I Could Be Starring in Orange Is the New Black

Pssst! I have a huge secret.

I discovered something so amazing it’s not possible to keep it to myself for another second.

Well, the truth is almost everything is difficult for me to keep to myself, I’m aware of this proclivity, let’s move on.

Not to promote conspiracy theories, but I’m in a mild state of dilapidation, and I suspect it’s related to COVID. Not the disease itself, but the repercussions of going 110 rounds with COVID, and still no identifiable champion.

My endurance is waning.

Let me explain. At the onset of all those COVID restrictions I was down with the flu, or COVID (who knows, no testing was available). It was before the word COVID could be found in the urban dictionary, before this batty virus was able to rearrange American society as we know it, and insist the entire world wear masks, which somehow morphed into a moral issue?

Now I feel naked without one.

In my delirium (back in March of 2020), I checked my work email, and there was an emergency notice from the administrators stating if, at all possible, we needed to come in on Monday to address our classes on how, where, and when we would be meeting virtually for an undisclosed period of time. As a country, we were determined to flatten the curve on this viral infection even if that meant we would be sheltering in place until I was eligible for social security benefits.

There were a few problems with this whole executive order. One, I had never even so much as participated in a zoom call and now I had to explain it to my students. Two, I had no idea how to set one up and where exactly this virtual meeting would take place. Three, I was sick as a dog, nauseous, hives, and other things, but apparently, I needed to get out of bed and back into the classroom for what would be my final goodbye.

To be fair my school sprung into action and offered us a ton of instructional opportunities to learn the Zoom format, to set up our accounts, to upgrade our equipment along with our lesson plans. It was all a bit of a scramble, with unexpected bouts of anxiety for those of us not gifted with technical acumen.

But I showed up, we figured it out, all I can say is my students were enormously gracious.

Around the same time my daughter and her family of five moved in with us temporarily, first, she stole my contractor who was ready to start our long-awaited kitchen renovation, so she could remodel her home, and second, my entire house morphed into a giant toy box. For those of you new to my blog, my daughter has three daughters, at the time the twins were three and the oldest was five.

All four of the adults now living under the same roof were working remotely, which required an internet upgrade, not to mention establishing boundaries, and quiet zones. Nic had the dining room, Julie set up her workstation in the kitchen, Larry had his own office with actual doors, and I found an old board in the garage which I turned into a desk by laying it across the arms of a chair in my room. Oh, and one of my granddaughters was attending school remotely, which was an absolute fiasco. The start and stop times were as complicated as a rocket launch and all I can say is two hours of daily homework for kindergarten was more than our bandwidth allowed.

It was challenging, to say the least.

Daycares were closed, which meant the added bonus of two three-year-olds underfoot, there was no toilet paper to be had, in fact, the shelves at the grocery stores were practically empty, and most of our normal services were shut down.

On a positive note trips to the dentist were discouraged, we could now order margaritas to-go, and collectively we lowered our grooming standards to weekly showers and no shaving of any kind.

This chaotic scenario seemed more like a Saturday Night Live skit than a valid reflection of my life.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my husband started wearing a headband.

Oh, and my other daughter’s wedding, still in the planning stages, an epic event to be celebrated in Lake County, had to be canceled.

There was plenty of stress to go around.

Somehow we survived. I even wrote a naive post about all the things I would miss when we actually managed to flatten the curve, not comprehending this virus would still be ravaging our community two years later, but I digress.

There were memorable moments on a daily basis that I tucked away in my heart and never wanted to end like the sound of little feet running down the hall, snuggles every morning, endless giggles reverberating off the walls. And then there were those other moments like when the dog was attacked by a wild possum in the middle of the night, I was screaming so loud I woke up the entire neighborhood, kids crying, dog yelping. It was a night to tuck somewhere else.

And let’s not forget the time I bought $40 worth of the wrong shrimp, that was catastrophic, adult children can be merciless when you buy cooked shrimp instead of raw. I still have PTS from that little episode.

The miracle is coming up, keep reading, just a few paragraphs to go…

Anyway, life goes on, I had to accept my anxiety would remain in high gear for quite some time. Then like Job, this strange rash started growing on my legs. I’ve had it before, it’s called eczema, my doctor advised I extricate myself from my entire family, including the dog, and it would go away? Tempting.

Then the vaccine became available and as a teacher, I was one of the earlier recipients. This is when my rash morphed from splotchy eczema to this massive, constantly itching, raw patches of flesh that just kept getting bigger and bigger.

I went back to the doctor and he took a sampling of the skin from one of the patches, which left a huge hole in my leg, and sent it off to UC Davis for testing. When it came back it was decided that I had graduated from eczema (healable) to psoriasis (autoimmune disease).

As Kelley would say, “give me the spark notes Mom.”

Well, life sorted itself out, as it tends to do, the kids eventually moved into their own home across the street, we finished our kitchen remodel, and I retired at the end of the last academic year. But all of this had no effect on my rash. It just kept itching, spreading, and looking ghastly.

The skin doctor put me on a hydrocortisone cream to ease the discomfort of the rash, it did nothing but make everything look angrier, and more pronounced, if that were even possible.

There is actually some good news, I’m working my way to this revelation, but the details are pertinent (Yes, I tend to exaggerate).

Regardless, I attended a wedding recently, in beautiful Carmel Valley, which was tricky because my outfit had to cover all my rashes that have migrated to the most difficult places, which translates to a full-length pantsuit with cap sleeves. Lovely. I looked like a cat burglar. I have to add the wedding was as if a fairytale, complete with handsome groom, and stunning bride.

But here’s the miracle I’m so eloquently trying to explain, we received a goody bag at the welcoming reception, which included various things representing the bride and groom’s families. Nuts from Virginia, GiaDomella wine, chocolates, glasses, corkscrew, water, etc. It was all gathered in this adorable bag. But the surprise gift came from the groom, he works in the cannabis industry and the gift bag included a bottle of CBD oil (Care By Design).

None hallucinogenic, but I still handled it with immense caution, and wondered if this was actually legal in all 50 states?

I didn’t know anything about this oil so I tucked it back in the bag and opened the wine instead!

A week later I’m telling my sister about the oil and she says I should put it on my rash.

I’m like, “why?”

Nancy says, “it can’t hurt.”

I repeat, “it can’t hurt.”

So that night while we’re watching Breaking Bad (we missed the whole craze when it came out so we’re checking it out now and we’re mildly traumatized by the number of bad decisions the characters can make in every episode?) I took my time rubbing this possibly illegal drug all over my little patches of rashes.

And here’s the thing. The itching completely stopped. For the first time in a year or two, I was itch-free. I felt almost like a normal person who didn’t need to reach down and scratch her legs every two seconds.

I told Larry, “I need a case of this oil and I don’t care what laws you have to break to get it.”

He said, “we will buy you two cases if it keeps working.”

“I could be a poster child for the cannabis industry.”

“Honey, they’re trying to sell the oil.”


So then I started worrying about the side effects. I mean this is procured from an illegal substance, and I have no plans to star in the Orange Is the New Black series, and if it’s contraband it might be dangerous. Right?

The first study I found claims that after mice ingested huge amounts of CBD oil they did experience some liver damage (if I drank the equal in Koolaid it would probably have the same effect) but with further research, I found out rubbing it on your skin is not the same as drinking it in a shot glass, and the effects are negligible.

In fact, one study claimed there was no amount that you could rub on your skin that would be harmful.

Good to know.

While I was researching I found out there are additional medicinal benefits to using CBD products. It has anti-inflammatory properties, it relieves discomfort and nausea due to cancer treatments, it reduces the more severe complications of COVID-19, there are anti-aging proponents, it calms chronic acne, and one study claims it prevents some forms of cancer from spreading.

It’s as if all our problems can be solved with one sweet little herb, but the studies are limited, it’s a new industry, so don’t go running to the doctor for your marijuana medical card just yet.

I didn’t want you to be the last to know.

The Mom Questions:

Question number one

“Mom, do you own a pair of pants?”

I know where this is going so I remain quiet. See, my kids would prefer I wear normal clothing, such as a pair of jeans, maybe a t-shirt, and a matching sweater. EVERY DAY!

I’m retired, which translates to yoga pants, my new uniform, my go-to outfit, DAY IN AND DAY OUT. PERIOD. Besides, they’re ridiculously accommodating, if you know what I mean.

I say as innocently as possible, “I have pants, I just don’t prefer them.”

Don’t you love it when your kids call you out on your own shit? Neither do I.

I ask Larry, “Hey, how do I look?”

He says, “with your eyes.”


Question number two

“Do you have to smile when you talk?”

“I don’t know. I don’t look at myself when I talk.”

“You look ridiculous.”

“Good to know.”

I’ll say this in my defense, I don’t smile when I’m mad.

Question number three

“Why don’t you join a writing group? You need to get you out of the house.”

“Honey we’re in the middle of a pandemic, gatherings are highly frowned upon. ”

“You’re going to become one of those Agoraphobics.”

“That sounds like my community.”

I get the look.


Leave a Comment

  1. My vaccinated mom had COVID in August and the worst system was an awful rash that itched and would not go away. Nothing being prescribed to her worked. As I was already using a coconut oil CBD cream that a friend makes for my skin rashes from allergies, I got my mom some. It worked! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story, there are so many people suffering unnecessarily from rashes and to have a product that works is life changing. I hear coconut oil is very effective in calming annoying itching so the combination with the CBD oil is a stellar combo. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fun couple of years! You reminded of me of all the stuff that happened in my world in March of 2020 – the birthday party for my mom’s 90th just before shutdown (I counted to 14 afterwards in fear and trembling) the root canal that followed – first half only, second half postponed, and the nasty cold at the end of the month. Or was it? They didn’t want to know if your temp wasn’t at least 100.4 and mine fell just shy. Good times! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness Susanne, you really did have a crazy time of it! I hope they’ve completed your root canal at this point in time! I live in the Bay Area and we’re still under a lot of COVID restrictions most likely due to population density and an alarming number of positive COVID tests. I keep thinking we’re done and now I’m not sure we’ll ever be fully done! This just might be our new normal, thank God for CBD oil! Warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the root canal was completed in May, even before vaccines or covid tests!
        And I’m glad the CBD oil is working for you! My husband tried it for knee pain but it didn’t help. I can see it would more effective for skin problems, so I’ll have to try it myself!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good news on the teeth front Susanne! Also CBD oil has different potencies (I’m suddenly versed in the drug trade) and your husband might need something stronger? The distributor, Care By Design, is one of the best, you can order their products on line, and they’ll help you decide the strength needed for your particular ailment. Best wishes, C


        2. Thankfully they only postponed the root canal – part 2 – for a couple of months. As far as CBD oil goes, I live in Washington state where cannabis has been legal for some time, medicinal or not. But I’m happy my husband found relief from his knee pain by taking tumeric.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re such a fantastic writer. I laughed my head off (and cried a little at the restrictions descriptions omg don’t even remind me)… Also, click-baity title. 😛

    It also reminds me of the time I found a box of dried canabis in my car…and promptly handed it to my 14yo daughter. 😳 In my defense, I didn’t know what the box was, didn’t have my reading glasses handy so I couldn’t read the tiny print on the box, and the box looked like something from business depot with some device thingy in it…not drugs. 😂

    But I’ll keep that for a future post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so sweet, coming from such an accomplished writer, I’m ridiculously overjoyed you enjoyed (or cringed through) the piece. My original title was totally lame and I changed it last minute, most likely after the CBD kicked in, and I got a little spacey! In a good way. Okay, you can’t say you handed your 14 yo daughter a box of drugs and not explain the origin? I’ll await the post! Should be interesting…hugs, C


    1. Oh no Fred, don’t burst my little CBD bubble, I think I just discovered the solution to all my nasty little problems, and I have multiple issues. Bahaha, it’s true, this is a very new industry, but relief is relief, even if it is psychosomatic. I don’t care. Warmly, C


  4. Loved your recounting of the whole COVID thing! I can’t believe all the adults were working from home and you all survived. I helped my daughter one time with the grands virtual school and afterward, I told her “I love you but please don’t ask me to do that again!” It was crazy and I’m pretty tech-savvy! lol Truly glad the CBD is working! My youngest daughter has severe eczema and she is fortunate to have access (thanks to insurance) to Dupixent. It has worked miracles for her but it is ridiculously expensive. Maybe I should get some CBD for her???? Wishing you the best and if you wind up in the “orange”, keep writing!!! Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Leigh, the thing is we all have similar stories of “The COVID Years,” I believe it’ll be a series someday not unlike “The Wonder Years!” We did complicate things by combining households but most people had to scramble to figure out how to work remote, how to learn remotely, and how to “bubble” with the right people! I do wonder if there will be lasting repercussions from all the restrictions? Especially with our children. I’m so glad your daughter found something that works miracles on her eczema, that’s life changing, because the discomfort can be so profound. I’m hoping CBD oil continues to work and remains available to us less experienced users! Love and hugs to you and yours, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As you know Fraggle, life is full of surprises, mostly good ones, but I would have to put COVID in a “substandard” category! It’s been “interesting,” but challenging to say the least. I have to say CBD was a total find and I’m grateful for its numerous properties not to mention the legalization in California. So…it appears there might be a story embedded in the lines “Puff the Magic Dragon, lives by the sea…” Sorry to be the cause of tears, but I’m very curious as to the source of such sorrow? Hugs, C


  5. Great post! The exchanges with Larry just crack me up. They sound a lot like the ones I have with my wife of 34 years. Larry and I worked together for years when I was at NetApp and he had our account and I can visualize “the look”. I may have received it once or twice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Wing and Fin, thank you for the kind words, let me just say if you’ve experienced Larry firsthand than you know “the look.” It’s his signature statement. Larry has many fond memories of working with NetApp! You should drop him a note sometime. Hope all is well with you and yours, I so appreciate your comment, warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you Cheryl, I will drop Larry a note. Even so, tell him Scott Gillette, said “hello”.
      Our mutual friend, Jean Garfield told me about your blog and I have been enjoying your insightful musings ever since.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As always, I absolutely love your writing! They sell CBD oil and ointments at the Palm Springs Farmers Market. I tried it on my knee with a new ACL and sewed up meniscus that constantly hurts. It felt better for a little bit — maybe 20 or 30 minutes. My husband broke out in a rash that won’t go away. It was from a medication he was taking. After stopping the medication, the rash resurfaces from time to time. I’ll suggest CBD oil to him. We went to a wedding in CO with our kids and son’s girlfriend in February 2020. People were there from all over the world including Singapore, China and the UK. The mother of the bride (one of my best friends) asked how we were feeling a week later. The father of the groom was on a ventilator in the hospital with COVID. He had talked with every person there, shaking hands and hugging. I did get the flu but it could have been COVID. Like you said, it was too soon for testing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I’m so appreciate your encouraging words. I wonder if you did have COVID before it was a thing? I had just returned from Texas after celebrating a huge 60th birthday when I came down with the “flu.” Did the father of the groom survive? I hope so. As far as rash relief is concerned I think the reason the CBD I received is so effective has to do with it’s strength (760 mg) and the fact it’s mixed with coconut oil, which is known to relieve rashes. I just linked the company to the blog so if people want to shop online they can. I received the 18:1 in my goody bag and believe me it’s a goody! All I have to say is never a dull day with COVID, hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes the father of the groom survived. He was was a surgeon in a Texas hospital. That’s where he thinks he got it. I am pretty sure I had it too, but I will never know. Thanks for sharing the link. I will definitely look into it!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There are very different strenghts of CBD oil available here. Some are legal, some ‘imported’. I reckon you must have got the ‘Good Stuff’, Cheryl.
    Tell Larry there are three things no adult man should ever be seen with on his head.
    1) A pony tail.
    2) A wig or toupee.
    3) A headband. (Unless you are playing in a Grand Slam Tennis Tournament.)
    Best wishes, Pete. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m learning more and more about this oil Pete, and I realize now there’s many variations and strengths. I definitely got the “good stuff” as you say! But it works and I’m overjoyed and relieved! I’ll pass on your wisdom to Larry! He certainly crossed the line on 1 and 3! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Another post that leaves me feeling thrilled for you for the itch relief and yet the replay of March 2020 and onward took me back in not-altogether-fun ways. Still, doesn’t it says something remarkable about the strength of your whole family that you managed to navigate through this together. As for your CBD oil discovery, rashes can sound so funny (especially in your hilariously capable hands) but man are they annoying. Glad you’re getting relief and may it continue, placebo or not. Years ago I attended a seminar with Andrew Weil at Univ of Wisconsin/Madison and he said that if by chance someone were to put him in charge of the budget for NIH, he’d allocate 90% of the funds to the study of placebo–placebo, according to Weil, is where it’s at…so there you go! Once again, great minds think alike!! And Weil’s also a huge proponent of magic mushrooms so when you’re looking to branch out you might want to give him a jingle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Mary Ellen, I’ve been out of town for a few days, flew back in last night, and I’m throrughly enjoying your words of wisdom. It’s amazing what our minds can accomplish when they believe failure is not possible. The placebo effect is simply a reality of the mind and if we figured out how to tap into that oh what a world it would be! I’ve heard of Andrew Weil but I don’t know a lot about his message. I’ll definitely check him out. Magic Mushrooms? Might be a future Gecko experience? Maybe Weil will be our guest speaker/guide! I’ll give him a jingle! Hugs, C


  9. Great post neighbor. I remember gifting you an 18-pack of “unattainable” Charman Ultrasoft for your Birthday back then, apparently somehow realizing how much more you needed it than Terrie and I did. Now, ‘that’ is Selfless! 😉

    Moving on. Talk about evoking old memories. . . I just read Pete’s latest post too.
    I booked Terrie, myself and the girls into the Princeville resort for a 2-week break for my 43rd birthday in Hanalei. Why? To try and see ‘Puff’ of course. We were born the same year- 1959!
    Well, try as I might on that trip I never did catch a wiff or a glance of that huge damn watery winged lizard.

    It was years later I learned that he lived in a land called “Honalee”, not Hanalei.

    Apparently, he never reared his scaly head anywhere near Kauai where some of the best Cannabis grows. . . Go figure.

    But. . . I did get touched by the power of God almighty as Shelby and I were literally drowning off Ke’e beach (the most deadly spot in Hawaii I later learned…), leading me back into God’s arms for life so to speak (and ‘literally’ at that moment, as we were seconds from death).
    So, the episode had a really, really spectacular ending once I finally recovered from the shock, which took about two days. We pulled up stakes and did a reset over on the other side of the island in Poipu where I gorged myself each lunch hour after golf with the best Saimin soup on planet earth. Truly heaven. 🙂

    Can’t hear that song and not have that all rush right back like it was just yesterday.

    P.S. Jail time? No worries neighbor – Orange works with your complexion 😉

    Pax Christy Cheryl!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness Chris, I remember when you came running across the street with a huge package of the prized toilet paper. I believe it was minutes after the post hit the airwaves! Larry was astounded for two reasons: one, that you read my blog, and two, that you thought of such a “selfish” and clever response! Your 43rd birthday bash was quite a revelation! Sounds as if you had a rather extreme baptism! So glad you moved the party to Poipu! It’s interesting how many people have strong associations with that song? I cant’ believe we’re already into the holidays, crazy times Chris, peace and love to you and Terrie my friend, C

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Cheryl,
    Thanks for an awesome summary of the misery of the Covid plague. It’s all coming back to me now. Just when I was about to get it all flushed from my memory. (Note to self, never buy shrimp.) Glad you had some wonderful times sprinkled in with all the suffering.
    What a great post. Could not stop laughing. Especially loved… “I could be a poster child for the cannabis industry.”
    “Honey, they’re trying to sell the oil.”
    Really glad the oil helped. Did you feel kinda, you know, spaced out? Amazing how this bountiful earth generally provides us with what we need.
    Of course, this brings up some concerns. Now that you have gone to the dark side, are you safe to visit? Do we have to worry about Space Cakes being on the menu? Will we be added to a federal watch list?
    Anyhow, this post deserves a special song. I was originally going to go with “The Chain Gang,” and then thought about “Pass the Dutchie,” but finally had to settle on this wonderful rendition of my favorite stoner song.

    We miss you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mike! Sorry for the delayed response, I’ve been in Palm Desert for a few days! Larry was golfing with the guys and us girls decided we needed a get-away too! Had a blast, maybe a post to follow, maybe not! What happens in the desert, stays in the desert sort of thing. You are hysterical! “The brings ups concerns…will we be added to a federal watch list?” Absolutely! They tag all my relatives! And by the way your “favorite stoner song” was the source of immeasurable embarrassment for me back in the day. I asked a room full of people “what does one toke over the line sweet Jeasus mean?” Everyone looked at me as if I had grown horns. Well I never made that mistake again, but it was a joy to relive the entire episode! My love to you and Gail, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry to hear that my fave stoner song was such a source of humiliation for you. However, you can take solace in the fact that you were not alone. It appears from the video that the eminently hip Lawrence Welk did not know what it meant either. Or did he?

        Liked by 1 person

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