April 30th, 2020
I watch a lot of HGTV. Usually either while I am ironing or when I'm very busy not sleeping in the middle of the night. Each of the decorating shows has it's own unique perspective, their own style which I appreciate. Some are more minimalist, others kind of glitzy. This stylist is more contemporary and that one more traditional. I enjoy them all even though they are each so very different. But I have noticed that the one thing they all seem to agree on is that they hate ceiling fans.
Which makes it obvious to me that either none of them lives in and old Florida house OR they prefer form over function.
Not Tim and I. We would rather be comfortable. Which means we have ceiling fans of one sort or another in every room of this house (two in the family room), a box fan and one large fan on a stand that isn't actually being used at the moment. Come August it will be pressed into service.
Our ceiling fans are on 24/7- 365. In the warmer weather, it circulates the cooler air conditioned air which helps the house feel cooler without lowering the temperature more than is a good idea. In the cooler weather (and yes we have some of that too), when the heat rises up to the ceiling (as heat does) the ceiling fans push that nice toasty warmth right back down to us.
On a really hot day, when you just feel like you are melting, sitting under or in front of a moving fan is bliss. The droning hum is kind soothing and the gentle sweep of cool air over your hot sweaty skin is instant relief. If you have an oscillating fan it's nearly hypnotic. Oh you poor people with your hermetically sealed and perfectly temperature controlled buildings will never know the pleasure of relaxing in room cooled by a fan. Seriously, it's therapeutic.
The box fan? Well that is in our bedroom and is only on at night. I think it provides "whitenoise" for Tim and therefore helps him sleep. Doesn't bother me one bit. Once my hearing aides come out, I don't hear it anyway.
Or at least that is what the box fan is usually used for. Recently it was called into service in the kitchen window above the sink for a change.
It started because I wanted to make a special dinner for Tim. A treat! Something I don't usually do. As I perused the contents of the freezer and the pantry (to see what there was available to work with) I decided to make fried chicken. Tim loves fried chicken.
I don't often make it for several reasons. First of all, fried food is not especially healthy food and I do try to cook healthy for us. Secondly, I avoid fried food because my body does not like it. My mouth does, but whenever I eat fried foods my digestive system becomes more of an exorcism. Not good. And the third reason is because it causes such a dang mess!
Now I am the first to admit that I am a messy cook. Good but messy. But fried food cooking kind of mess is an entirely different level of messy. Anything oily or greasy is a major pain in the arse to clean. AND then there is the smell. It lingers.
And it's a funny thing about some cooking or food related smells. They are initially yummy but within an hour or so of eating, kind of gross. I find that with bacon especially. The entire time that bacon is cooking our tummies are just about singing and dancing with bacon joy. An hour later I'm scrubbing the entire kitchen down, opening windows, spraying air freshner and swearing that I'm never again cooking bacon.
And it's not just fried foods either. Cantelope and Corn on the Cob are two other culprits that immediately come to mind. I love both of them. I love the smell of them when I"m preparing, serving and eating them. But in the garbage? Cantelope rind and the empty corn cob are so gross it makes me gag just thinking about it. Bah.
Back to dinner the other night. Because I knew what was going to happen, before I even began frying the chicken, I asked Tim if he would please put the boxfan in the kitchen window facing out so it pulls the inside air outside. It works.
Once upon a time I had a sort of exhaust fan above the stovetop. It was a part of the microwave which is above the stove. Having a microwave above the range is honestly not ideal, but it's a small kitchen and again, there was a built in exhaust fan in the microwave unit that we bought. Please note "Was". Past Tense.
I didn't have one for very long. Not long after my beautiful kitchen reno was done we had a smallish kitchen fire. Broke my heart. Other than the smoke on the ceiling which was a major pain in the arse to clean, the only thing permanently damaged was my microwave oven. Dang it. While it still works as much as I generally use it (re-heating and popcorn) the exhaust fan part was fried. Soooo one does what one must.
At some point we will replace the microwave and then once again have a sort of exhaust fan (honestly the microwave ones are not fabulous anyway) at least the box fan in the kitchen window trick works for now.
So there you have it. For many reasons, we are pro-fan.
Oh not the fans cheering in the stands kind of fan. Also we like those too. I'm talking strictly about the mechanical fans. Those we are big fans of. And one thing we know for certain, I will never be an interior designer because apparently they are Anti-Fan. And I think maybe we are anti- anti-fan thoughts. Don't two negatives make a positive?
April 29th, 2020
You see before you evidence of my latest experiment. No not the bad pedicure. The ankle weights. No, not ankle monitors - wise guys - but ankle weights.
Tim surprised me with them recently. It 's nothing I ever thought about one way or the other honestly. I knew such a thing existed. But it's not as if I ever said out loud (or even quietly inside my own head) that it would be nifty to own. Just wasn't on my radar. But somehow it was on Tim's and now here they are on my ankles.
They are not very heavy, just two pounds each, and if I wear them around the house while I'm getting things done, I barely notice that they are there. But if I wear them on a long walk, it's a slightly more obvious. At least after the fact. When I get home and I take the weights off, my legs almost float up to the ceiling. The laws of Gravity have been repealed.
I cannot honestly say how much good they are doing me while walking although I assume there must be some value attached. Yes I know it's only a total of 4 extra pounds but it seems reasonable that walking with extra weight strapped to the ankle must mean working harder! (It better be true!!!)
Thanks to excellent velcro fasteners, the weights can be worn by either Tim or myself which is very cool. We can trade off. Yesterday Tim wore them and he had that same floaty sensation in his legs when he took the weights off too. Kind of cool.
Anyway, since I was wearing them anyway and not really noticing that I even had them on, a few days ago I had the "great" (please note the sarcasm there) idea that I would wear the weights while doing my Pilates workout. Suffice it to say that I noticed the difference.
I don't know how much you know about Pilates so I don't want to belabor this but one of the ideas with Pilates is to work all of your muscle groups, not just a few. There is a lot of Core work (that would be torso) but also arms, legs and butts.
So things are moving along just fine through my workout until I get to the part where I am doing things with my legs up off the ground. Holy Cats. Never in my life have my legs felt so heavy. Two pounds each? It felt more like twenty! Suddenly moves I've been doing for a few years with ease now have become a real effort. I was sweating, I was turning red, I was making noises and I was dang grateful when the workout was over.
But everything was fine. I acknowledged to myself that it was an interesting experiment and completely different than doing house or yard work or taking a long walk. I took off the weights, put away my mat and my bands and I resumed my day. Just picked up where I left off and continued doing what I usually do.
And then after dinner I had this "genius" (again bunny ears) idea to go for an after dinner walk. The weather was extraordinary. The sun doesn't set until around 8 pm! Let's get out and enjoy it, Sez I.
Tim was agreeable (as he most always is) so I grabbed my camera and we headed out with no destination in mind. First we walked over to the Intercoastal waterway, then through part of downtown. Next we headed toward the Arboretum by way of a few other little pocket sized parks. Finally heading home via a stroll past the waterfront. Me taking photos all the while:
I have the pictures posted here in the order that I took them beginning with the Woodpecker and ending with the sun nearly setting. So you can see that we weren't very far along our walk when we reached the fishing boats on the intercoastal. That is right about the time that I realized how very much my butt hurt. Both cheeks. Major ouchie.
But bravely I just kept walking and said nothing. I knew immediately that this was the result of my reckless decision to workout wearing the weights. This was my own fault. By the time I took the photo of the flowers in the arborteum it was all I could do to keep from limping. And still I said nothing.
When we got to the waterfront and I was happily snapping photos of the sanddunes and beach flowers Tim noticed that I was slowing down. Slowing Way Down. He asked if I wanted to sit a minute and indicated a nearby bench. I shook my head no saying that I was afraid if I sat down I wouldn't be able to get back up!
Tim looked alarmed so I told him about doing my Pilates workout wearing ankle weights and oh my aching arse!! At first he laughed but then offered to walk on home, get the car and come back for me. But no I decided. I got myself into this, I will get myself back out and under my own power.
The beach is less than a mile from the house. Just a matter of blocks really. But by the time we ever so slowly stepped onto our own driveway, my butt was numb. Honestly I didn't even feel the muscle aches anymore. I was walking funny, but it no longer hurt.
So we know two things: First of all, the ankle weights obviously are working. Second of all, perhaps I shouldn't wear them for the full Pilate workout right away. Oh I guess I learned a third thing, but I think I already knew it which is that, I'm stubborn enough to get through anything. Including a 4+ mile walk with screaming Gluteus Maximus muscles.
I look like a bunny rabbit of a girl, but clearly I am also a tough chick.
April 28th, 2020
I was chatting with a friend who lives out of state recently and one of the (many) things that we discussed was the current perils of grocery shopping. The difficulty of finding this or that. Where she lives, pasta seems to be almost impossible to come by. Here, for whatever reason, it's rice. My oldest son tells me that yeast is the unicorn of shopping excursions in his state and then he shared a recipe with me on how to make my own yeast (which I am absolutely going to try by the way).
These are not easy times for the cooks in the family. When Tim and I were shopping over the weekend, we referred to our outing as a scavenger hunt. Which really is what it feels like. I actually found a box of rice and felt as if I had won the lottery. It was the last box on the shelf too and I felt kind of guilty taking it even though we have had no rice in our house for weeks (but I bought it anyway).
So we are forced to be more creative and open-minded in our cookery. And I'm actually fine with that. I like getting creative in the kitchen. It's too easy to get into a cooking/baking rut and just re-run essentially the same meals over and over. It's boring to cook that way and it's equally boring to eat that way. I am actually not minding the stretching my brain and skills in the kitchen.
But I am noticing that my approach to grocery shopping is absolutely completely different than it used to be. I used to approach shopping in one of two ways.
The first way meant that I stuck religiously to my shopping list, deviating not one iota. That ish is a very quick shopping trip. When I shop to the list, I fly through the store like a superhero. I am in and out so fast I am practically a blur.
The other way would be to meander a bit. I would start in the meats department and look to see what was on sale or what was different and once, inspired by that item, I would then go to the produce section to buy whatever I needed to make the dish. Which often then took me to the spice/herb aisles and then possibly the pasta or rice section. And then I would be thinking what I could do with the leftover. So once decided, I would need to select whatever was needed to create the leftover dish. Then then of course, what dessert would go with these dishes? What do I need to make those desserts? You see? I'd be all over the store out of order and backtracking and well it takes forever.
I do not shop in either of those ways anymore.
Now my shopping perspective is completely different. The question is no longer... "what do I want to cook"? The starter question now is..."what do they have?" And as I shop the next question sometimes becomes....."Ok I have almost everything I need to make so and so. But they don't have X. What can I substitute for X?"
So yes I wear a mask when I grocery shop and I have a strict rule. I don't touch anything that I don't take. I look with my eyes and not my hands. Just seems prudent. And while I don't want to linger in the store, neither do I want to miss a good opportunity. So I do walk through the entire store, carefully scanning all of the shelves, slow and steady. And yes I do follow the arrows in the aisles.
Often shopping now requires going to more than one store. Sometimes more than two stores to find enough of what is needed. Over this past weekend it was three: Costco, Publix and Walmart. I don't know why we didn't get to Detweillers (the farm market) as well, but we didn't.
But you know what? Nobody in this house is starving. And if this is how shopping has to happen so that cooking and baking can follow, then that is what we will do. I'm sure it's much the same where you live. So don't feel like the Lone Ranger. It's happening to us all.
I think the key is to roll with it. If this is what it takes, then that is what we will do. Nothing will be achieved by getting angry but a lot of good will come if instead you get creative.
The meals in this house lately have been Very creative. Sometimes more Picasso than Winslow but hey, it's still art.
I wish you all successful scavenger hunts!
April 27th, 2020
I see them as they walk past our house. Dogs and their humans. A lot of them. In fact, lately I see that there are more of them than I ever realized. There may, in fact, actually be more dogs than people here on the island. It's not a requirement for residency, but it helps.
In this Time of the Great Quarantine, when people have no place else to go, I think they are getting outside for just an ordinary walk even more than they did before. And they all seem to walk down our street at some point during each day.
Tim and I both like dogs. I never fail to greet a dog when it walks past me. Not to pat it necessarily (especially not now) but just to say hello. "Hello Puppy" I say, even if it is very clearly not a puppy but an adult or even aged dog. The dogs always smile up at me in response. Children and animals, by and large, like me. But even more than me, they like Tim. No wait, they don't like Tim, they love him.
One of our neighbors has an adorable little teddy bear of a dog named Barkley. He is small but has a huge personality. He knows me well and any time he sees me he gets very excited. He smiles, he wags his tail and he greets me with a doggie grin. But if Tim is with me, it's not just the tail that wags, it's his entire body. I say hello and Barkely dashes past me, directly to Tim and if I get a greeting at all its more, "oh yeah, hi". Makes me laugh.
Every once in awhile Barkley and his owner come over to visit. Barkley knows he is welcome in our home. They step inside and the leash comes off and Barkley immediately dashes directly to Tim's office to say hello. No matter what Tim is doing, he stops to greet Barkley in return. It's a serious " like affair".
Local restaurants, in normal times, on the Avenue, have outside seating and people with dogs are welcome to have a nosh, doggie at their sides there. Most shops, regardless of the sort, have water bowls outside that are always being refilled for passing thirsty pups. There is even a dog park with it's own beach here on the island (currently closed but usually open)
In the entirety of Venice there are more pet groomers, pet product shops, pet bakeries, pet doctors, pet sitters and kennels than any place I've ever lived. And I've lived in places with a lot larger populations.
I like that. I love that we live in a place where people love dogs. Any city or town that accommodates pets just feels more welcoming. Any time we are out walking, there are other people walking with their dogs. They wave hello, we wave back. They smile at us, we smile at them. I think dog people (or any pet people really) are more friendly in general. The grumpiest person relaxes and smiles a little bit when I say" Hi Puppy" to their dog as we pass.
Big dogs, little dogs, old ones and young ones. Most on leashes of some sort, some in doggie carriages or back or front packs, some wearing sweaters or silly hats, some with their adult humans, others with their child-sized humans. Sometimes multiple dogs being walked at one time, occasionally being carried. Dogs in goft carts, on motorcycles, in golf carts and on boats. I've seen dogs running along side bicycles, skateboards, wheelchairs and electric scooters! They are everywhere here.
We are the oddballs. We have no dogs. We have talked about it a number of times but haven't done it. There are things we would need to do first like finish fencing the backyard. My personal feeling is that dogs should be allowed at least a little bit of time outside off-leash so that they are run around and be goobers. All dogs are goobers at heart and it's hard to gooberize sufficiently in the house. Not enough room and too many breakable things. Usually when dogs are outside they are on leashes and goobering on -leash is a good way for someone to get hurt and a leash to get tangled. So off-leash goobering time is essential. Good for the doggie soul. But without a safe fully fence yard, goobering cannot happen. Soooo obviously, fence would have to happen first.
Then too there is the type of dog to decide. Well I am a big fan of mutts. A dog of no specific breed. I don't want a dog with a better pedigree than my own and I am very much a Heinz 57 human. I also love the idea of a rescue pet. Match up a human who needs a dog with a dog who needs a human and you have the perfect combination.
Then too size is a consideration. Small dogs are adorable, but I'm always afraid I'm going to accidentally step on one and break it. I am very clumsy. And, I could be wrong here, but in my experience, the smaller the dog the more it tends to bark. Not a fan of dogs that barkbarkbarkbark. You know what I'm saying.
On the other hand, VERY large dogs can be hard to handle until they are properly trained. And they take up a lot of physical geographic space. This is a small house. If a Very Large Dog is sitting on the sofa there is no room for the humans. If the dog is trained to lay only on the floor now we have a trip hazard. In it's own bed? Takes up as much space as the sofa! And let's not even talk about shovelling up after a Very Large Dog.
Medium sized is probably more my preference. A sweet natured, no specific breed, gooberish medium sized dog in need of it's own human. Yup that's my kind of dog. But not right now.
In the meantime, I will continue to greet every dog that passes me when I'm out walking and admire them from afar. And we will be the oddballs on the island who have no dog. I don't know it for a fact, but I suspect that dog-people may refer to us as those people on the island without a dog.
April 24th, 2020
We all know what this is, right? Skype? I love it! I love being able to See the people I am talking to, especially since most of my friends and family are far away.
I find it pretty easy to use but I have to be honest, Tim set it up for me. All I have to do is a couple of clicks, make sure the camera and sound are on and voila! I am looking at the people I am talking to. Amazing and wonderful! It's still very Star Trekkian to me. But I love it.
Still I cannot honestly say that I know what the heck I am doing anytime I am in front of a computer. I mean I can do stuff. I know how to do whatever I need to know how to do, but I cannot veer off course even a tiny bit. If something goes awry I am in big trouble. Luckily for me, I have an in-house computer guru/tech support/I.T. guy in Tim.
Tim will remind me periodically when I gush over something computerish, that I was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of technology. In fact, I didn't have the vaguest idea how to use a computer until (many many) years ago now, when I was looking for work and was finally offered a job. Almost as a last minute aside, after offering me the job, they said, "You are of course proficient in.....(I don't remember but it was something computerish)" . And because I was desperate for work, I lied and said. "yes".
Then I went home in a great panic. But the job offer came on the Friday of a 3-day weekend and Tim spent the next three days doing nothing but teaching me the very very VERY basics of using a computer. When I started the job I knew enough to get by and then blindly fumbled and bumbled my way through learning anything else I absolutely HAD to know. It was trial by fire for sure.
So basically, even now, if you show me exactly, step by step, how to do anything, I can duplicate it. I am a quick learner. Usually if you show me once, I have it. But I don't know anything more than that one thing unless I am taught. I do not deviate from my path. For me, technology is so far from intuitive that it is laughable.
Every time I am told that a particular techie thing is "User Friendly" I chuckle because I know that they are absolutely not talking about me. I am not the user it is friendly to. To Tim, I'm sure. To anyone under the age of 60 for sure. But me? No. It is not user friendly to me.
Even my cell phone is... Ok well, I'll back up. First of all, I resisted getting a cell phone for so long that finally Tim just got me one, set it up and said, "Here". And I bumbled and fumbled once again and eventually figured out how to text (horribly and to this day I am the worst texter ever) and then how to make or receive a call. Once I learned it had a camera it was a different kettle of fish and I was delighted!
I have very few apps (although I am tickled with my step counter). I do play the occasional game of Candy Crush on it and check emails but that's it. I know the phone can be used for a lot more, but I do not. Every time I need a new phone I panic because I have to learn an entirely different way of doing the same thing I was doing before. And once again, for me, it does not come instinctively or easily.
So what the heck was I thinking, when my friend Jan back in Colorado said that she wanted to learn how to Skype so that we could see each other while we talk and I said, "Sure I'll help you". What seriously was I thinking? I can barely do it myself...how on earth am I going to help someone else do this?
My old friend is even more technologically backwards than I am, if that is even possible. And somehow I think I am going to be able to talk her through setting up and using Skype? Excuse me a minute here:
Ok I'm fine now.
Well we decided that we would have this call yesterday at 3 o'clock my time, 1 o'clock her time. There we are, both of us on our cell phones to each other while sitting in front of the computer and I'm saying things like, "Do you see the thingie that looks like an old fashioned movie projector?" And she is saying things like, "No. What colour is it?" And I say "It's up in the right hand corner" And she is looking in the lower left corner. And well, Tim got involved on my end and her husband on her end and eventually taadaa! We were seeing each other face to face. Well sort of.
She accidentally screen shared with me so I actually was seeing me and she was seeing me, but we were seeing somebody and that's a good start. We will do better next time.
Meanwhile, I have to say that while I still don't really know what I'm doing half the time, I'm kind of proud of us for at least trying. It does not come easily to us but we are struggling through bravely and eagerly and, albeit slowly, learning.
I know that nowadays kids are practically writing code in the womb and are able to hack into the Pentagon before they are potty-trained. BUT can they read an analog clock? Nope. Can they diagram a sentence. Also no. Can they write cursive? Noppitynope.
So I refuse to feel bad about my lack of computer skills because I have other skills. Unrecognized as important these days, but still, skills. And, as I said, at least I continue to try to learn new things. I don't know anybody trying to learn to read an analog clock.
April 23rd, 2020
I've been going through our bookcases, trying to get real with myself. How many of these books am I actually really and truly every going to read again? I committed myself to thinning the herd so as to make room for other new books. An Excellent Plan! And then I came across this collection of Erma Bombeck's work.
Mrs. Bombeck wrote 15 books and zillions of newspaper and magazine articles so this is just the tiniest sample of her work. But I remember being a big fan of her a long time ago. And in fact, I remember laughing so hard, while reading her books, that I would have to close the book and walk away to compose myself, so that I could resume reading. Really! And that is probably why I held on to these books for so long.
I love a good laugh, a giggle, a chortle, a chuckle or a guffaw! And right now, during these whole virus mess, a good laugh is especially important. So it seemed that this would be the perfect time for a re-read.
But Dang. I'm not laughing. Sometimes I smile a little but I'm not laughing. And I find that very odd and disappointing.
What changed? She was an excellent writer. I have no complaint about the quality for her writing. But it's not the total crack up that I remember from years ago.
Now to be fair, Most of these books came out when I was a young mother of first 1, then 2, then 3 boys. And since she wrote about being a mother of 3 - in her case 2 boys and 1 girl - maybe I identified more back then? It's been along time since I had three scampering, lively, sassy young ones tumbling around me 24/7. But I remember it. I remember it very well.
And in fact, I have recounted funny stories about my kiddos when they were little ones to other people who laugh with me about the crazy times back then. So I remember. I relate historically. But I am not laughing at her books any more.
I wonder why? Is it because I know the punchlines? Is it because I don't have little ones anymore? Has my own sense of humour changed that much? Are her stories no longer relatable? I find that option hard to believe.
Kids have been kids have been kids since the beginnings of time. I might have little little Grok the caveboy with a rock instead of little Jimmy with a baseball, but they still threw it and they still hit something and it was still funny.
I suppose it's possible that I have become such a grumpy old poop that I have lost my sense of humour, but I don't think so. Tim still cracks me up on a daily basis. My kids still make me laugh. Phone calls with my sister usually end up with one or the other (or both) of us totally losing it laughing. I was on the phone with a friend yesterday afternoon and I was laughing so hard I had to sit down for a few minutes. So I do still remember how to laugh.
Laughter is good stuff. You know the expression, "Laughter is the best medicine"? Well it's not just a saying. It's a fact.
"Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain".
So ok maybe it's not the absolute BEST medicine. But it's darned good medicine. And we should all make it a point to laugh more. Watch funny movies, read funny stories, do silly things, spend time with people who make us giggle, relax and let go.
In fact in these especially trying times, it's more important than ever to Release The Laughter (instead of the Kracken).
But maybe not by reading old Erma Bombeck books because for whatever reason, she is not making me laugh this time 'round. I think I will make it a point to re-read these one more time before donating them to Good Will. Hopefully someone else will discover Erma and be delighted with her the same way I was when I first read them.
I will have to find my laughter elsewhere.
April 22nd, 2020
As you can see by the above photo, my bangs are getting out of control again. Time for a trim. And that's no big deal. I've done it before. In fact, between every hair appointment I end up trimming my bangs one time. But here's the thing.
In this Time of the Great Quarantine, hairdressers, beauty shops and the like aren't open. My hasn't been open for quite some time now. So this will be the second time I have trimmed my bangs since a real haircut. And that made me realize that I have a new unit of measurement.
Y'see, I go to my hairdresser every 7 weeks. It's a weird number but that is how it works best for me. But I find that I need to trim my bangs around week 5. The rest of my hair looks fine, just my bangs are in my eyes and annoying me. So, if this is my second time around of shortening up that fringe around my eyes that would make it ten weeks.
I actually looked at my personal calendar to be sure about this. But yup, my last official haircut was February 28th. So like everyone else right now, I am way overdue. No worries, I can trim my bangs and if the rest of it gets too out of control I can throw it up into a ponytail and to hell with it. I don't worry too much about my hair anymore. It's not like I'm in the public eye after all. Nobody cares how I look. I assure you that I am clean and appropriately attired. That is sufficient.
But isn't it funny that while I could not this second tell you exactly how long the Time of the Great Quarantine has been going on for us, I know exactly how long it's been since I had a hair cut. So there you go, a new unit of measurement.
The same way, if I bother to paint my toenails, the pedicure lasts 3 weeks. So if I happen to glance at my toes and notice that the paint is a bit chipped, I don't have to wonder how long it's been since I gave myself a pedicure. I already know. 3 weeks. Another unit of measurement.
One of the hardest units of measurement of me to finally wrap my brain around had to do with cooking. It is a well established fact that when I first got married I could barely boil water properly. Honestly, I had never cooked and didn't have a clue. Thanks to the book, "The Joy of Cooking' and a tragic amount of trial and error, I eventually became a decent cook and baker. The hard part was planning a meal where all of the components were ready at the same time. Yeesh. That balance, those units of measurement took FOREVER. And even now, every once in awhile, I'm a teensy bit off and Tim ends up eating a meal in courses. Poor man.
By the way, speaking of time and units of measurement, as of next month it will be one full year since I stopped colouring my hair and just letting just be what it is. I can clearly see the line where the colour has growing out and all of the sparkle. The weirdest part (to me) is that the hair underneath is much greyer that the hair on top! I honestly thought it would be the other way around!
No, really, it's true! Here I'll show you!
I kinda dig it. When the entire "let it go" project began I was more than a little trepidatious. Would I like it? Would I hate it? How grey was I? Was it that flat blah battleship grey or a pretty sparkly silver? Was it going to be a skunk stripe down the middle or just a silvering at the temples?
In discussions with Carolyn, my amazing hairdresser, I finally came to the realization that if I really hated how it looked, I could always have her colour it again. True! But so far, I've been surprisingly okey dokey with my greys and silvers. But isn't it funny that I am aware that it's been nearly a year? Another unit of measurement.
So it seems that the Time of the Great Quarantine for us has been two bang trims and not quite 4 pedicures long. Don't make me do the math.
April 21st, 2020
So much for the "Sunshine" State epithet. We have had a spate of gloom lately. And this is what I have to say about that, Bah!
Actually, I don't mind an occasional grey day. After all, I spent a lot of years in New England so I know how to bring my own sunshine to the room. And here, it's kind of a nice break in routine to have a grey day once in awhile.
But what we've had lately isn't just the quietude of a Heathcliffe on the Moors kind of day when making soup and curling up on the sofa with a good book is in order. No. What we've experienced the past few days has been unfulfilled promise and frankly it's kind of ticking me off.
Y'see, it's not just grey, it's been grey and humid. And then the sky goes from grey to really dark grey. And the wind picks up. And we think...yay, rain coming! And then...and then...and then...it's doesn't. The wind dies down and the darkness fades a wee bit and it's still grey and muggy and buggy and bah.
Winter here is the dry season. And sometimes the dryness gets a little carried away. Sometimes all the way to actual drought conditions. Kind of hard to wrap your brain around right? Florida has droughts? I was as shocked as you are believe me. It happens, to some degree, every year around this time. And right now, according to the newspapers we are experiencing a big time drought. "Worst one in fifty years" according to the headlines and of course we always believe the headlines (not). But regardless of where it stands on the taBle of droughts, it's still a drought.
So the promise of rain was enticing. And when, day after day, it didn't happen, I was feeling kind of gypped. I postponed walks because I didn't want to get caught out in what seemed to be a looming storm that never happened. We rushed through outside chores rather than relax and take our time so that we would not get drenched in what was clearly going to be a gullywasher of a rainstorm except that it vanished like a magicians trick. After awhile I was so irritated by carrying around an umbrella anytime we knew we would have to spend time outside (like waiting our turn to get inside Home Depot for instance) which turned out to be unnecessary , grrrrrrr.
So yesterday, I took my walk in the early morning. Partly to avoid the worst of the humidity and partly so that I would absolutely get my walk in. I brought in the garbage and recycle bins and the newspaper. I debated watering my flowers and looked skyward once again. It seemed as if we were poised right on the lip of a thunderbanger of a storm if the sky were anything to judge it by.
I texted with a friend who lives just north of Tampa and it was raining there. I talked on the phone with my sister who lives only a half hour north of me and it was raining there. I looked out our windows. Nothin'.
Finally, by late afternoon, I stepped back outside with my camera. The sky was chalky and the wind had picked up, once again.
There was not a bird or a bunny or a lizard in sight. Woohoo! Maybe, finally, the rain is really coming?? Or is this just another fake-out??? I went back inside to fold laundry and empty the dishwasher.
At long last, I heard some delicate tapping on the roof indicating yes, rain had finally really actually showed up! I rain outside with my camera once again. It started out with just some very delicate tiny drops but picked up speed and intensity quickly. Inside the sound went from tapping to full on drumming. It was glorious!
It didn't rain very long but it was a good soaker. A few hours later the rain began again. And it appears to have rained on and off all through the night. Awesome!
Everything green is doing a happy dance today. The sky is blue and the sun is shining once again.
And me? Well, I have to remember that Mother Nature always fulfills her promises just maybe not on my timetable. I forget once in awhile who is in charge here. Hint; It's not me.
April 20th, 2020
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And that's good because today, I really don't seem to have any words of my own to say... errr...well actually, type.
Hope you enjoy these photos from a few recent walks instead :)
Oh and please stay well!!
Hugs all 'round.
April 17th, 2020
Well lookee what I found!~
I'm still slowly working on bringing order out of chaos in the utility/storage/laundry room. And yesterday as I opened yet another unlabeled box I found these little cuties. A batch of bears! Awwww.
It was actually more than just bears, there were bears, and bunnies and dogs and well miscellaneous other stuffed animals. All different colours and sizes and shapes and degree of cuteness. There were even some of my old dolls too! I had completely forgotten that I still have this stuff. How did they all not get sold or donated before we moved here from Colorado with everything else?
I felt a little nostalgic going through the box. Every single thing in the box was a gift to me. And, while yes, the dolls are leftover from my childhood, the plush animals were all presents I received as a full grown adult. Yup. Every single one of them. Valentine's Day was always good for at least one adorable little animal. Christmas stockings too. Easter Basket, why not?
Those soft cute little faces are hard to resist. Any time I walk through the toy department of a store I cannot help but give them a little pat on the head. Yes I'm that person. Tim knows that deep down inside of me still lives a small child (and sometimes not so deep down). My sister knows this, my kids know, my friends know and thusly an unintentional collection happened.
Anyway, It appears that I kept them all. It was partly for sentimental reasons but also because long ago and far away, back in Colorado, we had a very large house. A house that was certainly big enough for more than one Christmas Tree. In fact, it was big enough for multiple trees. Each one decorated differently. One of them I decorated with the stuffed animals. And, you will just have to trust me on this because I have no idea where any of the photos of this are, it looked so stinkin' cute! Then I remembered that I still had, packed away somewhere, a few of my old dolls and they joined the Christmas Tree crew.
As I mentioned above, the dolls actually are from my childhood. I didn't have a ton of dolls but I did have some. And when I grew up, most of them seem to have vanished. I have no idea what happened to them. Somehow I managed to keep just these few dolls the same way I kept just a few of my childhood books. I suspect that originally I held on to them for my own children. Who knew that I would only have boys? While my boys loved the books, they had absolutely zero interest in the dolls. And perhaps in the back of my mind I assumed that one day I would have grandchildren who might enjoy them too. Well as it turns out, there are no grandkiddos, only grandcats. And that's fine too. Everyone makes the choices that are best for them and my job is to support that and so I do :)
So now I have to ask myself an important question. Why am I still holding on to this stuff? As long as we live in this particular house, there will only ever be one Christmas Tree because that's all we have room for (and barely that). The tree we do have is at least marginally more traditionally decorated. So I actually do not need all of these toys.
So the questions were, am I read to get rid of these toys and then, if so, what do I do with them?
My first thought was Good Will would be a great place to donate these critters. But our local Good Will is closed for the duration of the Quarantine and now I'm wondering if they will even be interested in something that (in their minds understand) might possible have The Virus lurking on it. Dang. The good news is that most of these stuff animals are machine washable so if they are truly concerned, they can be washed. When Good Will finally opens it's doors again, I can try to assure them that our household is now and has always been virus free but I have no idea if they will believe me.
Perhaps it won't be a problem at all and I am over thinking this. Once Good Will is ready to accept donations again, maybe I can drop them off with impunity and they will be accepted with gratitude. Ok let's assume that is the case. For now anyway.
But the dolls? Would little girls nowadays want these really old dolls of mine? They aren't a 'name' that every knows after all. I mean they aren't Barbie after all. The two little dolls are actually called Betsy McCall dolls. Which would mean NOTHING to any little girls now. But when I was small they were a very big deal. The bigger doll back left, was originally a bride doll back in the 1950's when I got it. The Bridal Gown she came with is long gone and somewhere along the line I made a couple of dresses for her myself which is absolutely laughable. I cannot sew worth a damn and it's obvious. Still she is, after a fashion, clothed at least and there are few things sadder than a naked doll.
But what on earth do I do with them?
For now I put them back in the storage room. But at some point a decision is going to have to be made. I will be absolutely honest. I thought I was ready to get rid of them all but as I was packing them away, I realized that there were a couple that I simply cannot part with. They will just have to live with me forever and if people think poorly of me for it, then that's just too bad, so sad.
I've tucked them discreetly into various bookcases. Probably nobody but me will ever know that they are there.
If you have any suggestions or ideas of what I can do with these animals and dolls, please let me know. My childhood books on the other hand, those I am keeping. Probably forever.
April 16th, 2020
I started this dang puzzle somewhere around the 30th of March. It is still taking up space on the kitchen table and remains unfinished. You'd think even I would have been able to complete this thing by now. You would be wrong.
I did a quick look backwards and found that my first post about the virus was on March 11th. The first case in the US was January 20th. Today is April 16th. The Great Quarantine of course started on different dates in different states but with very few exceptions (there are still a few states holding out on the idea of an official shut down) most of us have been "stay safe at home" for at least a month and most of us longer.
Why haven't I finished this puzzle? It's not as if I haven't had the time for heaven's sake. I certainly have had the time to do all sorts of other things.
I've cleaned and tidied and done a lot of organization and re-organization. I've gone on a lot of walks and read (and sometimes re-read) quite a few books. I edited a book for a writer friend and I cut down a tree for heaven's sake!
I've practiced the piano a lot and dusted and polished and scraped paint from old window sills. I've taken loads of photos and kept in touch with friends and family via email, text and Skype.
I did not nearly as much baking as I thought I would (thank goodness!) But I've done a Pilates workout nearly every day from home (yay me!) and at least a ton of laundry and ironing (how two people create as much laundry as we do is a mystery).
There are a only few things left to tidy and organize. Things like the guest room closet that has somehow become a repository for anything I do not know what else to do with. I have vowed to figure out what to do with those things and then do it. So there's that remaining. The pantry would probably appreciate a good tidy-up. And there is still a little bit of work left to do in the utility room - boxes to be gone through.
But that's about all that's left to fill my time these days. With the exception of this puzzle.
Maybe there is some deep psychological reason why I have not finished this puzzle. Maybe it will be the final thing before the Time of the Great Quarantine is over. Perhaps this puzzle will be the marker between this time and that. It could be that the day the final piece goes in and the puzzle is complete will be the day we go back to normal.
No wait. Our life will never be what it once was. But it will be something else. Something new and different. So I guess maybe that's it. The final piece of this puzzle will be the last piece of this transitional life before we start out on the new one.
Or maybe I just really suck at puzzles.
April 15th, 2020
Here is something you probably do not know about me. I love little boxes. Things to put things in. And apparently I always have. I remember my Mother telling me a very long time ago that, even as a very small child, I would save little boxes and put things in them and then squirrel the boxes away in my bureau drawers.
I actually do remember using little jewelry boxes to keep small Barbie things in. All of the tiny Barbie shoes would be in one box, the gloves in another, hats in yet another......sort of like that. And until my sister and I received official Barbie Carry Cases one year (woohoo!) all of those small boxes of small things were stored in shoeboxes under my bed. Yet more boxes. It was an exciting day my friends.
Most of my small boxes now arrive as gifts, usually with something inside. I cannot promise you that I still have everything that originally was in any of these boxes. But the boxes, clearly I have kept. I guess it's sort of the way little kids play with the cardboard boxes that their expensive presents come in. Hah! I just realized that.
Some of these I keep tucked away safely in various drawers, but other boxes are strewn about, here and there throughout the house. And not all of them are small. Other, slightly larger boxes are here and there. For example there is the old cigar box that holds my bookmarks. And the pretty little purple box that has my camera chargers safely within. I have glass jars that hold paper stars, sea glass and fishing floats.
I will freely admit that I don't honestly know where all of these glass jars came from. If I bought them (and I cannot imagine that I did) they must have come from yard sales because I'm way too cheap to spend big money on something like that. My best guess is that my mother bought them in her yard-sale phase. For a time she was wildly passionate about Yard Sales but almost everything she bought she ended up giving to either my sister or me. None of those yard sale scores were things we had ever asked for or even hinted we were thinking about. She just mystically divined that whatever the object was, was something that we desperately needed to have. And apparently, some of it, I did because I still have it.
The jars of sea glass sit on my coffee table in the living room. Many people ask where it all came from. Before you ask, it has been slowly accumulated throughout my life. Most of it from the coast of Maine but not all. The shells are primarily from quite a variety of beaches over the many years of my life. The paper stars were a gift but I truly could not begin to tell you where the fishing floats started in their lives. Just at some point, they began to live at my house. Not sure how that happened. Again, probably from my mom, but I like them and I've had them for a very long time.
Larger containers, be they glass, cardboard, metal or wooden, take up serious space. I used to have a lot more. But now we live in a smallish house so logically I have gotten rid of most of them, only keeping the ones I could not bear to part with.
Actually, as hard as it is to believe, I have a lot fewer small boxes too. But I justify their existence in my life by pointing out that they don't take up a lot of room . And it's not as if they are useless afterall. I do have things in them. Small things. Things that are important to me but, because they are small, are easily lost. Things like:
And then there is the box my mother gave me. It is nothing at all that I would ever have bought for myself but I love it because she gave it to me. I keep my engagement ring in there. I wear my wedding ring nearly all of the time. (In fact, I only take it off if I start getting that eczema issue underneath the band again). But the engagement ring I only wear if I'm dressied up. For several reasons. First I'm terrified of losing it . Sometimes it fits perfectly, other times it's a little loose. Once, while gesturing as I talked, (which I always so) the ring flew off my hand and zinged across a large room at work. Everyone froze as I chased it, crawling around on my hands and knees under desks and chairs before finally finding it again. Scary! But I am also reluctant to wear it all of the time because I get dirty. I bake, I clean, I dig in the dirt and cut down trees. I am too lazy to constantly be cleaning that thing but it's too beautiful to not be kept clean so the easiest solution is to only wear it now and again. If Tim minds, he has always been too kind to say so
So you see, these aren't just pretty things to collect, they serve a purpose. And not just the purpose of pleasing me. Every single box I have holds something precious and important to me. Well except one. I do have one box that is still empty. But it's new. I'm sure in time I will find a purpose for it
April 14th, 2020
Looks like I found my next project! Hurrah!
Never really noticed what an absolute pile of chaos the utility room has become. Yikes. How on earth did this happen?
It did not start out in life as a utility room, understand. In it's original incarnation it was a garage. A VERY small garage. So small in fact, that if it were still a garage neither of our cars would have fit in it anyway. It's a moot point because by the time we bought the house, someone else had already removed the garage doors and installed double doors.
Not wide enough to drive most cars through but wide enough to move something wider than an average door in and/or out. And that has turned out to be very handy.
So now it is a utility room/storage room/HVAC room/Laundry room. But that isn't how it was when we bought the house. At that time it was strictly storage. They had loads of built in wooden cabinetry that was so disgustingly filthy. Layer upon layer upon layer of yuck. I am not even certain what it was. (insert shuddering here) It also had bugs. Wood+florida+not clean=bugs. Sooooo we ripped out all of the old cabinetry, cleaned, debugged and started over.
Another little bit of backtracking, originally the HVAC and the washer/dryer were in the kitchen. When I saw that I was not happy. It was all squeezed into a small closet. So small in fact that I could only fit between the HVAC and the washer/dryer by stepping sideways between them. Not Good. To say nothing of the fact that it was taking up valuable space in an already small kitchen. Tim assured me that all of that could be moved and the closet turned into a pantry. Colour me Much Happier.
So after we bought the house, the very first project was moving HVAC and washer/dryer to that storage room. Our contractor had no problem moving the laundry and turning the space left behind into my gorgeous pantry and the HVAC guy, who we already had replacing the old system with a bigger, better, new one was delighted to move it as well. Elbow room! Awesome!
Once the kitchen was finally done, Tim and I set about ripping out that nasty old wooden gross stuff. Once it was all gone, and we had taken about 30 showers apiece to get rid of that creepy ick feeling, we were kind of wowed by how much more space we had. Because there are always things that need to be stored. When we arrived, honestly, it was not a lot. We had gotten rid of so much stuff before we moved here. The remainder was mostly Christmas stuff and a few tools, ordinary things.
So Tim bought some gorgeous big heavy open shelving and set it up. We stacked up our rubber maid bins, all of which fit with room to spare and called it good.
But y'know life happens. We painted nearly every room in this house. Which meant we had to buy paint and rollers and pans and afterwards...store it somewhere. And then when we finally completely unpacked we found that there were some things that, while we still needed, we didn't need to use all of the time and it had to go somewhere. And suitcases..y'know...they take up a lot of closet space so they should probably just go to the utility room too. And then there are the thing you acquire after you move somewhere new. Things like beach umbrellas and folding chairs and........
Well you see what's happening here. Somehow we have accumulated stuff. And needed easier access to stuff. And sometimes maybe were a little lazy putting things away. And well, it happens.
So my next project will be bringing order out of chaos. I am not even certain what is in some of the bins and boxes. So I will for sure be labeling things better. I'm reasonable sure that some things already have a proper place to be that simply aren't in their proper place. And I predict that some things will be thrown out or donated.
The one thing I can promise is: it will look a heck of a lot better when I'm done.
Oh I do love a new project ;)
April 13th, 2020
Well Happy Easter Yesterday, I suppose.
Didn't really feel very Easter-ish. At least it didn't to me. But then it kind of hasn't for a long time. I'm not sure this is something I can blame totally on the Time of the Great Quarantine.
When I was a little girl Easter was an event. A Really Big Deal!
My sister and I had new dresses, usually that our Nana made and she was an amazing seamstress. Do you remember those kind of dresses that had crinolines underneath? Yeah that kind. The crinoline, or petticoat, was stuff and itchy, but it made the skirt big and apparently that was a goal. We had fancy white socks with lace trim and our black patent leather shoes received a special Vaseline induced shine. We wore little gloves and straw hats that went with our new dresses and on Easter Sunday, we might even have gone to church depending on where we lived at the time.
We each got an impressive Easter Basket that involved far too much candy and at least one new stuffed animal. We dyed Easter eggs with the aid of that kit by Paz (even now I remember the smell of it) and held our own egg hunts taking turns hiding and finding the eggs over and over again. Sometimes the dogs found the eggs first, sometimes we kids did.
Again depending on where we lived at the time, we might get together with other neighborhood families for a meal so there was loads of food, lots of noise and activity. We kids sang the Peter Cottontail song so many times I'm quite certain our parents were ready to throttle us.
It was a special day with lots of food, lots of conversation, lots of fun and of course, our fancy new duds that then became our fancy dressup outfits for the entire next year (or until we outgrew it whichever came first)
When the boys were small we got together with family usually so it was still a good sized collection of people and food. And like when I was a kid, we coloured eggs and had Easter egg hunts, seeking and finding over and again.
I delighted in making Easter baskets for my own kids when they were little, choosing everything that went into the basket with great consideration. My sister actually made Easter baskets for her kids. I mean the actual baskets, the basket that holds the goodies! Wow! My poor kids were stuck with a non-crafty mom who store bought plastic baskets.
Then the kids got older and less interested in the trappings. Oh they wouldn't turn down a good Easter Dinner. Of course not! They aren't stupid after all. And if some of their favourite Easter candy happened to find it's way into their bedrooms they would be appreciative. But there was no fancy basket, no stuffed animals, none of the excitement and magic that little ones bring to every holiday. And that's fine. It's normal.
Then they were gone. Off on their own with their own homes and lives and it was just Tim and I trying to figure out how to celebrate holidays far from family. At that point the only Eastery thing that happened in our house was the candy I still managed to rationalize into our house. I mean neither of us actually NEED Easter candy. But somehow I always managed to justify it's purchase. But we didn't colour eggs. No easter egg hunts, no crinolines or shiny patent leather shoes. No crowds of people around the table all talking at the same time. It was just us. And that's fine too. We enjoy each other's company ;)
But if it wasn't for the Easter candy (which we probably didn't wait for Easter to eat anyway) Easter Sunday just felt like any Sunday. Unless we got out of the house and saw the massive crowds attending Mass at Ephiphany Cathedral (right down the street from us) or the hordes of people celebrating the holiday on the beaches or the pastel stuffed animals and Easter Lilies lining the shelves in all of the stores. That's really the only way we felt the Special Easter-ness of the day. In fact, if we didn't go the the store at all, the only thing that would indicate Easter would be the Cadbury Commercials on TV.
And then there was this Easter where the Cathedral is Streaming Easter Services instead of in the actual building, the beaches are closed and, well, yes I think there were still stuffed animals and Easter Lillies on the store shelves but not as many people buying them. So it felt less Easter-ish than ever.
And that, perhaps, is why for Easter Dinner this year I made corned beef. I left it until too late to decide what to serve and ended up just looking in our freezer to see what was there and one of the things there was corned beef. What? That's not traditional at all! Well it is a traditional St Patrick's day meal so it is A tradition, but not the Easter Tradition. I rationalized that at least it referenced a holiday and a fairly recent one at that so it was close enough.
Hope your Easter was a good one even if it was a little different than usual this year.
April 10th, 2020
Facemasks. Big topic right now.
Some folks say that we should be wearing them all of the time. It's not a law or anything. At least not yet. But it's probably the smart thing to do.
The thing is, they are hard to come by. And in all honesty, people who are immuno-compromised and medical personnel should absolutely get first pick when any masks show up in stores.
So what is an average person supposed to do? Especially an ordinary average person with no sewing ability. A person, very much, like me.
Well that person would figure out a way to make their own dang face mask. That's what!
So naturally I turned to You Tube tutorials because I didn't have a single solitary clue of where to start. As it turns out, there are roughly a zillion or so You Tube Mask Making Videos out there just waiting to be watched. I had to peruse quite a few before landing on anything remotely helpful.
Some of the rejected ones required that I have, on hand, things like a glue gun. I do not. Or some sort of two sided iron-on strip that adheres both sides of fabric. I also do not that that. However, there was one promising video that only required a bandanna and a pair of scissors. I do have scissors but not a bandanna. I do however, own scarves. Multiples of them.
So it seemed to me that a scarf would serve. I would just have to cut it down to bandanna size. Simple, right?
Step one was determining which scarf I was willing to sacrifice for the cause. I chose a gold one because I was pretty sure that Tim wouldn't want to wear a face mask that was either pink or floral. Gold is a non gender specific colour and yes I know that really should not matter. But gold is simple, a neutral really. It goes with almost everything. I will confess to a wee bit of sparkle in the fabric too but don't tell Tim I said that. Here is the scarf I chose.
Side Note: You will notice that in any photos with me in them that I've posted since this entire Great Quarantine began I am wearing Zero make-up. I'm not certain why that is but it is a fact. I haven't put on so much as a swipe of mascara since this all started. I won't apologize but I will acknowledge it as fact. Back to the story.
So I watched the video a number of times then googled the size of a bandanna. Turns out to be 22 inches square. So I measured, marked and carefully cut out a 22 inch square of fabric from my scarf.
Then, once again, carefully following the video instructions, I put hair bands, one on either end of the folded "bandanna" sized scarf and put it on. It was too big. I was a LOT too big. I was almost engulfed in fabric. Ok second try. I cut it down a little smaller, I folded it more carefully, put the band back on the ends and tried again. It was................................................better. Not great.
I suppose it would work in a pinch, but it was not ideal. For several reasons. Sooo much fabric is heavy. It drooped and I had to keep pulling it up. That's not good. Also it was hot under that mass of fabric. Way Too Hot. My cheeks were flushed and I was sweating in less than a minute. Then too, the hair band fasteners that looped over my ears kept tangling with my hearing aids and knocking them off. Annoying. And then of course the worst part, my claustrophobia kicked in.
I hadn't thought about that. I know I was breathing because I didn't keel over on the floor unconscious while wearing it. But in my head I kept thinking that I couldn't breathe. It's stupid I know. And yes, I totally agree, beating back a panic attack brought on my claustrophobia is still better than getting sick from COVID-19. Not even a question. But! Maybe there is a better solution out there somewhere.
I talked to Tim about it and he had heard of a different self-made, no sewing required face mask that involved a tee-shirt sleeve. Intrigued, I checked it out. Yes that did look much better! Lighter, smaller, no ear loops. Ok.
This time Tim sacrificed several of his tee-shirts for me to use. And once again, I relied upon You Tube video's to learn how to do this. It seemed simple enough. Cut off the sleeves of the tee-shirt, Cut strips off the bottom of the shirt to secure the mask in place and voila! Face Mask.
I cut up the black tee-shirt first because it was on the top of the pile. Cutting off the sleeves was no problem at all. Cutting even strips off the bottom was a wee bit more problematic. Cutting a straight line for me is a challenging as drawing one. But I did the best I could.
But when I went to try it on, I had difficulty making the strips stay in place. The one at the top of my head just slid right down my hair making the front of the mask also slide down. I tried again, tying it more tightly. It lasted longer, but ultimately it still just slid right down the back of my hair. Dang!
As it turns out, I didn't need the strips of fabric tied. The sleeve just parks itself perfectly fine on the face with no ties whatsoever. For once my big schnozz came in handy! Cool! The second go 'round went much better than the first. The claustrophobia is still very real however. So my plan is, if I am in a situation where I have to wear the mask, I will put it on at the very last moment possible, be in public the shortest amount of time that I can manage and then I will remove the mask at the earliest safe opportunity.
I had it on for just a very short time in the house and when I removed it, I ended up hyperventilating in my desire to "recover" from not having any air ........idiot. And it doesn't matter how many times the intelligent part of my brain reminds me that I already AM breathing, the freaked out claustrophobic side says, "No way!"
But anyway, this is what I look like wearing the tee-shirt sleeve mask before I got all light-headed from hyperventilating. I look like a bank-robber.
But it works! AND I feel very very VERY anonymous.
April 09th, 2020
While I am of the personal opinion that there is never a bad time for books, right now is an especially good time for them.
I almost always have at least one book in the process of being read, sometimes more than one, plus a magazine or two all sprinkled around the house, close at hand for those occasions when I have a free moment. Right now I seem to have more free moments than usual........as I'm sure do all of you.
This time of the Great Quarantine (or the GQ) would be so much worse if I had nothing to read. Worse even than if we had run out of cookies and that's saying something! Fortunately, and serendipitiously, the day before the library closed, I happened to have stopped by and selected the three books above. There was no warning bell. It's not as if someone alerted the media that the library would be closing so hurry in and pick out your books for the duration. It was just a happy accident.
I have been trying to make them stretch to fill the entire void. Which is hard because, well, we have no idea really how long the GQ is going to last, right? So I tried to limit myself to no more than 2 chapters a day. It was maddening. But I stuck with it really well until I began the last library book, "The Beaten Territory" about the history of the origins of Denver on the other side of the tracks. Not the pretty part of history. Nope the other side. It is so well written, so captivating (to me at least) that the first day that I sat down to read my alloted to chapters I actually had read 8 chapters before I realized it. Dang! I tried to slow down, I really, did, but, but, but....here I am on the second day of reading this book and I'm on chapter 27.
Once again, serendipity smiles and I have another book waiting in the wings. When Tim and I returned from the noonwalk recently I found a 1000 piece puzzle that I had loaned to a neighbor returned to me along with this on the doorstep by way of thanks: (she is an awesome neighbor)
Goody! Another book! Huzzah I am saved!
Also by happenstance, what turned out to be my last day at the museum before it shut down, another volunteer who somehow is the recipient of a zillion or so magazines brought in a few for me. She knows a lot of people who like to read and when they finish their magazines they are handed off to her. When she finishes them she hands them off to me and then I follow suit. So I also have, stacked and waiting these:
I haven't even looked to see what any of these magazines are and honestly, I do not care. It's previously unread reading material and I am good with that. I will read every single word on every single page, including the ads, when I finish my books.
And one more bit of happenstance. On the day between the magazine receiving day and the library day I did my usual grocery shopping. As I was standing in the line, waiting for my turn to be checked through, I saw a Readers Digest that had an intriguing cover and, on a whim, tossed it into my basket as well. I confess that I am part way through that particular magazine. Magazines are perfect reading material for baths y'see and I do love a nice bath.
So far, so good. I have the rest of one library book and one neighbor loaned book and a handful of magazines remaining. That ought to hold me together for a little while if I really slow it down which is so hard to do.
But eventually they will all be read and if we are still "safe at home" everything thing will be read. Dang.
I guess I will have to start re-reading the books I already have on our bookshelves:
That ought to hold me for a little while
April 08th, 2020
I am the first to admit that I don't know much about trees. But even I know that ain't good.
I refer to the above photo. It is - or at least was - some sort of palm tree. And right up until two days ago, it looked absolutely fine. I went out to pick up the mail Monday and as I passed by, I noticed this. I am not an arborist, or a botanist, or a horticulturist, or even a gardener really but I know when a live thing, no longer is. Awwwww ;( Very Sad.
As little as I know about trees in general, I know even less about palm trees. But I recall our realtor explaining to me for some reason while we were first looking at houses here, that palm trees have a center stalk that , well, once it's gone, the tree is gone. Please note; No Center Stalk. I don't know what caused this tree to die. All the other trees around it look perfectly fine and healthy.
This is it's closest neighbor:
At least for today, the neighbor tree looks perfectly fine. It is green and "frondy" with a center stalk. A fine healthy palm tree specimen of some sort. For all I know, the dead one may be just a sort of palm tree that doesn't live very long. Who knows? Certainly not me.
And as emotional and weirdly sentimental as I am about any green growing thing no longer being green and growing, I am also practical. The tree had to come down.
If the tree were situated in the back of the house, the job of removing it probably could wait a bit. Even if it lived on the side of the house, I could probably have put the task off for a short time. But no, this particular tree sits right in the middle of our circular driveway where it can be seen by anyone driving by, walking by, bicycling by and worse, by me every time I looked out the front window. Dang.
By the way, why is it called a circular driveway? It very clearly is a semi-circle not a full circle. just wondering.
At any rate, I rummaged through the utility room until I found my gardening gloves and a random saw. I narrowed my eyes and headed out to dispatch the dead tree with determination in my heart.
I circled the tree a few times debating where to begin the cut, finally worked out my game plan, placed the saw and began. The saw bit in and I went to work, feverishly sliding the saw back and forth, back and forth kicking up tree ferb and beginning to sweat profusely.
My saw began to snag and I had to pull it back out, re-set and begin again over and over. Dang. Clearly this was the wrong sort of saw. I returned to the utility room tool chest to find another saw.
Second random saw secured, I began again. Ahhh, much better. This saw was smoother, less grabby and I felt like finally I was getting somewhere. Even small progress is still progress. I'm good with that.
I cut in one spot for awhile, then moved to the other side and cut from there. Then to the side and of course the other side. I wanted a very controlled fall. It isn't as if it were a huge tree. This was no giant sequoia. But it was still heavy enough to hurt a nearby tree, my car, a passerby, the mailbox or me if it fell in that particular direction.
I sawed until I thought my arm was going to fall off. I switched hands and sawed some more. I switched back and wiped the sweat out of my eyes. A bunny stopped in the shade of a nearby tree to watch me in great fascination. Birds were lined up on a tree branch, not singing but starring down at me intently. It's hard to read the eyes of a wild creature. They were either thinking, "I wonder what she is doing?' or "Stop cutting down trees!"
"Hey guys!" I explained during a break, "I'm not hurting the tree. It needs to come down. I swear!" Lizards gathered nearby to watch.
Finally I was almost completely through. Experimentally, I gave the tree a little push. It drooped the tiniest bit. I pushed harder. It drooped a little lower. I put my back against a different tree trunk and pushed for all I was worth and with a mighty crack, the tree was down.
The birds, the lizards, the bunny and I all cheered.
I felt very accomplished as I hauled the tree over to the side of the house where today, when the lawn guys come by, they will take it away for me. I also felt sore, tired, sweaty, hot and thirsty.
So I went back inside, cleaned and put away the tools, washed up, had a full glass of water and then rewarded myself with a pint of ice cream. It was glorious.
Just call me Sam Bunyan!
April 07th, 2020
This is the primary work area of my kitchen. It has been getting QUITE a work out lately. Which is awesome. I love to cook and bake. But that isn't exactly what I wanted to talk about today.
I wanted to talk about recipes. Because lately I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking. I guess a lot of us are. And more creative cooking based on either what is already in our pantries or what we can find at the store.
I have quite a few cook books and cooking magazines . And then of course there is also Master Google ever at my finger tips to seek out any recipe I want to find online.
But online does have it's drawbacks. I don't know anyone personally who has ever tried that recipe. It might look good, or read well, but is it really something that we would like? Does the recipe actually come out like they say it will? Are there any tips or hints that would help to process along? Any suggestions or ideas of changes or additions (or subtractions) to the recipe?
See that information you only get from personal recipes. I love getting recipes from people I know. Tried and true stuff. Recipes where I can call or text or email questions to the person who sent it to me. And lately I've been doing a LOT of exchanging recipes with friends and family members.
Oh we've always shared recipes around. But lately, we've upped the level. While skyping with one of my DIL's the other afternoon she asked me for a particular brownie recipe of mine. I said I would trade it for her pizza dough recipe. We both laughed and then we both wrote up and emailed each other the requested recipes. The brownie in question and oh yeah, it was good:
A very long time ago when I used to make bread regularly, a friend of mine requested one of my bread recipes. Part way through her execution of the recipe she called in a panic and I talked her through the rest of the way on the phone. She had never made bread before and had no experience to work from. Ultimately, it was a success and I was delighted to be a part of it...via phone call.
I requested the caramel corn recipe that my friend Marsha makes. It is, quite simply, the best I have ever EVER had. So she, very kindly, snapped a photo of the recipe card and texted it to me. As I read the recipe over and over, it didn't seem complete. It didn't make sense to me. So I called her. She was surprised but looked at the card and then realized that the recipe was front AND back of the card. We laughed like lunatics for a long time on that one. She had made the recipe for so many years that she actually didn't look at the actual card for it anymore, she just knocked it out. The way I do with biscuits or pie crust or chili!
I always say yes, when people ask for my recipes. I consider it a compliment. But some are hard to reconstruct because they have never been written down. I have to really think about it. How do I do that? How much do I add? It's about how it looks or smells or feels.
My sister was telling me not long ago that she was having a bad baking day (we all have them!) and she could tell as she was mixing it that it wasn't going to turn out right. Yuppers. That has happened to even the best cooks and bakers (and she is pretty darned good let me tell ya!) But see, that's how experienced a baker she is. She knew from the way it felt while she was mixing it that it wasn't going to be one of her best efforts.
It happened to me recently as well. I was making - or at least trying to make - buttermilk coffee cake muffins. Don't those just sound amazing? Well, usually, they are. This time they were terrible. I didn't even taste them. I could tell just by looking at them that they were awful. They went right down the disposer. From baking pan to disposer. Very efficient. It happens. I regret the product wasted but hey, what you gonna do.
Even my Nana, the best baker I have EVER known, occasionally would mess up a batch of something. We would hear her in the kitchen humming along, everything is fine and then suddenly she would say, 'Oh Sugar!" which is about the worst word she ever said and that would be followed by the scraping noise of something being tossed. It didn't happen often, but it happened.
A goodly portion of recipes in my baking binder are from my Nana. Gingerbread Grace Grey for example. It's a gingerbread cake that is well, it's amazing. Even people who have never tried Gingerbread cake before are addicted from the first bite. I have no idea who Grace Grey is but that is what that recipe has always been called. On the rare occasion that I make donuts, it's Nana's recipe that I use. Molasses cookies are all her too, as are Lily cookies, gingersnaps and blueberry cake. Nana was, as I said, an amazing baker. But a terrible cook. So none of my savory recipes are from her. And that's just fine too. I have other resources.
I have collected recipes from friends, my amazing daughters-in-law, from magazines, online and other things I just made up myself and wrote down so that I wouldn't forget how I did it. (I'm not getting any younger y 'know). Sometimes I will read multiple different recipes and kind of blend them.
The first time I ever made gumbo that's what happened. I had a package of andouille sausage and some leftover chicken and I was hmmmming about what to make with it. Gumbo came to mind even though I'd never made it befor. Tim and I do love New Orleans so it kind of follows. I read about the making of gumbo in several different cookbooks, looked up multiple recipes online and then got really smart and googled, "Tips for making gumbo". That was probably the most important step. It explained about the making of the roux in much greater detail than any recipe that I read. Ultimately I took part of each of those and turned out something that Tim absolutely LOVED!
If I knew someone personally who had a great gumbo recipe I would have had a personal resource to talk me through and answer questions and it wouldn't have taken half a day or research to get started. It worked out. But I would have loved to have had a recipe with a personal touch, someone's name attached. The Gingerbread Grace Grey of Gumbo so to speak.
I have probably typed up and emailed out more recipes in this past month of quarantine than any other time in my life. I have probably also requested copies of more recipes from other people. It's a great kind of connection to people we love that we cannot be near right now. I cannot hug you, but I can share my recipe with you. Which is another way of saying I love you.
So here we go...
To all of my family and friends out there and even absolute strangers who I have never met but read this blog, here is my challenge to you:
Send me one of your favourite recipes and I will send you one of mine in return. If this is a success we will each add one awesome recipe to each other's files. And if this is the success I hope it is, when it's over, I will create a new recipe book that I will share with all of you.
Showing how much we support and care for each other through a recipe share. Any sort of recipes. I will have to think of a title. Recipes During Quarantine. Caring through Sharing. Something along those lines.
Food is love people, food is love.
April 06th, 2020
I have heard reports from lots of people that with this whole stay at home quarantine thing, some folks are losing track of time. Literally unsure of what day of the week is underway at any particular moment.
I get it.
We all have routines. Monday is that day that I__________ (fill in the blank). It's different for everyone of course. But for most of us, the routine stays pretty much the same every week.
Even for retirees like me, there are specific tasks on specific days of course: Laundry on Monday, Pilates Class on Tuesday, Museum on Wednesday and on and on for every day of the week. But it's not quite such a hard line. If I don't get the grocery shopping done on Tuesday, then I'll do it Wednesday (I speak of the old days of course).
Now, however, while in quarantine, the only thing on that list left to me is Laundry - because laundry is like cockroaches. It never dies. I don't have to be at a specific place at a specific time. And yes, the days have begun to blur together.
Please note that I have two photo-a-day calendars pictured above. Those two calendars are the only way I know what each day is anymore. Every single morning, shortly after I get up, I tear off yesterday and reveal the new day and date. Thank goodness.
So as a kindness to you, and frankly an assurance to me, let it therefore be known that:
Today is Monday, April 6th.
Good to know.
Traditionally, in my life, my Monday attitude wasn't, "Yuck Monday' it was more, "Yay, Monday!" I always felt like a Monday was the start of a new week. And another chance to do it right.
But I was wrong.
Monday is NOT the start of a new week. Monday is the Second Day of the New week. What? Did you know this? I absolutely did not. In Canada, Japan and the USA, Sunday, not Monday, is the beginning of every week. Shocker!
The actual name: " Monday" gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word "mondandaeg" which translates to "the moon's day." The second day of the week in Nordic cultures was devoted to worshipping the goddess of the moon. Girls born on Mondays were given the name Mona in Ancient Britain, as it was the Old English word for moon.
Why those wacky old Norsemen chose to worship the moon goddess on that particular day every week is a mystery. Suffice it to say that in the paraphrased words of Jean Luc Picard, 'they made it so".
But looking that up got me curious about the rest of the week. What else do I not know about the days of the week?? So to further educate us all. Here you go:
The name Tuesday comes from a Middle English word, Tiwesday. ... This was named after the Nordic god Tyr. Tyr was the God of War, like the Roman war god Mars, and Greek god Ares. In Latin, Tuesday is called Martis dies which means "Mars's Day. So I suppose if you are cranky on Tuesdays, it is totally justified.
The name Wednesday actually derives from two mighty but distinct gods. The Old English word for Wednesday indicates that the day was named for the Germanic god Woden. In Romance languages, the name is derived from the Roman god Mercury. (For example, Wednesday is mercredi in French and miercuri in Romanian.) Why it is spelled the way it is I do not know. It just looks wrong. I have no idea why Wednesday Adams was named Wednesday although I suspect it had something to do with a play on the name of a certain very popular (and polar opposite) actress of the day, Tuesday Weld.
The English word Thursday is named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor. Thursday means Thor's day in Old English. Thor is represented riding a chariot drawn by goats and wielding his hammer. In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after the god and planet Jupiter. So I suppose we should feel extra powerful on Thursdays. Or wield magical hammers. One or the other.
The name Friday comes from the Old English Frīġedæġ, meaning the "day of Frige", a result of an old convention associating the Germanic goddess Frigg with the Roman goddess Venus, with whom the day is associated in many different cultures. Venus the Goddess of Love representing Friday. Everyone loves Friday. Even a bad Friday. Because the next day is Saturday! Makes perfect sense to me!
Saturday is named after the Roman god and planet Saturn. Saturday is the only day of the week that retained its Roman origin in English. Saturn is the Roman and Italic god of agriculture and the consort of Ops, So I suppose we are supposed to do yard work or garden work on Saturday. Or go to a Farm Market? Oh wait, Grocery Shopping! I get it now.
The name Sunday, the day of the Sun, is derived from Hellenistic astrology, where the seven planets, known in English as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon, each had an hour of the day assigned to them, and the planet which was regent during the first hour of any day of the week gave its name . Obviously, that would be the Sun. Now we all know that the sun is actually not a planet. Okay. But since the sun is the biggest, baddest, most incredible thing in our galaxy, I'm cool with it being number one. You?
And now you know.
April 03rd, 2020
Improvising projects. That's what it's come down to now. Finding things to do to fill my days.
I've already cleaned lots of things that I rarely do. Things like, all of the globes on all of the light fixtures, and chandelier crystals. I cleaned off the top of the refrigerator and under the bedside tables (which requires moving them). I even cleaned under the vanity in the bathroom.
That doesn't sound like a big deal but it kind of was. See, it's built to look like a piece of furniture...a bureau perhaps...with legs..which means that the front doesn't come all the way to the floor like, oh say, kitchen cabinets. But it's such a narrow space that a vacuum cleaner doesn't fit under it. Neither does a broom. (It's the inflexibility of the long handle of the broom that is the issue) Which means I had to lay down on the floor and reach underneath with one arm holding a garage rag - slightly dampened - and stretching as far as I could to wipe. And then wipe again. And then wipe one more time. And rescued a lost hair band (I wondered where that had disappeared to). I couldn't reach all the way into the back corners, but it's much cleaner now but it was a wild ride.
I've dusted and polished every horizontal surface in the entire house, washed windows, inside and out (dodging wasps while outside the entire time!) and re-organized closets and drawers. Tim and I did a major job of trimming palms in the yard. Well to be fair, Tim trimmed, I just hauled. This was the pile afterward!
And yesterday I was just kind of at a loss of what to do next. And then I remembered. When we first bought the house, one of the first things I did was to take down all of the old, filthy, nasty, gross heavy draperies. And that was when I found out that someone had painted over every single window sill. Which would be no big deal except the window sills are tiled.
Yup. With the exception of the family room, every other window will in this house was originally tiled with a kind of creamy yellowish tile. Perhaps that was "thing" when the house was built way back in 1962. Tiled window sills? Regardless. As it turns out, the only thing worse looking than tiled window sills is tiled window sills that have been painted over. And not painted well.
So I began 4 years ago, to slowly scrape the scabby looking, cracked, dirty paint off the tiles. It's a messy job but I got it done everywhere except two rooms. Tim's office and our bedroom. Tim's office got left out because it was the very first room that got set up. Hey, the man had to work which means he needed a place to work. There are two windows in that room. His desk is in front of one of them. A large book shelf surrounds the other. I literally cannot get to the windows to work on them. Fine. That room also needs to be repainted (when we moved in it was a two tone purple - no joke) and that hasn't' been done either.
Why didn't I do our bedroom? I don't know. I guess that room just kept getting moved to the bottom of the priority list until the new draperies went up and I just didn't notice the window sills anymore and I just plain forgot about it. Until yesterday.
I opened the drapes, lifted the blinds, cleaned off the windowsill and went searching for the scraper. I couldn't find it. I didn't see it in the tool chest. I didn't find it with the painting supplies (hey it could be there). I even looked in the cleaning supplies but nope. Nothin'. Ratz.
Soooooo I improvised. I took a pair of garage scissors (hey, I'm not using my good scissors for this! I keep those so well hidden! Only I know where those are) and started scraping away. Slowly, Slowly, Slowly.
It's a tedious job with the right tools. With the improvised tools it becomes even slower and more boring. So boring in fact that at some point it moved over into soothing. What? That's crazy. No, it true. What started out aggravating the beejeebers out of me, those teeny tiny itty bitty scratch scratch scratches, somehow gave way to, well, almost a hypnotic state. My heart rate (which lately has been in a constant state of panic mode) slowed, my blood pressure which was so high it was finally near normal (not joking) settled down to it's normal very low and I could feel the tension just melting away. It was amazing.
At some point, Tim came in, wondering what that funny little noise was and saw what I was doing. "Why aren't you using a scraper?" he asked, very logically. "Couldn't find it" I answered with a weird dreamy smile. He went out to the utility room and in an astoundingly short amount of time returned with it. (where on earth was it??) And he began scraping. Kind of quickly at first, but then more and more slowly. "It's kind of relaxing, isn't it?" I said. "Yes!" he answered, sounding a little surprised.
After a few moments, he poured a tiny bit of water on the section he was working on and suggested that I let it set for a few moments to soften the paint up. Great idea! And then he mentally shook himself and stepped back into his office a little reluctantly, leaving me to resume.
The proper tool and the suggestion of softening it with water made quick work of the rest of the job. And while the tile is not beautiful, it's better than the cracked nasty paint.
The clean up on the other hand almost erased my zen state. As it turns out wetting the paint to soften it absolutely made the scraping easier. But then as the wet paint chips fell to the floor, they adhered to the floor. In order to clean up the mess, I had to scrape the floor with the paint scraper. Multiple times. Scrape a little, sweep a little, scrape a little, sweep a little. Repeat. And then vacuum.
So it looks much better :) I still have one much larger window yet to do in our bedroom but I saved it for another day when I am desperate for something to do. Probably next week. At least this time I know where the scraper is. AND I know to put newspaper down on the floor to catch the paint chips. Live and Learn eh?
So there you have it. Once I've gotten the paint off the last window sill, I'm not certain what sort of project I will find to do next. I just know that I will find one.
Happy time filling projects to you all!
And hugs all 'round
April 02nd, 2020
I don't know about you, but at our house the daily mail is fairly routine. I can almost always count on a pile of advertisements for places we will never go and coupons for things we do not need. Promotional materials arrive by the boatload and reminders of dental appointments twice a year. Bills of course always arrive in a timely fashion.
On rare and wonderful occasions there is a card in the mailbox. Could be Christmas, could be birthday. Sometimes just a friend from far away just letting us know that we are being thought of and that is an absolutely lovely and unexpected occasion.
But recently, there was a bigger surprise in our mail delivery. This box. And it was for ME!!!!!!!
As you probably recall, in "normal times" one of my jobs is as a docent at the local museum. It's a volunteer gig but I enjoy it very much. Museums are absolutely my jam. Always have been. And my bosses there, Rhonda, Harry and Jon are just absolutely the best. There has never been a day there that at least one of them didn't say, "Thank you" at least once to me. I know that my work there is appreciated.
I'm called a docent but my job has come to be more than that. Yes, I still can tour people through the museum if they wish and I'm always happy to answer questions but I have also become the lady who decorates for Christmas and the one who reviews any potential book we sell in the gift shop. Oddly, (considering my attitude about math) I have also become the lady who does the books. It's just simple math. I can handle that.
I am not really high maintenance. I don't require a lot of attention. The Thank you's are sufficient. More than actually. Because it's not just that they make it a point to say the actual words, Thank you Sam (for whatever reason it happened to be at that moment) but that they will make it a point to stop and just chat for a moment, to ask questions, to ask my opinion, to pass the time of day. That's nice. I feel like I'm a part of the Museum Family.
So I was surprised to learn a few months back that there was a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner scheduled in April. The first one I had heard about ever. (apparently the one planned for the previous year - my first year there - was cancelled for some reason), And I hate to say this but it does not appeal. I know, I sound ungrateful.
I an uncomfortable in large gatherings. Part of it is my hearing issue. Too much noise is too hard to process, making it difficult to follow conversations. Then there is just the socialness of it. It's not that I'm a hermit. I'm fine in small groups. But I've never EVER been comfortable in a large group. I can do it. I have done it. Many times. For one reason or another. Weddings, Engagement parties, work related social gatherings, baby showers, lord help us, tupperware parties..... and the like. But I am never EVER comfortable. I slap the fake-est smile in the world on my face and I find it somewhere within myself to exchange chitchat with anyone who comes up to me, but I cannot relax. What can I tell you, I am a weirdo.
But I was prepared to do my best. Even though, I kind of dreaded it.
And all this virus thing happened. And the museum was shut down. And so naturally the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was also cancelled. Of course it was.
Now having never attended one of these Museum Volunteer Appreciation Dinners, I had no idea really what was involved. I knew food - the word dinner is right in the title And I knew there was going to be some sort of game being played. And it would be all of the Volunteers and the Museum employees. That's it. Sum Total Knowledge.
So when this box arrived I was truly surprised. Apparently, this was going to be a gift given at the party to each volunteer. Awwwwwwww! Unexpected and while appreciated, not truly necessary. I already know that my work is appreciated. How very very thoughtful of them to not only have gifts for all of us, but when the party was cancelled, go to the bother, effort and expense of mailing it to us instead. Dang! That is downright Wow! What awesome people.
I am truly touched.
Now I feel a little guilty for not wanting to go to the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner because I am a big old party pooper.
Maybe this particular volunteer should learn to be a little more appreciative of her good fortune in finding this amazing group of people!
April 01st, 2020
I'm sure I've mentioned it umptyump times already but nearly every work day, around noon, Tim takes a walk. Partly to step away from his work for a short while, partly for the exercise and partly just to get out into the fresh air and sunshine. It does a body good. When I'm home, I walk with him. Lately, I'm always home.
We have come to refer to it as the noonwalk (not moon walk) because it generally happens around that time-ish. It's not like a bell rings and ..uhoh...drop everything and head out the door. It's whenever he gets to a break point in his work.
We usually walk the same route. A big circle South, then West, then North, then east back to our house. It's a little less than 3 miles so it's a really decent walk. And one long stretch of it (Just shy of a mile) is along the water. That part of it is a road named, The Esplanade.
Recently, we no sooner arrived at The Esplanade when we saw that someone had chalked the above inspirational message. How nice, I thought, that someone thought to do that. In these days when we cannot touch, cannot be near one another, cannot be in groups, cannot go visiting and nearly everything we would normally be doing has either been shut down or knocked sideways, it just felt exceptionally kind.
Then we saw that about six feet further was another saying chalked on the sidewalk. And looking ahead there was another and another and another.....! Someone had a large package of sidewalk chalk and a lot of time on their hands. The entire length of The Esplanade had different chalked messages, roughly every six feet. The six feet of separation that we are supposed to keep.
Some of the messages were just short and sweet:
Some were kind of long, but thought provoking nonetheless
And some were just the right size. Much like the 3 Bears story come to think of it
While I am not a person who has inspirational quotes or sayings sprinkled around my house, and I don't have a personal mantra or anything like that, I was absolutely delighted with these messages chalked onto the sidewalk. Amidst all of the gloom and negativity and fear and anxiety that we are feeling every day during this time of crisis, I smiled. I was charmed. And it carried me through the rest of the day.
I have no idea who did it but I am so glad that they did.
It really is the smallest things that make me happy.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.