Corona Blues (A Picture of Quarantine) – Part Four

May 18, 2020 – Here’s the fourth (and final!) installment in my pictorial journey through self-imposed home quarantine. As I said in my first post (see Part One), I wanted to keep this light with some humor thrown in. These last four weeks, however, have been almost as surreal as the first few days of the pandemic. My somewhat dark mood has given way to anger, just pure anger.

I’m so bored!

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down…
So, May 1st came and people acted as though they had been stuck at home for years…decades, even. As a species, we still have a ways to go on the evolutionary track. I know I’m sick of being at home, but to put your fellow humans – potentially – in harm’s way…it’s sickening (pun intended).

A Month of High and Lows
During a typical May, our family endures an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows (or, ups and downs) that might cause motion sickness for most folks. The ups and downs started on May 1st – Sam Black’s birthday – and continued on May 2nd with my guest appearance on the Melanoma Research Foundation’s Virtual Miles for Melanoma Opening Ceremony.

There was The Blues Foundation’s virtual Blues Music Awards the following day, then, a week later, there was Mother’s Day – a bittersweet time in our home. At least the weather that weekend was nice and crisp (we even made an outdoor fire).

May also brings back memories of high school and college graduations, along with the end of the school year, which seems to coincide with my birthday on May 20th. (See They Say It’s Your Birthday)

All of this in the midst of a pandemic and a nation that is trying not to dissolve into complete chaos. At that point, we stopped watching the news and tried our best to stay away from the internet. Pretty much impossible to do.

Politicians, Pundits, and People
I’m tired…just plain tired of people…politicians and pundits. Everyone has an opinion and anyone else who disagrees is wrong, just wrong. One group feels their rights are being infringed upon, another group believes those people are reckless and selfish, while others believe this entire “virus thing” is a hoax. To say that people are idiots is to almost understate the problem. We simply don’t care, regardless of our intents, regardless of what we believe or say…bottom-line is – we don’t care. As long as our little self-contained world hums along with no government interference, or pesky intrusions by the neighbors, or whatever…we don’t care.

We are becoming a nation of morons who think only in terms of instant gratification and what can be achieved by crapping all over others. It’s sad…and disgusting. Throw in useless politicians – who only make things worse – and pundits who are simply out for themselves – and its no wonder no one has faith in our societal systems any longer.

Saving Grace(s)
The saving grace for me is that I’m healthy and at home. (Yes, my own little world, thank you.) We have spent a lot of time together, which is wonderful given my health situation. And there are my plants, of course. Always a source of comfort even when they’re a
lot of work. I’ve finished more yard/garden projects this spring than
I’ve finished in the past five years.

So the three pics on the right are definitely my saving graces: good food (compliments of Vicki), gardening, and, as always, beer.

By The Way, Thanks for Asking…
I’ve grown tired of religious folks in this country. As I mentioned in Part 3, I already have a strained relationship with God to begin with. I used the word tenuous – meaning flimsy or weak – and that’s about right. God and I haven’t been on speaking terms in years, especially after Emily’s cancer diagnosis.

I know that runs counter to what most Christians believe…if anything, you’d turn to God in time of need. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for me any longer. To better understand my frustration with organized religion and with people who claim to be “religious,” you have to understand the distinction I make between religion – which is of men – and spirituality – which is of God, or a higher power.

Yeah, I could use a
haircut…and a shave.

I’m tired of people using their “religion” and their religious institutions to judge others and – in the process – cause pain and anguish. Its hypocritical and destructive…and goes against the teachings of that two-thousand-year-old Jewish carpenter from the Galilee.

Matthew 7:2  pretty much sums it up…For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged

I’d like people to stop and think the next time they say “We’re praying for you.” Some of these same people post ugly political memes and defend worthless politicians who match their world view. They’re very quick to chime in on a political post, but don’t take time to wish someone a Happy Birthday, or simply ask someone with a chronic condition, or cancer, How’s it going? How are you feeling?

Time to Move to New Zealand

An entire country full of
sheep! Count me in!

At one point a few weeks ago, I was so fed up with our country – including places I thought we might end up living after retirement – Colorado, Florida, the Carolinas – that I told Vicki that we’re retiring to New Zealand. Seems the Kiwis have figured out to handle the virus, mass shootings, and runaway Hobbits.

Finally… I’m Still Healing
As you may remember (see Don’t Believe the Gripe), I had another melanoma removed on February 28th. It’s been almost three full months, yet I still have a wound that has to be cleaned and bandaged every day. At this point, I think it will be the end of June before I’m fully healed.

Anyway…thanks for listening. I promise the next post will be a little more positive.

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Writer’s Note – I’ll continue to update my blog on a periodic basis. No set schedule. So, I want to thank everyone who continues to stop by and check out my blog. Please leave a comment or message; I’d love to hear from you.

What a Week!

August 4, 2019 – It’s been a week filled with a lot of emotion and humility. Mostly it’s been many highs with just a couple of lows. As cliches go, it’s been a whirlwind. I guess I’ll begin at the beginning:

During the prior week, we celebrated my six-year metastatic melanoma (Stage IV) diagnosis. Obviously, it’s a bittersweet celebration, but as long as I’m still around to celebrate – I’ll take it. Here’s an old post from the first year anniversary (July 2014 anniversary).

On Monday, July 29th, we saw my cardiologist for my six-month visit. It’s been a brutal summer here in Memphis, and the heart meds – along with Gleevec – have done a number on me. Tired, fatigued, dehydrated, etc. My heart doctor says that we should stay the course with my medications. In other words, get through the rest of summer and then we’ll re-evaluate his cardiovascular cocktail in December.

Tuesday, July 30th, brought me a sense of relief. With the help of my editor and friend, Jayden Terrell, I completed my novel manuscript sample and submitted it for agent/editor review. The agent/editor critique will occur during the Killer Nashville International Writers Conference, which will be held later in August in the Cool Springs area, just outside of Franklin, Tennessee. I’ve been writing this book – off and on – for almost ten years. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 31st, I took part in a video conference panel on living with melanoma sponsored by It was both an eye-opening and humbling experience to share survival stories with other melanoma warriors.

My teammate!

Note: is part of the Health Union family of online support communities. Earlier in July, I became a paid contributor (known as an advocate). My work will appear on their website.

Later that afternoon, I found out that my melanoma journey story was published online by Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing. My skin diary story is now on a national website along with survivor stories by Holly Rowe of ESPN and Nora O’Donnell of CBS News. To say that I was psyched would be an understatement.

On Saturday, August 3rd, was the Miles for Melanoma – Memphis (5K) held at Shelby Farms Park. The run/walk is an annual fundraising event for the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). I am highly involved with the MRF and their various advocacy initiatives. This was the fifth year that I participated in the Memphis race. It will likely be my last year of active involvement in this event.

Very cool!

To top off a crazy week, I was recognized by the MRF for my fundraising efforts. Another cool, yet humbling, experience.

Let’s hope next week is a little more calm.

Note:  If you want to leave a comment, just choose “Anonymous” from the Profile Selection drop down bar right below the Comment box. (It’s the very last choice.)  Sorry for any confusion.

Also, please make sure you leave your name or sign-in somewhere in your comment.  Thanks.

Writer’s Note – I’ll continue to update my blog on a periodic basis.  No set schedule.  So, I want to thank everyone who continues to stop by and check out my blog. Please leave a comment or message; I’d love to hear from you.