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Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

Ladies, have you looked at the clothes showing up on the racks in the stores for spring? Good Lord. There were a lot of blowsy cuts, I noticed. Most probably this is due to the added girth most if us have welcomed aboard since the pandemic started, and the designers wanted to leave room for the spreadage (I know that isn’t a word, but I like it). They are showing a lot of cottony ruffled bordered numbers with small prints. I call them “The Laura Ingalls Wilder Collection”. On a small framed person like myself with long thin legs these sort of dresses look like a tea cozy draped over a pair of chopsticks. Ach. Not that I need any clothes, mind you. The pandemic has given me ample opportunity for doing a little shopping on line. Next week, I have promised myself I’m going to begin the process of sorting and eliminating items either never wear or simply don’t like, and selling them or tossing them in the donate bin.

One year when living in my old house, I purged my closets and drawers making enough off what I sold to cover redoing my deck. It’s surprising how much fat is tucked away in drawers, storage units, sheds and closets. When I pared down my mother’s things after moving her into assisted living, I could not believe what I found. In one zippered hanging bag I found a mink stole with two minks still clinging to it. Their expressions were as horrified as mine was. Ach. Glad you don’t see much of that anymore. Amazingly, that coat sold for over a hundred dollars to someone who wanted it for a Halloween costume. I have a friend who has supported two storage units for ten years. The units are full of stuff she never uses or even looks at. At over $200 a month that adds up. When I was selling my last house, I packed up one half of what was in it in anticipation of moving. During the six months it took to get the house ready for sale, and sell it, I never missed one thing packed away in those boxes. That spoke volumes to me. When I moved in here to a much smaller space, I immediately had a huge yard sale relieving myself of half of what I’d stored. What didn’t sell, I donated. The sale provided me with a little mad money for my new digs, while lightening my load. Sadly, since then, the inevitable migration of new belongings has begun once again and is starting to encroach on my territory. Where I had tons of storage space after unloading my excess household goods, somehow I have managed to refill the gaps with new stuff I didn’t need. Sigh.

It has been my week in the universe it seems for buying things. First, my land line started making a sound like I was squishing tin foil while speaking on it. Normally, I would defer to my cell phone, but it’s not working either. I finally located the “phone guy” at the “phone store” and he reconfirmed my cell phone was terminal and it was time to put it out of it’s misery. Swell. Sooooo, I upgraded two models. Even at that, the model I chose was probably obsolete by the time I signed the credit card receipt. I was told it was $50 down plus monthly payments. Okie. When I got the credit card receipt it read $100. When I asked about the discrepancy, I was told the extra $50 was for taxes, processing, shipping, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The et ceteras will get you every time. Why don’t they say $100 down? They don’t, because you probably wouldn’t buy the phone. Precisely the same reason they post signs for $19.99 rather than $20.00. Sounds so much less but that penny isn’t going to buy you much. I said fine. What is one to do? At any rate, it’s on it’s way. Meanwhile, I am sending up smoke signals in the front yard if I need to get a message to someone. Next, I called my phone provider to inquire about my land line. The representative at the phone company said it was probably a line problem. If it is a line problem, they pay for it. If not, the customer does. (That would be me.) I could sign up for a maintenance agreement for a mere blah blah blah monthly. Could I? Ahhhhh, I miss the good old days when you went to the phone company and picked out a phone, took it home, plugged it in, and if anything went wrong they either sent a repairman or gave you a new phone. Life was good. The more complicated the technology, the more expensive either the repair or replacement becomes. The rep also said to check the line they would have to shut down my phones which most likely would result in the need to reset all my TV’s, computers etc. connected to the phone line. I’m pretty sure that is a nightmare waiting to happen. Guess I can tolerate a little tinfoil for a bit.

Putting the phone situation to bed, I sat down at my laptop. I was told recently it’s lifetime is also getting shorter, and I would have to invest in a new one within the next year or so. Okie. The sound system has suddenly developed a hiccough where it comes and goes at random. Each week I have a Zoom meeting and this week I missed easily half of it. The other participants were tiring of me saying “could you repeat that please”. Sorry. Do you suppose the angels are sending me a message? That’s what someone suggested to me. Who am I to say? It is odd every one of my electronic devices is having sound problems. Maybe I’m supposed to be hearing something I’m missing? If so, I’M LISTENING. Oh, too loud? I’m listening.

I also spent some sleepless nights (no pun intended) agonizing over whether to dish out some cold cash for a new bed, finally caving (because I was literally) I dug out my credit card and wiped off the mold. Ouch. Rick and I bought this bed when we were first together. The mattress has never been replaced and Boo and I are having trouble finding our happy place at night to drift off to sleep. It’s a California King, which is a lot of bed for one small human and a chubby feline. Also, my bedroom is too small for a bed of this size so I had to push it against one wall to make it work. I am worn out doing my aerobics routine every week in order to change the sheets. There is an odd sadness in me at the thought of seeing the bed go out the front door. Another piece of the puzzle of my old life being replaced by something new, but it feels right. Some nights I feel as if I am sinking into the great abyss when I turn over on my side, and my back is starting to complain when I have to climb out of it in the morning. Time for a change. I asked if the delivery guys would take the old mattress. I was told they would if it had no stains and was in a bag. A bag? What, I have to wrap it? Is one of them having a birthday? Someone should have told me. I don’t think I have any tissue that size. Determining there were no stains, I went to Amazon. God bless good old Amazon. I believe if I searched for flea powder specific to Koala bears, I would find it on Prime. Finding what I needed, I ordered the appropriate bags. I suppose I could have opted to take it to the dump myself but I don’t think it would have squeezed into the back seat of my Fusion. The problem with buying a smaller bed, I bought a queen, is now I have gorgeous sheets and linens that don’t fit the new bed. Again, dusting off my credit card, I purchased all the accoutrements necessary for a queen size bed and signed my life away. Ah well. It’s going to be great. That’s me, telling me, I’m okay.

Update, my new phone just showed up on my front porch. The phone rep spent some time relating explicit instructions in so far that they would not deliver the phone due to it’s value (I have paid less for cars), if I wasn’t here to sign for it. Yet, miracle of miracles, there it was sitting on my front porch ripe for picking. Glad I was home. I would have been seriously irritated to find a notice of delivery in my email with no phone in sight. Also, I paid extra to have it delivered quickly, so there’s that.

Sometimes life keeps sending messages your way and you have to clean the wax out of your ears to catch them. What the messages are in this case, I have no single clue, but I am listening intently. I don’t mean to be impolite, but I wish they would speak up. I had my hearing checked recently and the results weren’t pretty. Years of earphones jammed in my ears transcribing letters, apparently did not serve me well. It’s not like I’m deaf, but certain tones are definitely fading. I have one dear friend who is in the habit of beginning what she is saying in a loud and clear voice, then dropping down to what I call her “conspiratorial tone” at the end of her sentences. I always find myself looking around in case the FBI is in the vicinity and we’re under surveillance. We have had discussions about this, because I find myself saying “pardon me” on a fairly regular basis with her, but it’s pretty much embedded in her behavior patterns at this point. She’s a generous word sharer like myself, so like Rick used to say when I was chatting away in the car, “if I miss a word or two, the earth is not going to stop rotating”. Thank you Sweetie.

Tomorrow, I get my second Covid vaccination. I hope it is kinder to me than the first, which created two rough days of symptoms before easing up. In two weeks I can hug my grandchildren, so I will show up for the appointment and deal with whatever comes with it. Yay.

People are having mask burning parties. I’m a little more cautious. It still surprises me we continue to make mask wearing a political issue rather than a medical issue. You’d think they were asking us to pull on a suit if armor before leaving the house rather a small piece of fabric. I just roll with the waves these days. This will pass and life will return to normal, or whatever normal is.

Have a great Sunday. Beautiful here so definitely a walk in my future. Thank you again for signing up and for those of you who tune in regularly.

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Christmas is only a week away, according to the last window I opened on my advent calendar. I’ve gotten an advent calendar every year for as long as I can remember. They are sort of a tradition in our family. There’s something special about opening each festive window as the first 24 days of December are checked off, to retrieve the chocolate treat hiding behind it. We had many traditions at our house growing up, as I imagine would be true for most families. Each Christmas Eve, after the dinner dishes were put away, my grandmother would hand me a plate of brightly decorated holiday cookies and a glass of milk to place by the fireplace for Santa. After the snack was in place, I was allowed to open one present under the tree, usually pajamas or a robe, and then ushered up to bed to wait for Santa’s arrival.

Growing up Christmas always centered around my grandmothers kitchen. She had an extraordinary “white” thumb when it came to baking. This trait, sadly, she was not passed along to me. As a child the holidays were a glistening sugary world, filled with gooey chocolates, sticky nutty filled bars, plum pudding with hard sauce, and my aunt’s unforgettable green and red shortbread cookies, small mouthfulls of heaven on earth. Many times I have tried to recreate the buttery rich flavor of her delicious recipe, but not once as of yet have I brought the team home.

Every year, just like my grandmother, I bake for the holidays. To be honest, I have been a little hesitant about using my high powered electric mixer with my Covid brain still acting up, but decided today was my last opportunity. Last night I went to bed around 8:30. Yesterday had been a long busy day, and my eyelids refused to remain open to allow me to finish the last few chapters of my current read. Totally spent, I dropped off immediately, without my usual internal dueling between my conscious to my subconscious about giving up control of the ship. Waking up some time later, I looked at the clock on my nightstand, 4:30. Eight hours, yay. I’m usually lucky to achieve six hours of sleep a night. Straddling the bed, I pushed my feet in my slippers and went into the kitchen to switch on the coffee. The cat at my heels, I retrieved her treat bag from the cupboard and deposited two small morsels on her mat as is our usual before breakfast routine. For having a full night’s sleep, I felt a bit loggy. A cup of caffeine would remedy that situation, I thought to myself. After I’d done my morning bathroom routine and poured and consumed my first cup of coffee, I decided to turn on the news. Switching to my regular morning news program I found instead commercial programming. The overly chirpy spokeswoman was showing volunteers how the product she was touting eliminates wrinkles. Huh? Not that I couldn’t have gotten value out of the content provided, there are mirrors at my house, but where was my news? Looking at the time on the TV it suddenly hit me the time noted on the screen was 10:10. Oh boy. Maybe I should have put on my glasses before looking at my alarm clock. So, restating for those of you still as confused as myself, up until that juncture I had completed one hour of sleep, a lifetime record. To add to the picture, I had infused caffeine into my system leaving me wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready for my day which didn’t start for, mmmmm, seven hours. Really?

My brain, of late, seems to be suffering a motherboard problem. My circuits are not communicating correctly with one another. I’m not sure who to call. I don’t believe the Geek Squad handles such malfunctions in humans. If I didn’t want to risk traumatic brain injury I would shake my head violently from side to side to see if I could initiate a reset.

Today was sort of a continuation of last night. I decided to make snowball cookies. Most of you have either cooked or eaten these little powdered sugary bites. A fairly simple recipe I have made a hundred times. I hardly to have to think about getting them in the oven anymore. This time however, the dough seemed dry. I rolled them into balls in the palms of my hands and put them in the oven for the allotted time. Taking them out they looked right but several had slight cracks which the batches I’d made in the past never had. Once they are removed from the oven they are rolled in powdered sugar when warm and then dusted once again with another blast of the same. Hence, the name snowballs. This, I just realized, is like explaining to you why you might name a black cat midnight. Sorry. So, I picked one of the little cooked balls off the cookie sheet and it immediately burst into a pile of flaky dust. That didn’t seem quite right. Putting an intact piece in my mouth, I spit it out in the sink. Blah. What on earth? Then I realized instead of adding sugar in the recipe as instructed, I had put in flour twice. Sigh. Never mind. I’d go back to bed but we already know how that went.

As I’ve said previously I’m working hard on my grateful mental state every day. Today I’m working double time. I know this too will pass and all will be right in the world again, but today my brain burp is a bit annoying. I think it is contagious, or perhaps the pandemic and being confined is beginning to cause people to be a little off center. My son called yesterday to ask if I’d received his Christmas package. I replied I had not. This seemed to upset him so he said he was going to do some back tracking and see where it had disappeared to. Shortly, he called back now really upset. Apparently, my old address was still listed on the site he had shipped from and it had deferred to that. The gift had been shipped and delivered two weeks ago. Whoops. I suggested I call a friend who lives around the corner from my old house. Perhaps she could stop by and ask if something had been delivered for me. Immediately after hanging up I called and left a message asking her to run over if she could, but didn’t hear back. Meanwhile my son, concerned I wouldn’t have anything from him under the tree, repurchased his gifts and had them drop shipped at some expense to my new address. Making this game more fun, my friend, without texting me first, was kind enough to retrieve the packages from the new homeowners who had kept them for me. Now I have double presents. Okay. Is there a full moon or something? Are the planets misaligned? Is this the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? I am going in the closet with my double flour cookies and not coming out until spring. Don’t look for me.

Have a happy pre Christmas week. Hope yours is less eventful. Stay safe.

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Its a welcome sight, watching the rain slither down the window. Huge leaves litter my yard, the air is crisp, and I am tucked away warm and snug inside. Life is good. My kitchen is set up for cookie baking today. The mixer is resting on the counter surrounded by bags of flour and sugar waiting for me to work my magic. Though I’m not a sweet eater myself, a basic flaw in my DNA, I do enjoy baking for friends and family. As with everything in 2020, distribution of my baked goodies will have to look different this year. I may have to send them reindeer mail.

It has been over a month since my positive Covid test. Other than the Covid Brain symptoms still fogging up my thinking processes, I am virtually symptom free. According to the medical professionals I have spoken with, I am no longer a danger to myself or others. Well, at least, with regard to spreading the virus. Have to admit, I do still feel a bit like Typhoid Mary. If I tell someone I had the bug but have recovered, they seem to study me closely with one eyebrow lifted as if I was either openly oozing bacteria or lying about being on the mend. If I sense hesitation, I don’t take it personally, but rather chock up it up to the person erring on the side of caution. I get that, I really do.

With the vaccine beginning to circulate, there is now a shard of light at the end of the tunnel. It will be a glorious day indeed when we finally step out from beneath this heavy blanket of fear and suffering into the light again. Perhaps we will value our freedom and our loved ones on a far deeper level because of this? I know I will be grateful for small things like sitting at a table in a coffee shop with a friend, planting a kiss on one of my grandchildren’s cheeks, or simply stepping outside with my face fully exposed to the sun. I have promised myself never to take these small blessings for granted again once this pandemic is put to bed.

While we are waging war on Covid-19, Russia has been busy digging around in our lingerie drawers looking for whatever secrets they can root out, our legislators are searching for ways to undermine our democracy, and unemployment and hunger continue to be alarmingly on the rise. Just another day at the office. Tiring of it all yesterday, rather than turning on the news and immersing myself in the insanity, I turned on holiday music and allowed my assaulted psyche a day of R&R. It was lovely. In my years on this planet I don’t remember a more turbulent political climate than the one the United States is currently experiencing.

I kind of look at all this this way, just because your folks are loon toons does not mean you have to be. We are all given personal choice to regulate how we behave. That being said, I choose rational and logical as the paths for my thought processes. It is both amazing and unsettling to see how quickly irrational thinking can grab the reins and steer the team down the wrong path in the woods. One person with power and influence can spread discord quickly, allowing it to permeate others like an out of check cancer.

I’m trying, but not always succeeding, to elevate my thinking, choosing to look at the miracles around me and not just concentrate on the derision. Yesterday, I went to get my blood drawn. It was a fasting test, so I sat in the waiting room stomach growling, craving my overdue dose of morning caffeine. Immediately after surrendering my arm for the expected bloodletting, I drove across the street to the Starbuck’s drive thru and got in line. Pulling up to the window to pay for my order, a cheery employee told me the car in front of me had paid $5.00 towards my order Really? I just loved that and immediately felt my heart smile. I thanked her, and asked to pass it on to the car behind me. Now I don’t know, but I’d like to think, this carried on down the line. What a nice gesture. Whether this act of kindness stopped with me or kept on going, it made me happy and started my day in a positive note which remained with me the rest of the day. Yay. We are the guardians of our moods, and it is within us to guide them in the direction we would like them to go.

Today is a different day all together. So far today I am on a roll in the stupid is as stupid does department. First, I dropped my house phone on the floor and lost the piece connecting it to the power supply. Now neither the phone nor I have left the house since the unfortunate accident, but do you think I can find that little plastic piece? Nooooooo. I have looked everywhere. Perhaps this is a sign from the dinosaur phone gods saying, “Susie, get rid of your stupid land line. Nobody in this century has land lines anymore.” I do, and a piece has now gone missing. Sigh. I keep the land line because in case of an emergency 9-1-1 can track your land line but not your cell phone. Ah well, I’m not going to fight the elements. It will show up in a potted plant, or stuck to the bottom of a chair one of these days, undoubtedly two days after I’ve tossed the phone and bought a new one. Murphy’s Law at work in plain sight.

Immediately following the strange plastic thingy disappearing I was going into my bedroom, a not unfamiliar landscape for me, and slammed my knee hard into the side of my nightstand. Now, this nightstand had not recently been moved by a mysterious intruder here to simply rearrange my furniture. It was in the same spot it has resided for two and a half years and yet I didn’t see it. I don’t suppose I can attribute this to Covid brain as well? The list of blame on the virus is getting long. So, I now have a huge bulbous knot on my knee which not only hurts but looks rather unattractive. Thank God for extra strength Tylenol, manna of the gods.

I shall say goodbye for now. I am off to create deliciousness in my kitchen. Hopefully, I will emerge with tins of yummy cookies and all my digits accounted for.

Happy Thursday to you. Stay safe and pass on a little kindness.

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For the most part the symptoms of my recent Covid infection have either abated or in most cases, disappeared completely. Each group seemed to have arrived and departed in waves. Just when I thought I was completely out of the woods, Covid brain arrived on the scene. This is a fun one. I first noticed it while trying to decipher a fairly simple email detailing instructions on how to proceed on a project I was working on. I read and reread the information. In spite of willing my brain to absorb what was written, the data kept seeping out of my left ear and disappearing into the atmospheric continuum. Finally, I had to call the client and have a phone conversation to get it to sink in. Duh and double duh. Not that I can’t be dense times, I most certainly can. However, these were not instructions on how to build a nuclear device, it was how to lay out a flyer, something I’ve done a hundred times before.

I began to notice myself having more than usual blonde moments over the next few days. I made the coffee as I do every night before retiring, but neglected to put the pot under the machine after filling it with water. This would have been less concerning had I not come out half awake the following morning and pushed brew without noticing my omission. Whoops.

Yesterday I took stupid to new heights while trying to take Boo, the queen of cats, to the vet. I have been in my new house over two years. Time to find a new vet, and past time to update vaccinations and to get her a general well check. Vet visits, I have to say, are not something Boo is a fan of. This lack of enthusiasm often spreads over to me. The vet I made an appointment with was recommended by a friend. Though not having been to the office before, I had a general idea of the location. The woman on the phone explained due to Covid, owners no longer accompany their animals inside. Instead they pull into a numbered parking space and call the number provided them when they arrive and animals are retrieved by hospital employees . Works for me. So, I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes early, and didn’t see any numbers by the parking spot I was in, or any parking spot. Odd. I dialed what I believed to be the correct number off my recent call list. The person on the other end answered “hospital”, to which I responded, “Hi, I have my kitty waiting to be picked up but I didn’t find any number by the parking space.” Silence, followed by a little more silence. Finally, I broke the stalemate and said, “Hello”? I believe the operator wanted to ask at that point if I was on drugs or needed to be directed to the psychiatric ward, but instead responded “ma’am this is a hospital”. I was thinking to myself, “Your point would be?”, when she said, “We don’t see kitties here. “ Oh, like a real hospital, for humans. A light went on in an otherwise dark corner of my brain. I had called them yesterday about another Covid test and their number was one below the vets. Whoops. My bad. Looking at my recent call log I located the right number and called it. This time a friendly voice answered, “animal hospital”. Bingo. Once again I explained I had my cat in the car, but didn’t see any numbered spaces. The young woman said she’d be right out. After several minutes, still no one emerged from the building. My phone rang. Apparently the vet assistant was standing outside her building and unless she was transparent or Boo and I were, something was amiss. Drat the luck. I asked her to repeat the address please. Sigh. This was indeed a veterinary hospital just not the one where I had an appointment. Apologizing to the world in general for my dingyness, I pulled out and went in search of the right address. Thankfully, I pulled into a parking lot full of numbered parking spots. Whoopee. Boo was retrieved. The vet called shortly with good news, she’s healthy as a horse (a little vet humor) even bordering on being a little chubby (aren’t we all these days).

The vet, a lovely woman, who took the time to speak to me on the phone said Boo was sweet and wonderful. My Boo? Are you sure you’re looking the right carrier? White cat, calico markings, evil grin? Truthfully, I have to say she is picture perfect when in the vet’s office. I swear, if asked to open her mouth and say “aah’ she would. They give her a pill and she swallows it politely. They send me home with the same cat and the same pill and a little pill gun to shoot it towards the back of her mouth, and it takes three men and a roll of duct tape to get it into her stomach. Amazing. When she had surgery on her ear they put one of those collars around her neck to keep her from bothering the incision. Right. My “sweet” pussy cat took her head and banged it as hard as she could on any hard surface available until it was completely unusable. When I took the tattered remains of the collar back to the vet and asked what I should do, they looked at me as if I was somehow incapable of managing my animal. Really? By the time we hit the third collar they were looking far less skeptical.

This vet today told me Boo was in perfect health but would need her teeth cleaned. This information made my teeth clench. Her teeth were cleaned seven years ago and it is expensive. This will be my Christmas present to myself for the next seven years at $100 each year. I should have purchased that vet insurance when I was thinking about it. The vet asked if I brushed her teeth. Uh, no. She went on to say they don’t expect their cat owners to do this, because if bitten they could get an infection and the fact that the animal is dead set against it ends up being traumatic for the animal. It takes me an hour and stealthlike precision to detail to get Boo into her crate, the likelihood of her sitting still while I’m prying her mouth open and brushing between her teeth ranges right in between 0 and sub 0. I’m just saying. I can’t even find a groomer willing to bathe felines due to their aversion to, well, just about everything they don’t want to do. When the drawing for felines was still in the designer phase back in the beginning, they must have added the feature of cats cleaning themselves knowing this would be a problem down the road.

So, we are back home. Boo is stuffing those little chubby cheeks with her treat for acquiescing to being cared for. Bless her furry little snout.


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I have a dear friend who’s old dog is reaching the end of her story. This gentlemen lost his wife three years ago. A lot of of the love he had no place for after his wife died, he has poured into this sweet little dog. Like many old animals, Maya has slowed down considerably. Where she used to run joyfully after her ball, she now sits and looks longingly after it if you toss it, but doesn’t make any effort to get up and bring it back to you. Still, she loves to be in the yard. I watch her from my window when she’s visiting. There’s something so joyful in the way she raises that old snout and breathes deeply the fresh air. Sitting quietly, her head turns from one side to the other as she surveys her “land” and she seems to take pleasure in simply being outside shrouded in nature. When we are entrusted with an animal’s well being, it is up to us to make the to relieve them from pain should it become necessary, because they can’t do it for themselves. So many times I have been asked to make the choice to have to say goodbye to an old furry friend. It never gets any easier. Fortunately Maya has no pain according to the vet so she will live out her life well loved and cared for until it is time for her to go. To my mind, pets are members of the family. I have said many times Boo, the Queen of Cats, can be credited with getting me through the past two and a half years. Had I had to face Rick’s death and this isolation without her companionship it would have proved far more difficult. There isn’t a day I don’t look at that much loved furry face and feel overwhelming thanks for her presence in my life.

Loss is part of life. This year has brought more than the usual share of loss for so many people it seems. I remember thinking last year I could not wait for 2020. 2019 was a year marked by a lot of hard edges. I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear, “Susan, never wish your life away”, but 2019 asked a lot. Who knew 2020 was going to show up and prove to be a far more tumultuous and difficult year? Makes 2019 look like a walk in the park.

I am thankful I made it through with the virus and didn’t end up in the hospital. Finally, Even more thankful that after entering my third week of confinement I am beginning to feel like my old self. Not fully mended yet but beginning to sense it is around the next bend in the road. The virus is still lingering in my body according to a recent second test, also positive. Apparently this is not uncommon. I have been given the green light to actually return to the general population the middle of next week provided all my symptoms have abated. This news comes just in time for California to begin a sort of state-wide lock down to get a handle on the over populated hospital wards due to Covid spread. So, I can go out, but, I can’t go out. Rather than hop in the pity pot and stew for a while, I am going to wrap myself around the glorious feeling of finding my energy once again and my regained sense of taste and smell and do something to keep myself busy in my little house with Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats. This too will pass, will be my mantra, and I have promised myself if I feel despair knocking at my door, I will not answer.

In an effort to keep the blues at bay, I have dusted off my sewing machine and begun to work on some projects. I love to sew, it’s cathartic for me. Actually enjoying working with fabrics really didn’t start for me until my early thirties. Up until then, I had not had much success with sewing. The first time I used a sewing machine was in Home Economics in eighth grade. Home Economics, for those of you scratching your heads, was a required subject in middle school back in the stone age. Young women of that time were being groomed to become wives and mothers, not CEO’s of large high-tech companies. Household skills were deemed necessary to sink the hook in your mate of choice. Thankfully, I didn’t lean totally on this Cinderella concept. I enrolled in a typing class before I graduated from high school. This, it would turn out, would be a decision that would save my bacon when finding myself a single mother with two small children a few years down the road. Home Ec, as we called it, was not my favorite class. I did not endear myself to my classmates when in the first semester tasked with making cinnamon toast (not exactly rocket science) I accidentally grabbed the jar containing salt not sugar. This would have been chocked up to a stupid mistake but for the fact in order to get a grade we had to eat what we produced. Needless to say this did not sit well for the other young ladies in my group. Sorry.

From cooking we moved on to sewing. My mother, God love her, couldn’t sew on a button if the fate of the world hung on her doing so correctly. Mum was a bit of a debutante growing up, and had people to do such things. Up until a scant few years ago if she lost a button or dropped part of a hem the item was put in a pile with a note reading “Save for Susie” pinned to it to await my next visit. So, going into sewing class I knew absolutely not one thing about how a sewing machine worked or any clue whatsoever about choosing fabrics or reading a pattern. My best friend who next to me in class was usually my partner in crime. If possible, she knew even less about how to thread a needle. Between the two of us, we were sort of the precursors to Dumb and Dumber, ladies edition. Similar to having to eat what we cooked, we were giving the assignment of making a garment then wearing it to school to earn our grade. Isn’t life humiliating enough at thirteen, without being charged with having to do something like that? I think so, I really do.

The next weekend, my mother took my friend and I to the fabric store to pick out patterns and fabric for our assignment. Now, this would be tantamount to sending a chimp to the NASA command center to manage a rocket launch. I decided to make a skirt. I’m sure this decision was predicated on the fact a skirt was equal to half a dress so would be less work and had a relatively low degree of difficulty. A skirt would consist of a waistband, a zipper and the skirt itself. Easy peasy. Right. I got the pattern home, opened it up, and laid the pieces out on the floor. Had the instructions been written in Ancient Sanskrit they couldn’t have been more confusing. Words like “selvage”, “understitch” and “bias” jumped off the page with no explanation offered. Diligently, I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric, cut them out, and took the lot back to school the day my next class was scheduled. Having no idea there were different types of fabrics, one better suited than another, I chose a stretchy material. True to it’s description, it twisted and stretched in every direction like an avid marathon runner before a big race. By the time I got done sewing the skirt, put in the zipper, and attached the waistband, it looked like I had sewn tennis balls underneath it. Puckers and pouches abounded. Sigh. My mother, always my biggest fan, said it looked as if I’d bought it off the rack. Go, Mom. It’s like the old Egyptian saying, “in his mother’s eye, the monkey is a gazelle”. Knowing I had to wear it to school, I seriously considered sewing a matching bag to pull over my head. I showed up at school the day we were to show our final product, skirt on, and head down. About mid-morning, with my Home Ec class not scheduled until after lunch, I had already endured enough humiliation to fill the humble pie of my young life to the brim. Just before lunch, the unevenly placed stitching on the waistband gave way and my skirt, waving the white flag of defeat, dropped to my knees. Life, as they say, was in the toilet during that moment. So memorable was it for my friends, I was still taking some good natured kidding in high school about that incident several years later. Fortunately, I had worn a slip, the only thing rescuing me from total social suicide. Still, I had to go to the Home Ec class and be sewn into my skirt so I could finish the day. That being said, the resulting grade did not do much to enhance my GPA.

After that debacle, I retired my foot pedal until I was given a sewing machine in my twenties by a friend who had purchased a new one. I didn’t have the heart to tell her no, so excited was she to be sharing something she so enjoyed with me. Yawn. For the first year, the machine sat lonely and abandoned on the closet shelf in my spare room. Around the holidays, my daughter, a third grader at the time, came home to excitedly tell me she was going to be a Cossack in a Christmas pageant at her school. Yay!! A newletter sent home to the parents of participants in the pageant mentioned parents were expected to either sew or have sewn the costumes their offspring were to be wearing. Swell. I felt I leaned more toward the “have sewn” group, but since money wasn’t exactly sprouting out of a tree in the back yard, I decided I’d better attempt to create something myself. Once again, I immersed myself in the strange and wonderful world of patterns, but this time I showed up to the battle armed with The Simplicity Learn to Sew Book. Truthfully, looking back most of the things I’ve learned to do well in my life have either came from trial and error by actually doing whatever it is I set out to do, or getting a book and going about teaching myself. I am probably one of the more tenacious humans on earth, so like a dog with a bone I will keep gnawing at it until I get to the marrow.

After much swearing and a number of failed attempts, one resulting in a shredded Cossack vest resting in a shallow grave in the art room trash can, I finally managed to make a costume my little girl could be proud of. Secretly, I was rather proud of it myself. My mom sat in the audience the night of the pageant and when she saw the costume she leaned over and whispered, “looks like you bought it off the rack”. Go, Mom.

I am not fond of the word can’t. Used to tell my kids there is no such thing as can’t, but rather “won’t” or “I don’t want to”. Most probably most things you really apply yourself to do, can be done. Not all of course, I’ve had some epic failures. Let’s face it, you can’t fail if you never try at all.

So I shall persevere today and remind myself how much I like to sit at machine creating lovely things with fabric. Maybe you can rekindle a romance with something you used to love during this time of isolation? Make it a great and productive day.

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“I got the Covid-19 blues, na na na na na, hurt from my head to my shoes, na na na na na”. I am here on the front lines, and by that I mean I am currently hosting a virus party in my own personal body, and am here to report this is a bug not be taken frivolously. For those of you, like some friends in my circle, who are still toying with the idea this virus is some sort of politically motivated hoax or a product of media hype I assure you it is quite real. My bug came to me courtesy of a friend who had it but thought he had a head cold. He was sick three days, and I am on day eleven. I have asthma, and my age and that weakness in my lungs puts me at greater risk. Thank God the symptoms seem to be retreating.

So many people have asked me what my symptoms were. From what I understand the severity and range of symptoms varies considerably but I thought it might help to share my experience. The first day I just felt blah. Not much energy, slightly off my feed, and generally just unwell with no specific complaints. Not having much of an appetite that first night I made a bowl of soup, got down half a sandwich and went to bed early. Around midnight I awoke to the most amazing muscle pains. It felt like someone had been pummeling me in my sleep, even my skin and my teeth hurt. Then the headache showed up. Let me preface by saying I rarely suffer from headaches of any kind. I think the last bad headache I had was probably fifteen years ago after an unfortunate incident involving me and a bottle of Gray Goose at a holiday party.

Within a twelve hour period I went from feeling mildly ill to feeling like a freight train had run over me. Next the cough arrived and sort of a general heaviness in my upper respiratory system. I contacted my doctor and was redirected to a respiratory clinic for suspected Covid-19 patients. At the clinic I was tested for both flu and the virus, both tests administered by long nasal swabs. The flu test, a fifteen minute wait, concluded it was not he flu. Okay. The Covid test I was told would take up to 2 days. I went home and found a soft spot to curl up in. My appetite seemed to have taken a vacation but I ate something and went to back to bed. The following night the phone rang quite late. The test results had come back positive for the virus. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Funny, we always think it will happen to someone else. I am the first person in my circle who has tested positive. This set off a ripple effect among my family and friends making the virus situation we are in suddenly much more real.

I’m cautiously optimistic though each day presents itself differently than the day before. Today I feel sick and begin to perspire if I do too much too quickly. I’m a dreadful patient, and lying around is definitely not my normal M.O. but when your body decides to go rogue you have to give in to it and do the best you can. The treatment has been fluids, in my case Prednisone, breathing treatments, Vitamin C, D, Zinc and Musinex flu. It’s a lot but the combination seems to be having the desired effect. Rest is a big part of the recovery process as well. I get fatigued easily. I get up and do things around the house and then have to take a nap. Another annoying side effect is that my sense of taste and smell seem to be diminished. This, hopefully, will right itself down the road.

I am thankful today that I am at home, warm and safe and that each day I add a little strength back into my routine. Hopefully we will march into 2021 with much less on our plates and perhaps much needed relief from the stress and constant disruptions 2020 has presented itself with.

For me, I am going to go to my grateful space. My turkey is being delivered by the local grocery store today. Many things may be happening in my world but by God that turkey is showing up on my plate on Thursday surrounded by all it’s best friends. If can tap into a little jet power I will make my favorite pie, cheddar and apple, to enjoy after my turkey dinner. I am including the recipe below for those of you who might like to try it. It was one of Rick’s favorites and I will think of him this year and can’t help to wonder what he would make of all of this. As sick as he was his last few years it certainly wouldn’t have made things easier.

I am yearning to open all the boxes in my shed marked “Xmas” but this will have to wait. My son has three trees up already at his house this year. I have one friend who put her tree up the day after Halloween. I think people are needing to infuse some joy in this year by any means available to them.

I hope this finds you well. Do be careful. I say once more for emphasis this is not a joke this bug. It is relentless and exhausting but I see light at the end of the tunnel and am holding up my lantern to guide my way there.

Give this pie a try if you get a chance. So delicious.

Apple and Ripe Cheddar Pie

2 pie crusts
9 Granny Smith apples, sliced thin
14 thin strips of ripe cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice apples in piles of three apples each.

Place one pie crust in bottom of deep dish pie dish. Forming a circle rotate around piling apples one on top of the other. Take 1/2 of the cheese slices and form a ring in the middle of the apples.

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Repeat with apple layer, then cheese layer, then apple layer.

Place the other crust on flat surface. Cut into 3/4″ strips. Layer half the strips across one way and then the remaining strips back across them the opposite way leaving space in between like in a lattice. Crimp the edges together.

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Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, water, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 5 mins. Remove from heat.

Pour over top of pie being careful not to drool over sides.

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Where does the time go? We are already in the middle of 2020, certainly a year to remember, and now we are marching through summer at a record pace. Of late, even with being more tied to the house and having less outside activities to fill my days, the time seems to be flying past my face like a movie on fast forward. The youngest member of our clan, Zeppelin, will be two in October. Seems like he was just brand new only yesterday with the new car smell still evident when you cuddled him in your arms. Looking at him now running across the yard is my gauge for how how quickly time is passing.

It would be an understatement to say this year is passing uneventfully. Lately I turn on the news, grab the headlines, and turn it off again before I get drawn into the endless drama. I want to be informed, but not immersed in it lest I stop moving and just stand in the middle of the room strumming idly at my bottom lip. The stories continue to be so mind boggling, that if I let myself I would spend hours sitting on the pouf in my living room staring at the screen in disbelief. This morning they were doing a piece on college students throwing COVID-19 parties with a prize going to the attendee who came up with the virus first. Really? If I could unsee that story I happily would allow it to be erased from my memory banks. The sad part is these same young minds will be running our country in the not too distant future. Sigh.

With disturbing news stories interrupting the dreams of sugar plums dancing in my head, I have been searching for other outlets for my thoughts. One thing I’ve noticed is how distracted I have become. Yesterday morning I put a small pot of water on to boil with four eggs in it for my potato salad. Boiling eggs is not rocket science. You place the eggs in the water, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and allow to sit for 25 minutes. Easy peasey. My cat could do it, and I may let her if my mind doesn’t behave itself. I was working on a project on my computer that has a due date rapidly approaching. When involved in either drawing or writing, yesterday’s project involving both, I tend to switch into the right brain zone. You could parade a brass band through the living room or disrobe on the table and both activities would probably go unnoticed by me. Struggling with a logistic issue my mind was fully focused on my laptop. Every once and a while I heard a little “ping”. Not registering something was amiss, I continued trying to unravel the dilemma in my software. In the fog of my concentration an olfactory hint was delivered to my nostrils by the universe. A smell, like burning rubber, yanked me abruptly out of my trance. “The eggs”!! Ach. The huevos, now reduced to four little dark brown bullets, were permanently glued to the bottom of my once loved pan. “Adios”, I said, by way of a eulogy, as pan and bullets met a nasty end in the bottom of my trash can. Darn.

Later on after a work-driven eight hours, I decided it was time for a little R&R. Sinking into a hot tub is one of my favorite ways to relax after a long and tiring day. Aside from simply being tired from working all day, like many other people I talk to I’m not sleeping well. The night before I went to bed at 9:00 and woke up nearly every hour after that until around 3:00 a.m. when I finally gave up and put a pot of coffee on. I’ve tried melatonin, glycine, deep sleep, and just about everything else short of having someone bust me over the head with a sledgehammer immediately before retiring.  A friend suggested loaded blueberries from the Mile High Store (CBD based items) to help me sleep. I wanted to sleep, not hallucinate, so decided to pass on that idea unless pushed to the wall. Too much going on under this blonde hair I would guess. At any rate, sometimes a hot bath helps me to grab a few more z’s before the sandman leaves town. Going into my back bathroom I set the stage for a blessed moment of relaxation. I lit my aroma therapy candle, turned on the hot water, rescued my robe from the closet and hung it on the back of the bathroom door and went off to make a cup of tea to enjoy while I soaked. Ahhhhhh. While in the kitchen the phone rang. It was an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while so I got involved in catching up for a moment. Retrieving my tea from the kitchen I sat on the couch enjoying my conversation. You might be saying “what about the bath water”? Where were you when I needed you? My friend made mention of something involving water which triggered a panic response in my cloudy brain. OMG. Like an Olympic runner I scaled the pouf in front of my couch, rounded the corner to the dining room on one foot, headed down the home stretch through the kitchen, and bolted into the bathroom. The water had already reached the crisis point and breached the dam. Had I been about five minutes longer it would have reached the carpet in the bedroom. What a mess. My toilet brush and holder were literally floating along in the current.

It feels lately, though this is not based on any collected data, I am always behind. Two steps forward and one step back as they say. What I am doing that is making me feel pressured is undoubtedly self inflicted. Most of my life I have been a doer. Nose to the grindstone, busy hands, all that good stuff my grandmother taught me. Relaxing is an art I am learning to appreciate as I accumulate birthdays and I feel I am finally getting a handle on it. A friend sent me the white rabbit below. She said it reminded her of me. “Er, thank you?”

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So, as you can see I am in serious need of a mental tune up. Many times I have explained to people I am a creature who functions beautifully in order and peace. This need for order probably contributes to my sense of having a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Chaos throws me completely off and is what appears to be the word of the day of late. When I get in the car I have to be doubly diligent to pay attention to my surroundings. The other day I drove home from the grocery store with my tailgate down. People were honking and I was blissfully waving hello all the way home thinking they were being friendly. When I realized my mistake I noticed several bags hadn’t made the cut. Backtracking I rescued a bag of apples in the middle of the street. The onions and celery are as yet unaccounted for. Look for a picture of a rosy red Honey Crisp apple on your next milk carton ad.

Sensing this need to regroup, last weekend I took a much needed road trip with a friend. We are comfortable hanging out together because neither of us is a threat to the other and we follow the guidelines for social distancing when we get together. Lake Tahoe was our destination. The plan was to go to one of the many beaches there, find a vacant stretch of property, eat our picnic lunch, and after enjoying the scenery and fresh air return home. It was wonderful. There weren’t many people in the park we chose. We sat on our piece of acreage along the shoreline with few people passing by and only a huge flock of Canada geese for company. One of them apparently had a foot fetish and was totally fascinated with my bare feet. I wondered afterwards if it could have been the disgusting purple nail polish on my toes that caught his/her attention. This goose came so close I kept thinking it was going to take a nip at me but it never did. How soul soothing it was to be outside with the tall redwoods forming a canopy above us and the gloriously blue water of Lake Tahoe glistening like a jewel before us. I absolutely recommend getting out and about, safely of course, to push reset for your state of mind.

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Hope all of you are doing better than I am. Stay safe and be diligent. Together we will muddle through this piece of history as well and come out on the other side.

 

 

 

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