Hello 2021

Are We Going To Be Okay, or What?

It’s certainly been an interesting few months, hasn’t it? We have elected a new President (depending upon who or what you believe), we have approved not one, but two COVID vaccines, and while infections are on the rise due to the desire to be with loved ones during the holidays, the curve will once again flatten and with the vaccine we will be able to find our way to a new, but somewhat recognized normal.

I for one, cannot wait to be able to leave and walk about freely again. I have been in long term relationships, with one man for 10 years, the man I was married to for 10 though our marriage only lasted for 5 and the miserable relationship I had after the divorce afforded me a place to spend Christmas. As a woman of a certain age, this is the first time in my life I have ever spent Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, alone. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Perhaps in the future I’d be better position to spend the holidays alone again, but I do hope for it to never happen again.

Like many others, I feel as though I’ve watched just about everything that there is to watch on every single fucking streaming platform available to us. I’m talking EVERYTHING. Older stuff I didn’t watch, all the new releases, the obscure stuff; hell I even watch – no scratch that – I LOVE all the foreign language crime/drama/procedural series, too. By now I figure I’ve learned how to dispose of a body in about 6 languages and at least 3 sexy accents.

I’ve also learned that when in Belgium, France and Denmark that I should stay the FUCK out of the goddamn forests. Nothing good happens there, regardless the time of day, time of year or how educated you are. Yep. Lesson learned.

I’m attempting to date again. Admittedly, not the best time to be on these dating apps. Well, these dating apps are always a bit more entertaining than useful, are they not? Now, with everyone locked in, locked down and showing a bit more of their crazy than they normally might; it’s become just as fucking fun as watching an unexpectedly great new series on Netflix or Prime but I’ll save that for another day.

How did you all fare over the holiday hiatus? Hopefully you managed to keep track of the days and your livers. I am expecting mine to return from the “spa” any day now.

Happy New Year!

Things To Do In LA When There’s COVID…

An Unusual Business Trip.

This trip had been planned for about a month, but I wasn’t due to get in until this past Sunday. Suddenly, I realized that perhaps I had misjudged how much assistance it would take to get this done. I sat down at my desk on Wednesday morning at 8:00 for our daily team Zoom meeting and by 8:45 AM that morning I was trying to change my flight so I could leave that day and get into LA for an initial inspection the following morning.

It turned out we made a sound decision.

Things have been managed, thus far, but we’re breaking “new ground”, so to speak, thanks to all the new COVID protocols. I was busy on Thursday and Friday, but then the weekend hit. Normally I have no issue travelling. I’ve done it since I was in my early 20’s. I’ve enjoyed visiting museums, aquariums, even zoos in the cities least known for them. I was in LA just about this time last year and had a great time exploring during the few hours I had to myself.

This year, though, nothing is open to explore.

SO, what does one do when they are in another city all the way across the country with little but a few restaurants, pharmacies and convenience stores open?

Not. Much.

I did get to visit my dear friend for a socially distanced breakfast on Saturday morning. She has four beautiful rescue pups. Two are from the Beagle Freedom Project, one she plucked from the middle of the street when she was working for Goodwill of So Cal., the other was supposed to be a short-term foster; but her sweet little face, medical and emotional needs as a tri-pawed lady made it impossible for my friend to give her up. I love that amazing little pack.

Saturday night hit and, for once, LA was … well … dead.

I called and texted folks, even reached out to aquantances and resorted to tweeting celebs that I’ve had interactions with online begging for recommendations that perhaps, as residents, they might be able to offer.

Nothing.

With no restaurants, no spa, no ancillary services available; I bummed around my hotel talking to my friends and family back home as I might on any other day of the week. I was trying to keep myself occupied and moving. The lobby held a small fridge full of beverages, including a few of my favorite wine offerings; albeit in significantly smaller sizes than I was accustomed, but still something for which I was grateful.

I zipped down one last time to grab a bottle of prosecco and on my way up, was asked by several lovely looking gentlemen to hold the doors. Lo and behold, they were with the Carolina Panthers.

Finally. A normal occurrence, something that I am used to encountering. Athletes. Well-known people. We chatted for a brief moment. They were several floors below me. I knew that under the circumstances what may have turned into a fun (but short) evening of conversation wouldn’t be occurring on this odd weekend. Thanks to strict COVID protocol, everyone was locked down on their floor, in their own rooms, and socializing was prohibited.

I said goodnight as they exited and made my way back up to my room. It was early by “free weekend hours” go, but it’s a new world. Thus, at 10:45 PM I re-entered my hotel room hoping to find something worthwhile to watch on TV and fall asleep.

While I’m happy that my industry is finding ways to adapt and evolve; I do miss the usual socializing and sightseeing I’m used to doing when I travel. I am so anxious to have that aspect back.

Moving forward, I hope that soon there will be plenty to do in LA while we keep COVID in check. In the meantime, I still have a week to fill. Most nights I will be with my clients, during the day I will have the usual work to do, but I won’t event be able to escape to the Grammy Museum for a nosh and a wink during lunch, and that makes me sad.

It’s nearly Halloween. Mask up. Be a caped crusader. Be a hero. Let’s get this shit under control so we can all live a bit more freely again.

PS

We lost some pretty great fucking people over the last few days. Gayle Sayers. Helen Reddy. Mac Davis. Keep their souls and loved ones in your hearts.

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The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

FINALLY happens tomorrow….

The Indy 500 is tomorrow. A race that, under normal circumstances, happens the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, was postponed due to COVID-19. I’m an auto-racing fan and I’ve done quite a bit of work with NASCAR over the years. Some of it has been promotional for clients, some has been as support for a dear friend that was a car owner, and some of it was just happenstance. Regardless, it was a tremendous amount of fun that I often find myself reminiscing about the incredibly things I experienced over the years. I watched Indy 500 quals last weekend and I have to admit that when it became clear that there would be another Andretti starting on the Pole, it gave me chills.

For a kid from the sticks, I have had some pretty incredible professional opportunities. I have to say, I am most grateful for the time I was allowed to spend working in stock and open wheel racing. I can honestly say to anyone who deems NASCAR just a silly pastime, please allow me to accompany you to any track (once these COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, of course) and I promise that you will leave feeling completely different about this type of auto racing.

I was a kid in the 80’s, what my dear friend Dick Bahre liked to call “the Good ‘Ol Days” of racing. The sport was finally coming into itself; it was growing in popularity with the first few million dollar sponsorship deals being put in place, TV deals being negotiated, and fantastic new talent finding their way into the field to challenge the original guys that elevated the series to the level of popularity that France Senior always imagined it might enjoy.

Raced were broadcast on TBS and TNN. The idea of sponsorship was still new in this arena but everyone understood that the more screen time your sponsor received, the better it was for your team. Eventually they the came to realize that it was also better for the sport, and track promoters realized just how many opportunities existed to leverage the brands and companies supporting not just the drivers, but the entire series and the individual televised races each week.

My company got involved in promoting a healthy beverage that had never before been sold in a resealable, to-go, container. They wanted to find a driver to partner with in order to promote this new innovation to Moms and families; and fortunately for us the marketing director understood the power of NASCAR and the sport’s demographic. We jumped in with both feet and rolled up our sleeves, we knew a few popular, successful drivers that represented family values each of whom did not have a beverage sponsor of any type.

It took a few weeks but we signed a deal with this amazing driver (he happened to also be a Ginger from the great state of Maine, and that made my heart very happy) and negotiated the terms of our contract for the promotion. The client wanted to sample at key retail locations in each of the regions where their dairies were willing to contribute to the marketing budget and NASCAR had regularly scheduled Cup races over the course of the summer. They didn’t know how to “hook” the consumer into the trial and purchase on-site. They had coupons to offer, but not much else. We had, of course, offered up a “show car” with the brand’s pain scheme but didn’t have it fully fleshed out. I suggested allowing kids (which turned into more adults than kids) having the opportunity to sit in the show car and have a photo taken, which we would post to a website for family and friends to see and a copy to send home with them as they left the store. (This was MANY years ago, we didn’t have the tech to simply text or quickly email the photos to consumers then).

We also had 1:64th replica cars made, limited to 10,000, which consumers could receive with 5 of the new resealable “tops” from the product and $1. (To this day, nearly 20 years later, we occasionally still receive a random email asking if any of these collectibles still exist and if they do, how they can be purchased.)

We attended races in 4 markets over the course of that summer, but 6 of the client’s key regions were allowed to redeem “tops” for the replica cars. At two of the races, we had a day or two of driver autograph sessions, which were so incredibly popular we had to turn people away after the first 45 minutes of opening because we knew that the driver would never be able to meet & greet the entire line. It was a highly successful promotion. So much so, in fact, that the driver’s primary sponsor took umbridge with the success and asked for a meeting to determine exactly HOW we were achieving this success with the small budget allowed by the client. (A very popular CPG brand that has been with the sport for at least 3 decades.)

Over the course of these few summer and early fall months, I found myself in the enviable position of spending an enormous amount of time with our show car driver (retired team/car owner) Dick Bahre. He would tell me stories, and what stories they were! Crazy things from filling the hollow tube chassis with ball bearings to meet the weight pre-race only to let them “go” mid-race which benefitted the driver two-fold: 1) the bearings would send cars behind the driver into a skid and 2) the reduced weight of the car allowed it to achieve higher speeds. Such crazy-but-true things that made me laugh so hard that at the end of the day my stomach was sore.

He would take me around the tracks we visited and introduce me to the drivers, team owners, broadcasters and other usual suspects that had been around the sport since the early days. I would sit and listed to them talk, gaining valuable knowledge and becoming privy to them “spinning tales” of the now crazy shit that happened once-upon-a-time during the sport’s infancy. Each story more unbelievable and goddamned funny than the next.

We talked about all kinds of racing stuff. He appreciated open wheel racing just as much as he loved NASCAR stock car racing. When I told him I really loved Indy and F1, he said that he knew I was a good “kid”. We all knew the owner of the Procono Track back then, and I had the rare opportunity to meet a few Andretti family members one weekend. I walked away feeling like I was floating. Not only had I met The King (Richard Petty), Kyle and Kyle’s son Adam before he tragically passed away after wrecking (coincidentally, Adam died at the track that Dick’s brother owned in NH); but I also had the chance to meet a few Andretti gentlemen.

This season has been a challenge, without doubt, for drivers, track owners/promoters, sponsors, drivers and teams alike. However, NASCAR figured out how to bring racing back as soon as they possibly could and I respect their tenacity and leadership in returning to competition with a plan to keep COVID at bay.

Tomorrow will make history for several reason. Not just because the Indy 500 was postponed to a later date, but also because P1 was claimed by Marco Andretti. His Dad and Grandad will be leading the field to green in a two seater and Michael will be driving (much to Mario’s dismay). They’ll honor the rich history of Indianapolis, but their family, including John, who passed away in January after a serious battle with colon cancer.

I look forward to watching the race. I hope you all do, too. It’s a wonderful reminder of what can be accomplished when you refuse to listen to the critics and persevere. Keep pushing. Keep thinking. Keep creating. Keep looking ahead.

Keep innovating.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines ….

When You See A FB Friend Suggestion

And You Have NO Idea Who They Are, But It Scares The Fuck Out of You….

I’m not on FB nearly as much as I used to be. I don’t have a reason why, I just don’t seem to give a shit anymore. I log on now simply to see my favorite people, posts about their freaking incredibly brilliant kids and what is going on that might not be shared in my ongoing FB Messenger chats.

Tonight I saw a suggestion. We had a number of mutual friends.

He is a PRIEST.

I tried like hell to place him. Did I really know him? The name sounded so goddamn familiar. It used to be that I never forgot a name OR a face. Now … well, now I seem to be able to forget both. It fucking sucks. I did a screen grab and sent it to one of my besties and asked if I knew him. She responded that we had gone to school with someone by that name to a certain point until our school districts had split.

I dove into my closet and dug out our yearbooks, looking for the pics of the kid I thought this person had been when we were young. After a few minutes I realized that it wasn’t the person I was afraid it might be. But, I did find a few great pics to share with some other friends and snapped some quickies to send off.

However, when it comes right down it to it, yeah … I was a little freaked out that I might have been hooking up with a dude that was now a fucking priest. Warranted? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve known a few dudes that I made out with that came out as gay, that doesn’t bother me. Why would knowing someone that I hooked up with before I was legal becoming a priest freak me out? I wish I had the answer. I think it has everything to do with the indoctrination of the Catholic Church. Those fuckers. [if this offends you, please skip to the next entry … my experience with religion is crazy for my age, but the Catholics left the most sourest of tastes in my mouth].

I moved to a very Catholic town when I was in the 5th grade. It was a bit strange. I was in the same Valley prior to living there, but before moving to this town NONE of my teachers were part of the clergy. Yes, the school prior would walk us across the lot to the church for a class once a week, but that was as close as we got to religion.

When we moved to this town, I was almost immediately visited by a Nun. She taught in the grade school and I quickly came to realize she was just one of many. I wasn’t raised Catholic, and everyone in this town [really the entire Valley] was French Canadian unlike me, so I had a couple of checks against me from the very beginning.

When I attended my first day of school, I was so confused. They placed me a grade behind and I sat there wondering what the fuck was happening. I kept saying that I had already completed this grade, they just kept shushing me. Finally, the teacher took me aside right before lunch and said she’d sort it out. She was married to the Principal and took me down to the office during lunch. They confirmed I was definitely NOT in that grade and found a place for me in the class which I belonged.

WOW.

My teacher was a *spinster* as they may have called her at one point in life. She had a very European hair style, incredibly flamboyant handwriting, she often brought unblessed hosts in for snack time and smelled terrible. I mean, she probably had a gland problem that she tried to cover with awful perfume, and no one was fooled. She also had a spitting problem.

That doesn’t mean she wasn’t a good teacher. I learned a great deal in her class. The school had an open classroom system and we were allowed to excel at our own pace, which was wonderful. I won a number of creative writing and science contests. Unfortunately, that meant I had to attend events with her. One of the great joys of my childhood was meeting Lois Lowry and having her tell me that I had a unique writing style; she loved my perspective and hoped that I would continue to write. That really meant the world to me and is something I will never forget.

That being said, I was one of a handful of kids that grew up in this place without a French Canadian heritage or stake in the Catholic Church. It was really difficult. Most families looked down on me because of it. I was intelligent, talented, athletic and well-adjusted. I’ll give them credit, they weren’t accustomed to having foster kids in their town like me. I plugged on like I was normal, I insisted they treat me like I was normal and eventually they had no choice but to treat me like I was a normal kid. After all, that’s exactly what I was a normal fucking kid.

I did find myself excluded from some things, such as Varsity Cheerleading. The Coach was afraid I would ‘report’ her for praying before each game. Thus, I was delegated to the secondary team where no one cared. I was still the best fucking cheerleader the secondary, AKA the GIRLS Varsity Team, ever fucking had. I used to run out and hit three pointers before we all ran drills. It didn’t take long before I was recruited by the coach and I was playing on the basketball team.

Honestly, when I try to explain where I grew up to people, it’s part Twilight Zone, part “Fucking Nuts”. School , well I explain that as attending a public parochial school. At least 50% of our teachers at the time from K-12 were Nuns. I will give credit to those who taught science. They did it appropriately and they did it well.

All in all … I am honestly just happy that I didn’t do anything with a kid that ended up as a Priest. I really resent the people that tried to keep me down. The people that tried to make me out to be some sort of degenerate simply because my parents had issues and I unfortunately ended up in the foster system. They treated me like it was my fault, like I’d done something to deserve that placement and I was less-than as a result.

Now, of course, they all pretend that never happened. Everyone likes to think they were my champion. It pisses me off. It really pisses me off when they press it and I have no issue reminding them how they treated me when I was in school. I don’t give a fuck who they are, who they were or what they fuck they are doing now. It’s unacceptable for adults to treat a child the way that so many adults treated me back then. Even if it hadn’t happened I would have still donated, helped and looked out for foster children; but honestly the treatment I received has given me reason to try even harder to make things better for as many children as I can.

In short, I will never forget where I came from. I may have difficulty explaining where I went and the place I currently am. I just want kids to know that their parents mistakes are not who they have to be.

A Glimpse of Normal

A Fun[ny] Thing Happened When I Spoke to Vegas

It’s no secret that the events industry, among others, has been all but devastated since we identified the novel Coronavirus and orders to SIP were issued. My company is small, agile but has a wide range of capabilities, so we were lucky to continue working this entire time. The projects were COVID related until recently and with the pivot to drive-in and drive-through experiences, we’re onto providing a new type of service for some of our clients.

However, some things never change. Temporary structures still require specific permits and that’s a service that we have always provided and provided well. I recently received a referral from a dear colleague. The new client was tasked with setting up some temporary structures on the East and West Coast. During the initial conference call I sensed a “comradery” in his voice. I slacked my co-workers that I felt like this person was Canadian. One of my co-workers is currently spending time with his family north of Montreal (Yes, he is also Canadian) and replied, “We’re everywhere!” I laughed.

We had a great call and when it ended I looked up the person we were speaking with. Sure enough, he was not only Canadian, but he played in the CFL. I grew up on the northern border of Canada, Canadians are my thing. (Actually, I have always had a knack for recognizing accents and dialects, but this was like Shaq standing under the rim.) I sent him a quick email saying that I “knew” he was Canadian and made a quick joke about his CFL days. He immediately wrote back, saying that had been so long ago he couldn’t believe his accent was that thick. A few minutes later I received a text with a pic of him from his playing days. I loved it.

Suddenly, while a tiny little connection, I felt like we were back in the days before COVID when I would have worked on a relationship like that face-to-face. I’m a huge sports fan. I’ve always been “just one of the guys” when it comes to being able to speak a little bit about a lot of things. I’ve never had a problem making friends and I can get along with just about anyone. I can roll with the punches and I know enough to plan for something to go wrong, so it’s never a surprise when/if something does. I was meant for this type of work (or possibly the CIA, languages come rather easily, too) so I’ve missed the personal connections.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a number of amazing people over the years. I was a little girl that came from a nothing, tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been pretty lucky. I really felt good that I could recognize and appreciate what this new client had done earlier in his life. Probably something that he doesn’t find a lot of women in this business tend to know about let alone care to discuss. We both had a good laugh and now he is absolutely a client.

A human connection.

I didn’t think I really liked people, but these last 5 months have taught me I actually like people, I just hate assholes.

We’re Free …

But Do I Want To Be?

The State of NJ lifted the order to shelter in place this week. We are, of course, still expected to maintain social distancing and wear masks/cloth face coverings. Personally, I have probably only left the house about 4 times since the order to stay the fuck home was issued back in March. I have ventured out to the pharmacy and that is about it. Because I was making masks for friends and family; and the company I work for was involved in setting up testing centers, I was very good about wearing a mask.

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When you want to look dapper for the ladies, but don’t want any of the dudes to forget just how badass you are.

This past week my ex dropped off our dogs (yes, we share custody of our two dogs like most divorced couples share custody of their children), and suddenly I found myself going outside more in one day than I have since March 15th. Most days I remember to mask up, but I do find myself doing something like walking the dogs which I haven’t done since before the Pandemic, and completely forgetting about a mask. Luckily, there aren’t too many people out and about on my block, so it’s not been an issue, but I realize I must do better.

I’ve been so bored these last 6-8 weeks, I’ve tried everything to find some relief. From making masks for friends and family and to list in my Etsy shop; purchasing an inexpensive violin and teaching myself some simple songs, making a matching KISS Mask and bow tie for my ex and our dachshund respectively, filling up a Clean Out Kit from Thred Up, to binging everything possible on Prime, Netflix, Hulu and Britbox that I haven’t already watched, I’m not sure what options I have left.

I’ve done just about everything except make a Tik Tok video.

I’m SO over it.

I cannot wait to get a haircut. I am so excited for the next opportunity to get a mani/pedi. I really need a a nice, long massage. I know this all sounds superficial, but I find so much solace in these little moments of relaxation and pampering. They are important to my well-being.

I’m fairly certain I’ll keep on sewing after this all blows over. I hadn’t used a sewing machine since my senior year in HS, but it came back to me so easily I can’t see why I would stop now.

What have you all been doing to stay busy? What’s the most bizarre thing that you’ve found yourself doing and enjoying so much that you may keep going after this is all over?

PS

Matt Smith 11Th Doctor GIF by Doctor Who - Find & Share on GIPHY

Love in the Age of COVID-19

If you have a chink in your relationship armor, there’s nothing like a pandemic with orders to shelter at home for 60+ days, to test whether or not it’s going to make your connection weak enough to break.

These last several months have been stressful, there’s no arguing that. Because of what I do, when given the choice to stay home, I almost always will choose to stay in. If we can get a meeting done just as effectively over an UBER Conference line, I vote for the conference call every time. Now, of course, we have no choice but to substitute conference and Zoom calls for anything that was originally meant to be face-to-face. It’s great, but if you had asked me 6 months ago whether or not I’d attend a video conference without make up; I’d have said, “HELL NO!”. Now I can’t remember the last time I actually applied mascara. It’s a bit bizarre.

The video conferences leave the opportunity for significant others to walk through the background, attempt to involve you in conversations that have nothing to do with you and are of little importance, and introduce small moments of PDA into the video. Some offenses are more egregious than others, of course, but mine always seems to find ways to end up in the background.

It’s quite possible this is my Nana’s “X” 😉

It’s also pretty difficult to find personal, alone time right now. I have locked myself in the bathroom, sat on the stairs, organized the crawl space in the attic and just laid low in the bedroom all day on Saturday or Sunday. I nap during the day, yet he finds reasons to bust in and try to engage me in something he finds exciting, such as how “awesome” the infused butter he is making really looks/smells. Sometimes he just wants to tell me that someone responded to something he posted. Other times it’s something so fucking stupid that I want to throat punch him, but I’m so groggy I know that my arms won’t move that swiftly.

I’ve tried to pull up everything funny, romantic, serious, or otherwise sexy to get the partner into the mood, but nothing works. He’s just focused upon why his company is getting away with not closing down even through it’s not considered “Essential” and making treats for people that have anxiety. I’m just about to lose my mind. I can’t even remember the last time we were intimate or how often he’s actually slept in our bed rather than on the living room sofa. If this doesn’t end soon, it may actually end for me in a very sad, sucky way.

I hope that you are all having a better relationship experience during this lockdown than me and most of my friends have been having.

Any tips for coping?

We’d all love to hear them.

QuarantEaster 2020

The year that Easter Sunday felt the same as every other Wednesday….under the “shelter in place” order and keeping myself occupied under the order to shelter in place.

QuarantEaster

This Easter was obviously a bit different from any other that I’ve ever experienced for two reasons.

  1. COVID-19
  2. It’s the first I have not spent with the family of the person I was with romantically; whether we were together or not. (yes, though my ex and I were separated last year, I still spent Easter with the family…)

The woman we rent from is extremely skilled at taking advantage of people, so she had my boyfriend working on installing pavers for the 5th day (in total) since last fall, for absolutely no compensation other than pizza (it’s a trade he’s now essentially taught her after she promised to pay him xx dollars a day; and then claimed to not remember that once the work was done….) and I was busy sewing masks for friends and family 19 hours a day like a poor 9 year old girl from a third world country all weekend. So, Easter felt like any other day under the order to “shelter in place”.

I had the idea to make surgical caps and masks the first week that people were panicking, long before we were ever lead to believe we’d be isolated for months. But, then I thought that it would be in poor taste and didn’t want to offend anyone. (I have an existing Etsy page where I sell hand knit baby blankets, hats, scarves, and cotton totes…). Suddenly, 5 weeks later, the CDC reverses their initial directive on wearing masks and EVERYONE wants 2 or 20.

So, last weekend I pulled out my old crafting fabric stash and sewing machine; and got to work. My sorority sisters immediately began requesting masks, 2 and 4 at a time and I’ve been head down at the machine ever since. It’s been great getting reacquainted with an old friend and doing something that provides not only a little peace of mind but now a required item, to my friends and family.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve discovered Chilean Sauvignon Blanc comes in a box, which I think is excellent. It’s nearly summer NZ Sauvignon Blanc weather, whether we can go out and do anything or not. As soon as it begins to warm up, I am all but done with Pinot Noir until I need a sweatshirt again.

Insomnia has reared it’s ugly head this week. It’s so hard to sleep knowing you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again with little chance of a different result at the end of each day. I’ve started re-watching Parenthood, which is a nice way to fall asleep. I find it eases me into more pleasant dreams than other series. I’m also grateful for the release of new seasons during this pandemic, such as Ozark (Netflix), Home Before Dark (Apple TV+), and Killing Eve (BBC). Parenthood was my “Thirtysomething” when it debuted all those years ago. and now I look at This is Us as the new Parenthood.

As for the change of month, it seems impossible that it’s already the second week of April. How did we get here and whose hand basket are we in? Please, stay home friends so that we can get back to our “new normal” as quickly as possible. I really need to get out and see my girls (and male friends, too) before I go completely and utterly mad.

How are you all coping?

Regardless, please be safe. We’ve already lost far too many people to this crazy virus. Let’s not lose any more.

These COVID-19 Days

I work from home. That’s the way it’s been, for the most part, since around January of 2000. Working from home means being able to pull yourself out of bed in enough time to be online (if your employer tracks that sort of thing), respond to the first client email you receive or be on your first conference call of the day. Whatever the situation, you learn, you adapt and you make it work. You create a schedule that works for you, your co-workers and your clients; and that’s all that matters.

When it comes to events, doing what I do means you can be on-call 20+ hours a day. I’m in the NYC area, so I have clients across the country and in Canada. When they call, you pick up the phone. Unless, of course, you are on your honeymoon, giving birth or in the hospital. It’s what we do. We are the event specialists and we take client service very seriously.

In this current environment it’s been a challenge. Some clients have dropped off the of the face of the Earth, some want even more contact and others have been furloughed; which is sad. When you make a connection with someone like that and you create some really great work, it’s tough to see them let go. Even if it’s just temporary. I’ve tried to keep lines of communication open with my favorite clients, making sure that they are safe, healthy and doing ok. But, some of them just haven’t responded and that worries me and also makes me a bit sad.

My ex is in a unique position as a producer, song writer and recording engineer with a home studio. His clients, of course, have all either cancelled sessions or postponed for months; some indefinitely. I feel bad for him. I have other ways of creating an income but that’s pretty much all he is equipped to do. He is also in care of our two dogs, a 14 year old male dachshund and a 9 year old female beagle. I manage expenses for their vet care and help with other needs as they come up. Since I know the woman I rent from, she agreed to let them visit me from time to time, which I appreciate. They have been my life since …. wow … for years. I couldn’t have children, so they became my focus. They are my loves.

I am looking forward to being able to pick them up, squeeze their furry little wiggly butts and be annoyed with their usual stuff again.

These weeks have been challenging, not because I haven’t been able to leave my home but because I haven’t been able to travel to see my best friend in the southwest. I had to rearrange a trip to Phoenix because my friend’s Mum is wintering with her and she had chemo two years ago. I can’t go visit my family in New England. I have two nurses that work with the elderly in my immediate family, my Dad had cancer 3 years ago, my Mom is a type 2 Diabetic … my best friend works in a nursing home … it’s really tough.

We’ve been able to have groceries delivered on a relatively regular basis. At least once a week. We’ve been able to keep ourselves stocked (like sane people) with toilet paper, water, paper towels, cleansers … coffee, water and other sundries.) I can get wine delivered thanks to Drizly. I’ve had plenty to watch and binge, luckily.

I’ve been knitting my tiny, fat little white hands off; there’s been no shortage of yarn deliveries here.

But, I do miss the occasional dinner and drinks with my friends and colleagues.

I hope that you are all managing. Being safe. Staying healthy.

Currently binging Ozark and anxiously awaiting the new season of Killing Eve.

What about you?

Ginger Problems

I grew up in a tiny, rural New England town in close proximity to Canada. So close, in fact, that we often walked across the border as children as though we were crossing the street. The towns on the other side of the border closely resembled their American counterparts save the official language.

It was English v Francais.

The area where I grew up was bordered by a very small French Canadian outpost, one of the only concentrations outside of Quebec. If you traveled 30 minutes in any direction away from the epicenter, you encountered the usual English Canadians that most of the world is familiar with. The “oot” and “a-boot” crowd, that we have all so lovingly made fun of over the years. (Thank you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_City_Television for all the laughs you provided over the years!)

I found myself an English speaking kid growing up in a very French-Canadian, Roman Catholic town; bearing an incredibly Irish last name with Protestant roots. I moved into the Valley from one of the larger satellite towns as a young girl, extremely perplexed by the bizarre religious and familial bonds that all of the kids seemed to share. I was a very intelligent, witty, artistic and talented kid. I could have been the next Oprah, though, and everyone in town would have still looked down upon me because I’d arrived in town as A) A Protestant (Poor girl, she’s misguided, it’s not her fault, but we still have to hold it against her to teach her parents a lesson… shame …) and B) a child descended of anything but a Franco-American heritage that only spoke English. Those were really the only two strikes you could have against you in this area, but if there might possibly be a third that could ensure your condemnation to solitary; it would most certainly be red hair. [See blog title for confirmation that my childhood was one, long, living hell … ]

There were a handful of other redheads in town. This included a few people that had managed to abscond with most of their wits into adulthood, and three other kids aside from me between K-12. I still remember thinking that I [we] were coursed to forever stand-out, and would never be able to just blend in with the crowd. I grew up thinking that I was almost “cute” but that I’d never be pretty or beautiful like other women with “normal” complexions and hair coloring.

I had a couple of crushes in high school but never a real boyfriend. I had no idea that the world viewed redheads as exotic until I was in my mid-twenties, living in the NYC Metro area.

I won’t lie. I felt oddly vindicated.

Also, if I’d known the kind of “power” I held as a “ginger” back in those days, man I would have made the most of it. To this day I still can’t believe that many people out there thing that we’re pure evil. So much for education and freedom of information thanks to the world wide web. Superstition is very much alive and well. even in the Western World. It honestly blows my mind.

Every once in a while I meet someone who things that I can hex or curse people; depending upon the person and how they interact with me, I may or may or may not play along. A redheaded witch you want? A redheaded witch you will have. It’s incredible to see people that are supposed to be Ivy League educated believe that somehow I have effected another’s life for the worse. I know I shouldn’t do it, but it’s so easy that sometimes I just cannot pass up the opportunity for a good laugh.

We are currently living through a unique health crisis. I am a type 1 diabetic, and therefore a part of the “susceptible” group of people with a compromised immune system. I try to use common sense and continue doing what needs to be done – drop off packages at the Post Office, go to the Pharmacy, grab a few necessities here and there; buy I swear that I’m the receiving a lot more “looks” right now than I ever have before.

Man, we really have issues in this country, don’t we?

I’m going back to Binging Netflix and drinking wine. I hope you are all safe, healthy and remaining relatively happy during this time of containment. It’s not much fun, but if it keeps you illness-free, I think it’s worth the effort.

Be vigilant, don’t panic unnecessarily and try not to hold all the things your family is doing right now to you annoy you against them when this is all over.