As fun as all of the quarantining is, people are not necessarily all enjoying it.

It was novel to feel all badass and community-minded and “I’m going to stay home and read books and bake cakes and rearrange my underwear drawer,” for the first few days.

But, self-imposed exile and forced exile are two totally different things and I think that even the strongest, most independent of us don’t do forced isolation for any length of time all that well.

It is lonely and it is scary and the fact that it is a scary time makes for a much more lonely time.

I am lucky – I have two dogs and TAM, so I have company and human interaction. And it is still hard.

I worry about my mother to no end. All alone, my dad just died, cooped up in her house missing him, missing other people.

Missing human touch.

We all need the physical connection that we get through a quick (or prolonged) hug, or someone holding the door open for us, or fuck, even someone randomly brushing food off our shirts while chatting in the post office.

Oh, you’ve never had someone brush crumbs off your front?

Maybe I’m the only one who goes to the PO covered in breakfast.

Whatever, human connection and human touch are so very vital to our happiness and to be forcibly deprived of it can be crippling for some.

For most, I would assume.

And if you have a brain that spins like mine, you go from I’m bored, I think I’ll go see _____, and then to I can’t go see ___________ because of the fucking virus, and then, I wonder if I will ever see _______ again, and on to, holy shit I may never see anybody again, to OMG what if one of my kids gets it, to what if one of my children is in the hospital and they won’t let me in then he will die without his mommy being by his side.

Which then may lead to frantic phone calls to said children, irritating the shit out of them so that they want to get off the phone, which they do, not even trying to conceal the relief they feel knowing that we are under lockdown and that their neurotic mommy can’t come barging into their place freaking out.

But when you’re alone and the world is going to shit all around you and the first case is confirmed in your county and you feel like you live in a horror movie and the JAWS theme is playing in your head, it is frightening.

And lonely.

It is SO important for people to be able to reach out to one another and connect in whatever ways that they can. It is imperative that people who are alone in their homes know that they have others out there looking out, checking in, checking on and thinking about.

And available.


I have been holed up for 2 weeks now because I thought that maybe I had been exposed. Even with the amazing support and incredible views in my world, I have still had to fight off some panic and angst.

No one should have to do this alone.

If anyone out there feels like they need to connect, to talk, to unload, to laugh, cry, unload – I am here.

Send me a message here or on my facebook page (Prickly Pear) and I will respond.



Elvis under quarantine

Just a week ago, he was super psyched to have me home all of the time. In my lap, under my feet, snuggle, nuzzle, sigh.

Now, he’s avoiding me and not really wanting anything to do with me.

I’ve seen this before – but I’ve never been on the receiving end.

Elvis is sick of me.

When TAM’s dog stays with us for any length of time, Elvis is at first ecstatic, thrilled to the point of obnoxiousness to have a playmate, another four-legged, with whom he can roll around and tussle.

After a few days of this, he then decides that the novelty has worn off and he decidedly ignores his companion.

After another day or two, he becomes downright hostile, running interference any time Joey tries to get near me.

Or the food.

Or the water bowl.

Or my truck.

Or the couch.

Or the front door.

He’s an only child – what can we expect?

But now, he’s turned it all on me and I figured out today that it’s because he has his own routine which includes me being gone at work for hours on end and him having all the time in the world to tear up the house, get into my stuff, and sleep on the furniture.

He’s pissed that my presence is interfering with his alone time.

It’s a thing – I feel that way a lot of the time too. But I certainly did not expect Elvis to feel it and then take it out on me.

I let him out this morning and he refused to come in, staring at me defiantly from the front yard.

He won’t sit in my lap. Won’t even give me his rubber chicken to throw.

My loyal anxiety-ridden little dog is making me feel unwelcome in my own house.


The Nature Channel

Yesterday evening, we sat at TAM’s kitchen table, having a snack and relaxing after work, appreciating the change in the light as the day ended and a storm moved in.

Enormous, swollen, dense black clouds hauling ass towards us, obliterating the landscape bit by bit. Swallowing entire mountain ranges.

Watching a mating pair of redtail hawks build their nest on a brand new nesting platform in the southern pasture.

Stick by stick, they took turns adding to their new home.

They only briefly paused in their task to chase off a golden eagle who got too close.

The hawks flew right at the eagle, pushing him off his trajectile. When he didn’t move quickly or far enough, one of the hawks punched up at the eagle’s head.

That did the trick.

Then they went right back to home improvements until the sun set.

And we watched their work, taking turns with the binoculars, until the sun set.

Better than tv.

What I miss

Not past relationships.

Not the work involved with raising pigs, chickens, steers, horses.

But, springtime on a ranch – that I seriously miss.

The flurry of activity.

Red-Winged Blackbirds. Meadowlarks. Bluebirds. Raptors.

Pop guts sticking their fuzzy little faces out of their holes, blissfully ignorant of the fact that their futures are very limited

The essence of green that you feel before you can see.

The scent of thawing soil.

The newness, the surprises, that every day brings.

The itch to plant.


The breeze, coming off the fields, bringing the tiniest hint of warmth.

The fecund sense of fertility.

Sex is in the air.



I had a moment

I’ll just be floating along, enjoying my world, enjoying a moment with TAM and suddenly, a wave of past trauma will wash over me and the tears well up and my nose starts to run and I want to scamper away and hide.

And at the same time, I want him to hold me and never let go.

It’s usually something that seems small and insignificant but when a nerve is hit, there’s no stopping the flood of emotions.

Today, after sleeping until noon, (yes, noon,) we got up and I made breakfast. While flipping flapjacks, I kept thinking that it was so nice to have had such a luxurious morning without anyone telling me that I was being lazy and needed to get up and DO something.

Then I got a call from work asking me if I could have a phone meeting this afternoon.

TAM and I had thrown around a lot of ideas for something to do today, but we just kept circling around to “we can’t really go anywhere – we’re distancing,” so hadn’t come up with anything definitive.

When I got the call, I told TAM that I had to work for a little while which meant postponing our plans to isolate.

He wasn’t mad. He said, “I’ve got plenty to do at home, just let me know when you are finished with work and we’ll meet up.”

And that rocked my world.

See, I was expecting to get in trouble. To have him get angry, blame me, let me know that he should be my number one priority and punish me for making someone else number one…even if it’s only temporary.

So the tears started running.

I have said before and I will say it again, I hate to be “oh poor me” and victimy shit. I don’t want to be the person who bursts into tears crying, “no one was ever nice to me before,” but the reality is…

And the question is, is it extra kindness or is it just how people should treat each other, and since that is so new to me that it feels extraordinary?

I got myself into those relationships and I chose to stay. Was there enough good to balance out that kind of weirdness?

Or was I just to chicken shit to leave?

Whatever it was, it became my normal, and now I don’t know how to handle it when a partner doesn’t need me to make him the center of my universe.

Writing about this helps, but I still have a bunch of feelings that popped up today that I will have to sort through before I am back on stable ground.

Amazing that a little kindness can shake me like this.

Self Quarantine

Yes, I have isolated and insulated myself from the world.

But, not because of Covid-19.

I am here because I have a nasty ass stomach bug that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

It’s not life-threatening, and it will go away but my feelings about social distancing have taken a dramatic shift.

I was so very happy to stay away from people, to not leave my house, to isolate…


I loved being a kind, compassionate, caring, global citizen, keeping away from anyone who might be vulnerable, sending food to those who can’t risk coming out to get groceries or a hot meal.

But now that I have to avoid people, and it isn’t even for the “big” reason, I’m unhappy.

Not really pissed or resentful – I’m still happy to do my part – but now that holing up in my house isn’t a choice, I keep thinking about all of the things that I could/should/would be doing if I didn’t have to worry about infecting others.

Because, as we all know, I’d never CHOOSE to sit in my house by myself for days on end with nothing but Elvis and a stack of books.

HA! It’s my dream – until it’s forced on me by my irritating digestive system.

I’ve been sitting in my house all day listening to the new foot of snow settle around the cabin, on the cabin, off the cabin.


I’ve had avalanches sliding off my roof all day. I wonder, “How can there still be snow up there – there’s a 4-foot pile blocking my front door?”

My cabin has been groaning under the weight of it all. Just as I have been groaning under the weight of it all inside.

I’m too irritated to go outside and try to walk in this shit.

I’m going to wait for it to melt rather than shovel.

My driveway got plowed so I could leave the house but where would I go? It would have to be someplace that has a working toilet and no other people.

That sounds like my home.

Suddenly, I am out of anything that I might possibly need and telling myself that I need to go on a supply run immediately to get…


I don’t. I am just succumbing to “I am trapped” mentality and I don’t like being told that I can’t go anywhere, so those damn Q-tips seem like a necessity that I can’t live without.

And listen to me gripe and groan. One day. One stomach bug. One canceled date with TAM and I am all bitch and moan.

God help me if I actually get sick.


I swore I wouldn’t talk about this but here I am

Hopefully this will be one of my only posts about this because I am so sick of hearing about, reading about, talking about this fucking virus.

Yesterday was my first day at work since our Governor cracked down on food service. No sitting down for a leisurely lunch. No helping yourself to a big bowl of homemade soup. No salt and pepper. No napkins.

It’s a little weird for sure, but while I was in my kitchen yesterday, making a million sandwiches for people to grab out of the cooler, I felt really good.

As I worked I reminded myself that I was doing service for the community. And that felt great.

I was feeding people in a time of uncertainty and stress, doing my bit to give folks one less thing about which to worry.

I got the warm fuzzies.

And then someone (whose opinion I normally respect) came in mouthing off about socialism and asking “Did Bernie already win the election? Because this is what it’s going to look like in our country if he wins.”

He bitched on about the government telling us what we can and cannot do. That it starts with a national/global emergency and suddenly we’ve opened the door to “the government running our lives, telling us when we can breathe or take a shit.

Then, “Do you see how Trump is actually doing something. And he gets no credit for it because of all of you Social Democrats.”

And here I am feeling good about feeding people.

Then, another customer came in bitching about how inconvenient this all is and that it’s stupid that we’re overreacting and this is just “irritating.”

“This is ridiculous that we can’t sit down in a cafe. That my child has to come home from college (while other parents can’t wait to get their birdies all back in the nest during this weird time.) Stupid that the Governor is making all of these rules that are unnecessary because this is no worse than Aids or Ebola and we didn’t shut down our lives then.”

Here’s what I want to say to them and everyone else who feels the need to grumble, groan, and tell the world that they know better than those in power making these ridiculous decisions…

“Suck it up buttercup.”

We’re here. It’s here. The rules are in place, like it or not. Stop thinking about the inconvenience to yourself and think about the inconvenience to the 5th person to need a ventilator in a county that only has four.

Think about the person to whom you are bitching who is just doing their job, under stressful circumstances, hoping that they will still have a job in the coming days, weeks, months.

Think about that person, those people, and shut your trap.

It is what it is. The gal making egg salad sandwiches has no control over it nor does she want to be the person making the decisions about what’s safe and what isn’t.

Maybe I am a sheep – one who will just follow the herd, going wherever we are told, even if it means following my fellow sheep in jumping right off a cliff. Who knows?

Or maybe I’ve learned that in a situation like this, resistance just makes me look stupid and selfish in light of more vulnerable people actually having to worry about this.

And I’m not a doctor. Nor am I the governor.

Are we overreacting? Maybe, maybe not. But I am certainly not qualified to make that call.

All that I know is that people need food. I make food. So for as long as I am allowed, I will make food for the people that need it.

And then, Elvis and I will practice social distancing – something at which we are VERY skilled.

He couldn’t be happier with the isolation recommendation. He gets to be with me here at home, in front of the fire, in my lap, much more than he does under normal circumstances.

So who are we to complain?