Thursday, July 30, 2020

No One Gives Ideas on Handling the Somewhat Odd parts of Life

My husband seems to find an excuse to run an errand at least once a day.  Home confinement drives him crazy as he is a people person.  I am not.  I like people well enough, but unfortunately, I like them better across the Internet or through an email.  I think I fall short in the friendliness skill area.  I find I spend a bit more time on Facebook visiting others virtually as they handle the pandemic.

Friko asked if we could go out.  Our state is one that shut down early and has been able to maintain a flat line with few upticks.  Therefore, our stores are open, our restaurants are open as long as the food is served outside and tables are at half capacity, our doctors and dentists are accepting appointments if you are feeling it necessary.  Other retail outlets are also open.  We are required to wear masks in all indoor spaces and wear masks when we cannot distance outside.  We can now drive more than 100 miles from home and the few states to the north of us will let us in!!  I used hand sanitizer on myself and all over the car handles, etc. when I get home.

I still place the mail in a box by the door and then later spray with alcohol before I open it.  It may be a useless precaution, but we are dealing with life and death here.  I wipe down the wine bottles when I pull them out of the cooler for use and sometimes the boxes of food depending on how I feel.

We do not take trips yet, except that one to the historic city I wrote about earlier.  We got out in the canoe and the motor boat...but even those have been delayed due to the horrendous 90 degree days here.

I mentioned Facebook and wanted to write about two friends that seem to be messaging me quite often with rather long talks back and forth.  I am not really close to either of these people.  I met them at my son's wedding years ago and have not seen them personally since.  One is a former CIA person who now works for the emergency services in his state and the other is a young man who works on computer tech stuff near Glasgow, Scotland.  They both are in their early 40's and not married.  While we only talk about things like gardening or in the case of my Scottish friend, how he wants to dress up when he can finally get out and celebrate at a nearby bar... I do often wonder why they message an old lady like me.  They both have parents they are close to because I see the posts on FB.  They both have expressed a wish to find that "someone special" so maybe they are thinking I may know some single girls...which I actually do!  But cannot imagine how in this time and distance I could work out something.

Anyway, I cannot help but wonder if there was no pandemic, would I be juggling this unusual virtual friendship?  Life is funny and odd but, man, if I could hook these very nice men up, I would!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Where Have I Been?

Where?  Here: fighting insomnia with a half pill of an over-the-counter sleep aid, dreaming deep complex dreams ( not necessarily bad dreams, just exhausting detailed events usually full of people I know), binge-watching my favorite British mysteries, and perhaps just procrastinating.

I have gotten housework done.  I probably do this because it takes my mind off of things.  Since we are home more, and hubby and I are together more, I find that hubby is slowly losing his short-term memory.  I may remind him 3 times a day, and unless it is something he wants to get done, it does not get done.  His mother started to lose her memory at his age, and that hangs over my head.  He has left the burner on twice this year!  He is aware of it and worried as he gulps down tons of flavinoids.  He is the one I always turned to for making plans and arranging trips. Good thing we do not have any trips in the future.  I am still trying to get him to cancel the hotel reservations in Hawaii that we made for our 50th anniversary.  We were going in December, even though our anniversary is actually this coming August.

My daughter is coming down the end of this week for us to babysit her dog while her family takes a vacation to the beach in South Carolina.  They have friends down that way.  We bought a timeshare there and they never want to use it, so now I have to figure out how to get rid of it.

I have an uptick in a chronic cough I have had for years.  This is not the time for that because of the pandemic.  I have no fever and do not feel exhaustion, so I just want this cough gone and in the past, the doctor has designated it is caused by post-nasal issues/allergies.  It will go away for months, but lately, it is hanging in there.  It will be hard to schedule a diagnostic appointment.

On another dark note, the south side of our brick home has a rather impressive crack in the brick going down 2.5 stories to the ground, and it now looks like we will have to install two of those helical piers to correct the foundation on that side.  4 to 5K!  Waiting for the engineer's estimate.  Hate to see the home I love aging.

A bad news/good news bit is that our neighbors who we like very much are moving to a larger community to the north.  The good news is that have a teak(!) gazebo that they gave to us and with our helper, we are converting it into an arbor for under the dogwood tree in the front yard.

Good news...there must be no particular order...I will get to see the grand-children briefly when they come down in a few days.  
Good news...I have air conditioning in this hellish summer.
Good news...I am eating very healthy with all the fresh fruit and veggies from summer garden booths and our own garden.

Good news...I found a young gal to cut my hair out on my deck and she is pretty good.  We are slowly beginning to understand how to communicate how I like my hair.
Good news...I have a lot of e-books and regular books still waiting to be read.
Good news...I still have blogging and bloggers to "take me away."

Monday, July 06, 2020

Food and Flowers

In line with everything else that is unpredictable this year, our garden has been sporadic in its production. We got many sweet peas to eat, just not an abundance to freeze. (In actuality, when I freeze them, they do not taste nearly as good and we end up throwing the last few frozen bags out! )

 On the good side, there is not an abundance of Japanese Beetles dining on everything in sight. On the bad side, I have seen only 10% of my normal butterfly population at this time. Even the caterpillars are not eating away at my fennel as they usually do. 

 The heat and humidity are intolerable and thus you must garden before 8:00 AM or not at all. I did just 30 minutes of weeding and the sweat was leaking into my eyes!  Most of my flower beds have soaker hoses, so I do not have to stand outside holding a hose and trying to avoid wetting the foliage.

 Hubby got up early today and went fishing! He went alone as he was unable to get a friend to go along, and I worry about that a bit. The fish head will make great bait for crabs!  (Note he always wears a bandanna these days in case some emergency comes about and he has to talk to strangers.)

He also harvested the small number of blueberries that are just getting ripe yesterday and they will be dessert tonight. I will make a clafoutis for the first time.  We grew blueberries at the old house and they were so abundant we gave away pints.  Our shady and clay-like soil here at this house has made growing blueberries a big challenge and we are lucky to get just a few pints.

Today is a good day.  I am going to sleep through the bad days, I have decided.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Let Us Make It Better

Have a safe and meaningful Fourth of July to my American readers.  (Happy Independence Day to Canadians)  May we all learn to accept our differences, share our abundances, without shame take what is offered to us, and forgive those who trespass intentionally or accidentally.

Now is the time for a new and better day in America and you and I can and will make it happen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Road Trip!!

The world continues to turn while I stand still. It can be suffocating as this virus which is up against an anti-scientist leadership, is winning.

Hubby and I took our first road trip in over a month last week. We check the weather for thunderstorms and we saw sunny, and of course, hot weather ahead.  We brought food/snacks and hand sanitizer and masks.  The Governor had lifted the 100-mile limitation of driving from home.  I had not been to the historic Ellicott City in Maryland since their last two devasting floods. It is a small town of over 70,000 and sits just outside Baltimore. It was a mill town in Central Maryland and built along the Patapsco River.

"The town was founded in 1772 by three brothers, who took advantage of the location’s proximity to the Patapsco River to create a thriving milling industry. It later became a hub for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, with a train station (which stands to this day) built at the bottom of Main Street in 1831."

The now-abandoned flour mill.

The museum was closed due to the virus as were some of the shops.  Unfortunately, the devastating flood has forced many of the tourist shops to either close or semi-close as they work on remodeling. The river came down Mainstreet and you can go to this link for a complete documentary of the tragedy.

"In 2019, Ellicott City was still reeling from the disastrous downpour of May 27, 2018, when a severe rainstorm walloped the town, leading to flash floods that ravaged roads and buildings and killed one person. It was the second torrential, 1,000-year storm to pummel the town in as many years. On July 30, 2016, heavy rain soaked Ellicott City in a span of just a few hours, causing flash floods that inundated Main Street, wiped out storefronts and vehicles, and killed two people."

Even today the danger is still there, although they are continually working on re-directing the river.

There were people on the streets, but only a few tourists.  Most were working or getting lunch.  Main street is an uphill downhill walk!

While there were places to eat lunch, we opted to eat our own food.  It did not help the retailers, but we are over 60 and must be very careful.

If you look closely at the photo of the shop window above, you can see the reflection of hubby and I playing at tourist.

We managed to fritter away the entire day by including a 3-mile walk along the river and got home just before dinner time.  A good break before we hunker down in the week ahead.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

It Worked!!

I was so busy, I only had time for few photos and one follow-up on our Blue Crab feast for Father's Day. I was determined that this would be a relaxed and calm visit. 

Hubby is very social and has not had the opportunity to expound on his garden, his oysters, etc. for months and since it was Father's Day I let him do his thing. I am surprised that their ears did not fall off! 

I laid out the food on a large farm table in the basement where it would be safe and cool and bug-free. 

I used paper products and only drinks from bottles and cans. We had homemade coleslaw, a partially homemade potato salad with spring potatoes from our garden, and a fresh green salad with our own lettuce, baby carrots, and edible-podded peas with store-bought cucumbers. I also made garlic bread to go with the steamed blue crabs.

We caught eight from the dock, but hubby gets distracted these days and forgot to reset the traps so we had to buy a dozen from the local crabber. 

I thought the food was good, and for the most part healthy, and with ice cream for dessert, we did not feel weighed down by the summer heat. 

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I had fans going both for the mosquitoes that love my daughter-in-law and the virus issues as we are all talkers. We sat about 4 to 5 feet apart and with the heavily moving air pushed to the yard, I think we were reasonably safe. (Of course, we will all know for sure in 7 to 10 days.) 

Psychologically it was a very good break for me to get together with someone other than hubby to talk over stuff. All of these people traveled through Ireland with us several years ago, and so I told them Scotland is next on the list before we die!! This COVID has certainly made me appreciate the company more. As an introvert, I am still glad when everyone is gone and everything is cleaned up...but I did really enjoy the visit!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day Already

Happy Father's Day to those of you have have children, stepchildren or socially adopted children. For those of you who have lost a child, thanks for being a person brave enough to bring a child into the world and caring for that child. Today my son and his wife and her parents are on their way down to our house! Yes with Covid19 this is a bit of a gamble. I have sterilized the rooms they will use. i have made three salads to go with the crabs. They are coming for a blue crab feast. Photos to follow.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

It is a Dangerous World Even in Quarantine

Four weeks and a lot can happen when you hunker down.  As we drove through the more populated town to the north of us on our way to visit family, I noticed two huge areas of major construction alongside the road into the town.  Big areas of development, in the middle of a recession!  As we exited the small town on the other side I saw that our old dental building was totally gone with just a bare lot left behind!  I wonder if these kinds of changes are always there and we don't notice because we see them happening incrementally?

As I wrote we avoid seeing family.  BUT they invited us up to their big yard for an outdoor picnic of KFC and assorted sides including brownies for dessert, and when you say loved ones and fast food, who can say no?  

I was thrilled to see the three grands and my son and his wife and my daughter and her husband once again after four weeks of no time together!

We did not hug but also did not wear masks as we sat mostly six feet apart in the lovely spring air and were careful about touching only our own utensils.  There were sanitizing wipes on the table as well.  We all brought our own drinks.

Faces blurred to protect the guilty.  Shoulder brace was removed for a short time.

My son-in-law was the first to arrive with a shoulder brace.  I soon learned he had recently had surgery for an old golf injury (bone shaving of some type) as well as a brand new major torn ligament surgery, both done together.  Four weeks in a sling for a very active dude and it is killing him.  It is also his right arm and he has learned to be very ambidextrous.  With the kids involved in learning and the wife on conference calls, he has been left to his own devices.  I can imagine using a computer keyboard with only a left hand is very annoying, to say nothing of lots of other stuff.

Then I saw that my 13-year-old granddaughter now has a full mouth of braces.  She seems accepting of that and I honestly thought her teeth were perfect before!

But the final surprise was seeing my very active par-core grandson in a foot boot.  When I asked what had happened he said he twisted his ankle and it hurt so much they went in for x-rays and found that he is one of the 4% who are born with an extra bone in their foot and injuries take longer to heal because the tendons/muscles get compressed???

I am guessing if this was a normal year where I might not see them for months, this would have all passed without me noticing and that I would learn about this all anecdotally and promptly forget.  

It does seem to me that tons of things happen when you are hiding out at home.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stay in the Bubble and Keep it Small

Are you tired of reading about the Pandemic?  I am yet I still click on every new link that wants to teach me how to protect myself.  I really, really, really miss my kiddos.  We did drive up almost a month ago and visited both houses and stopped and talked and had snacks and wore masks (most of the time).

Now that I have read an article about "bubbling"...

I had to send that article to the kiddos as we have been asked up for a BBQ this Sunday.  I really, really, really want to go.  I sent them the article and they explained that right now they were probably in a small bubble (number of activities and meetups with others) but were soon going to expand that bubble to a more risky venue as the kids' activities opened up.  They are young, they are healthy and they know they are going to live forever.  I guess I need to see them before they are more greatly exposed and I die.

I think we will go.  It will be outside, in a large yard, and we are going to bring all our own food and eating utensils, etc.  (Except for any finger food?)  I really believe that you are unlikely to catch the virus from food.  Just do not touch your face at all during the entire meal!  You have to sit far apart as no one is wearing masks when they are eating.

The second wave of growth in the virus is coming and I really would like to visit my family before it arrives in our area!

We are home 90% of the time.  I hit the supermarket once a month with a mask and have an efficient list to shop.  All the rest I get online.  Other things are all delivered.  We do have to go to the P.O. every other day, but that is hardly a mass of people.  I am careful about touching anything and do not touch my face and then wash my hands about 10 times after I get home.

Let me know how social distancing is working out for you!

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Neighbors, Ya Can't Pick Them!

"The more we can be in a relationship with those who might seem strange to us, the more we can feel like we're neighbors and all members of the human family."Fred Rogers

My neighborhood has changed dramatically these last few years.  It is a small upper middle class (not to be skewed by the lottery winner third house down) neighborhood.  We are very rural with only seven <4 acre lots on our side of the street and 4 lots on the other and one empty lot at the cul de sac.  Actually, there are 3 empty lots and one that is expensive will never be buildable as it is not able to perk.  More about that later.

Anyway, out of the eight homes that were here when we built on our lot about 13 years ago,  four of those original neighbors have sold and moved away.   We are pretty good friends with our neighbors on the left side of us but they are gone 6-7 months of the year to Florida.  They have HUGE home and I anticipate they will want to live permanently in Florida as they age and time goes on unless the pandemic and politics down there change their mind.   My husband is a great social animal and we have become new friends with the new neighbors on our right side, even though we are in the middle of a pandemic.  He is good at making friends by dropping off plants and they have responded by dropping off banana bread and chocolate covered strawberries!  

I have not met the new neighbors who own the large lot at the far end of the road near the highway, but he has built a dock for his 100K  or even more expensive boat.  The reason I am quoting prices here is that he must have lots of money and must be really disappointed he cannot get a home built on the river.  He does come by that dock and take his boat out on the weekends.  The boat is full of grandkids and a few adults.  Anyway, this last weekend I got to listen to some popular style of music (loud and repetitive) while he entertained on his dock.  His dock is almost a mile from my yard and yet I could hear the "noise."  Why do people always assume you like their style of music?  

Fortunately, it was for only several hours on a Saturday.  I am a bitch and would have called the police (even though they are overworked these days with protests and pandemics) and complained if it went on and on or if it happens more often.  I do not mind the occasional BBQ BUT!  Even my neighbor to the left of us in the big house was polite enough to call a few years ago to let us know she was holding her church service on her front lawn and we would have  "noise" for a few hours and hoped we would not mind.  She is a gem!  It was a one time only event and I did not mind.

To belabor this neighbor thing, I went down to my dock to take photos of our wonderful sunsets the other day and happened to look across the river to our neighbors on the other side of the river.  We only know them superficially because one of them is our Postmaster.  I took this photo.

They seem like such nice people...I will NEVER understand someone who likes 45 and claims he is a good leader.  If your grandfather likes to walk in on 15-year-old girls naked, makes fun of the "cripple" across the street, calls people names, and demands that you do not disagree with him EVER, he is not someone you like.  You may be required to be polite, but you are not going to vote for him for dogcatcher.

Ok, my last little note on neighbors.  As my readers may know, my son lives in a suburb near the city area of D.C.  You may (or may not) have read in the news about a 50-year-old white guy on a bike confronting three teenagers who were putting up protest flyers in support of the black lives matter movement in a park in that area.  Two were 17-year-old girls and one was a 16-year-old boy.  The biker assaulted the two girls tearing the flyers from their hands and then rammed his bicycle into the boy before riding away.  Since the boy was smart enough to film the assault on his cell phone, the man was identified and arrested.  ( I do not know if the teenagers were black or white, but that does not matter!)  The reason I am writing about this is I got a text message from my son today that this man lives a few doors down from my son's house and there was going to be a protest in the neighborhood as a result, so he wanted me to be aware and not be concerned! 

I had to add an addendum to this.  When my son stretched his and his new wife's money and bought his rather small house (smaller than 90% of the houses in his neighborhood) I was pleased because the area looked so stable and economically safe and middle class.  I do remember saying I was a little disappointed because it was certainly "white bread."  

You cannot pick your neighbors, but you hardly expect this!

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

The Bank, not the one that is closed

I am exhausted today.  I am angry today.  I am bewildered, and it has nothing to do with what you are reading in the news!  I did not want what I got in the mail yesterday.  I do not need what I got in the mail yesterday. Please hang with me here.  

I received in the mail yesterday a Visa debit card that arrived in a plain white envelope from an address in Omaha called Metabank. (MetaBank, the retail banking division, operates 10 retail branches in four market areas: Central Iowa; Storm Lake, Iowa; Brookings, S.D..; and Sioux Falls, S.D.. MetaBank offers traditional banking services designed to serve the needs of individual, agricultural, and business depositors and borrowers.)  


Most people toss their credit card offers, but I decided to open the thin white envelope and found inside my "Economic Impact Credit" in the form of a VISA debit card.   Yes, this "small" bank is the one issuing the Federal payments as a VISA debit card.  Not one of my two large banks on the east coast, but some unknown!  The reason soon became clear.

Some of my friends have gotten their money as a direct deposit to their bank.  The IRS has my bank routing information to one of the largest banks on the east coast, but they did not use that.  Others have gotten their money as a check from the U.S. Treasury.  Instead, I have gotten this Visa debit card in an unobtrusive envelope with absolutely no advertising from the Treasury office that some of us will be getting our money this way.  I have read that some people have tossed this envelope thinking it was a solicitation for getting a credit card!  

The U.S. government has made no effort to make this clear to people.  I also learned that there are numerous fees attached to the use of the card.  They (Metabank) allow you to make only one withdrawal per day from an ATM before they charge you $2.00 per transaction.  Because my HUGE bank is "out-of-network" my bank is charging an additional $3.50 per withdrawal and will not allow me to withdraw a large enough amount to empty the card in one day!  This is money that people who cannot put food on the table could use.

Start adding this all up and you can see the bank lobby is making millions of dollars off of this VISA debit scam.  Not only in fees but in the money they are holding from people who threw away their card!

In addition, my card balance is not in even dollars but ends in 50 cents.  You cannot get 50 cents from an ATM.  I will have to spend it somewhere and overspend to get the 50 cents.  I cannot imagine how someone who has never had such a card or does not read small print will get confused and end up owing Metabank money before they can figure out how to cancel.  I will attempt to clear the balance tomorrow, and hopefully donate it all to a worthy cause(s)...although emotionally I would like to donate it to the Democratic party and buy a balloon with Trump in a diaper.

Greed is endless.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Adjusting ...adjusting...adjusting

Those of you who use WordPress or another interface to Blogger may find this post neither here, there or anywhere.  Blogger has developed a new "better" interface.  It seems that it is designed for mobile devices because we all read blogs on our phones/tablets?  I am sure that many people do read the more popular blogs on their "mobile devices" but most of my readers probably do not.  I cannot imagine reading something like a blog on that tiny screen.

Anyway, this new interface, and the super-simple symbols and the relocation of stuff is making me a little dizzy!  I got all cozy with the old-fashioned model.  Yes, they do allow us to go back and use that, but I will work on this and stretch my mind a bit.

I cannot figure out where the HTML interface button/link might be in case I have some coding adjustments... I will have to work on that.  Maybe HTML coding is so old and obsolete that no one uses it directly anymore?  Oh, THERE it is! 

Now I am going to load a photo...just to see if I can do it!  Most of the interface stuff is still there only somewhere else-there...Now to make the photo bigger.

... I think you can see the little color-coordinated spider on my evening primrose better now.

There is a link on the original bookmark fro Blogger that says I can go back to the older, more familiar interface.  I will now go ahead and publish this and see if it works.  The AARP (organization for retired folks) says learning new computer programs is good for you.  I hope this counts as a new program!  It is certainly learning.

The world changes endlessly and we must keep up or wave as it passes us on by.  Nothing wrong with being left behind, but only if you want that.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

If Time Were Not a Moving Thing

With so much time on my hands these days I  go through books faster than usual.   I had read the book "Time and Again" by Jack Finney a few years ago. I had forgotten that I had read it and started to re-read it just last week and then remembered how I had found it somewhat intense and a bit claustrophobic. It is a science fiction book about an artist being selected to create time travel with his imagination/self-hypnosis and this will be used by the government to change what they want to change in the past. It was a well-constructed novel based on factual historical events in New York in the late 1800s.  There was a rumor that the story was going to be made into a movie by Robert Redford, but that fell through.

Now, I have turned to read "Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov because...well, why not go back in time with a great author? It is an autobiography.  He begins recreating his first impressions of his life way back into toddler-hood. What an impressive memory he has. It reveals lovely patterns of existence and symbolism in the context of the turn of the Century in Russia in a wealthy family.  In the prologue he explains that all of this was edited by intense give and take from older siblings and other friends who seem to remember some of it far differently than he does.  

" I have journeyed back in thought---with thought hopelessly tapering off as I went---to remote regions where I groped for some secret outlet only to discover that the prison of time is spherical and without exits."

That is the fugitive of time.  We see one creative side and another set of eyes that passed with us through that same window will throw cold water on that memory washing away a rosy color from our glasses and coming up with evidence of something very different.  It is almost as if our memories of our past life are "but a dream."

OK. ENOUGH with the song lyrics.

Nabokov also said "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."  Well with that depressing perspective I will admit I can now move forward with fewer expectations on the importance of my leaving a memory or even a footprint!

"Initially, I was unaware that time, so boundless at first blush, was a prison. In probing my childhood (which is the next best to probing one’s eternity) I see the awakening of consciousness as a series of spaced flashes, with the intervals between them gradually diminishing until bright blocks of perception are formed, affording memory a slippery hold."  Nabakov again.

Above is a photo looking back to our dock, a memory for this year. Our first venture across the water in almost a year since the recreational boating lock-down was lifted this holiday weekend.  My husband was thrilled and I brought a book in case he had luck at his old fishing hole.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Seven Good Things in No Particular Order

Since the "visit of the virus" there have been some unexpected changes:

1. My son and daughter-in-law have met dozens of people in their neighborhood, mostly people who walk dogs like they do.

2. The garden supply catalogs and retails stores are sold out as people re-discover backyard gardening.

3. My septic system is benefiting as we have learned to count toilet paper squares to be frugal with our small stockpile.

4. With the box delivery of random vegetables and fruits, Hubby and I are now eating veggies that I avoided and now I think we are more broad-minded in our taste as well as healthier. I get more veggies than I usually use, and thus that is also good forcing me to eat fiber!

5. Free-lance repairmen have become valuable at our house and I think we are valuable to their gig list of work as they face unemployment. We have had a fuse box repaired when hubby cut through the electric cord of his hedge trimmer, a boat transom repaired that was ages old and the electric box to our yard gate fixed.

6. The grandkids actually sit in a chair in their driveway and visit rather than spending time in their bedrooms, even though we see them less.

7. My house cleaning is no longer smash-dab but thorough and careful.  (Unfortunately, no one sees it!)

What are some good things you are enjoying while we work on staying healthy?

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Are You Home?

We are still on an upward curve in terms of infections and deaths, but our Governor is slowly and not so carefully opening the state back up. We are bravely driving up to see the children and drop off garden plants this weekend. No touching and using masks, but because the drive is over an hour and we are visiting both families, we will have to use one of their bathrooms. I am going to ask them to run the fans for a while before we go inside and for their sakes run it for a while after we leave. Odd the things we request of our children these days.

I will pack some snacks because I am not sure we can feel safe eating anywhere...even outdoor sidewalk cafes!

Above is some Pasta Fajoli I made a while back.  Haven't made this since I was a teenager!

I am feeling a bit useless these days as the friends that I have called have no needs, although I do check on them.  Guess I just have solid pioneer friends.  My kids are also doing well and so glad that all four of their careers are still moving along with full employment.  That is perhaps what I worry about most when I let my mind wander down that "What if..." vein.

My gardens are super lovely as the weather has been perfect spring.  Coolish with just enough rain to make the plants grow!  And, as usual, the natives fight hard not be overlooked and overshadowed by the full-blossomed hybrids.

Anyway, I may stop by your place this weekend and drop off some tomato plants, some pepper plants and some basil. Will you be home?

Wednesday, May 06, 2020


Something I read today:

"What weight do we apportion the fact of life versus quality of life? At what point of psychological and economic degradation is that quality unacceptable and is the life worth putting at risk? What number of lives, if any, is it OK to endanger so that a much higher number of lives can be bettered? What’s the higher number? And how should betterment be defined?
Sweden’s herd-immunity approach provided one set of answers. Michigan’s lockdown provided another. Whichever fork a given place or population takes, it’s making a profoundly moral decision.
A friend of mine recently asserted that no matter the Covid-19 data in July and August, all college campuses should welcome students back for the fall semester because young people aren’t the primary victims of Covid-19; because the current disruption to their lives, if prolonged, could strain them in ways that haunt their futures; and because they have so much future ahead of them. They warrant a little extra consideration.
Implicit in that reasoning is that older people, who are vulnerable if the resumption of business as usual spreads the virus, warrant a little less.
There’s no way to sugarcoat that, and there’s no point in being anything less than wholly honest about the implications of the transcendently difficult choices before us."  Frank Bruni,  New York Times

Someone on Facebook responded thus:
"Wonder what it costs for a two week stay in ICU? Families then have to bury their loved one. Legal fees for will probate. Cemetery plot if one is available.
All that expense and suffering. And then, medical people that spent fortune to train. Throwing it into the bonfire to care for humanity.
If we are reducing this to a matter of money, then the answer is NO. The economy will recover anyway. Your portfolio will eventually go back up. Yearly profits will not be as high. But the human cost is unspeakable. The children left without a parent. That price is too high and the economy is not worth needless deaths. I do not accept that nihilistic nightmare."

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!