she did me a favor

So…everyone is asking me how I think I caught Covid when Banjo Man and I have been SO GOOD about staying home, having our groceries delivered, our prescriptions mailed to us, etc.

March 17, early in the lock down process, I went to CVS to buy batteries (the round silver kind) for our thermometer (it drains batteries and I hate it).  I was in “prepare for Corona” mode.  The clerk behind the counter, the woman who guarded the battery display behind her, wanted to chat.  She has been a reader of my books for many years and is always happy to see me.

In the process of our conversation, she started coughing and said, “I’m SO SICK.  I have STREP THROAT.  I have a FEVER.”

I backed away, kept smiling and hurried out of the store.  Once in the car I sanitized the battery package, my wallet, the car keys, my phone, my glasses and anything else I could see.  I think I even wrote on my blog that I thought I’d risked my life to go to CVS to buy batteries.  And of course I was joking at the time.

Back in mid-March we knew nothing about “droplets” and we were told not to bother wearing masks.  How things have changed!!

A week later I started feeling sick, but I wondered if it was my imagination.  After all, we were in quarantine!

After a few days with a little cough and a mild fever I called my doctor, who prescribed antibiotics.  Neither one of us imagined that Corona (as it was called back then) was the culprit.  The symptoms were just not that overwhelming and I didn’t feel sick, just cold and tired.  And with a strange little wheezing in my throat.

As you know, up until early May I rarely ever ventured out of the house unless it was to take a ride in the car.  That was it.

Now two weeks before I was sick, I’d had a meeting with the director of a funeral home, an appointment with my doctor and lunch with a friend.  None of those people came down with the virus (I asked).

If you think you had an odd “little bug” in 2020, you might want to consider having the antibody test.  It’s not cheap.  You have to go to a lab and get blood drawn.  You need a comprehensive series of tests performed to get accurate results.

But the relief of having had those test results is SO WONDERFUL.  I’d grown so tired of feeling afraid and stressed and worried all of the time.  And now I don’t have to.

It’s such a good feeling.

I wish we could all feel this way.




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i love antibodies

I just got off the phone with my doctor, who had humored me last week by writing a lab slip so I could have the Covid 19 antibody test.  It was a long shot, I knew, but just in case that little bug I’d had was actually Covid, wouldn’t it be wonderful to know?  I couldn’t imagine releasing that fear, but I knew my body and my emotional state needed relief.

Last March, around the third week, I didn’t feel well.  I had a sore throat.  A mild dry cough.  A fever, but nothing horrible.  My ears hurt a little.  I was tired.  I was cold.  I called my doctor, who prescribed antibiotics but didn’t think it was the Corona virus.  At that time we all believed the symptoms had to be a lot worse.

I had my blood drawn at the hospital lab last Wednesday.  My doctor called this morning to tell me that I had antibodies, that I tested positive on all three tests, and that there was no chance of a false positive.  The tests showed I’d had the virus months ago, in March.

He pronounced me “Covid Immune.”

My life just became easier.  Less frightening.  A little more peaceful.

Banjo Man will have the test done on Monday.  Hopefully he was one of those people who had it but didn’t have symptoms.

I’ll still wear my mask in public.  I don’t want to freak people out.  But I’m going to get a copy of the test results to keep with me at all times.  My doctor said I should write “Covid Immune” on my mask, but I don’t see the point.

It’s enough to know that now I can hug anyone I want.  




Posted in family, rhode island | 8 Comments

scum of the earth

I hope Karma is a bitch, I really do.

What has me so revved up?  Someone stole my mother’s Social Security number and used it on their own tax return.  They probably claimed her as a dependent and received a bigger refund.

I am livid.  What kind of person would do that when someone has died????

And in the midst of settling my mother’s estate–there are more forms and things to do than you could imagine—I now have more forms to fill out, more things to do.  There are mysteries to solve at her bank this morning, a trip to the police station to file a report, a call to the IRS Identity Protection Unit.  I pray that the bank issues have nothing to do with the theft of her Social Security number.

As her mental health declined, my mother grew very attached to her floral wallet.  She insisted on keeping her Social Security card, health care cards and expired credit cards from Kohls and Chico’s and Penny’s.  I removed those before she went into a nursing home in March, but I stupidly left the Social Security card in her wallet.  I had no idea that number was ripe for theft, if indeed someone who worked there stole it.  God only knows, as I’ve given that number to plenty of banks and government agencies these past weeks.

I have filed IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit with her paper tax return.   And IRS Form 4506-F, to request the identity of who used my mother SS# on their tax return.  I would think a computer search would find that information.  I alerted the nursing home, just in case.

So…just a warning.  Don’t keep anything in your wallet with your SS# on it.  File your taxes early.

My father used to say, “Don’t get mad, get even.”   Well, I am mad and I have no idea how to get even, except to hope that IRS Form 4506-F ends up causing this evil person to be arrested.

I wonder if there is an IRS form that would allow me to throw rocks at them.





Posted in family, rhode island | 1 Comment

memorial day 2020

Have you heard of “Taps Across America”?

At 3:00 this afternoon, wherever you are, musicians are asked to play TAPS and people are encouraged to open their windows or stand on their porches to hear the song and pay their respects to those who have died in service to the country.

I’m planning to stand at the end of our driveway and play TAPS on the violin.  I doubt if anyone will hear me–we live in the country–but I want to participate anyway.  If there was ever a time to come together as Americans, this is it.

Wherever you are at 3 PM, open your windows or go outside and listen.  I hope you hear the music.


The flag that hung in the Philippines during WWII when my father was fighting the Japanese.   Photo taken at the WWII Museum in New Orleans in 2016.



Posted in music, rhode island | 5 Comments

it could be worse

Just when you think the walls have closed in so tightly you are going to go mad, here’s an article about being stranded.  Really stranded.

A Bolivian orchestra has been stuck in a haunted German castle, surrounded by twenty-three packs of wolves, for two months.

I hope Frederick the Great likes music.


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going to town


Yesterday was a mental health day.

  •  It started out with a visit to see the physical therapist, who was unusually chatty and cheerful as she stuck needles in my hip.  She wants the recipe for my pork tenderloin balsamic glaze.
  • Marshall’s was open and I donned my mask and limped across the parking lot to go inside and see for myself that the world hadn’t actually come to an end.  Everything was on sale.  This was my first venture into a public place since March 13.  I haven’t been to the grocery store or even the Post Office or CVS.  It was absolutely lovely to be around people.  Everyone wore masks, the carts were sanitized, everyone politely self-distanced and there were “one way” arrows painted on the floor of the main aisles.  Piece of cake!
  • We had tickets to visit Wicked Tulips and pick up two bouquets.
  • We had a combo lunch/dinner at Wendy’s.  Banjo Man is finally beginning to master the art of the drive-up window, no easy feat for him.
  • I had a curbside pick-up order at Kohl’s, which was open for business!  I actually went inside and roamed around for a few minutes, just because I could.
  • Last but not least, we stopped for a Social Distancing Cocktail with Ruth and Kenny.  We admired their new garden planters (incredibly gorgeous) and luxuriated in face-to-face communication.   And yes, there was tequila.
  • On the way home Banjo Man stopped at a local supermarket to scoop up a couple of lobsters (on sale) and ice cream, the two basic food groups here in New England.

There are no adventures planned for the long weekend.  Unpacking the summer clothes (still not needed here in RI) and cleaning up the storage room are on my agenda, as are laundry and paperwork.  The fog is thick outside my window.

Two beaches open on Monday, but we’ll stay away from the crowds and go for a walk another day.  There are no events planned at the Veteran’s cemetery, which is sad.

If you’re planning an adventure this weekend, stay safe and enjoy yourself!



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a good friday


I would never have called myself a big shopper, but when I saw this sign on Marshall’s windows I couldn’t wait to find a parking space and go inside.  It was very exciting!

I had just come from physical therapy and my hip was aching, but nothing was going to stop me from putting on my mask, taking a sanitized cart and following the “one way” arrows painted on the floor.  There was no line.  It wasn’t crowded.  Everyone in there was happy, or at least seemed content (how do you describe someone as “happy” when you can’t see the smile behind the mask?).

I bought three tops, two jars a fig jam and three pairs of socks.  The check-out line was long, but it moved fairly quickly.

The dressing room was closed, so I have my receipt just in case.

Now it’s time for a nap.

What’s open in your world?


Posted in rhode island, shopping | 2 Comments



Banjo Man’s super power is water witching.  Here he is busy calculating the depth of Barb and Rod’s mystery well.  It took a while to find the well, but a good time was had by all in the process.  Rod is standing by to punch a hole in the ground to hopefully find the well cover.

As you can see, we are social distancing.

And Banjo Man’s reward?


Maple walnut.  A real treat.


Posted in friends, rhode island | 2 Comments

a beautiful surprise


These arrived yesterday afternoon.   They were sent by my niece Sili and her family in California.  And they were very, very much appreciated.

Little did Sili know that an hour before these arrived, I was sobbing my heart out in my car in the parking lot of a medical building.  Nothing was wrong with me–I’d just had a little skin cancer scraped from my back–but it was one of those days where everything was closing in and my anger and worry and frustration and sadness had bubbled over into a major “come apart” (as my friend Ann would call it).

And when I came home, still a weepy mess, the roses and the love and thoughtfulness they represented greeted me at the door.

Of course I cried because they were so beautiful and I was so touched, but that was certainly better than sobbing with self-pity in the car.

Today I went to my GP for the cortisone shot recommended by my physical therapist.  My only social contacts this month have been medical ones.  My doctor was only too happy to comply with the shot for the bursitis in my hip that’s plagued me for months.  And it didn’t hurt a bit (though I’d worked myself into a state of dread thinking that he’d use one of those elephant-sized needles I’d seen them give the large animals on “Secrets of the Zoo”).

Afterwards Banjo Man (who had stayed in the car and taken a morning nap) drove me to Subway and I picked up a Spicy Italian sub for my lunch.

My first Subway in at least three months.  And oh, was it delicious!

I’m not sure when I’ll stop weeping, but I suspect in a few weeks when the mountains and the lake work their magic I’ll feel a whole lot better and more at peace.

That’s the plan.

In the meantime, I keep making quilts–big and small–to keep busy.  Here’s the baby quilt top that was finished this afternoon:


Started in 2019, finished in 2020.

And here’s what is on the kitchen island being basted:


Uh-oh.  Another wild quilt.

This baby quilt will finally get its binding stitched down tonight.


Started in 2018, finished in 2020.

So…proof that you can be one hot mess and still accomplish something.  Please pass me a tissue and that bottle of Ibuprofen.




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he’s done with the school year

John at school

The Funny Grandson has had enough.

As have we all, in one way or another.


Posted in family, texas | 4 Comments