Doorbell ~ Raivenne

She greets me with each new dawn
Much like my doorbell loud to sing
We pick a cardinal point to walk
See the morn – for noon will bring
reminders that in this masked new world
the year passes in its usual swing
I sit until dusk – no points met
For a silenced doorbell cannot ring

Flood ~ T’ao  Chien

The lingering clouds, rolling, rolling,
And the settled rain, dripping, dripping,
In the Eight Directions—the same dusk.
The level lands—one great river.
Wine I have, wine I have:
Idly I drink at the eastern window.
Longingly—I think of my friends,
But neither boat nor carriage comes.

Tonight, at dVerse Poets Laura tends bar and reminds us that today, April 20th, is UN Chinese Language Day. Thus, we are challenged to re-interpret an original Chinese (translated) poem in our own style and try not to use too much of the original poem’s wording. I chose “Flood” by Tao Chien, whose ending lines of longing for friends brought to mind those missing friends and family lost this past year due to the pandemic.

In addition, I chose to re-interpret the poem in the Chinese LUSHI style:

  • eight lines long of couplets – The first couplet should set-up the poem; the middle two couplets develop the theme, the final couple is conclusion
  • each line must have the same number of words, either 5,6, or 7.
  • a mono-rhyme is on every even numbered line
  • Caesura (a pause) should separate clauses.

I Down – 1 to Go

I was scheduled to get my 1st Covid shot next week. Late yesterday I was called by the clinic and asked if it were possible for me to come in today. Luckily, I did not have training and accepted the change of schedule with a definitive “Is Amos famous?”. My best friend and I scheduled together so she had received the call as well. We both were free.

This morning we arrived at a little before the appointed time because I know there’s paperwork. Best laid plans, my best friend was fine, but no one could find my name. Long story made short about twenty minutes later one of the assistants had started his shift amidst the kerfuffle. It turned out he was the one who made the call and remembered speaking with me because of the silly Famous Amos comment and I was finally given the paperwork and received my shot.

Since I had now taken the day off work to have the shot – because I did not know how I would feel, I now had a free day. Before the schedule change, my bestie and I were going to go to Michael’s, a craft store, after my work shift. All I wanted one thing: a couple of cans of Mod Podge. Go there get it and come home. We were both feeling fine, so we decided to go ahead with the shopping plan.

Neither of us knew the Michael’s in that mall had closed. Well, what are two gals at a mall going to do? Some nearly $200 a piece at Target later, none of which contained Mod or Podge, answers that question. All was fine until I got home, put everything away and laid down because I felt sleepy.

Guess who just woke up about twenty minutes ago? Guess who put it down to side effect of the shot? Guess who still needs Mod Podge? And guess who just remembered to slice?

1 down was not supposed to be me!

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It’s Been One Year Since You’ve Looked At Me…

At 4pm one year ago today, I walked out of my place of employment without a clue as to when I would return. My boss literally said the words “Don’t come back here tomorrow.” The pandemic had hit, we went into emergency mode and my unit was one that would be working from home. My agency is twenty-four hours. There were/are units that continue to come in. There was no way around it, some services must be handled in person, even in the midst of a pandemic.

That translated to even though the City quarantined, and masks, hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing became de rigueur, on occasion my work wife and I would have to come to the office. It was part necessity and part breaking up what had quickly become the monotony of being cooped home. However, as the weather got cold, every couple of weeks became, once a month and once a month became we have not stepped foot in my office since the very first week of January.

We knew we were entering a ghost town with the barest amount of personnel, so dressing for ‘work’ had fallen by the wayside for my work-wife. I would not wear a full out suit, but I wore slacks and blouses, in my mind it’s the office. Still, we may have visited the office a maximum of fifteen times in this past year. It has dawned to me, now that people are being vaccinated, I suspect my office may reopen by the end of spring. Whether it will return to a full week or some split schedule is undetermined as of yet, as the City as a whole is excruciatingly, but definitely emerging into a new semblance of normal.

I’ve lived in mostly jeans and t-shirts. My wardrobe, work or otherwise, has barely been used in the past year; that is going to change. I know there are clothes in my closet that have not seen the light since Winter 2019. I am not going to lie, I have gained the Covid 20+ and I am not looking forward to going through some of my clothes. And while I admit to the retail therapy I’ve done in the interim, it’s not going to be pretty for some of my wardrobe. Not to mention, 0I have not worn proper shoes in over a year. Can I even walk in my low work heels anymore?

After a year of various levels of quarantine, I am looking forward to regularly seeing friends and (certain), colleagues again, dining in restaurants, going to concerts and movies and Broadway! Above all, I am looking forward to travelling again. Other than a weekend jaunt to Philadelphia last November, I have not left my fair City since I returned from Cuba in spring of 2019. In the words of Lenny Kravitz: I want to get away – I want to fly away – yeah – yeah- yeah

Still, I find myself conflicted. Am I ready for real clothes, five days a week again? After a year of pretty much living in Hermitsville, am I ready for the noise… the people(!)? As much as I am looking forward to being out and about once more am I ready for the world again?

More important is it ready for me?

PS: !! Happy St. Patrick’s Day !!

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My work wife and I went into the office today. My first time being back at my desk since last Tuesday. After being at our respective desks for a while we decided coffee was needed, but in world of coronavirus the question then became – who is open?

Generally, there are no less than ten places within walking distance in which coffee could be procured on a normal weekday. But this is not a normal day which we quickly reminded. The kiosks were closed. The concession stand was closed. The two popular restaurant chains were closed. The three Starbucks in the immediate area were closed.

I work for an agency that provides essential services, in my area are other agencies that also provide essential services. We’re all 24/7/366 we knew someone had to be open in the area and we found it.

Unlike the chains, this is a privately owned bar/restaurant. The owner understood that essential workers were still coming in and we have to eat. Yes, a lot of the food options were trimmed from the menu, and all of it was take-out only now, but it was open for business.

In the mornings around 9am, there is always a line of workers getting their grub and the oh so necessary caffeine fix. However, knowing there is always a line is one thing. Seeing that same line with social distancing engaged is another.

Granted exactly how close/far the suggested six feet of distance between people needs to be worked by some out, but it was in place.

Food line up in the time of Corona…

I got on the quickly growing line to hold a place while my work-wife went to the register to find out if we had to be on it to get coffee. Luckily, because we were only getting coffee we did not have to get on line. We were in and out of there quickly.

It’s a unique world we’re in right now. We know it’s not easy for the owners or the workers who come in to keep us caffeinated and fed. But it is appreciated.


Wow Day 26! I’m essentially kicking it for today’s Slice of Life Writing Challenge for 2020.

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And Counting…

It’s a little weird for me as an office worker and slicer right now.

We are in Day 20 of this challenge. My head knows there are only eleven days to go and it’s done. That once far off horizon has shown signs of a shore, I can see this year’s sailing is almost over.

I once has bronchitis. My doctor put me on a week’s bed rest. I only had to get through a mere eight days of being in bed. I lasted all of five days; technically four and a half. Yes, I was in my flat, but I was not in bed. I’m just not that person. On that fifth day, by early afternoon I simply had to get out of the house.

Eight days; the shore was clearly in sight – and I failed.

On Facebook I had quipped, that this self-isolating and self-sequestering must be an agoraphobes dream. Perhaps it is, but I am not an agoraphobe.

I am now on Day 3 of self isolation and working from home. The saving grace is that it’s Friday. Tomorrow I will go out to do laundry first thing in the morning. Then I will do a small grocery run – after all perishables like milk and bread do not last forever. I live in an area that services like Fresh Direct do not deliver and the cost would be prohibitive. Not to mention I am picky about some food items and just need to get them myself. In my neighbor the early afternoon is when people are beginning to crowd places, so I will be fine. I know I should done with everything and back in my home by 1pm. Still, I am one of the lucky ones in that I get the option to self-isolate and work remotely.

I work for an agency that is in operation 24/7/366. We’ve instituted limited or a rotating staff, but I have colleagues in other departments that must come in. Their jobs cannot be done remotely and they cannot continuously use up time their leave banks when no one knows how long the wait will be.

In seemingly just a couple of days, the estimates of when this may end has gone from a couple of weeks, to a couple of months to perhaps early autumn. It all depends on how fast we can flatten the curve here in the City That Never Sleeps and globally. Still, as I commented to another slicer yesterday I refuse to consider this my new norm. For however long this lasts there is nothing normal about this.

It is only Day 4 since the good ship “Self Isolation” has officially sailed here in NYC. We can’t say “Bon Voyage”. We’re headed into the rough waters right now and who knows how long it will take before it looks like smooth sailing again. Most of us will go a little stir crazy/Cabin feverish on this voyage from time to time and to all of ys I add “Bon Courage.” But voyages, however long they may be, are by their very nature temporary things. They have a beginning and more importantly – they have an end. Thus I have chosen to take a quote from the TV show LOST:

“See you on the other side…”


Getting it done from home on Day 20, of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020 – let’s see how others are slicing it:

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Remotely Speaking…

I have used remote access to do work from home before. Usually for no more than than three hours. I generally have found the process cumbersome and prone to crashing on me so often that I would rather take the hour-plus train ride to my office to wore more efficiently, than do it from home. It has been close to a year since I last attempted such. That’s how much I dislike it that option.

COVID-19 has taken that option from me.

I was ordered to stay home and I actually listened. I know my boss was surprised, more likely shocked, by it this morning. Thus today was the first time I attempted a full workday solely by remote access.

On one side, getting an extra two hours of sleep when it’s not the weekend or vacation was oddly disconcerting, on the other side it was wonderful. Still, I got up, showered and made my bed, because I’m OCD like that, before I fired up the PC and jumped in.

The system has improved vastly since I last used it. After I installed the new app and all its 5.5 googol updates (a googol is an actual number – look it up), I was good to go. There was a half-hour where the connection dropped repeatedly, but then mysteriously stopped as it mysteriously started. I have to admit, I was impressed. I made a few calls, emailed more and finally put a dent in a new training manual I am authoring. It was me, iTunes and multi-page documentation. That was the good news.

Unfortunately, the bad news is all the bad habits my work wife is trying to break me out, now that we sit near each other, came back with a vengeance. All her gentle, and sometimes blatant, reminders were not there to break up the tunnel vision I get when working – especially on documentation.

“Do you want to get some coffee?” “Have you moved since you came in?” “I’m starving – what’s for lunch?”

My in a few minutes quickly coalesced into a few hours later. I mean, I’m home, in my own house – the kitchen is literally on the other side of the wall – how did I not take lunch today? And only my eyes crossing, forcing me to step away for longer than a bathroom break stopped me. Sorry, wifey.

At least now I know that remote access won’t be quite the production draining burden I feared in terms of loss of work. But I still dislike it. I have to work out getting my slices done before I start focusing. I can see now, without a serious distraction, I’m going to be posting late a lot for the rest of this challenge. I definitely dislike that.

It is day 18 – almost Day 19, of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020 – pushing the boundaries on better late than never.

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Message from the Universe: Live

Every now and then an inspired soul will randomly graffiti a sidewalk, or wall; tack a note to a tree; stick a note in a flowerbed etc. with a message that resonates with me. I call them messages from the universe. I saw this lovely message graffitied on a landing of my train station on the way to work this morning and had to post it to my facebook page.

Photo of sidewalk graffiti that reads: Today is a Good Day for a Good Day.

My added words: You know what? Yes, it's Monday. Yes, we're Living in the Time of Corona Virus, but we are in fact alive. Let's live people.❤

What I liked most about this simple message was its location. In order to see this you would have, presumably, paid your fare and be on the way up the stairs to the train platform level. That means the decision to get up, go through whatever your morning routine may be and then go where you have to go, to do what you have to do has already been made and put into motion.

That’s already a step in a good direction.

I mean no one purposely sets out to have a bad day. At least I hope not. I fully admit I am not a morning person. Yes, I get up bright and surly every weekday morning, but no, I do not get up with the thought that the day will be a lousy one and I am going to do everything I can to keep it so. I presume it is the same for most people.

That we do this out of habit, necessity, or boss’ orders is especially noteworthy in today’s climate where that decision to step outside your home means contact with others who have made that same decision. We are now hyper sensitive to what that can mean.

We have gone through mad cow, e-coli, bird flu and other medical scares. I am fully cognizant that this is a more virulent and wide spread strain of anything we’ve seen before, but as a species, we have survived and we will continue to. Some have sequestered or been quarantined in various levels before, but what we have not done is stop living.

COVID-19 has hit hard in Italy, among other places. Still, no one can deny the joie de vivre in the videos of Italians singing during quarantine. They are quarantined, not knowing what the next day will bring. Yet they sing. Why? Because they are alive, but above all they have not stopped living.

So yes, be safe. Take ALL the precautions: avoid unnecessary contact with others and yourself; sneeze and cough into a tissue or not partially above or partially under – but directly into the crook of your elbows; use sanitizers every where you can; and for God’s sake, please wash your hands!

Remember people that you are alive, so live! And in spite of it all…

Have A Good Day!

It is day 16 of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020. Let’s see how others are slicing it up on this good day!

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Right Now…

Right Now I’m…

Listening to my iTunes, Non-Stop from the Original Broadway Cast recording of “Hamilton” is playing. It’s fitting as I have been on my computer for the past couple of week writing “like you’re running out of time” either for work or personal projects.

Loving that I am writing voraciously. Muse has been nearly excessively generous of late and I hope that I, her obedient servant, am in fact serving her well. She is wicked when takes away her gifts for lack of or improper use. I do not want to incur her wrath again.

Drinking nearly a gallon of water a day on average. I have done so for the past few weeks and I have to admit, other than the increased bathroom runs, it has been beneficial. My complexion is clearer and I actually feel hydrated.

Thinking about Love in the Time of CoViD-19. I was preparing to attend my cousin’s wedding in Boston at the end of the month. As I started writing this slice the word came down that while the wedding/marriage itself, now shrunk down to immediate family only will still happen, the reception afterwards has been officially cancelled. I know it was a hard decision to come to and not made lightly as there are family members, especially the international ones who, like me, now have to scramble to cancel hotel and travel arrangements.

Wondering now whether my trip to Atlanta for 221BCon in April will happen with the Corona Virus scare. I check the event’s social media pages daily. As of this morning the event has not been, nor look like it’s going to be cancelled – yet…

Wanting to behave like an adult. I have plenty of clothes. I don’t need to buy anything for the convention should it happen. I really should choose among the plenty I already have, but I’m also a girl at times and I saw this fabulous outfit online… Le Sigh!

Needing a vacation. We’re in the long period between President’s Day in February and Memorial Day at the end of May, with no government holidays between them. The convention in Atlanta, if it happens, would be a nice break, but it is an extended weekend at best. I want a full out week of vacation at the minimum and no, being quarantined is not a vacation.

Worrying about various friends who are each facing a major surgery over the next few weeks. Two will be close where I can be of help. The others are far in a way that I can’t even pretend about it. All I can do is send good healing vibes, well wishes and prayers.

Procrastinating ironing clothes. I can’t stand ironing. I have clothes in a bag to be ironed from the last time I did laundry a month ago and it’s time to do laundry again, meaning the bag is going to have new additions. I like wrinkle-free clothing, I just don’t like the process of ironing itself. Had I the funds, I would happily pay to have someone come to my home just to iron. Did I mention I. Abhor. Ironing? Maybe later this evening…

Anticipating with much hope that my trip to London, England for my birthday will happen! I’m scheduled to be a panel speaker at the inaugural HolmesCon 2020 and I’m so looking forward to it. Just thinking about it makes me have a banana almost to my to ears. 

Reading other slices and later on some fanfiction to take my mind off the above mentioned worry for friends and disappointment of the cancelled wedding. And yes, I’m still procrastinating on ironing clothes. Maybe tomorrow…

And Thanking aggiekesler for this cool format I have used for today’s slice. It’s one I am sure I will turn to again.

Day 15 of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020. Let’s see how others are slicing it up this halfway point!

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