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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.

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!

 

Terri-Lynn Pellegri Writes 6/14/20

Believe
I have to believe that we are all connected and continue to be, even when our bodies are no longer here…when we cease to breathe and our flesh is no longer alive with blood pumping through our veins. I have to believe that we somehow still communicate, have interplay, that our energies relate to one another in ways that we are not aware of. I have to believe that we all matter and that it matters what we do and how we live, and that we live. I mostly have to believe that loving matters, and that the energy that love generates, that our caring for one another, and our support for each other is necessary. I have to believe that the space in between one human being and the next is not a void or a distance…but an invisible glue that is our human connection. #saratoga #saratogasprings #love #lovematters #brother #create #creativephotography

Am I in a TIME WARP?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
It Should be Kentucky Derby Day

It’s another Saturday in this new Pandemic World.  I am fortunate to have somewhat of a schedule for newclevelandradio.net during the week, recording and preparing podcasts.  However, most weekends seem to zap me of energy as the days drag on with little to do.  However, today is different.  My husband and I did some closet cleaning in the studio/office this morning as we are attempting to do some reorganization.  Now if you have ever been in the home studio I will tell you that my husband is a pack-rat, not a hoarder.  I think we have three or four end of life computers in the closet and one set out in the room.  As my hubby would say, you never know we just may need parts from one to fix another.  Did I mention parts that go back to a Commodore 64?  If you have no idea what that is, you are very young indeed.

Additionally, I have two podcasts today and both should be fun and interesting.  The first is with Just4theSpellofIt.com, lead by Gary Moss my big brother.  Isn’t it interesting that we call an older sibling our big brother or sister, and the truth is I am as tall as he is or maybe taller?  Gary’s podcast is all about words and Scrabble™, yet the techniques he uses teaches and creates to become a better Scrabble™ player, any one of us can use to become better at anything we want to achieve.  The second is with Rick Bolton, musician extraordinaire.

Currently, I am trying to achieve patience with the #StaySafe #StayAtHome orders.  I agree with the orders and I would rather be safe and struggle financially than get this horrid virus and possibly die.  I understand the need to get back to work, earn a living, and feel accomplished at the end of the day, but COVID19 has invaded us and it will linger and combust again in the Fall.

Earlier today I posted ion Facebook that I feel like I am in a time warp, that each day is the same, nothing changes, and yet the slogan #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER continues to play through the media.  Together but alone and that is what is warping my senses.  I need to chill and breathe and make it to the tomorrow and the many days after that when it is safer to spin out of this feeling.

Have a Happy!

Dear Sue, Liz and all affected by COVI19

An open letter to my niece Sue (and to all of you too.)

Life is not fair you say, and at times I must agree with you but there are somethings we are responsible for in keeping the deck clean and cutting it fairly.  Sue, your zayde used to remind us when we complained of kvetched (no I am not insinuating you are,) that we have to choices in life to live or to die.  The luckier we are to live through the SHIT STORMS provides us with wisdom to make tomorrow (or today) a better day.

COVID19 is nondiscriminatory, although if you ask the male or Afro-American segments of this global pandemic they might disagree.  However, we have seen the very young as well as the geriatric community become infected, and most recover but millions are still dying.  All we can do to survive is to follow the #STAYATHOME rules, #WASH_OUR_HANDS, #WEAR_A_MASK, so we stay out of harm’s way.

You are one of the lucky ones.  I know MS is not a “walk in the park” immune disorder.  However, you have fought it with all your might and we are blessed you are still here to shout and scream about life not being fair.  As the mother of twins both born on the spectrum, you have given them life beyond birth.  You believe in their strengths and they have developed into young adults who we can all be proud of.  It has not been easy for you or them but nothing in life that comes easy reaps the rewards.  Your loving husband Joe also has medical ailments that put him at high risk for the virus.  Although we may not remind you of our concern and love is not to say we are unaware and non-caring.  However, as he follows the protocol we know that is all you and he can do at this time.

When I say you are lucky, you found a sister, best friend with Liz who is a second mom to your children.  Often when we get divorced like the two of us, it is not common to hear that both moms are friends.  But you with your heart of gold found the good in Liz and she in you.  I truly admire the two of you for the relationship you have.  Both you and Liz have made the lives of your children better for it.  I can’t thank her enough for helping both Wylie and Hayley transition through this as she did.  You are one blended family!

Another lucky star or stars in your life is finding your birth family and developing a relationship with them.  Not everyone is as blessed to find their birth parents and siblings but you have and you all embraced each other when often the opposite is the result.  The parents who raised you encouraged you to follow the path to seek your birthright and now you have a circle of life embracing you.  (I could go into what seems like Millions of Friends, but that for another time.)

However, yesterday, when Liz tested positive for COVID19, life felt unfair and you lashed out at those who don’t want to believe in the FACTS of this insidious disease.  I applaud you for telling people how sad, frustrated, and anxious you feel! When this hits close to home especially to a front line worker (Liz is a nurse,) it seems even more unfair.  However, we have no control and all we can do is feed Liz positive vibes, keep her family (her daughter, the twins, and her husband,) in our special prayers and thoughts.  As a cancer survivor, she is at a higher risk, but as a survivor, she has the will and stamina to get well again!

Isn’t it time for all of us to wisen up and realize if we do not prepare for the worst when it happens, and it will, we will be blown away in the wind.  The devastation from COVID19 could have been so much less if some in our government would have had the BALLS to get involved in stopping or slowing down the spread of this horrific disease.  However, DJT did not, he, in fact, called in “Fake News.”  Now we are living and struggling with the fallout.

To Sue and All, we cannot allow this to define us, we must define ourselves and become the best of our best.  That includes taking all the safety precautions to keep ourselves and others safe.  I ask you to keep Liz, and all the VICTIMS of this VIRUS close to your hearts and let our energies help to send healing powers.

I am adding Liz to my list of those I know who have recovered because, #IBelieve

It’s Getting to ME!

Like many of you, I did not expect that hunkering down would be easy, but I also did not expect my emotions to rise and fall numerous times during the day. However, my reality is more like living on a teeter-totter than a roller coast. When something sends me to the top, I feel my heart beating extra fast, numbness in my dangling feet, and tension in my arms as I hold on with a fear of heights and falling. Yet, when I lower myself and touch the ground, I feel as if I am being pushed down as my knees sink into my chest, and my head leans down, almost in a fetal position…
This is not how I expected to spend the Spring of 2020. As summer 2019 came to an end, I was making some positive life changes beginning with working out every day, developing better eating habits while finding an inner peace that helped strengthen my relationships, new and old. And then, one day, I hurt my knee, and the best-laid plans of this ‘chick’ changed overnight. Instead of working out, I was attending Physical Therapy. The weight loss and physical changes that I had made began to diminish and try as I may keep that positive attitude; it teased me with bouts of anxiety and depression.
2020 was to be the year to get my new bionic knee (total knee replacement) and return to daily workouts and redeveloping my positive plan. If you have been following my journey, you will know that I had surgery seven weeks ago, and yet I am not as recovered as I would have thought I should be or planned to be. I am having excessive nerve type pain in my knee to my ankle, and I am walking with a limp, which is throwing off my whole right-side, causing aches and pains. I think this discomfort is noticed more due to the limitations of the STAY AT HOME and BE SAFE PLAN.
This pandemic has touched all of us, and for some, it includes the loss of a parent, child, friend, or relation of someone you know. Trying to do what is right is simple, but it can feel painful, both physically and emotionally. The physical pain comes from the change in our routines, and that affects our emotional state as well. If you are like my family and me some days, you get inspired, and you do something active like cleaning out a drawer, reading a book, baking, or planting a garden.
Whatever it is, it most likely makes you feel accomplished, and that, in turn, raises your endorphins, increasing your wellness state.
It may not be easy to do something each day to provide this endorphin rush and try as I may do so, I find I am napping and vegging out, losing time to nothingness. Some nothingness is good for us, but too much can be infectious. It is not unusual for us to feel like we are riding the waves, and the rush may make us feel physically ill. However, we each have this opportunity to turn it into that “aha” moment. We can do something that erases the ills and leads us to health.
This pandemic time will end when it is supposed to end. We can do our part now to stay well, so when that day comes, we will walk out with pride and confidence for a better tomorrow.

We all need to come together NOW!

From my Ferris

Living here in PA, we have tons of folks who are just eeking by – paycheck to paycheck – surviving on tips and the good nature of people; they work in Restaurants and Bars; as servers and bar folks and chefs and sous chefs and wait trailers.
Places we frequent: like Bar Louis and 403 Broad, The Dimmick and John’s of Arthur Avenue (Pizza and Pasta) Chris & Ginas and Faltes and the WaterWheel Cafe just to name a few local places that will be closed because of coronavirus.
In Jersey, we’ve all fallen madly crazy ass in love with the Layton Hotel.

Most of these places and the folks who work there are going to suffer greatly; they’ll be doing take-out only – NO SERVICE – just pickups; a few will deliver within a certain mile range (Layton Hotel will deliver within 15 miles from their restaurant, so you’re good to go in Dingmans) and they need our support.

PLEASE, SUPPORT THESE RESTAURANTS! And leave tips for ANYONE who has served you; handed you your food.

  • For many, this is their only source of income.
  • Order from them. They will make sumptuous meals and be thrilled you called and came and smiled.
  • You can grab their menus on FaceBook, on Open Table or google them.
  • Please, these folks don’t only offer up meals, they offer up kindness.

Thank you.

I love Amy Ferris

From Amy

Okay, so, I’m sitting here reading a bunch of my own writing that’s in a folder on my computer that says: GROOVY WRITING because, you know, quarantining, and this writing is a few years old… and so, I open the folder and I start reading – and WHOA is me – this really charming funny weird as all fuck animated series PILOT that I wrote a few years back – OF MICE AND MENSCHES: ANIMALS IN GROUP THERAPY and yes, it’s registered with the WGA, so no stealing this idea, and I’m thinking: wow, this shoulda gotten made into a series, yeah, this shoulda gotten made… and now I’m getting comfy on the couch and I’m re-reading this little novella – that’s in the same folder – that I wrote a while back, a sexy little love story – and thinking….yeah, this shoulda been published and …. okay, stop the presses: holy fuck – holy fuck – I just got a text from my very favorite bartender who just texted: ALL RESTAURANTS are closing in Pennsylvania as of right now. And right now is RIGHT NOW, which means no Bar Louis, which means I need a Xanax.

I love you all.

Hold tight, stay safe, fall in love with YOUR MAGIC; fall in love with the words that you write, that pour outta you onto the page, fall in love with your creativity, your talent, your sexy crazy ass art, fall in love with your beauty, fall in love with the music you make & the dances you choreograph and the photos you take and the poems and the prose and the plays and the movies you create… and mostly, mostly fall madly head-over-heels in love with your own badass gorgeous messy life.
(Amy I love being a BADASS)


 

An Amazing Start for Sherapy

Today was an amazing day, the first of many Sherapy: Therapy with Sherry Amatenstein. Sherry is an NYC-based psychotherapist and author. Her podcast is a little unconventional for some. Still, it is becoming more traditional, especially to Millennials, as well as working professionals who want to participate in therapy but are limited on time and travel. Each episode of Sherapy is a 50-minute therapy session. The aim is to demystify and destigmatize psychotherapy. Too many people in distress still suffer silently. None of the participants are her private patients. On Sherapy, a person can receive complimentary therapy and remain anonymous. If interested, please contact Sherry at sherrymsw@earthlink.net

I am so excited to have Sherry Amatenstein on our podcast show real she may be heard by clicking on https://newclevelandradio.net/sherapy-real-therapy-with-sherry-amatenstein-3/real-therapy-with-sherry-amatenstein_podcasts/ – choose a streaming service to listen to this podcast.

Sherry Amatenstein (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) is the author of The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship Saving Advice from America’s Top 50+ Couples Therapists; Love Lessons from Bad Breakups; and Q&A Dating Book.

She writes advice columns for www.womansday.comwww.thirdage.com andwww.brides.com, and is frequently called upon to give relationship advice on many national radio and TV programs, including The Today Show, Early Show, Inside Edition, GMA Live, CBS News, and HuffPost Live.

I hope you will enjoy the show and learn more about yourself by listening to others share their journeys.

Please Keep Amy Ferris, Ken & Bell in your Prayers

For my friend Amy:

*Amy’s words

The post below from a few months ago. Bella is now at the Vet/hospital, getting ultrasounds and x-rays and all sorts of tests because she’s begun to disappear right in front of our eyes. I’m hoping for a miracle, but more than anything – I write with tears falling on the computer keys – I want her to be at peace and no longer in pain.

Here, the post from back when, a little about the beauty named Bella:

She chose us.

Ken wanted the sexy blonde cat. I was partial to the misfit. The crazy-ass misfit with a beauty mark right on the tip of her nose. Ken tried everything in his power to get the blonde cat chick into the cat carrier; promising her a cat collar made of catnip.

I told him he was wasting his time.
“Really?” he asked.
“She’s just not that into you,” I said, paraphrasing/borrowing a great line from Sex in the City, or another HBO series.

While we were bickering the misfit walked into the cat carrier and sat down as if to say, “Hey humans, I’m yours now and I’m not letting you go.”

Her name is Bella, and she is struggling right now with her health and Ken believes it’s because we’re all struggling so very much and she is, after all, named after the great and amazing and feisty as all fuck Bella Abzug, and he believes she – our Bella – is fighting for all of us.

Would you please send her some good love.

Thank you so much.
So much.