We get a farm food box every Saturday. It's a good price for what's in it, and also supports a non-profit that gives food to folks who can't pay for it. So that's cool. Anyway, sometimes we get a bunch of cilantro, so I make pesto. Here's the recipe!

  • About a quarter cup of almonds. Maybe third cup? Into the food processor.
  • About a tablespoon of sea salt. That's too much. But it's pesto so who cares.
  • A teaspoon-ish of assorted dried "italian" herbs because I'm lazy.
  • Okay chop that up for a bit until it looks like breadcrumbs?
  • Now put in the cilantro. As much as will fit.
  • Chop that up until it packs down.
  • The rest of the cilantro now. Yes, all of it.
  • Chop chop chop chop.
  • Add like a quarter cup of olive oil?
  • And a tablespoon of lemon juice, or lime if you got it.
  • Whir it up for a while until it holds together.
  • OH YEAH don't forget a tablespoon or so of minced garlic.
  • Pulse and scrape down and pulse until it looks like pesto.

Remember don't lick the sharp thing.

Everyone's got their own recipe I guess.

This is a charming recipe.

Chicago's s 7-day average positivity rate is up 29% in the past week, now at 5.4%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city  have risen 25% since late September. Region 8 (where my parents are--about 20-25 miles from my house in the City) recently surpassed 8% average positivity rates. The highest positivity rate in Illinois is over 11% in Region 1 where Illinois borders Iowa and Wisconsin.

I'm anxious, bored, angry, and tense. I fear the week of November 3 and all of November. I fear that November will bring quiet chaos of empty grocery shelves, but I'm afraid to do any stocking up. Both for fear of looking foolish and also because the grocery store is scary.


I take myself out and about to expand my horizons on a fairly regular basis. I'm retired, and mom only 50% of the time. Meaning even after house keeping, I have a lot of free time. In this year of not-leaving-the-country, and not willing to risk getting on a domesticc flight, I've been learning about things to do within driving distance.

I've been thinking of my trips as Quests or Missions. These are the ones I'm currently working on:

1. Delaware State Park Passport Quest. One goes to each of 19 state parks, take a self at a designated location in each park, and submit the photos to the park system via an online form. I think you get a free pass for next year if you complete it. I've been to 13, 6 to go!  https://destateparks.com/Passport

2. Delaware Tourism has 5 "Trails" you can complete.

  • Delware on Tap, (I'd be 11/34th done if I'd know about this earlier)
  • Delaware Discoveries (3/9th done!),
  • Delaware History,
  • Delaware Outdoor, and
  • Delaware Culinary trail.

Frankly, I just learned that there were 5 of them. Like, today. I've been working on the Delaware Discoveries one, but now I think I'll work on all of them. At once! Yeah! https://www.visitdelaware.com/things-to-do/trails/

3. The Mason-Dixon markers: Ok, I made this one up. But there is the Tri-State Marker in White Clay Creek park (been there! twice!), a Mason-dixon crownstone marker across from a gas station in MaryDel, and a Middle Point Marker on Delaware's southern border near Delmar.  There may be another crownstone 10 miles north of the Marydel stone. It's a bit of a scavenger hunt. There is a site that documents all of the PA-MD stones, but not the Delaware ones.

4. For beyond Delaware: I found out last month that the National Park system has a Passport book. Like a real booklet that is setup for you to collect stamps. I have 4 stamps already! https://americasnationalparks.org/passport-to-your-national-parks/

Are there more quests? I'm sure there are. But theses are the ones I'm keen on just now. 

I've been wanting to make a project of getting to the 4 extreme points of the continental US for a while. I've only been to the northwesternmost point (cape flattery in WA) so far, but key west seems nice. and I'll be going to Maine with Ellynne pretty regularly for years to come, so I'm sure we can collect Grand Isle pretty easily. so then there's just Lompoc CA to work out.
That sounds like an awesome quest.

In the Before, I used to travel for work a couple of times a month: airports, hotels, getting food in restaurants sometimes. Bus rides and long days in the war room. 1/Now, I mostly stay a few feet from my bed. I wear a mask to go out in the hall, fret about the cost of supporting local restaurants with takeout once a week. /1

I went to the condo gym every day. Most days I used equipment: machines or free weights. 2/I exercise in the same space I use as my makeshift office, with a floor mat and occasionally a dumbbell or two. /2

I rehearsed music with my choir every week: sixty people sitting and standing together, building music for performance, in a small room in a church, with lively social time. 3/I have Zoom sessions for two choirs, preparing to record a total of three songs in November for sound engineers to assemble with others' submissions for December. Online meetings are tiring. /3

I walked all over, pretty much every day. Spaced errands and shopping throughout the week. 4/I get food and other items delivered when I can. I'm supporting local farmers. Baked goods come in the mail. /4

Weekends were for galleries, museums, cultural and community events. It was great to be in crowds, people watching. 5/I stay indoors most days. Sometimes I will walk on the crowded streets, wearing my mask, following public health orders. /5

I volunteered, working in close proximity to people I had something in common with. 6/I don't spend much time around people in "real" spaces. It reminds me of being trapped in isolation long ago, not even seeing friends. /6

I want to move forward to a time after the pandemic. I have to live through now to get there. 13/

It's hard. My health is not superb. I can't make it stop on my own. I have to rely on our community and our leaders. 14/

Please stay as safe as you can. Help us all be safe. 15/15

Here's to community and leaders, wherever we may find them.
The community around me includes hundreds of people who like to gather in large, tightly packed crowds and shout about how they're oppressed and aren't gonna wear no goddam masks. And also, as I was reminded last night, gay white people who don't want any space given to QTBIPOC stories LALALAICANTHEARYOUANDIMTAKINGMYBALLYOUCANTMAKEMESUBMITTOLISTENING.

I've seen some folks mocking the Northwestern students who rampaged through the aspirational suburb where the campus is to demand removal of the university police. I admit ignorance about jurisdictional authority (and about the Evanston Police Department) but at both the Evanston campus the Chicago campus (where my offices are), the university contracts with the local police departments, for any large gathering, like a protest or a football game.

So I don't know whether NU's campus police in Evanston are "police" or police. But I know the campus demographics at NU. 50% white, coming from families with a median income of 88k.

It seems that the mocking is aimed at kids like this, marching past Whole Foods, protesting campus cops because they are white kids, with rich parents, at college next door to a Whole Foods.

None of which invalidates their point that we should not have universities contracting with police and maybe should not have police at all.

As far as I can tell. they weren't muscling in on the work of abolitionists in Chicago (or even in Evanston). They were not co-opting a message or a movement. They were looking in their own backyard and saying something could be better.

I wonder what bit of news about the protest I'm missing?


I was chatting about TV with a friend in the Slack and I realized--I don't recall liking a lot of things I recall watching every time it came on. Not actively hating, just being really indifferent. I like being indifferent to what's on the TV. I don't often have enough in me to really attend to what I'm watching. Which often means I'm too tired to do anything more interesting.

That's why I miss people and bars and restaurants so much. More entertaining More interesting. Less exhausting, now that I've gotten better about choosing companions.


I think about people with children or multiple partners or roommates, even, and I think "god it's hard enough navigating space with one person."


I lose track of days. No, that's not right. I woke up knowing it was Sunday, October 11(ish--I probably thought it was the 12th), that in a normal year, we should be hearing the marathon crowds gathering. I remembered that we wouldn't be hearing them.

But I can't remember when last I showered. Or called my mom. Or how long ago that doctor's appointment was. The sameness is exhausting.

The mistakes that come from it are strange and often inconsequential. But i stay exhausted from it.


Mom drove in to the City and we had lunch in the yard. Mom despises eating outdoors. She never even mentioned it.

Lunch was good. There's a family-owned & run Mexican place just a few doors down and that was where lunch came from. 

I miss my Mom. 

She helped me pick paint. Validated my design choices. And I did not even cry. Though she scolded me about despair. I told that when something good happens--or when any local, state or federal government helps someone--I don't discount it.

It was beautiful in the yard, sunny, cool, crisp. It was almost normal.


The fender for my bike finally arrived--it's cream when it should be black.

My daily presciption has no refills left--three months early.

Ikea is finally sending my order--but just the doors and hinges, not any of the actual furniture. And the cancelation form sent a "sorry, we could not cancel this order" auto-response. And the phone tree (after you go through several options) gets you "Sorry, we can't handle any more calls" and hangs up.

And did I mention? Four sticks & three blown veins and an arm full of black bruises for an IV for a routine out-patient thing that could not be rescheduled. Plus 90 minutes of screaming anxiety in the public waiting room before they got around to me.

Not a single goddamn thing goes smoothly.