Starting a journal

I have been working on this coronavirus project for about a week and today the emotional toll finally hit me. There was this video of a Chinese woman from Wuhan. She was talking about the situation there, about how even money can’t buy you medicine or a hospital bed. About how her parents were sick and dying and she couldn’t help them. About how if you stand up and try to say anything the police come and “ask you for tea” were at best they threaten you and at worst they kill you. Or maybe the worst is when they throw healthy people into quarantine camps so they get sick, and then let them die. I’m not sure which is worse to be honest. She was so brave. She knew the price for what she was doing but she was willing to pay it. She told Hong Kong and Taiwan and Tibet to rise up, to fight for freedom from the CCP. She spoke to the 700,000 people locked up in China’s quarantine zone. She told them all to fight for freedom of speech and for human rights…I doubt I will see her again…Just like Dr. Li Wenliang. Just like Chen Qiushi, the journalist.

I started to cry. I cried and I cried and I couldn’t stop. I still haven’t stopped…

All the people who dared defy China’s government and speak out about the virus and the human rights abuses disappear. Dr Li tried to warn us about the virus that China was hiding. They threw him in with the infected and let him die. Some say he actually got sick before they arrested him but it makes no difference. They made him sign this ridiculous statement saying he lied, and then they let him die without treatment. He is a Hero and I will never forget him.

It’s the same with Chen Qiushi. I watched as he cried and shook from the fear, as he stood defiant and told the world what was really going on. He knew he was going to die…he knew. The last thing he reported before he went missing was about how China was lying about how many had dies and were sick. He snuck into the back of a hospital and showed us the bodies in the truck and on the floor waiting to be put in. He wasn’t heard from again after that.

People make jokes about the virus and say, “it’s just the flu” and “it’s all media hype!” but how can they say that? Is 700,000 people being sealed into there own homes and being put into camps and so called “hospitals” with no treatment and no doctors media hype? Are the children I’ve seen asking there mothers why there are so many bodies “hype”? Is the suffering and pain of hundreds pf thousands of people just a bunch of hype? How can they say with a strait face “Oh you watch, it’ll all blow over”. Blow over? For who? Certainly not the people of China.

Then there is all the information I have read and watched from researchers and virologist, from CDC and W.H.O. trying to warn us that the virus is coming and we need to be ready. It’s the understanding of all the little details about how this virus works and spreads. It’s the 16+ hours a day that I work with researchers and people from all over the world gathering data and extracting it to make articles that I hope can help people.

It’s normal. I know it is. No one can see so much suffering and death and not be effected by it. And I am going to continue on. I am going to cry until I can’t cry anymore and then I am going to wipe my tears and get back to work. Those people matter. The threat this virus poses matters. There isn’t a lot of time left before people realize the extent of the spread. The US military is constructing 28 huge quarantine camps after a representative from the CDC told congress to prepare for hundreds of thousands of cases. So I am going to keep going. I am going to keep mining the data and talking to people who know what it means. I am going to keep writing articles that I hope can help people stop the spread and be ready for an outbreak near them.

But I also need to take care of myself too. I’m no use if I drive myself into the ground. So I am starting this journal. And when I am frustrated or overwhelmed I will stop, take a breath and come here to put down my thoughts. I don’t know what good it could possibly be to share this with anyone but I am going to leave it here where people can see it. Maybe it can be of help in a way. I don’t know. I’ve stopped crying now. Thanks for listening.

Trinity

Waiting for what comes next…

So it’s been 12 days since the attack on the capitol. Things remain quiet but tense. There are over 20K troops in Washington right now just to make sure the inauguration of President elect Biden doesn’t turn into a bloodbath. It’s one hell of a deterrent that seems to be working so far. Only one person was found with fake authorization papers, a Glock and 500 rounds so…that’s good? I mean I am glad it was just the one but it shouldn’t have happened at all. The protests expected on the 17th were small and peaceful but we still have to get through the inauguration. Personally I don’t know why we have to have a public inauguration this go round. Do it on live TV from an undisclosed location. Some think that there must be another reason for so many troops in Washington but I have no idea what that reason would be.

The pandemic is a nightmare. We lose 3500-4200 a day during the weekdays with around 250K new infections a day. They expect the new B117 variant to become the new dominant strain by March. We are seeing what it can do in the UK and in Southern California. There are other variants being found with troubling mutations as well. More contagious, changes in the protein spike, more able to dodge antibodies and possibly more resistant to the vaccine. Vermont is holding strong at around 150 cases a day and 3-5 deaths per day. I’m lucky to live here. I had planned to move out of state last spring but the pandemic stopped me. I was set to leave in March/April. I’m lucky I had decided to pay attention to the pandemic early on. It allowed us to change our plans.

We are supposed to hear from the bank on Wednesday about how the appraisal went on the new house. It’s nerve wracking. If everything went okay then we are clear to close. If not then…I don’t know.

The combined stress is getting to me. I am having nightmares about not being able to breath, about war, about all sorts of horrible stuff. It’s my subconscious trying to deal with everything. Up until the nightmares started a few days ago I thought I was fine. I felt calm or I thought I did. The dreams have sort of shattered that illusion but it’s okay. If my brain is telling me it needs to deal with things then it can go right on ahead. So I will admit it. I’m scared. If I get covid I am highly likely to suffer an acute case. My country is a powder keg and in a weak position internationally. Living in this rotten trailer is tough in the winter and I can’t stand the idea of having to go back to square one on trying to move out. I have good reason to feel some fear.

I think it’s important to share that as well. I have seen a lot of idiots shaming people for feeling any kind of fear or anxiety. As if it were some personal flaw rather than natural and understandable. I don’t want people to feel alone and truth be told I don’t want to feel alone either. I’m tired of the pandemic. I’m tired of the division in my country. I’m tired of living in this hell hole. I don’t have to be positive about everything. Negative emotions are just as important as positive ones. Maybe more so. So I will admit it and feel it and deal with it.

I’ll tell you what I won’t do though. I won’t give into the fear. I won’t give up on staying uninfected or peaceful or getting a new home. I won’t cower and I won’t become reckless either. Slow and steady. Calm and rational. When your world feels like it is falling apart that is the way to go. So to deal with everything I will talk more, draw more, sing more, and live MORE. I promised myself I would not give in to despair and I won’t. Feeling some fear doesn’t mean I have to give into it. I will feel it and let it pass through me. I often think about the Litany against fear from Dune by Frank Herbert.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

It’s not about not feeling fear at all. It’s about acknowledging the fear you feel and mindfully letting it pass. It’s not about denial but acceptance and in the end, peace. So that’s what I am going for. I hope that sharing this will be helpful to people who read it. I hope it makes others feel less alone and less afraid. As always we will get through this. One way or another.

Welcome to 2021…

Yesterday was a nightmare. I saw it coming yet it still rocked me to my core. When I saw those traitors break the barriers and storm the capitol I cried for my country. We are so broken and nothing is going to put us back together again. The only thing we should be having to worry about are the 4,100 souls we lost yesterday to coronavirus but instead we have to deal with homegrown terrorists trying to subvert a legitimate election. And why? Because they believed the lies of a conman and crook.

I’m finding it hard to write. What the hell am I supposed to say? That the president incited a rebellion? That a fooled woman was shot dead trying to storm the capitol? That they live streamed their intention to kidnap and kill our elected officials? That I have Trump supporters who are so in denial they are trying to say that this isn’t what happened and that it was FUCKING ANTIFA?! That Putin is laughing his ass off right now? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY HERE!?

It would be so much easier is I didn’t love my country. But I do. I can’t sit back happily while I watch it go up in flames but there is nothing else I can do. I believe in peaceful means to solve problems unless a direct threat is made against ones life. Even if I wanted to do otherwise what would I 20do? Where would I go? It’s the job of the police and NG to keep the peace. Not me. So what can I do except cry and archive?

Here are some links to the news stories from yesterday.

CBS

CNNPolitics

The Guardian

usatoday.com

That’s really all I can muster. I feel empty and sad and defeated even though we won all the elections we had been hoping for. Maybe that is because I am not a Democrat. I only voted that way out of desperation. I don’t regret it. It was the right thing to do but I don’t really think they can fix this. They are corrupt in another way than the GOP. And even if they have the best of intentions it won’t matter. Our people are so fractured that there is no way to reconcile. There are not enough people like me out there who are willing to let bygones be bygones. Something in people hungers for a war and I fear they will make it a reality.

So there it is. The ramblings of a heartbroken American Patriot. Welcome to 2021…

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas day. I’m here with my husband and cats. The gifts for our family have been mailed out or dropped off. Like many families this year we are not having a large gathering. We are having no gathering at all. It’s for a good cause and worth it but it makes it hard to feel the spirit of the season. I’d rather lose Christmas than a loved one though, so here we are.

I want to be thinking about happy things but my mind keeps drifting back to all the families missing a member this year due to covid19. All the doctors and nurses who are working double shifts to keep people alive. And my heart especially goes out to those living in southern California. They had over 34K new cases yesterday alone. It’s shocking and horrifying.

I’m also angry about the coronavirus aid bill. First of all it took them far too long to agree between the parties to pass the one that they did. It only had 11 weeks of extended UI and just $600 in direct payments. But as measly as that is it was better than nothing and all we are going to get. And what does Trump do? He refuses to sign it! He says it’s because he wants $2000 in direct payments but it’s a scam and we all know it. He knows full well that the GOP will NEVER pass a bill with that much in it. They won’t even give us $1200. And he knows that his supporters will call him a saint for “trying to get us more money” when in fact he is just blocking coronavirus aid and passing the blame onto other people. I have to wonder if this isn’t some scheme cooked up between him and the senate GOP to avoid giving aid entirely.

The democrats were enthusiastic about the idea of $2000 payments but the GOP made sure it didn’t pass. People keep bitching about all the “pork” in the “coronavirus relief bill” forgetting that it’s not a coronavirus relief bill! It’s coronavirus relief tacked onto a general funding bill. I’m not a fan of politics but even I can understand that. People are stupid. What can I say. Lord knows I’m not a fan of any of the democrats either but right now they are advocating my interests which is more than I can say for the GOP. This is pretty much the extent of my knowledge or interest in politics.

There are several new strains of coronavirus that have come out but the most recent one in the UK is cause for concern. It’s broken the record for most changes in a single jump. Some suspect it’s escaped from experiments on mice as one of the markers in it is the same as the mouse variant. Most of the fuss is over it being “up to 70% more contagious” and the fact that it has mutations in the protein spike. This causes worry that the vaccine will be less effective against this strain. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why it’s bad that it’s more contagious. Countries are placing bans on travelers from the UK but it’s too little, too late. We all know that it’s already out and spreading. This variant has been around since September.

The house buying process goes slowly and is complicated. Right now we are getting the appraisal done knowing full well it won’t pass the bank’s expectations. The key is going to be in getting the bank to let us put money in escrow to fix the issues with the house so it passes the strict standards of FHA mortgages. Meanwhile My UI is running out and this place is cold, rotten and the pipes keep freezing. All in all it’s a miserable Christmas.

Except for my husband. He is making me a Christmas breakfast this year, bless his heart. He can’t cook but I am overjoyed with his attempts. Christmas isn’t about gifts or where you are, it’s about love and the people you are with. If you are alone this Christmas my heart goes out to you. It’s not an easy time to be a person alone. Not this year. So whoever you are and wherever you are, Merry Christmas. Lets all stop hoping that next year is better and work to MAKE it better.

Here come the deaths…

As the title implies the deaths from the Fall surge of coronavirus infections has arrived. We lost 2918 people here in the US yesterday and we saw 218,576 new cases of covid19! The worst part is that these deaths don’t reflect this current number of cases but of cases back 3-6 weeks ago! We lose roughly 1000 for every 40,000-50,000 cases offset by 3.5 weeks. That’s the model I have used since June to predict deaths and it has held up extremely well. That means that in 3.5 weeks from now we will have roughly 4,360-5,450 people dying per day, give or take a little. It would have sounded impossible 6 months ago but not now. Not with us losing almost 3k a day as it is this week.

Even as this horror unfolds Congress is still trying to get a relief bill passed. It seems as if they have agreed on one but it could fall through easily. The big things to know about it are that there will be no $1200 direct payment to people and the UI benefits will be extended but reduced to an extra $300 a week instead of $600 a week. I am too desperate to complain about it. I can’t live on the $167 a week my state gives me for UI. The $600 payments stopped back in July. My UI is running out this month anyway if no new deal is struck. Because I work as a driver for Uber and Lyft I only get this UI because of the last coronavirus relief bill extending benefits to people like me. It expires this month.

I’ve already talked it over with my husband. If there is no new deal I am going back to work regardless of my doctor’s order. We just can’t lose everything we have worked years to get. We are so close to being able to get out of this rotting trailer. We can’t lose it all now. I have an auto immune disorder with a lung and heart condition. You can see the problem I have been facing right? Having to chose between freezing in this rat trap or going to work and risking long term damage and death. I’ve talked to people who are now stuck on dialysis for life because of infection. I’m sick enough as it is! I couldn’t bare to add more to that list. But what choice do I have if they don’t pass a relief bill? I can’t just sit here and watch our lives work go down the drain. Growing up I didn’t have a house and I was homeless off and on for years as a teen and adult. We will get a safe home of our own even if I have to risk death to do it! But Lord I hope I don’t have to. I hope they pass this bill quickly.

I am feeling a little numb to tell the truth. I think it’s just the overload of shock and grief. What can I really do about it now? It’s spread too far to be stopped by anything but a vaccine. Not with a good 1/3 of people refusing to help stop it. We are losing thousands a day. What can a person really say about that? I’m struggling with what to tell my readers. Other than this is what we prepped for so hunker down and stay uninfected. But how can I push that when I myself may have to go out there to get the money we need to live? We are all desperate after so many months without aid. We can limit our outings to just work and a trip to the store once a month but the people who follow me were doing that already. What we need to be able to do is stay home! But that just isn’t happening for many people. They just don’t have the money to do it. I am fighting the immature impulse to declare this “unfair” and cry.

My friend K. is in the same spot I am in. They’re high risk and not getting enough UI to get by on. With it running out this month they are facing the same decision I am. Worse is that K’s partner lost their job too. Luckily they found work through January but that’s not a very long time. If our UI ends will K. go back to work regardless of the risk? It’s a choice I hope we don’t have to make.

There are many millions stuck in this same position. Many have already lost everything. So what can I really say? There are only so many ways to express grief and condolences. I have no comfort to offer the grieving. What do you do when words are not enough and action is not an option? I just don’t know. I’m sure I will rally soon but for now maybe I need to slow down a little and just process what I have been seeing and feeling for the last 10 months. I think I just need to focus on the things I am grateful for and focus less on the things I can’t change.

Regardless I am here and will be until the end. If I can ever do anything for anyone all you have to do is send me a message on twitter and I will do what I can. Stay safe, remember your prep and precautions, and know that you are loved.

Today I am Thankful for…

11/26/2020

It’s Thanksgiving day and I am really trying to stay positive. It’s not easy. I can’t be with my children and Mother as my kids are grown adults with jobs and the risk to my mother and I is too high. I practice what I preach to people. I can’t take risks while asking others not too. I’m in this awful trailer with 5 electric heaters running to keep it warm. And I can’t stop thinking about the over 2300 people who died yesterday and who will die today, reported or not. But I have so much to be thankful for too. This day is about remembering those things and holding them close to your heart. So lets do this!

Okay so, I am thankful for my husband. He is my rock, sounding board and best friend. He supports me in my craziness no matter what. He has been amazing in the last 10 months of me working night and day on archiving and reporting on the pandemic. He is so proud of me. More than I am able to be of myself. He makes me feel like a person worthy of love and praise and I can’t thank him enough.

I am thankful for my children. I love them so much. My oldest, 22, graduated college this year and has a brand new job working for the Federal Government in the labor department with a starting pay of 53K a year. She did all this during the pandemic! My baby girl has been bringing me joy since the moment I knew I carried her in my womb. It didn’t matter how young I was. I knew the world would be better for her being in it. My Foster son graduated Highschool last year and moved out. He has been a little lost lately but he is such an amazing man. He plays guitar like me and rides a motorcycle! He is so sensitive and kind and loving. We are very close. My youngest turns 20 next month! I haven’t seen her since she graduated from high school and it breaks my heart. She joined the army and I am so proud of her. Before I got the chance to visit her on base the pandemic hit. I miss her but am thankful for her existence and service to our country. She is my independent one. I always knew she would leave Vermont in search of adventure.

I am thankful for my mother. We have a complicated relationship but are still very close. She is not just my mom but my friend. Those that know me, know I had a very hard upbringing. I was pretty much on my own by 12. But I am so thankful that my mother got help and we were able to build an amazing relationship after I grew up. I love her very much and forgive her for the mistakes she made. I am so thankful I got the chance to do that. She is high risk not just because of her age but she has an auto immune disorder like I do. She turned 71 last month and I go to her house once a week to get her mail, groceries and visit with her. I swear I will never let her go to a nursing home. I worked in them. If she hits a point where it’s not save for her to live on her own we will have her move in with us. It’s another reason getting a decent home is so important. Family doesn’t abandon family. My father died this year without us ever being able to make amends and it’s something that will be with me the rest of my life. He was sick. I know that. He just wasn’t strong enough to get the help he needed in this lifetime. I pray he’s found peace.

I am thankful for this crappy trailer! No! Seriously I am! I have a roof over my head which is more than many. It may be cold and a little dangerous but it does it’s job. And the low cost of living here has let me save up some money to get a house. That leads me to the next thing I am thankful for…

All of you reading this! When I set up the GoFundMe to raise money to get out of this rat trap I never expected anyone to donate. I’m still 2k away from my goal but the $900 raised so far puts me that much closer to getting out of here and Lord willing, it will be enough to make the difference. I could not do what I do without the love and support you all give me. I’ve made friends I will have for the rest of my life working on coronavirus and I am so thankful for each and every one of you.

I am thankful for me. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way but in a self love kind of way. I spent most of my life thinking I was worthless. I didn’t know who I was. But the last of that dropped away this year and now I know who I am and I love myself. More than that I LIKE myself. I’ve had to struggle so hard to overcome my past and while there is still a long way to go, I am thankful for all the progress I have made. In the past I never would have stopped and thanked myself but now I know that I deserve to be kind to me. A gift born of everything else I said I am thankful for. I couldn’t have gotten here without everyone else.

Even in the darkest times there is reason for thanks. It’s a lesson I learned young but one that has stuck. And it’s not just being thankful because people have it worse off than you. It’s being thankful for the good things period. In spite of, or perhaps BECAUSE of the hardships in your life. No matter how good or bad my life gets I will always be thankful for the things I’ve written about here. I will hold them close to me in the dark and they will help me find my way back to the light.

Be good to each other. Be good to yourselves. And have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Ideas for “No Lockdown” mitigation

11/18/2020

I was reminded today that I once had much more detailed plans to help mitigate coronavirus. I had to fight so hard for just the basics that I guess I forgot. Someone reminded me today so I wanted to just brainstorm ideas for no or limited lockdown mitigation measures.

I still think a short 2-4 week lockdown as a circuit breaker to get the HUGE out of control infections in the US down to a manageable level is a good idea but in this entry I will be focusing on other things we can do either in it’s place or after it’s done. We failed last time because we did not use the time we bought to get a real system up and running. Lockdown is pointless if you just go back to doing what you did before.

1) First on the list is to get every person in the US rapid antigen tests for covid-19. If a person gets a positive they isolate for 2 weeks. This won’t catch everything but it should catch a lot of infections.

2) Use the defense production act to get N95 or higher to every person in the US. Enough with just the cloth masks. We HAVE the technology to protect people in a real way. To hell with the early concerns that people wouldn’t use them right. So we teach them! If we are going to mandate masks people should have the best at their disposal. We originally discouraged it because we were short and healthcare workers needed them. But we didn’t have to stay like that. We CAN make enough and we should!

3) REALLY push healthy diet and exercise. One of the biggest risks for serious infection is obesity. I know this and that is why I have lost 40lbs since March. Being overweight puts a strain on the heart and lungs. Plus aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs to make it easier to breath if infected with a respiratory illness. Exercise also increases circulation and covid-19 damages the circulatory system.

4) Get respiratory therapists to teach the public lung exercises to strengthen and increase lung capacity. Every severe asthmatic knows the power of those exercises! They can make the difference between life and death.

5) Get a tablet with internet into the hands of every person who is elderly or has to isolate due to being high risk for long periods of time. People need interaction. If they don’t get it their mental health suffers and they might go out to see people out of pure desperation. If we want to shield people we have to help them maintain sanity.

6) Get a digital pen pal project up and running where people can interact with those who might not have anyone to talk to. This will not only reduce risk of psychological harm but will build connections and cooperation between people. We desperately need unity and this would help.

7) Get another stimulus bill passed where everyone gets 1200-$2000 that also has UI relief and small business relief. People are desperate and high risk people are being forced to give up shielding and go back to work. This will stimulate the economy, help those out of work, and protect our high risk people from going back out there to get infected and die.

8) Get a true national testing and tracing program up and running. It needs to be the same in every state so no one gets left behind. We have got to identify infections quicker and get people into quarantine as fast as possible. This, combined with the rapid tests would allow us to control the pandemic with virtually no big restrictions.

9) Get a large federal program up and running to help create more at home jobs so people who have to shield can actually work and not sit on UI. I would LOVE to be earning money but there is so little work available for home that is legitimate. Getting more remote workers is great for the economy too! It lowers businesses overhead costs and gets more money into the hands of people who might not otherwise be able to work. It needs at least 2 parts. One for employers and one for workers. A grant so that workers can get the right computer and landline to get up and running. And for employers to hire the managers and extra people they need for software to make it work.

10) Put and END to the politicization of public health and pandemic response. As i said before the only way we can beat this is if we all work together. It’s the politics that drove us apart. Ending them in regards to coronavirus is the only way we can bring everyone back together again. I can’t stress this enough. If we don’t have the majority of people cooperating then NONE of this will work!

11) Hire healthcare workers to educate the public on advanced infection control. Most people have no idea of how to prevent infection. We need them taught about all the ways a person can become infected and what to do to help prevent it. People need to understand the reasons behind infection control measures and if they do I believe more people will cooperate. They need to know how to care for high risk family members and set up clean areas of the home. Most people have no idea how to decontaminate to protect those they are shielding. We can teach them that.

12) Change the tone used to address the public. They need calm confidence and not denial or panic. Just give out data that is needed in a realistically hopeful light and explain complex ideas in easy to understand and positive ways. Don’t give anyone reason to think you are trying to create fear. Fear IS the mind killer. People who aren’t afraid don’t go into denial. We need everyone in media and politics to get on the same page about how they address the people. And what we have been doing isn’t it.

I’m sure I will think of more as time goes on and I will come back here and write them when I do. I feel a lot of pain that I somehow gave up on any of this. I know how it happened but it breaks my heart. It became such a struggle to get people to just wash their hands and stand 6 feet apart at the grocery store that I got tangled up. I am going to move forward with this lesson in my mind and try not to allow myself to get boxed in again. You reading this deserve better from me and I intend to give it.

Over 130K new cases a day

11/10/2020

The title says it all. We have had over 120K new cases of coronavirus a day for 5 days. It is already over 133K today and it’s not even over yet. Deaths are up too over 1300 so far. I now know I will spend years going over the archives I keep and writing out the story of what happened in the pandemic of 2020. I feel the need deep in my soul to make sure it’s done and no one forgets.

I was talking to Theo and my other friends today and got reminded of the article I wrote on Feb. 21, 2020 called “how did we get here?” I wrote it that way because deep down I knew we would end up here. I hoped we wouldn’t. I fought against it but I knew. And I knew someday people would ask “How did we get here?” I’m proud of the article. But reading it again broke my heart. For the dead. For all the damage and hurt that has happened and will happen.

I speak from the heart here but I don’t often talk about my personal life. But this I want to share. As you know I have an illness that got me ordered out of work for my safety during the pandemic. What you may not know is that the money I made was not just paying bills but being saved for a down payment on a house. Being out of work for two months before benefits started and having UI cut off in July pretty much wiped that out. The problem is we can’t wait. The trailer we live in is literally rotting away and winter is coming. Vermont winter.

But I didn’t write about this to be depressing. I wrote about it because of something amazing. I started a GoFundMe out of desperation. I never expected anyone to help with so many people desperate right now. But they did. My friends and people I have helped during the pandemic are helping me and I wanted to share that amazing and beautiful news with everyone. Life can be dark. Right now it is darker than usual. But there is light and love and kindness in the world. So much Love and kindness.

When I look back on this fall years from now THIS is what I want to remember. Not the death and sickness but the goodness in people. The way a community came together to help someone in a bad situation to find a better one. I have tears streaming down my face not from grief and sadness but from love and joy. I don’t want to forget this. Not ever.

I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if things will get worse or for how long. What I do know is that where there is love they will always get better again. Never forget that. Love and light always win as long as we hold them in our hearts. So I promised the world I would never forget the things that happened in this pandemic. Now I promise never to forget the love and kindness I have seen as well.

I’m sure I will feel the bite of anger again. I will feel loss and grief and pain. But for now all those things are pushed aside. As I remember the beautiful things I have in my life, and most importantly the people who have touched it. Thank you. All of you. And if you are reading this and in pain just know that there is love waiting for you. No matter where your road may lead you.

How to make soap! Argon oil and Vitamin C. Beauty Bar Recipe included

11/05/2020

With the pandemic going on and sanitation supplies short many people have taken up making their own soap! In this article I will go over the basics of soap making with a recipe I created to make a whole body beauty bar. This recipe makes 16-18 bars of soap.

What you will need:

A large glass or steel bowl or pot

A large bowl of any material

Container to weigh oil and water with

A large metal spoon

A hand blender

A kitchen or postal scale to measure ingredients

Soap molds

Wax paper

2 oz. by weight Argon oil

19.5 oz. by weight coconut oil

19 oz. by weight olive oil

12 oz. by weight room temperature water

6.5 oz by weight sodium hydroxide (Lye)

Essential oils of your choice for scent (Optional)

5000mg powdered vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

2 oz. hot water

Proper ventilation or respirator mask to protect from lye fumes

Gloves to protect hands from lye

Goggles to protect eyes from any splashed lye

CAUTION!!! Lye is a very caustic substance that can damage skin and cause blindness if it gets in eyes. Always use caution and wear protective equipment when working with chemicals such as lye. If it gets on skin wash off immediately. If it gets in eyes rinse with warm water and contact a medical professional right away.

Some terms to know:

Saponification: is the process of adding lye to fats in order to transform them into soap.

Trace: is the state of saponification when making soap. Light trace has the consistency of milk and it just barely coats a blender or spoon when dipped in. Medium Trace has the consistency of a milkshake and heavy trace has the consistency of pudding. Different recipes can call for different levels of trace before adding certain ingredients. Usually light trace is the time when you add exfoliants like coffee or add water soluble ingredients like the vitamin C in water in this recipe.

Curing: When soap is freshly made there is residual lye still in the soap. You need to let the soap sit or “cure” for a period of 3-4 weeks for it to become inactive to avoid the risk of any skin irritation. Wrapping the soap in wax paper prevents bars sticking and most moisture from getting in.

Okay! Now to the fun stuff! First weigh out all your ingredients. Make sure to use the tare function on your scale with the measuring container placed on it to zero it out. Pour measured oils together in the bowl you are not using to make the soap in. This bowl can be made of plastic while the bowl you are actually making the soap in should be glass or steel. If adding essential oils do so now and mix into the measured oil.

Now mix the 2 oz. hot water with the powdered vitamin C until dissolved. DO NOT ADD YET!

Pour the 12oz. of room temperature water into metal/glass bowl and SLOWLY add the lye. Stir lye with metal spoon until dissolved. CAUTION! Lye will rapidly heat up the water. This is why we use room temperature. If the water is too cold you risk it splashing up and if water is too hot it could cause it to boil. Make sure you have your goggles and gloves on while working with the lye.

Once all the lye is added to the water let sit until it cools to less than 120F or 48C. Some prefer to let it cool to room temp but it is not necessary.

Slowly begin to add the measured oil into the lye water. Use the hand blender to mix until it is in light trace. You will know you have achieved light trace when the liquid coats the blender with the consistency of milk.

Add vitamin C water now and blend until medium trace. Medium trace should be the consistency of a milkshake.

You may now put your soap into the mold/s you have chosen. Make sure you have enough molds for the amount of soap. You can use individual molds or a large rectangular soap mold. Use your metal spoon to scoop out soap that is getting too thick to pour and to smooth the top of you soap in the mold. If using individual molds I find the back side of a butter knife to work well to scrape the surface for a smooth finish.

Allow soap to sit overnight to harden. If using a large rectangle mold cut soap into bars the next morning. Do not let it sit much longer than that so that it is still softer and easier to cut.

Wear gloves when removing soap from molds as it will still be somewhat caustic. You should allow soap to cure wrapped in wax paper for 3-4 weeks before using as it takes that long for all the lye to neutralize. Using it before then can result in skin irritation.

To make your own soap recipes you will need a lye calculator. Each oil is different and requires a different amount of lye and water to saponify. THIS calculator is what I use and it helps you create a custom recipe all your own.

To learn more about soap making and recipes for other soaps visit The Nerdy Farm Wife: Soap making 101! She is my favorite source for information and recipes for making soap.

Crowded Airports…

11/21/2020

I’m sitting here waiting for the lye to cool for the soap I am making and staring at an image of a crowded airport. Apparently people are traveling as usual this Thanksgiving. Only this isn’t the usual Thanksgiving. THIS is 2020. THIS is the year of the Coronavirus.

I am not sure I have the words to express what I am feeling. We had over 200,000 new cases yesterday. We’ve had 2000 dead per day for the last 3 days. And THIS is what people do? I’m just shocked and horrified. The pain and defeat and grief is all coalescing together into this empty hollow pain in my chest.

I knew that “people” were idiots. I knew we would have SOME people doing this. But not this many. It’s not just the one airport. It’s all over the damned country. It’s as if someone issued a challenge to get the most people killed by Christmas as possible and the US rose to the challenge. I can’t imagine what they are all thinking. It’s insanity at it’s most lethal.

I’m tired…so damned tired. I tried my best to stop this. I gave it everything I had. I kept my promises and fought like a caged animal. But in the end it was no use. The growth is exponential and there are too many infected now to stop it. All I can do is try not to get infected. That’s it. That, and archive the insanity so that when our children and grandchildren ask us what happened we will be able to tell them. Maybe even learn from it this time. Who knows? I can dream.

1 of the vaccines that tested well has applied for emergency use but it will come too late. It will take MONTHS to make and distribute enough to make a dent in this. It will be 6 months at the earliest. I keep telling myself that if I can just hold out long enough to get the vaccine everything will be okay. But I can’t make myself believe it. Lets say I make it. I don’t get infected and I get the vaccine and it works. It is still not “okay” because so many did not make it. I don’t much care about what happens to me in the grand scheme of things. I care about what will happen to my country and it’s people.

Russia is bound to attack again. And this time I suspect it will be worse than downed medical computers. I hope I am wrong but I don’t see how. Then there are our own people and their determination to self destruct. Between the denial that Trump lost the election, the coronavirus, and the desperate people who’ve lost everything, we are in for trouble. It will take YEARS to sort this all out and that’s if everyone wanted to help. They don’t.

I keep wanting to feel the old anger but it’s just not there. I never thought I would miss it. At least it was a motivator. It kept me moving and fighting. Now? I’m just sad and empty. I am trying to remind myself that I have helped people learn how to protect themselves. I got thousands ready for this day. But somehow, staring at those crowded airports it’s not enough. Not by a long shot.

So what will I do? Well, I’ll keep my word and archive everything. I’ll work on the soap I am making and selling to help fund the new house. I’ll keep being there for my friends and family and anyone else who needs me. But inside? I’m broken. I can feel it. Something in me just broke and I don’t know if it will ever be fixed. I’ve known for a long time that this pandemic has been changing me. I try my best to make those changes positive. But this feels different. It feels like defeat and tastes like ashes. There is a hole in me now and I worry that it will never close again.

If you’re reading this, don’t give up hope for yourself and your loved ones. We can still fight for ourselves and some of us WILL win. Don’t let my pain become something that effects you in a negative way. Just take everything I have tried to teach and stay alive and healthy. Please?