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Friday, March 27, 2020

                                   IS stock from The Hour Detroit

I meant to write on Wednesday but I was unable to find the time. I wound up having a very full day. First, a student needed to be tutored and I got approached on my tutoring app to do it. I haven't tutored all year so I did it and the lesson went well. We scheduled a lesson for today and tech was not kind. First the girl couldn't see the whiteboard and then all of a sudden the sound on my end cut out. I had been using a computer but that wasn't working. So I switched to my iPad and that was worse. Finally, since it was obviously a problem on my end, we rescheduled for Monday. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly. 

So it's weird getting all dressed up from the waist up. I put on makeup to hide my scary eye scars. I had to had eyelid reduction surgery this summer and it made me look freaky for awhile. Now they are almost back to normal but without makeup they look scary red. So makeup, a decent top and fix my hair. On the bottom I'm wearing my Betty Boop sweat pants. So I feel like a TV announcer who is wearing jeans and a very nice suit jacket and tie. But we never see the jeans. LOL

Anyway, this is Friday and the 5th day of our complete stay in the house. My daughters are working from home and so am I. Of course, I do that all the time, except for tutoring. So after the tutoring I went straight over to this awesome website: Poetry of Dark Angel that is on Facebook and did a 15 video. You can see it there. I read my poetry and talked a little bit. As I have told many of my friends, I hate seeing myself on the screen. I guess that almost everyone feels that way. 

As I said, I meant to write Wednesday but then it was too late. On Thursday my entire day was devoted to my radio show, Books and Entertainment Tales from the Pages. Here it is for anyone who would like to hear it. I think it was a great show this week. Many times this week I have heard how the arts can heal us and I believe it. Watching the Broadway stars sing to me and hearing the exquisite violin music of one of my friend's soloists on my show was breathtaking. Art does soothe your soul so if you aren't doing anything that concerns art you should try it. 

Also yesterday I got outside on my balcony!! Feeling and breathing in the fresh air did wonders for me. And I talked with the Aetna nurse and was able to allay some of my anxiety that I'm sure many of you have. Being calm and doing some deep breathing helps a lot. The air helped too. It was great seeing that the world was still going on but it was emptier. People are still walking on the boardwalk and walking their dogs. Kids are still playing and it was fun to hear the bird and feel the sunlight. It's 65 out now so I will be getting out there again soon.

Life is going on and though I am in the house I am trying to do things to keep myself occupied. I am watching less TV and more people doing things on TV. I rarely watch a movie, though I did last night. And I am watching the news sporadically to keep up with stuff. It is too devastating to watch all the time and I hope that it gets better. Right now we are having a huge storm of disease and this one we can't run away from as I said a few times. We are in a bunker and safe for now and hopefully it will protect us and all of us will come out of our safe havens stronger.

I talked with my brother about having a virtual Passover. We are going to connect the entire family in England and Japan and Manhattan and right here in Greenwich,CT. it should be fun as it always is and we'll just do the best we can to follow a seder together. During normal times that is not always very successful so online it should be different. This is the ultimate in social distancing I think!

In closing I would just like to say how grateful I am to the medical profession who are fighting this pandemic and who are constantly updating us on the seriousness of this virus. Life in the time of Covid-19 is feeling more and more like the beginning of a dystopian novel. I think I said this before but it can't be said enough. I have never lived in such a strange time and I think all my dear departed relatives, including my late husband, would never believe this could happen. Although, I think he would have not been fazed by it. I'm getting by and each day feel a little better about dealing with this crisis. As a TV doctor says: We will get through this and we are now probably at the end of the beginning. So there's lots more to follow. I will be writing as much as I can, because this helps a lot.

Until the next time everyone please stay healthy and safe. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

This is how we should all feel and I don't. 

This is my second blog post during this time of being inside due to the corona virus Covid -19. I have been anxious and not able to sleep very much. Every little body problem concerns me and causes worry. But I am telling myself not to panic and to try to realize I am still okay.

Yesterday we had food delivered and it was a lot and on a cart. The person rang the doorbell and then stood in the hall with the cart. I answered the door thinking all I would see would be groceries and saw the delivery person. I immediately closed the door and talked to her from behind it. I felt insane but I didn't want to chance that she could have it. Then my daughters took in all the bags and I was worried because this virus can last on paper. So I stayed away and didn't help with putting them away. 

But this fear has caused me to change everything. As suggested I am washing my hands whenever I am touching food or anything that could hold the virus. So I am washing my hands at least 10 times a day. At night I am slathering cream on them to keep them from getting rough, red and peeling. This amount of hand washing rubs off your outer skin. It is truly insane that we are having to do this. But this caution is necessary. 

Today I am working on setting up my radio show for this month. I am looking forward to talking with everyone. It should be lots of fun and hopefully we will have a good audience. Lots of people are at home and looking for something to do. I will put the link here tomorrow but also it will be on Facebook. I just have to do it.

My mother had a term for how I feel: discombobulated. It's when you are not sure what to do next. You start something and stop it and then start something again and then go back to the first thing. It's exhausting to be this way and I want to get back to my normal way of living. However, I have a feeling that normal is not going to happen for a long time.

I was talking on text today to a friend and said now I see why there were all those zombie books and she also brought up the dystopian Cassandra Claire books as well. I hope that it doesn't turn into that kind of world but it is getting closer and closer as I worry about human contact being dangerous. 

Anyway, enough of this madness. Please be kind to the people who are with you and be safe and we will all see each other on the other side. Until the next time...

Monday, March 23, 2020

                      LIFE IN THE TIME OF CORONA VIRUS COVID-19

It is now an entire week when the country has pretty much shut down. I don't think as many took it seriously until the middle of last week. Each day I learn of someone new who has contracted the virus and I am in panic mode. I have been in the house almost the entire time except for driving around with my daughters. The world has gotten different for sure. My life is pretty much the same except my daughters have now been home from their offices every day. They used to work at home on Mondays and then one worked from home on Wednesday and the other on Friday. Now they are both home and this is going to be the new normal for us I guess. 

We no longer shop at supermarkets. We are getting our food delivered. Living in a large apartment complex a lot of things have changed for us. Our complex had many amenities such as a full time gym of two levels, a community room with free coffee and free wifi with several computers available. We also have a Conference Room and a theater where you can screen your own movies or watch the broadcast they have there. It is equipped with the latest reclining chairs and a wide screen. There is also a basketball court and a squash court. 

We also have a concierge who lets in people and who takes packages. Our building has a gated parking area and that is still working. So they closed all the amenities. I have been inside my apartment since Saturday and will probably be here for the entire week. My car was started on Saturday to make sure it is still okay. But I am afraid to go out at all. I am over 70 and have diabetes. So I am in the danger zone for contracting this virus.

I have changed my daily habits. Now I wash my hands very frequently for 20 seconds whenever I do anything. I have been baking a bit so that entails washing your hands even more. I am not having any physical contact with my daughters for fear they might be carrying the germ unknowingly. They are taking precautions. I also did that. When I went out on Saturday I had a glove to touch the elevator button and the door handle and then threw it away. We bought masks before the whole thing actually escalated and we are very prepared with lots of toilet paper and other essentials. We are waiting for our food order and my daughter just said that some things are out of stock. They are not ordering as much food because people are not buying it. 

As a writer I have been writing poetry and wrote two poems about the disease. I also wrote a chapter on my WIP although now I don't feel much like writing. This is the first writing I have done in a few days. Everything seems to have changed in priority. I find that although I enjoy being in the house it is starting to get to me. I mean, what is great about this time is that creative people in the arts are stepping up. Since Broadway was closed several celebrities have started shows that feature the talents of these people. My daughters and I have been watching #Stars on Broadway and last night we spent over three hours watching Rosie O'Donell stream live so many celebrities I couldn't count. It's fun to see that the talent of these people doesn't need costumes and scenery. Also a performer is doing live performances every day at 7pm. It's just him, his guitar and his piano. All of this just soothes my soul and gives me hope that soon life will come back to normal. 

Several of my meetings have been either canceled or moved to Zoom. I, myself, will be on Facebook and I have my radio show: Books and Entertainment Tales from the Pages on Thursday, March 26, 2020. I am hoping all of my guests will be available.

Thank goodness for technology so we can get food. I guess we could live on what we have now. We have plenty in the freezer and pantry. But day to day essentials are what we are running out of and so happy we can restock. I am hoping that other people are able to navigate this situation without things getting out of hand. I am not looking past this week and hope that the country will come back to normal soon. 

Passover is April 8 and I fear we will have to cancel our seder with my niece. She lives in Manhattan and it's pretty much going to be a given that I won't be traveling and that we will not be gathering. Though we are family and my brother lives close to me I haven't seen him. He stopped traveling two weeks ago and we were supposed to get together all of us for Passover. Now I have no idea what is going to happen. I hope this will all be over but I fear that we have at least a month more to go before we can feel comfortable about going out in public. 

I'm finding it harder and harder to sleep. I woke up two hours after I fell asleep and had no idea why. I am trying to keep my mind off of this as much as possible but my body isn't getting the message. I don't usually have trouble sleeping. This is something new for me and I don't like it. Let me know how you are coping in the comments. And hope you will join me for my events. One is on Poetry of the Dark Angel on Wednesday and the other is my radio show: BE Tales from the Pages on Thursday. 

Here is one of the poems I wrote:

A scourge has overtaken our world
one more deadly than nations fighting nations
It has plunged its claws into our country
when we thought we were safe and nothing
could stop our freedom

Now we all sit isolated from each other
in our boxes — some boxes smaller than others
yet we must stay in them to escape this
deadly force that is rushing across our nation
forcing us to restrict our freedom

Over two hundred years we have fought for this
freedom to be where we want to be and do what
we want to do
now we must stay inside to keep away from
this invisible menace

No school, no work outside your home, no restaurants, no bars,
no lying on the beach with your friends, no fun get togethers
no talking with your neighbors or shaking hands or hugging
no movies, no concerts, no festivals, no book events or poetry readings
We must do all this virtually now

Too many have been affected by this invisible monster that seeps
into your body without your knowing and for some it is a death sentence
The bodies piling up so high in places the cemeteries have closed
And still it keeps destroying without care for anything
As the brave medical profession struggles to contain it

Stuck inside my home to avoid its deadly consequences
I pray every day for an end to this awful mess that started
with a tiny insect and now has caused the entire world to
come to a stop — creating a time to reflect and wonder
and then appreciate all the freedoms we so took for granted

Like walking outside and greeting passersby, shopping without care,
or hugging a loved one after a long time apart
or cheering at a concert for a performer in the midst of cheering others
or watching basketball players bump up against each other
not concerned that one of them may be deadly

It will be a sad and painful time for all of us
as we watch the procession of bodies
and the researchers search constantly for a cure
to stop this invisible pestilence that has stumped
the world and decimated the ease of life.
Copyright 2020 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time I hope everyone is staying safe and observing the rules so we can get rid of this pestilence that has invaded our lives.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A New Year - A New Beginning: My Review of Zeeka Chronicles by Brenda Mohammed

Hi everyone. I realize it is almost a year since I posted and I apologize for that. My life has become extremely busy with poetry and Greenwich Pen Women and Motivational Strips. In the meantime a lot of stuff has happened and it's mostly all good. One of my poems was chosen to be in The Walt Whitman Bicentennial Anthology, Poets To Come. Another was chosen to be hung on the wall of an art exhibition at the Canton, CT Library and one was chosen to be in a brochure for an art and poetry exhibition at The Norwalk Public Library called "Art&Text". 

I have had many different people on my radio show and our network has changed its name to Books and Entertainment network. So if you're looking for my shows they will be under Books and Entertainment Tales from the Pages. Now I can shorten it to BE Tales from the Pages. How cool those are my initials too. I swear we didn't choose it for that reason, though. 

I am working steadily on my third novel, "The Mill Valley High Five". Also, ta, da, I finally sent my second novel, the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, called: Who Is Jennifer Taylor? to my publisher. She has still not done anything about it but at least it is there. I am excited about this last book in the series, because it is written in third person. This is the first time I am writing in this POV so it's a challenge. I did it because I felt that some of the characters in the second novel needed a chance to be heard. Actually, some of them asked me to please give them more of a story. You know that authors are always having their characters talk to them. Mine did all summer and that is why when that happened I started the third book. I am now on Chapter 27 so it should be finished soon. As you might know if you have been reading this blog for awhile, I don't outline and never know what my ending will be. It is still a mystery even now. My characters will figure it out I'm sure. LOL

So as the new year begins I thought I would start with a review of a very unusual and interesting book by Brenda Mohammed, a woman who has twenty-four books published and has won many awards, including: Readers Favorite International Book Awards 2018 for her book, I Am Cancer Free.  Zeeka Chronicles: Revenge of Zeeka won a gold award from Readers Favorite in Magazine Readers Choice Awards 2018, placed in the top ten for the Author Academy Global Awards 2018 and won an award in the category of young adult thriller in readers Favorite International Book Awards 2018. So it was with great delight that I began to read this book. Here is my review and afterward I will put the interview I had with Brenda here for you to hear.

Review for Zeeka Chronicles: Revenge of Zeeka Books 1-5 by Brenda Mohammed

 Zeeka Chronicles will grab you in the beginning and compel you to keep reading

The story begins with a dream that a renowned doctor has and then finds out what he has dreamed is about to come true. Imagine you are thirty years in the future on a small island that is very developed and was once a haven for tourists. However, due to a freak outbreak of the Zika virus and the rise of zombies created by a rogue doctor, the tourists have abandoned this idyllic island. Now the nightmare that Dr. Raynor Sharpe had experienced is about to come true. A man with a false head has arrived and claims that he is Number Nine, a zombie created by Master Zeeka. He tells the doctor he knows of others who have false heads and mechanical bodies who are being trained by this Master Zeeka to kill. But attempts to find out more are thwarted by the disappearance of this strange man. All that is left is the false head and the recording made of his admission. Although this is a small thing it sets off a whole series of episodes where there is a search for this mysterious Number Nine. As the search continues we are introduced to a series of characters that could have come out of the movies of the 40’s and 50’s including several police detectives and one called Hammer. Hammer could have been played by any of the stars who were hard on the outside and good at strong arming the bad guys with warm hearts. In fact, the entire book feels like a rerun of a good mystery story with its cinematic scenes. The bad guy creates a big disturbance during a public event and the whole thing escalates. There are scenes everywhere including the forest where the police detectives go to try to find the missing zombies and the evil Dr. Zeeka. Dr. Zeeka was believed to be dead but he is very alive as he manipulates his zombies to cause trouble and kill innocent people. In the middle of all this is the love story of Raynor and Janet and how it is related to the story unfolding around them. During the entire time reading this book the reader keeps wondering what will come next. There is almost never a time when the reader feels that things are settled in the first book. By the second book when the reader feels everything has calmed down things escalate again and the whole story continues at a breakneck pace until the end of Book 5. During the reading of this story there are many scientific advances in it. Since the story starts out in 2034 and continues to 2036 there are things in there that are probably in the beginning stages now. However, it is clear that the author has done extensive research on certain of these advances. As someone who likes a little romance with my science fiction I really enjoyed the relationships here. I would recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction. Let’s hope that some of the things she has in here will come to fruition. 

Here is the radio show on which Brenda and Shiju H. Pallithazheth were guests:

Until the next time I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve and you are starting the new year well. Please comment here and tell me about what some of your plans are for the new year. 

I forgot to mention that I am on Twitter as @barbehr. I have joined a wonderful group called #WritingCommunity. If you are a writer on Twitter this is a great place to be. It is very supportive and will get you more quality followers who are writers. 

My next radio show: BE Tales from the Pages, will be on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 4pm Eastern time with Cynthia Sharp, Michael Amidei and Susan Strecker. This should be an amazing show! Cynthia is a poet laureate, Michael is an incredible musician and poet and Susan is a multi-published author with a new book.

Don't forget to leave a comment here. Or you can comment under the Facebook link or send me a word on Twitter. 

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