Thursday, April 30, 2020


I can remember, barely, last year when I was in China and felt sorry that the Chinese have to wear masks as they went about their daily lives in cities like Shanghai and Beijing and other cities we visited. Even our host on our tour boat gave a talk comparing the culture of the west and the east and admitted to longing for the day when his children would not have to shelter inside due to days of heavy air pollution.  The majority of China's energy comes from cheaper coal.

In late January many Americans thought the Chinese were being wussy wearing their masks everywhere.  Many Americans did not comprehend the virus at all.

When the pandemic first started to spread here on our continent you would see the occasional mask being worn by an elder or someone you assumed was immune-compromised or something else.  In early March even I went to the store in our rural area without a mask and saw 15% wearing some face covering.  Many of us felt it was probably overkill.  Consistently, the government said we didn't need masks but just needed to distance.  I felt in the back of my mind that this was really so that people did not rush out to buy and hoard the N95 masks.

There was a back and forth for weeks on how "aerosolized" the virus could be.  There were articles on how far heavy spittle and sneeze drops actually traveled.  Then the scientists' admission (still somewhat controversial) about tiny virus particles traveling distances or hanging in the air for hours.  Whether these tiny vapors are strong enough to be a contagion is still being explored.  Public bathrooms are the absolute worst place to expose yourself as heavy concentrations of the virus were found in patients' bathrooms and areas of heavy use in the reception areas of hospitals.

Then States started to turn the corner and ask people to cover their faces with anything if they went out shopping.  This eventually morphed in laws requiring masks in some areas...such as mine.  Suddenly masking was taken seriously by those snowflakes who follow the science.  Others were blatant deniers but felt they needed to public carry automatic weapons for protection instead.  I will not digress on this flat-earth mentality.

I had two boxes of N95 masks from Home Depot.  One from a time when we were painting and doing sanding work.  Another from an order I made in early January as a precaution.  I gave away the unopened box of 10 masks to our local Fire Department as the Pandemic grew.  Part of the other box I sent to the family for their protection and the rest I put in zip-locks to be used in the car as I have lung issues and both hubby and I are in our mid-seventies.  Once worn they get aired in the car for 4 days and then re-used, which one medical site recommended for those using it much more heavily than we do.

Now the last day of April you will see all kinds of masks with varying degrees of protection being sold in ads or home-made by volunteer groups.  Asia is selling tons of them on Facebook (and probably other social venues) with little facts on how effective they are.  Cotton, batik cotton and quilting fabrics are the best for homemade but should use a wire to fit across the nose which prevents air escape as well as glasses fogging.  They caution against non-natural fabrics and I have found nothing on silk scarves.  I have some quilting and some batik materials but I do not like the ties so am waiting for elastic which I ordered a few days ago.  When I make these I can distribute to those who want or need them and we can use them in the future.

As with any product that is needed masks have become customized.  Sports teams, hobbies, pet breeds, and even hand lettering with the initials of the wearer are being made.  Never let it be said that entrepreneurs will miss a sales opportunity!

In my vanity, I have noticed that you do not need lipstick anymore if you head outside to get mail or food.  If you are female you do not need to brush your hair too much.  By the time the straps are in place, your hair will look reasonably pathetic anyway.

Well stay safe out there and make sure you bring home the correct spouse after your shopping trip...we are all starting to look alike out there.

Please explain this label to me..!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Catch Up and Keep Up

I just realized that I am trying to find time to squeeze in a blogging post. I am not the type of person that can just toss something off the top of my head...well, I can, but it will sound like one of our President's monologues and people will quit reading here and leave scratching their heads.  It seems that washing vegetables, washing the mail, nurturing my spring seedlings, nurturing the perennials I had ordered with our unusually cold spring, keeping up with the laundry that may or may not be covered in virus, keeping in closer touch with family and friends who are near and far, and trying to plan meals with half the ingredients is taking up all my time and keeping me exhausted.

I should be less busy. But I had two Zoom meetings and about two dozen emails with tasks in the last week. I continue to order food online and that is harder than it sounds.  These online activities are exhausting for someone of my ancient age. It took me two hours just to organize one of my email boxes so that I did not lose important emails to the great black hole where all emails eventually go. I am exhausted from trying to log in to a Zoom meeting, realizing only my laptop has a camera (who in the hell needs to see my witchy hairstyle these days?), finding I have to go to the bedroom where it is quieter, finding the bedroom internet is not strong enough and trying to take notes when every 5th,6th, and 7th word is lost in static!  

Then I came across this article from National Geographic explaining why Zoom meetings are so tiring for many but not all.  

My daughter (who is not one of those meme crazy ladies and certainly not one of those chain challenge idiots) got me involved in a 10 days, 10 photos, 10 friends challenge on Facebook.  I spend hours trying to find meaningful photos and thinking about which 10 friends I would select...usually determined by which photos I find.  My daughter's birthday was Friday and she and her family had planned all kinds of things to do.  Online games with friends, a parking lot happy hour where they will remain 10 feet apart and eat and drink sitting in the trunks of their cars, and a movie night--online.  They just purchased a huge trampoline that takes up their entire backyard and the kids are in such good health using that.  My granddaughter has been heartbroken that she is no longer participating in cheer competitions with all the tumbling and balancing, and this is great for her.

I also was selected to participate in a View From My Window group on Facebook.  Fascinating photos of ALL types from people's windows around the globe as they shelter in place.  I am sure the administrators of this group will have a good book someday.  Through this group, I see bitterly cold winters, soft gentle spring views, and finally, some hot summer desert views.  I see lake views (pools, oceans, rivers) contrasting with high rise cities and barren alley views from all the continents and islands of the world.  Some of the best "window" views include animals---giraffes, monkeys, kangaroos, parrots, lambs, horses, etc.  (I guess I am spending too much time with this group.)

Today I am nervous as I will have to try to log-in to a live FB presentation and I still do not know how to do it.  I failed with the test yesterday.  I am supposed to support the person doing the presentation as a back-up to answer questions.  Since I am not the only support person, I guess they will survive if I do not figure this mess out.

I will leave you with a photo of the 'view from my window' but this is not the one I uploaded to the group.  I was in too much of a hurry and just selected something from my image catalog.  Yes, I dusted the table.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Follow-up and Some Interesting News

1. I can’t wait for National Parks to reopen after the quarantine.

2. I am in no hurry for my volunteer meetings to reopen after the quarantine.

3. These days, resigned hope is my default mood.

4. Have I ever told you there are times when I wish I had kept my big mouth shut?

The credit for this meme above can be found in Messimimi's comments at the bottom of the previous post if you want to know who and how this came about.

The young girl above is paddling down our river on April 8.  The water temps in the 40's and air temps in the 50's.  We just lost two members of the Kennedy family canoeing on the Chesapeake and not wearing dry suits or their Personal Floatation Devices. A mother and an 8-year-old son.  Their death was attributed to rough waves but also very cold water in the 40s.  Note where she is keeping her life jacket!

The more significant changes caused by this virus is that when you force mankind to remain indoors for significant periods of time, the world begins to slowly recover from its scars and pollution that we have wrought.

  • Mobs of monkeys are roaming the streets of Japan.
  • Venice's canals have become clear once again because silt is not being stirred up by traffic.  (One rumor is that dolphins have returned.  This was not true and photos in social media were dolphins swimming off the canals in Sardinia which is not an unusual phenomenon.)
  • Lions did sleep on the roadways at South Africa's Kruger national park because of the lack of traffic.
  • The air pollution in Europe, China and around the world has become less.  The countries with lots of asthma cases (China) can now see blue skies.
  • Elk have invaded Banff town as their tourist industry falls into great decline.  You can see it here as well.
  • The earth is actually vibrating less due to the lockdown.  Earth tremors can be more accurately measured closer to developed areas.
  • One thing that is not happening is that birds ARE NOT louder.  Just seems that was with the diminishing of noise pollution and people being forced to stay at home!
(You may not be able to get to all of these links if they are geographically or subscription-restricted.)

Have a peaceful, stressfree weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2020

From MessiMimi...a fill-in.

One of my readers (perhaps others) is not happy about how 'dismissive" my posts seem to be during this time of death and danger.  I try to write light-hearted because there is way too much depressing information out there.  My life is not all sunshine and roses, but I do not want to share the hard stuff with readers, as I am still a bit private even though anonymous.  I also do not want to brag about the things I am doing because I have the privilege of being upper-middle-class and can afford to assist.   So I like to make reading the blogs a break from reading the news.  I also avoid politics (I do give in now and again to try to convince others) when I can.

Below is an exercise from Messimimi's blog.  Simple and a nice distraction.

1. I can’t wait for _______ to reopen after the quarantine.

2. I am in no hurry for __________ to reopen after the quarantine.

3. These days, ______ is my default mood.

4. Have I ever told you ________?

You can play in the comments and then perhaps I will repost with my answers.

Here is a course from Yale on happiness you can audit for FREE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Apologies as I have not been around to read my Bloggers (you folks) as much as I would like to. I have been busy cornering the market on milk, ricotta cheese, eggs, spreadable butter, real butter, and coffee creamer. On the odd chance you might be interested in how to do this I will explain.

Last week on Tuesday I ordered the above through an online service called InstaCart where local people who have a car and need income go to the grocery to shop for you. Once the shopping has started they ping your phone when they want to substitute a product for something not on the shelves. These shoppers can be teenagers who have never shopped in a grocery store or others who have experience and will map out the aisles to be the most efficient.  I got two pounds of strawberries on the last order, which I do not remember selecting!  Anyway, you are looking over their shoulder sometimes when they send a photo of the partially empty shelf with alternative products. You can tip up to 25% for the driver. I do that and also leave money in an envelope on the porch where they deliver as cash is probably more important to them. You are instantly messaged to your phone once the order is on its way. The first order came fine even though it was missing a few items and had the strawberries.

My second order, I needed dairy type products. I made my order online and waited for a few days and never got any response. They do not guarantee a short or quick delivery. Usually, you have a four-day delivery window and they can deliver as late as 9:00 P.M.  This tool to avoid the virus requires patience.

Since some times had passed, I was concerned the order was not completed, so I went in and ordered once again. This time I got thrown off the internet as we lost electricty due to that nasty front that came across the East Coast. By afternoon the power came back on and I went through the whole process again ordering my dairy stuff.

I know my brilliant readers are waaaay ahead of me on this. I got the order two days later. Then the very next morning after that I got the same order again! And the morning after that I found the same order on my front porch! For elders this ordering online is a little crazy.  I will pay for it all, as it was my fault, I guess.  If I do not go to the store, I will be much more careful.

Now I have reached out to provide this free food to my friends.  I managed to get rid of one dozen extra eggs to a friend who is in her 80's and confined to her retirement campus. She is a former nutritionist and probably one of the best bakers I have ever met. She left me a little surprise of her culinary talents after I dropped the eggs off.

I finally had to freeze some because everyone I contacted was stocked!  My freezer is now also overstocked.

Next hubby Instant Messaged our gardener fellow who lives with his mother and I told hubby to tell him he had to take all of the order! He is coming today to get it, I hope!

I was going to make an Italian cheesecake with the Ricotta.  Can you freeze ricotta?  By the way, do you need anything?

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Deal With It

It is a roller coaster ride, is it not? Some days I can be very Zen and so thankful that spring is abundantly showing off everywhere in my area. I am truly happy that I am ahead of the curve on weeding, frozen foods, paper products, chocolate, and phone calls. This is the valley in the ride.

Then I get to the start of a hill. I had my first Zoom meeting today with a volunteer group. I actually had to change out of PJs (at least the tops), wash my face, put on some make-up, and brush and blow dry my hair as it is getting heavy and missing its haircut! Then I had to figure out how to link to the meeting. I started 5 minutes early and FINALLY after multiple missed attempts did some corrections in the mass list of ID and Password and other entries that would not validate and logged in only 5 minutes late! The damn meeting was an hour and a half long. It was very productive and I managed to get volunteered for only one or two things to do.

This is what I use to cut hubby's hair and he looks great!
Now, this introvert is exhausted from just that, BUT this afternoon I have to get in the car and mail some face masks to my son, pick up the mail, and drive my car around in the country to charge the battery.  It does not like sitting idle for days.  Hubby is thrilled to go for a car ride.  Does he remind you of your pet?

Since hubby has been outside working more, he is creating more laundry.  He did a wash yesterday and is folding it today.  I am holding my breath and letting him fold clothes...egad.  That is the downhill, cannot-keep-up side of this ride.  Relearning PowerPoint to convert to a .jpg to put on the gardening FB page is also much more challenging than it seemed to be years ago.  And what I have to post is time-sensitive.

I am totally bored with my cooking.  Totally.  And we have a larger variety of foodstuffs than most.  I just want some salty fatty food from a restaurant.  My next job is to call the restaurant and place a take-out order.  This is exhausting for me and a little nerve-racking.

Above is an odd meal I cooked the other night.  Kentucky BBQ chicken, Boiled Japanese Daikon radish with ginger and oyster sauce, and some curry-flavored stir fry vegetables.  I order bi-weekly veggies and must find ways to use these.

My dreams stay with me longer.  They are odd and usually involve me trying to keep up on some trips or meet-up with others in some tight time frame.

Then we reach the valley once again when I read an article that says this virus was probably in China in mid-November as they had an unusual uptick in flu cases.  (You may remember that we left China the last week of October!)  So I can be thankful for that dodging of the bullet. 

Now that I have erupted in verbal chaos, just exactly how is your day going?

Friday, April 03, 2020

A Harump Followed by Something Worthwhile

Learning to live in the time of Coronavirus is not easy for those who are inflexible or sorta-flexible or just plain privileged. 

While commercial fishing is allowed, our governor has banned recreational boating. This has resulted in a 15,000 signature petition for him to lift it if boats agree to stay 50 feet apart, only family members on board and no parties on beaches. It is hard for good old boys to give up such a hobby and I can understand why. I am sure the state had images of beer parties and boats rafted together, or remote beach parties, etc. Also, they did not want their DNR officers spending time on drunken get-togethers on the water when they need to focus on other stuff.

Hubby can canoe and kayak as that is considered exercise, so he is not totally dismayed. Our governor survived cancer and has a good knowledge of medical science, but elected by the GOP, the Trumpers are getting mad at him for taking away their 'rights'.  (The right to infect the nation if they want.)  I have learned that many (at least those on FB, Twitter or the media) conservatives are ALWAYS suspicious of science and think scientists are members of some dark-state cult. Pray for those scientists that stand behind the President at each daily briefing and manage to not strangle him while subtly contradicting what he says to keep us alive.

We also learned that we can no longer work in the children's garden to raise food for the free pantry. It seems that the University will not allow volunteers (Master Gardeners) to work on their own. The property is owned by the museum and they do not mind, although they have pretty much shut down their offices. The director of the museum told us yesterday that she is now employed at one hour a week!! Other Master Gardener projects can continue. One is run by a church and its volunteers are not part of the MSG program and the garden is on church property. A larger food garden is run by an environmental organization and pays its that is considered agriculture which is exempted from the Shelter in Place edict, even though MSGs are part of it. Hubby is bereft that he has planted seedlings in trays and cannot transplant to the children's garden! I have begged him not to chance it because there is a 5,000 dollar fine! I am pretty sure they would waive it, but still.  How would he weed and water weekly anyway?

My online grocery orders arrive with about 70% of what I order. The only things missing are the things I really need like milk and butter! I may have to mask up and go to the grocery,  now that the CDC is recommending masks...after all this time...!  I dropped off the larger portion (10) of my N95 masks to the local Fire Chief in a dash grab process, but retained a small supply in the event we do get sick.

My freezer is full as is my fridge and I cannot complain if I run out of necessities like coffee, chocolate or wine.  I will grow in character...some people have run out of shelter, food and the ability to see their loved ones.

But, having written all of this, I have an excellent uplifting video on the virus. Please watch this doctor and I am sure your tensions will ease:

Short Version

Longer Version