Yes, we’re all in this together, we’re all hunkering down, we’re all facing down challenges but we’ll pull through. Whatever.

I don’t need more ads endlessly reminding me. Just let me watch my Korean baseball and old Bulls games in peace, Corporate America.

My frame of mind, one Wikipedia definition at a time

I started searching for “ambivalence” in Wikipedia (where I found these definitions) and ended up in “asociality.” I imagine that means something.

Slept in. Woke up to a custom-made Mom’s Day fortune cookie and Animal Crossing figurine made by Frannie.

This afternoon, had a painkiller-powered nap on a heating pad, followed by my requested dinner: Spam, eggs, and rice. Ultimate comfort food that fits well with a low-fiber diet. Grateful.

Tony Gwynn would have turned 60 years old today. Tim Kurkjian of ESPN writes about the Hall of Fame slugger’s artistry with the bat.

(I also recall my brief brush with his greatness two decades ago.)

“The bitter terms of our racial contract”

The coronavirus epidemic has rendered the racial contract visible in multiple ways. Once the disproportionate impact of the epidemic was revealed to the American political and financial elite, many began to regard the rising death toll less as a national emergency than as an inconvenience. Temporary measures meant to prevent the spread of the disease by restricting movement, mandating the wearing of masks, or barring large social gatherings have become the foulest tyranny. The lives of workers at the front lines of the pandemic—such as meatpackers, transportation workers, and grocery clerks—have been deemed so worthless that legislators want to immunize their employers from liability even as they force them to work under unsafe conditions. In East New York, police assault black residents for violating social-distancing rules; in Lower Manhattan, they dole out masks and smiles to white pedestrians.

~ Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” The Atlantic

I didn’t even know the “Racial Contract” had a name. Serwer explains:

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal; the racial contract limits this to white men with property. The law says murder is illegal; the racial contract says it’s fine for white people to chase and murder black people if they have decided that those black people scare them. “The terms of the Racial Contract,” [philosopher Charles] Mills wrote, “mean that nonwhite subpersonhood is enshrined simultaneously with white personhood.”

Serwer finds this to be the appalling thread that connects the recent shooting of a black jogger in Georgia with the shift in attitude about the pandemic among a small but significant segment of the country.

Collective solidarity in response to the coronavirus remains largely intact—most Americans support the restrictions and are not eager to sacrifice their lives or those of their loved ones for a few points of gross domestic product. The consistency across incomes and backgrounds is striking in an era of severe partisan polarization. But solidarity with the rest of the nation among elite Republicans—those whose lives and self-conceptions are intertwined with the success of the Trump presidency—began eroding as soon as the disproportionate impact of the outbreak started to emerge.

This is a tough but necessary read.

Finding restoration in “No Reservations”

When I went on maternity leave 12 years ago, my sister introduced me to this travel show she watched religiously, “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, some foul-mouthed former chef from New York.

E. came to help out for a couple of weeks after the baby was born, and we watched a bunch of “No Reservations” episodes while I tried and failed to nurse. (Long story. F. ended up being a formula baby, and she turned out fine.) I was hooked, and looked forward to periodic Bourdain marathons on the Travel Channel. I also downloaded episodes on Amazon. I was less enamored with his show when it moved to CNN and became “Parts Unknown,” but I still watched occasionally.

Even so, his death a few years ago devastated me. Knowing he was in pain clouds my watching of his shows with sadness. Bourdain’s passing remains such a loss to the world, not to mention his family and loved ones. This place needs his humor and generous lens on the world more than ever.

I’ve been getting reacquainted with him after discovering the 24/7 “Anthony Bourdain RIP” feed on Twitch. There is something comforting in this nasty and brutish time about the empathy, astute observations, and smart-assed genius in one “No Reservations” episode after another.

I spend too much time stewing in my rage about the corruption and incompetence that plagues our country. The state of the country is one of insularity and hate; “Making America Great Again” no doubt thrives on an us-versus-them mentality (“them” being other countries, other races and ethnic groups, even the elderly and physically fragile who somehow endanger one’s right to get a haircut) that will kill us all.

Watching Bourdain get to know “the other” across the planet, one meal and family and conversation at a time, is restoring my beaten-down faith in humanity.

Takeaways from two doctors in two follow-ups to last week’s ER visit:

  • Follow up with a gastroenterologist and get set up for a colonoscopy.
  • Get an ultrasound to measure what’s left of my fibroids.
  • Stay off the ibuprofen. (Oh sure, NOW tell me that.) Use alternative, prescription pain meds.
  • Go on a low-fiber diet to let my gut rest. This makes the husband, with his whole-grain obsession, insane.

When Animal Crossing and my appreciation for pro sports collide.

Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of the lawn Nazi next door mowing her grass for the second time this week. #IMissMyOffice

Austin Kleon is one of my favorite people on the Interwebs. Here’s one reason why: “Not everything will be okay (but some things will).”

I’ve lost count of how many allegedly indestructible chew toys we’ve seen in the past six months.

The upshot of this McSweeney’s list, “Unfollow, Unfriend, or Block: A Pandemic Guide“: Just back away from all social media.

Got the replay of the KBO opening day matchup (NC vs Samsung) on the ESPN app while I fight off some nausea on pain meds at the work station. Korean baseball is totally propping me up right now.

Apparently it takes being hopped up on painkillers to finally win a round of Cards Against Humanity (Family Edition) at our house.

Annoyed that I ordered Marvin Gaye stamps and got John Lennon stamps instead. Not that I necessarily dislike Lennon or the Beatles, but still. Just checked the USPS site; the Gaye stamps aren’t available, so I guess they’re sold out. Could be way worse.

“Just as the initial coronavirus outbreak caught hospitals unprepared, the country’s mental health system — vastly underfunded, fragmented and difficult to access before the pandemic — is even less prepared to handle this coming surge.”

“I’m not O.C.D., but I love routine. I get less depressed with routine. … That makes me feel better. I don’t want too much mental freedom. I have too much of that anyway.” (Jerry Seinfeld) 💬

It’s official: ESPN will broadcast Korean baseball games starting at 1 a.m. ET Tuesday!

Time to figure out who to root for. Best primer I’ve found is on the Athletic site, but it’s subscription only.

It's been a weekend

  • ER visit with CT scan and – hooray – new painkillers.
  • Lots of Kindle reading between scans and blood pressure checks and nurse/doctor chats.
  • First decent night’s sleep in weeks thanks to Tramadol.
  • Sunday drive with family along parts of the Fox River.
  • Crazed solo drive to a Jollibee drive-thru that turned out to be closed, followed by a visit to walk-in-only Jollibee with a long line. The bucket of fried chicken with rice, gravy, and peach/mango pies made it worth the lengthy wait, which no doubt aggravated my newly diagnosed sacroiliitis.
  • Long nap on a heating pad with the first of many lidocaine patches on my lower back.
  • Achievement of level 50 in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, allowing me access to the second floor of the cabin I operate in the game. And yes, I worry about myself.
  • First backyard fire of the year, cut way short by surprising gusts of wind and a “pneumonia front” that ended spectacular weekend weather.

And with all this behind me, I’m taking a sick day to make doctor appointments and get more acquainted with my new friends Tramadol and lidocaine.

A highlight of my weekend that didn’t involve a CT scan and painkillers.

Spent a lovely spring afternoon at the local emergency room trying to get to the bottom of my recent flareup of abdominal pain. A CT scan revealed bulkier-than-before uterine fibroids and sacroiliitis in both sacroiliac joints. Need to follow up with my doctors Monday.

I made C. drop me off, and the nice ER people masked and Purelled me before I asked C. to head home. He had to take care of something first.

A murder hornet? Now 2020 is just showing off.

Things I’ve ordered that are supposed to arrive this week:

  • 3 face masks
  • 2 sets of postage stamps
  • A copy of “The Essential Rosary” by Caryll Houselander
  • 2 graphic novels for Frannie
  • Moomins T-shirt for me
  • Animal Crossing shirt for Frannie
  • A pulse oximeter

Who says impulse shopping is dead?

The tween insisted on making the dough for tomorrow’s bread before bedtime.

I did this week’s big household grocery run. I used to enjoy grocery runs. Now they’re stressful and depressing. (And it didn’t help to wear a mask that I could barely breathe through.) Glad it’s done, though.