A Must Read from Barbara Rose Brooker

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Nothing Works

Barbara Rose Brooker

Jul 25 · 5 min read

hate technology.

Nothing works. I’ve done nothing today. Not only do I have virus anxiety, but the only thing that works is my TV, which is on twenty four seven, reporting the rise of virus cases, and deaths. Even Alexa isn’t working. When I shout “Alexa!” there’s silence. She’s not working.

Anyway, it’s the middle of the night and I hear loud talking. My heart racing, sure that there’s a break in, I press the 911 panic button on my phone. In fifteen minutes, three burly police officers with keys clinking from their belts, arrive at my apartment. Shaking, I’m ranting someone is in the apartment, hiding. “I heard talking! Someone is hiding!” I repeat.

“Hey! Lady! It’s Alexa,” sighs a tired looking officer, looking at me as if I’m nuts. “You need to get Alexa fixed!”

As the weeks pass in mostly quarantine, I spend hours on Google, taking notes on technology, calling tech friends with questions, but they always say they’re in the middle of a Zoom meeting.

Still, nothing works.

If I scramble eggs on my fairly new stove, the fire alarm goes off, and then the tenants run down the stairs, yelling “Fire!” Now they give me dirty looks. Not to mention my pandemic anxiety. Obsessively, I worry if I get the virus and end up dying, my poor fifty something kids will have to face time me to say goodbye, and in the middle of our conversation, an 800 number will interrupt our call and my phone will go dead.

My tech anxiety is so bad that I’ve doubled my shrink zoom sessions. Even sending an attachment, I break into a cold sweat. My printer doesn’t work and sometimes my TV sticks on Netflix and the same movie stays frozen. No matter what I do, what buttons I press on the several remotes, nothing works.

You have to understand that I’m from the typewriter generation. I yearn for my little pink business cards printed with one telephone number on it. Now business cards have lists of links and Apps.

As the pandemic rages, and my anxiety grows, I have a recurrent nightmare: I’m lost. I’m driving. It’s dark, the road is thin, and as I drive, the road is thinner, and below, a vast dark green ocean is ready to swallow me and the car won’t stop. My cell phone is attached to the little hook on my belt but it only has ten percent battery juice left in it, so I call 911. A recording comes on, and my phone dies. I wake shaking. I look at the vase filled with yellow roses my daughter sent and I smell the fog floating from the open window and I’m glad I’m alive.

Never will the world be what it was. You never can go back. But I need to work, make money, need to develop social networking skills. Zooming has replaced the telephone, skype, and e-mailing. Recently, I was zooming on this hot national TV show and the host was promoting my latest novel, when my land phone rang, and the computer screen went dark. The producer called on my cell phone, shouting that I have to shut the phones off and that I “fucked up” their show.

Today, I have a pitch meeting with an LA network producer. He and his colleagues are interested in one of my books for a TV series. I’ve been in this game many times but I’m a fame whore and I won’t give up.

I wear a turtleneck and weave two black ostrich feathers into my long brown silver streaked hair. I glam up. I take a deep breath. It’s time. I click the zoom link. Wham! The little green camera is lit. A blast of music. Boom! Bubsy Jacobs about forty something, thin as a pipe, stands next to a huge rocket ship. “I’m virtual.” He laughs.

The head producer they call Ro Ro, short for Rothman, says with a yawn, that the network “loves,” my project. I’m sure he has never read my book. He has a large face and tiny distracted eyes.

Epic Glassman, about thirty and gorgeous, in a bored monotone, gushes how much she loves Should I Sleep In His Dead Wife’s Bed, and that she read it “head to toe.” She pauses, her round blue eyes behind huge chic round glasses, glaring. “However,” she continues in her voice soft as a gnat, “ I would like to see your protagonist Heather do something besides look for love. Also, she needs to be …younger?” She presses her full pale lips, disapprovingly.

I take a deep breath. “Well, first, her name is Lisa. And I want to keep her at sixty-five. She’s a Phd psychologist, researching the sex lives of men over sixty. She wants more than work. She wants love and fights ageism and sexism.”

“How do we know this?” she asks, impatiently.

“It’s on the first page,” I reply. “You’re in her office. She has a patient. It’s right there.”

“Who do you see playing the part?“ Ro Ro asks quickly.

“Diane Keaton,” I reply.

“Too old,” Epic says, with a bored sigh.

“I agree,” says Ro Ro. “The old actresses are in Rehab or in assisted living.” Just as I’m about to reply that his reason is ageist and sexist, and that I won’t let the networks change my work, I realize that my audio is off and I can’t hear them, nor can they hear me, and their faces are frozen on my computer screen. Frantically, I’m looking for the un-mute tiny red arrow, but when I click the arrow, the screen goes black.

The pandemic rages on. My anxiety continues.

“Mom. I put money in your Venmo app,” says my daughter on the phone. “It’s a gift. You didn’t get your unemployment.”

“Venmo?”

“My husband put the app on your phone! The money goes directly into your account. It’s a three-hundred dollar gift. No one smart goes into banks anymore.”

“Wow, thank you, “I say, thinking I’ll have extra money this month.

The weeks pass and I’m thinking I have three hundred dollars extra in my account. Whoopee! I buy shampoo, books, a New Yorker membership. Until I check my Citibank account and not only am I overdrawn but checks bounced.

“It can’t. You made a mistake!” I shout at the customer service man. He has a heavy accent and I keep saying, “What? What do you mean the money isn’t there? I have Venmo. Citi Bank has to make this good!”

“Venmo is not a bank. Venmo transfers your money into your Citibank account. I will talk you through.”

“So why do I need Venmo?” I shout. “I could walk to the bank.”

“Bank closed. Pandemic.Now go to your venmo App. I help you.”

Perspiring , I try to follow him as he instructs me step by step. But when I press my password’s tiny letters , a Reset Password bar pops up. I’m not breathing.

“Try again,” he says,patiently. I try again.

Again.

Again.

Finally a little bar says you are now transferred to Citi Bank. You will receive an e-mail.

“Success!” he says. “You see. You can do it.”

Every day, I’m zooming, apping, instagramming. I go on the singles sites. Some dudes have passwords to get on their zoom accounts, others sit in virtual atmospheres, their faces strangely young as they use Google Virtual for to erase lines, bags, wrinkles.

Nothing works.

To be continued.

BarbaraRoseBrooker/author of her latest novel Love, Sometimes, published Feb 2020, Post Hill Press/Simon Schuster

Brooker is working on The Corona Diaries and Other Things. Her national TV appearances, and podcasts The Rant are on You Tube and www.barbararosebrooker.com

Barbara Rose Brooker

WRITTEN BY

Barbara Rose Brooker, author/teacher/poet/MFA, published 13 novels. Her latest novel, Feb 2020, Love, Sometimes, published by Post Hill Press/Simon Schuster.

Kristi Horner Founder and Executive Director Courage to Caregivers

7/23/20
The current pandemic has brought with it many kinds of losses – including personal, social, financial, and even our sense of “life as we know it.” Any loss can make us feel grief, and that, appropriately, is our topic for this week.

Grieving can be both personal and communal. We’re all navigating this differently and maybe feeling different kinds of personal losses, but we’re also feeling “collective grief.” We have all lost something in the last four months, and because of that, we’re all grieving together. This is hard.

In this article, Lucy Hone of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience reminds us about the power of resilience. This can include tuning into the good that still remains, hunting out positive emotions, and keeping memories alive through routines and rituals. According to research, Hone says, “participating in rituals returns a feeling of control to the bereaved, and people who do so experience lower levels of grief.”

Elisabeth KüblerRoss is legendary when it comes to navigating grief and loss. This is one of my most favorite quotes of hers – when you read it insert ANY loss you have experienced – not just a loss of a loved one experienced through death. “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

Although we may never really “get over” the loss of a loved one – or any significant loss, for that matter – we do find new ways of coping and managing overtime. Regarding this pandemic, I know that not one of us will emerge in the same way or as the same person we were four months ago. But it’s my hope that all of us, and the world around us, will change for the better.

That’s probably why I’ve dusted off all my go-to resources for facing loss during this pandemic. Here’s a list of some of my favorite grief and loss resources.

As a final note, tomorrow is an important day for us. It’s International Self-Care Day, and we’ve decided to celebrate with our very first Day of Giving in honor of our commitment to self-care for caregivers!

We are so proud that Courage to Caregivers has been able to help hundreds of caregivers through our peer support, breathing meditation, and support group programs. And this newsletter reaches hundreds more with weekly inspirational messages and resources.

Thank YOU for supporting our mission to provide hope, support, and courage to caregivers and loved ones of those living with mental illness. We can’t do this important work without YOU.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

IF the POTUS Can Share his Thoughts, SO CAN I!

Before I begin my day I have to get something off my chest – How Can We Have an Imbecile (per the dictionary, “a person affected with moderate intellectual disability,” a fool, an idiot) be a world leader as POTUS. Yes, I am talking about Donald Trump! I am not holding back because he is so ignorant when it comes to ‘reality’ and he has a following of minions that claim they want change (and climate change is not real!) and only this so-called IMBECILE can provide that for them. My question is other than promises what has he changed for you? He has not made America GREAT? He has, however, made the USA a laughing stock in the world as we know it! My momma once told me not to trust the snake oil salesman and that is DJT.


Donald only chooses to listen to people who agree with him, and he believes that is what makes him smart. However, agreeing with another person without knowing what you are agreeing too is dangerous. Did you ever go to your parents and tell them you wanted to do something because your friends were doing it and their response was; if your friends jump off a bridge, would you? (My answer would be no because I am fearful of bridges – what would or was your answer?)
Yesterday DJT claimed Joe Biden is unfit to be President (the pot calling the Kettle Black.) He wants Biden to be checked out physically and mentally – excuse Mr. Imbecile, a majority of people (including your family member, your niece) claim you are unfit! Why don’t you get checked out and we can compare the results? All mr. donald trump does is ridicule people.

This morning it was noted that HEIR PRESIDENTE’ who I call IMBECILE believes or wants us to believe COVID will just go away! Even a grade-school child cannot believe a statement like this. DJT is not a scientist, nor does he hold any degree in medicine, biology, or chemistry to conclude his idiotic statement. It is statements like this that are killing us!
Please stop believing when he speaks this nonsense, follow the lead of the medical/scientists that are racing against the clock to conquer this VIRUS! Be smarter than him and don’t fall for his BULL SHIT LIES!
Register to Vote if you Have Not! And Vote BLUE – that means, get him out of the Whitehouse before he has it painted BLACK. In this case, BLACK would be an insult to our intelligence!

What are Healthy Boundaries – Kristi Horner – Courage to Caregivers

Healthy boundaries have always been an important part of self-care, but in these weird, pandemic days of sheltering-in-place, many of us may be feeling uneasy about the boundaries we are having to maintain just to stay safe.

That’s how I felt this week as we celebrated my sister’s birthday and her talents at an opening for her most recent artwork. As we maintained our physical distancing, the time came for my two sisters and me to take a picture together, and it was heartbreaking. All I wanted to do was give both of my sisters a big hug, but I couldn’t.

We understood that our physical distancing would help keep us healthy, but as I say about so many things when it comes to self-care, it was hard.

Even in so-called normal times, maintaining healthy boundaries can be hard. But it’s a necessity for self-care, whether they’re mental, physical, or emotional boundaries. According to PsychCentral.com, mental boundaries apply to our thoughts, values, and opinions; physical boundaries pertain to our personal space, privacy, and body; and emotional boundaries involve separating our emotions from someone else’s. Healthy boundaries can protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems, or from taking others’ comments personally.

Here are some ways to set and maintain healthy boundaries:

  • Examine your current boundaries (or lack of boundaries) with significant people in your life.
  • Say “no” to something you don’t want to do or that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to explain or justify the “no.”
  • Use “I” language. Talk about how you feel, not how someone else is making you feel. Say, “I need a few minutes alone after work,” instead of saying, “You have to stop bothering me as soon as I get home from work.”
  • You may need to set consequences if the other person is unwilling to respect the boundary, but you must be willing to follow through, or the boundary is useless.
  • Recognize not only your own boundaries but also the boundaries of others, and strive to respect and honor those boundaries.

Now more than ever, no one should judge us about the boundaries we set to make us comfortable. We need to be respectful of each other and the boundaries that keep all of us healthy – you, me, and those we love.

Caring together,

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

Barbara Rose Brooker – I love how you Advocate for Age – All AGES = Living Life

Please click on this link and absorb her wisdom https://medium.com/@barbarrose/age-is-a-billion-dollar-business-c3e01b7e3751

Barbar is 83 and wants to be a Movie Star – I, Karen Moss Hale, am 70, and I want to have the Number 1 Podcast with Barbara Rose Brooker https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-rant-with-barbara-rose-brooker_1

Courage to Caregivers Kristi Horner

We’re on to a new theme this month – relationships – and our first topic is connections. Unfortunately, social distancing is getting all of the publicity these days. But while physical distancing remains important during this pandemic, maintaining our social connections is also important, especially for caregivers.

Connecting with others is a basic human need that is hardwired within us from birth. As caregivers, we gain a lot from our social connections, including emotional support, respite care, and a sounding board for our concerns, just to name a few of the benefits. As this article notes, connecting is one of Mental Health America’s 10 tools that can help you feel stronger and more hopeful. Research shows that feeling socially connected can increase happiness, improve health, and lead to a longer life.

Gideon Rosenblatt notes that connections are different from relationships. Connections, or points of contact, can take many forms. They typically involve some kind of action and are usually time-constrained. Relationships are about the experience of connecting with someone over an extended period of time. “One way to think of connections is as a kind of handshake between two parties,” he says.

Sometimes, a connection can take the form of a heart-to-heart, spill-it-all talk. Other times, just a laugh-out-loud e-mail can do wonders. Spending time connecting with others in pleasurable activities can be a welcome release from our daily worries.

And we can all learn something from our connections. During the past four years, as we’ve launched Courage to Caregivers, I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way, and every one of them has helped me better understand the unique challenges of caregivers. I’ve also learned how to listen better and how to be a better human.

That’s why it’s so important that we continue to connect while we also continue our physical distancing. I like to think of this time as an opportunity to strengthen our social solidarity. We need all of the solidarity we can get right now, and that goes not only for caregivers but also for those we love who are living with mental illness.

In the spirit of solidarity, if you’re looking for a new way to come together and expand your connections, consider joining one of our programs at Courage to Caregivers in our new virtual format. We’d love to support you and have you join our community.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

Words from Jeannie Ralston – Thanks for Your TIPS!

https://thenexters.org/

 

The big holiday is upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re not going anywhere. Our friends’ Fourth of July parties have all been canceled down here in Texas, so I will be hanging out with the fam, playing card games, and shooting off our own fireworks. So not exactly quiet. Happy Fourth to all!

Here are 4 bits of news from the NextTribe offices:

1. We learned about the 4 pillars of the “house of health” through menopause and beyond during our Nutrafol-sponsored Embrace the Change talk on fitness, energy and sleep.
Read all about it here.

2. A lot of us have been embracing our gray, out of necessity, during the pandemic. We say don’t hide away your gray, strut it. Win prizes and recognition by posting photos with hashtags: #NextTribe and #HoorayforGray.
Details here. 

(Members are eligible to win bigger prizes.)

3. We’re setting up our summer virtual events. The first one is on July 16th with Erica Heller, editor of One Last Lunch and yes, Joseph Heller’s daughter, and Muffie Meyer, a director, and editor of Grey Gardens.
Details here. 

4. I’m very proud that so many truly accomplished women are being considered for the VP slot on the Democratic ticket. Which one do you think will make the best candidate?

Stay safe all, and wear a mask if you’re out and about.

–Jeannie Ralston

Welcome BACK BASEBALL 2020

June 23, 2020

THE DAY THE MLB OWNERS AND TEAMS AGREED TO PLAY!

“Major League Baseball’s owners have approved a restart plan for MLB and, in keeping with the acrimony and suspicion between management and the players we’ve seen for the past three months, sent it as more or less an ultimatum to the players association. But it does mean the sport is coming back.”

 

I have always enjoyed the game of baseball.  I grew up in Detroit and my introduction to baseball was the Detroit Tigers.  Although we didn’t go to many games back in the day my Father either listened to the game on his AM Radio or we watched in on our Black & White TV.  During my teens, we lived in Minneapolis and I felt like a trader rooting for the Minnesota Twins, but Harmon Killebrew played for them and my dad’s name was Harmon, so became loyal to them only to feel torn when in 1968 we moved back to the home of the Tigers.

During my lifetime, I have lived in cities with other teams such as the Phillies, the Reds, and the Indians!  My first introduction to the Indians was in the late eighties or early nineties when they were still playing at Municipal Stadium.  My husband and I were invited by one of his clients to attend a game and party in a Logue.  Well everyone else partied (assuming the Indians would lose which was their pattern at that time,) I sat and watched the game rooting for the home team.

In 1994 as I traveled for business one night when I called home, my youngest son Alex who as 4 years old at the time informed me he was watching the Oreos on TV and he couldn’t talk to me.  After he hung up on me very abruptly I called back and his father told me that Alex was mesmerized by the baseball game and was intently watching it.  That was the beginning of true love in our home!  Ever since the summer evening, Alex has gravitated and absorbed the game that it is difficult not to enjoy his love for the purity of the sport.

COVID19 has hit us all hard and baseball not starting on time in March has been difficult on many (but it is very apparent here in our home.)  You see Alex always wanted to play baseball and despite the lessons he took and his knowledge of the game past and present, some obstacles (COACHES) stood in his way.  However, his dream has always been to work for the Cleveland Indians.  Two years ago that dream came true and although he is working his way through the system for him it’s not just working because when he is at Progressive Field he feels complete!

However, this horrible virus has meant he is out of work along with many others working for Major League team, however, he plans on returning when the opportunity avails itself.  Now that an agreement has been met he is all smiling because he will at minimum be able to follow his team and the sport he loves.  I too am smiling again because despite being from Detroit, and once rooting for Twins, Phillies, and Reds, my love and devotion go out to the Cleveland Indians.

I don’t want to wish the summer away but I cannot wait till they take the field at the end of July so I can, “Root, Root, Root for MY HOME TEAM.  GO INDIANS!

 

As Joel Says: Quacks Like a Duck

Sunday – June 21, 2020
I think it was my paternal grandfather, Abe, who first laid this simple piece of folk wisdom on me, “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, most likely…”.  Navel contemplators may have a burning passion to delve deeper into the spiritual or philosophical possibilities of that perception, but I’m pretty sure, most of the time, the feathery creatures, attempting to look adorably hungry to the strangers disregarding the “Do Not Feed the Ducks” sign, are ducks.  Ergo, racists are racist, liars lie, thieves steal, politicians spin, guns kill, bullies abuse and everyone poops.  At this unique moment in time, at the confluence of pandemic and racial unrest and mad king despotism in the White House, most of us are experiencing a moment of widespread clarity where it may just be possible to clean our very messy and disingenuous slate, if only we take this opportunity to stop trying to reimagine the obvious.  It is better to be at peace than at war.  It is better not to harm the life-sustaining nature of our planet.  It’s cool to be kind.  We can, should, must do better while abiding zero tolerance for inept, corrupt, ill-thinking public servants at every level of governance.  We are all created equal and everyone’s life is better when life is better for everyone.  Certainly, BLACK LIVES MATTER! Equally, blackened hearts DO NOT!  Quack

Lori Sokol _ Thankyou_ A Gift for Her Father

When you believe that #Black Lives Matter – you share your story – https://womensenews.org/2020/06/a-gift-for-my-racist-father-a-biracial-nephew