometers.info ~ 1,623,336.
186 countries infected.
Deaths ~ 97,237
Recovered ~ 366,409
Active ~ 1,159,690
96% in mild condition (1,110,445)
4% in serious or critical (49,245)

January 30, 2020, CDC confirmed the first US case of human to human transmission. Cases were being reported in patients that had not personally visited China; but had contact with someone who had visited Wuhan, China. These case were the most worrisome to the W.H.O.

“The virus doesn’t move, people move the virus.”

Such a profound statement…..

Pandemic, mitigation, corona, COVID-19, W.H.O., outbreak, epicenter, mandatory, widespread, resurgence, essential, non-essential, shelter-in-place, quarantine, isolation, stay-at-home, and social distancing……

Words and phrases most of us didn’t use in our everyday conversations and some I’d never heard before, nor knew the meaning of. I admit a few of them I actually had to look up the meaning ~ “strict mitigation”….. What the hell does that mean??

I don’t watch the news, with all it’s negativity and political bullshit. It was the first week of March before someone basically told me to get my damn head out of the sand. It was then that I was told if we go under a mandatory shut-down and “shelter-in-place” order; I would be an essential employee. That was March 8, 2020.

“If we do what? I’d be what?” What was going on??

No longer my head in the sand, I began to research, look and listen. Kept my head stuck in the daily task force briefings and state governor briefings. I knew nothing about these things before.

March 15, 2020, I got the message. The orders had been sent down and we were converting to essential staff only beginning March 16,2020. Now I’m paying attention. All but one of my staff sent home to “shelter-in-place”.

Spanish Flu………….what the hell is this the president keeps mentioning that occurred in 1918. Am I the only one that had to look this up? I was horrified to read the millions of people that reportedly lost their lives from this virus. I was also astounded to see that the coined phrase; we know so well now; “social distancing” originated from this 1918 pandemic. With no vaccine and very limited treatment, it was deemed necessary; humanity itself had to stop the spread by little to no social contact. That pandemic lasted 2 years (according to my research).

Wait a minute!! Is this where we’re going? The reason for hoarding of supplies?

This ugly, invisible demon of a thing has rolled like the blackest of smoke across our world. Closed down countries for weeks/months at a time; with little human contact except for the people you live with, or if your an “essential”, the people you work with; which is a risk.

The timelines and chain of events are astounding. Countries officials; with literally, the weight of the world on their shoulders, could not move fast enough to outrun this monster among us. With little to no time to think, split decisions are being made. At the rate this is moving, our world is in a downhill spiral.

When will it end? Like smoke; will it just dissipate and one day we will realize it’s vanished or like dominoes, it comes to an abrupt stop; leaving everyone saying, “What the hell just happened?”

The linking of person to person, country to country, state to state, county to county and city to city is shocking. Research it; compare the timelines to one another. It’s incredibly scary how they link together day by day and hour by hour.

Some studies have shown the “attack rate” or “transmissibility” (how rapidly the disease spreads) is indicated by it’s reproductive number. This number represents the average number of people in which a single infected person will transmit the virus to. W.O.H.’s estimate on January 23, 2020 was between 1.4 and 2.5 persons. “Other” (Preliminary estimation based on a data-driven analysis in the early phases of the outbreak in China) studies have estimated between 3.6 and 4, and 2.24 and 3.58.

So basically estimated (based on the China analysis); 1 infected person will transmit the infection to 3 or 4 people and each of those people will infect 3 to 4 people and so on. This explains the rate with which it has swept thru the nursing homes and cruise ships. Yet when contained, it has no place to go.

For comparison purposes lets look at the reproductive numbers for the flu and SARS ~ Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (which is a sister COVID). The common flu; 1 infected person will transmit the infection to 1.3 people. SARS has a little higher transmittal rate; 1 infected person will transmit the infection to 2 people. Studies show an outbreak with a reproduction number of less than 1 will gradually disappear.

With a reproductive rate; estimated at this time, of 3 to 4 people………COVID-19 is here to stay.

Where does that leave us as a society? A very social society…

Will offices remain empty as people/companies slowly transition to remote working environments limiting social contact? Will boutiques and specialty stores reinvent their business model to move their merchandise to on-line sales like the mega shop-on-line companies? What about restaurants and concerts? Football games? Baseball games? What about our churches; where we go for uplifting, joy, support and fellowship in the name of Jesus?

I can’t help but think about these things. As a single female, with no significant other; a life of social distancing is not appealing to me. Dr. Fauci said, “We will probably never shake hands again.” If you won’t shake my hand, where does that leave us for a warm hug, a passionate kiss, playing with your grandkids or buying groceries without worrying there is someone else on the isle?

Will face masks be a permanent fashion accessory as it is in some other countries? Will fear of the invisible monster be forever in our midst? Resurgence a prevalent thought in our minds?

The experts say we are doing better than expected; but places are still begging for personal protection equipment; toilet paper and disinfecting products are hard to find. And the numbers continue to rise. They estimate New York’s peak to be, April 12, 2020 ~ Easter Sunday. It is said to be the worst day yet. They have been hit so hard with horrible days; deaths exceeding 800 in a day, how could they get much worse? It’s expected that Texas will peak April 19, 2020; much sooner than the May date that was first announced. It has not been said, but I suspect the “shelter-in-place” will go through May.

I keep a close eye on the numbers in Florida; specifically Lake County, as this is where my little loves, Daniel and Jessie are living. I watch Smith County in Texas; my daughter and grandkids are here on 13 acres. I’m thankful for their rural community. It’s a little less I have to worry about. Tyler County and Jasper County are also on my radar; moms, dads, sisters, brother, nieces and nephews all in this area. Small rural communities, their numbers remain low.

As for my area; Galveston County, the numbers continue to rise with an average of 12 to 15 a day. The Island has done well so far. Last count on the Island; as of April 9, 2020 was 23. The county count is 308 with Texas City and League City being the leaders. With our beaches and restaurants closed, there really is no reason for outsiders to be here. Houston, Harris County is a focal point with its Metropolitan area. It’s been said accurate numbers are not being reported and that’s a cause for concern.

I’m thankful for my job at the District Attorney’s office. Even in crisis there is still crime. The thugs lay low, but you can’t fix stupid and so we have to deal with it. We practice social distancing and though it’s not required in my work area, I wear a mask everyday. I tell them it’s for their protection as well as mine. At the end of the day we leave our workplace and go our separate ways ~ to the store for essential needs, home to families or to check on a family member or friend. Not knowing what we may be coming into contact with.

I’ve washed my hands more in the last 26 days than I have in all of my 55 years.

I’ve reprimanded myself for scratching my face and rubbing my itchy nose more times than I can count.

I stifle my dry allergy cough for fear someone will look crossways at me and have me thrown in a dark black hole somewhere.

Life as we knew it changed drastically in a matter of a few furious weeks. I reflect on life and reach out to the people I love. As the weeks turn into months, I wonder how long this will last. I wonder, what will be the new norm; because the normal we knew will never be again. Or ~ it may be years before the once normal becomes normal again…….a handshake, a hug, a kiss. When will we not be afraid of one another?

Who knew one man in Wuhan, China; eating a bat in a Chinese marketplace would drastically ravage and change our world.

“Comfort Zone”


Unfamiliar faces

In unfamiliar places.

Wipe the sweat from my hands

before I walk in.

Smile and say hello

to people I don’t know.

Oh, can they see

this is so not me!

I quickly scan the place

searching for a friendly face.

All eyes are on me

I desperately need a seat.

A thousand eyes stare

She waved, “here’s a chair!”

Grateful, I plopped down

the introduction went around.

Uncomfortable little game

I can’t remember their names!

They laughed and joked

I quietly listened to the folks.

“What do you do? Where you from?”

I sat; like a cat had my tongue.

They stared with expectation

I choked with hesitation.

No wingman to punch my rib,

would they notice if I ran and hid?

From my mouth someone spoke…..

Startled, this was no joke.

This women; who could she be?

Smiling, chatting; it couldn’t be me.

She doesn’t stray to far from home

staying close to her comfort zone.

Maybe the wine made her appear;

Brave! And not full of fear.

Winding down, they’re saying goodbyes

Amazingly; she had survived.

I sit alone, inside my car

whispered quietly…..

“That wasn’t so hard.”

“Fairytale”


Once upon a time

there was a girl

She sprouted her wings;

she took on the world.

She met a man

while walking the beach,

a worldly man;

a darkly prince.

He swept her away

to worlds unknown;

he painted her life

from his worldly throne.

He led her down paths

she’d never been;

music and laughter,

giggles and grins.

Dark and mysterious;

he’d hide his life,

women and booze

he made her cry.

From her life he’d float;

leaving her sad,

back in he’d drift;

making her glad.

In and out;

a living maze,

brighten her skies

and then make them gray.

Year after year,

it was always the same;

year after year,

a royal game.

A fairytale life,

all broken apart;

her charming prince

shattered her heart.

“Love Note”


“The nightstand needs cleaning,” I told myself,

“I think I’ll start on the bottom shelf.”

Body lotions; ones I don’t use

To many books; there’s just a few.

Old phones, with no cords to match

A magazine, stuffed way in the back.

Galveston Monthly 2016

I sat for a moment to take a peek.

I opened the cover, stiff and brittle

There was a note, stuck in the middle.

A white paper sheet

It was folded real neat.

What could this be tucked all alone?

One little sheet, quiet as stone.

Curious, I open the folds

Inside I find, a little love note……

“The water is blue

the sands are white

Being with you

makes everything feel right.

the sunrise

the sunset

I’ve loved you

from the day we met.”

Your handwriting, will I forget?

My lonely heart, and all the regrets?

Tucked away, way back in the dark

tucked away, was a piece of my heart.

Do Yourself a Favor


As this 2019 year is drawing nearer to an end, I have spent many hours replaying it in my mind.  So many blessings have come my way, but at 55, I find myself focusing on my losses and regrets.

Why do we(I) do that?

Why do we(I) focus on the hurts?  The “what could have/should have been(s)?”

Those thoughts take up prime real estate that could be other wise filled with thoughts of hope, joy, fun, new adventures, new friends, hopes of love, and many other positive intentions.

Do we(I) really want to enter a new year with feelings of regret, sadness, no hope and loss?  A hard heart?  Bitterness?

Who are those thoughts really affecting?  Who’s joy are they really taking away?

There is a time to grieve a loss, a broken heart and disappointments.  Do we(I) want to get stuck here?  Carry it in the pit of our(my) gut?  Stifling any good thing coming our(my) way, so that we(I) can’t even see the good when it presents itself?

Resolutions are over-rated.  In actuality; the intentions are good, but most resolutions are seldom resolved.

Instead of resolutions, I will do myself a favor………

PRAY!…….
Always

Regrets…..
Leave them behind

Plow……..
Push through the most difficult times and know the row eventually ends

Forgive…..
When it’s the hardest thing to do

Let go……
When there’s nothing left to hold

Love yourself……
When you feel there’s no one else

Be happy…….
Stop being miserable over things you can do nothing about

Accept…..
Things you cannot change and move forward

Laugh……
It breaks the bondage of sadness

Friends……
They’re the antidote to loneliness

Pray (again)……
When you feel there’s nothing left, when there is no joy and anxiety has
made you it’s home

Don’t cry…….
It makes you ugly and no one likes ugly

So, as the year ends; I will quietly close the door behind me and walk through the door ahead.

“Lost and Found”


When my thoughts are scattered;

all jumbled up and afraid

There’s a ragged box

I keep quietly tucked away.

Filled with lost items

I lose from day to day;

Thin and ratty,

the edges flopped and frayed.

Carefully I open it;

I look at what’s inside

There were I left them,

the things I can not find.

Belief is waiting

to give me peace of mind

Joy is waving

for my happiness to shine.

Confidence stands tall

“take me and be bold”

There’s all my faith

my shield I lift and hold.

Where is my patience?

It’s hiding in the folds

My smile is hanging out

waiting to unfold.

In that ragged, little box

the things I need so much,

inventories, lost and found

a heaped up, jumbled bunch.

You lead me to that space

with your gentle, guiding touch

Amazing is your strength

when I need your grace so much.

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