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Posts Tagged ‘virus’

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Every third Friday, give or take, my cousin in British Columbia and I spend about an hour on phone catching up on what’s happening in our lives. Though we have never actually met in person, it is uncanny the similarities we find in each other which must have come with our DNA. Her dad was my father’s older brother. I never knew my dad. He knew me, but only for the first year of my life. At twenty-five he died from asphyxiation leaving my mother a young widow with me to raise. This is something my mother never really got over, I believe, as he (according to her) was the love of his life.


I know little really about my father’s family. The players are fairly clear to me, at least the cast that was in place when I arrived on the scene. There were four brothers and one sister. Originally, there had been five boys, but the youngest died of a ruptured appendix at the age of four. I remember my paternal grandmother well, but never knew my grandfather who died of a brain tumor at forty. Each of the children had offspring who, in turn, had children of their own. I would need a playbill to keep track of all the names involved now and would recognize few of the faces. The history of that side of my family comes to me in dribs and drabs. What I have gleaned has been interesting so I hope to continue to fill in the gaps as I get to know them better.

On my mother’s side my cousin, mother’s oldest sister’s eldest, Mary Louise, married Howard. Howard, has a keen interest in genealogy. Some years ago he devoted a sizable amount of time delving into my mother’s people, tracing them back as far as the paper trail would allow. Fascinating to follow the chain of events leading up to the time I decided to pop in and say hello. According to the records our clan even shared some blood with Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. None of us are Mormon in this generation, as far as I know, but interesting nonetheless. Years back I read “The Twenty-Seventh Wife”, the story of Brigham Young’s twenty-seventh wife, Ann Eliza Webb. Ann Eliza was to be one of fifty-five wives Young took as his own, and later in her life became a strong critic of polygamy and a staunch supporter of women’s rights. I would have been right there marching next to her when it came to polygamy. One mate is enough of a challenge, but multiple, no way.

In some ways we’re all related. “The Brotherhood of Man”, is perhaps a good way to put it, though women seem excluded from that phrase. This is not new news to those of us of the gentler sex. Wouldn’t be the first time we didn’t get top billing to our male counterparts and won’t be the last I’m sure. A single seed populated the world or however you view it. Truth is no matter what your beliefs we had to start somewhere. We didn’t just all appear in unison and begin reproducing. Ah well, heavy thoughts for a Thursday. When I start getting deep into philosophy my mind takes off on so many side roads I can’t keep up with it.

Fires certainly are the talk everywhere in California, and the extreme weather across the country for that matter. Really it is the entire west coast that is burning not only us. Day before yesterday the sky got so incredibly dark early afternoon we had to turn lights on. People in the Bay Area woke up to dark orange skies yesterday and what a friend described as apocalyptical landscapes such as have never been seen before. I texted a friend and said, “should an alien spacecraft land in the middle of my street, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least”. She replied, “me too”. We’re like an over loved martini, both shaken and stirred. Many friends in my old neighborhood in Oroville, California are biding their time with families or at local motels waiting for the firestorm to pass and to get the signal from the fire department they can return to whatever might be waiting for them at home. Wow. If I could so you could see it, I would bring my hands next to my head and signal “mind blown”.

To explain how it feels to wake up with this uncertainty every day, I would liken it to what I imagine people living in war torn countries must experience. Sitting in their homes each day waiting for another bomb to fall and desecrate their neighborhoods or steal a loved one from them. I know for me I’m edgy and not sleeping well. I have several friends in Grass Valley where I moved from two years ago, who just got their power restored after two days without energy. One lady is in her eighties, lives alone, and just lost a son to cancer. I offered to come get her or for her to come here but she chose to stay in her home. She called yesterday to say she wished she’d accepted my offer. Sitting there in the dark, alone, wondering if her street would be next to fall turned out to be a lot to manage. The strain, even if you’re tough like she is, takes it toll when applied liberally day after day.

People in states like Colorado are going up and down the thermometer like a thrill ride at the local amusement park. One day it is sizzling and the next snowing. Bizarre, and more bizarre. Check please.

Yesterday I had an appointment at the ENT’s office for a sinus exam. I arrived at the appointed time and after providing the usual information to the receptionist was asked to wait in the deserted waiting room. K. About an hour later still sitting by myself the nurse came and got me. Well, full disclosure, there was a fish tank and by the time my name was called the angel fish and I were on a first name basis. Apologizing for the long wait, the nurse showed me to an exam room. It seemed the power had been out causing confusion in the office. They were trying to get back on the horse but the horse wasn’t cooperating. After providing more detailed information about my sinus situation, she left me to wait for the doctor. Twenty minutes later he arrived wearing both a mask and a face shield. Again he apologized for keeping me waiting. I said, “no problem”. Truth was it was becoming a bit of a problem because it was getting close to feeding time at my house. The natives in my digestive system were beginning to get restless and I had begun to create unique recipes using cotton balls and antibacterial jelly.

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After doing an exam with the tools on the tray next to him, he announced he was going to scope me. Oh-oh. Didn’t like the sound of that. I’ve never been scoped anywhere on my body that left me wanting to sign up to have it done again. Leaving the room, he reappeared shortly with the instrument of torture. Mama. It looked like something you’d blow up an inner tube with. Pulling on headpiece with a light attached he sat on the stool. Just as he was about to look into my nether regions, the lights went out in the room. “Thank you”, I whispered quietly. Apologizing once more, he said we would have to pass on the scoping for the day. I tried to look disappointed, but even I don’t have the acting chops to make that believable. He then said, “God, I hate this year. This has been the worst year ever, hasn’t it?” I think he realized at that point perhaps this wasn’t the most professional conversation to be having with a new patient so he quickly put his doctor face back on. “I hear ya, Doc”, I wanted to say. “Sucks to be us right now and I’m sure it sucks to be a physician”. I had to fight the urge to give the man a hug. Can’t hug these days either for several reasons. One, you could either get the virus or transmit it and two, you could get sued for sexual harassment. Ah well, I sent him a spiritual hug. Think that’s still okay. If not please don’t let me in on it.

So, with several prescriptions to add to my repertoire we parted. I walked down the long dark hall of the second floor of the building and found myself remembering when life was normal. Sigh. I began to hum as I walked out into the smoky courtyard. You have to remember to sing in the lifeboat, or so they say.

Almost Friday. Next week a clean piece of paper. Stay safe.


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This has been a busy week. My asthma had me visiting the ER the beginning of the week. They put me in the COVID section as my symptoms were shortness of breath and lung irritation which would mirror symptoms virus sufferers might present. That made me considered suspect. Wouldn’t be the first time. I wasn’t allowed to keep the door open to the room and personnel entering were fully gowned. All a bit unnerving when I already didn’t feel like myself. Thankfully after a healthy dose of steroids and several breathing treatments air found my tired lungs again. Thank God for these front line workers who keep us going. I would have been in serious trouble without them. While waiting for the meds to take effect, I got to wondering what people did back before all this modern medicine was available when faced with such a situation. My guess is that they died young, which is evidenced by medical records from back in the day, grave stones and history books.

Trying to move forward with conviction, the weather people were predicting a record heat event here in California. Those of us hailing from Nova Scotia are not bred for heat. This always brings to mind Harper Lee’s beautiful lines from “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

“Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

I suffer when the temps start moving up over 100 degrees. Definitely a soft tea cake by evening. This week, lucky us, it will hold there and quite a bit above for the whole week. Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning and trying to keep my mind off the fact I was stuck inside and couldn’t even enjoy sitting in my garden as there was no breeze and no shade and it was beyond HOT. Even Boo, the Queen of Cats, was sprawled out on the kitchen floor looking for some relief. When I moved in here I looked forward to sitting in the back yard on summer afternoons. The beginning of spring PG&E came to the door and announced they were cutting down the two massive shade trees by my fence as they were interfering with the power lines. Had to be done, but the lone tree surviving towards the back fence line doesn’t provide much cooling when the heat moves in. Soooo, I cleaned. I can say with some surety most of friends also have the cleanest houses they’ve ever had, and I know I certainly I do. With all this time inside you have to keep moving or you might begin to scream and simply never stop. Oh, sorry, lost my mind for a moment. Back again.

My new dining room table arrived several weeks ago and as yet I haven’t served a meal on it. Yesterday I decided to have a friend over who I knew had safety isolated. Both of us had COVID tests this week with negative results so we thought sitting far enough apart we could enjoy a social evening together and each provide the other with a little conversation and companionship. All good. I decided to break out the pretty dishes, pick some flowers from the garden, set the table beautifully and create a dining experience rather than just serving a meal. Yay.

Knowing it was going to be cranking up outside, I did the bulk of the cooking early in the day. Everything but the blackened tilapia which would be my main attraction, would only need to be reheated in the microwave. About an hour before my guest was to arrive I began to notice I was perspiring. I’m not a sweater by nature, but I do know the steroids can cause flushing and sweating. Okay. Pretty soon the cat was actually panting and I realized the temperature seemed warm. Checking the thermostat the gauge read 83. Oh-oh. As it began to move up with no response when I tried to adjust it, I texted my landlady who lives directly across the street. I like my landlady well enough, don’t misunderstand me, but whenever I mention anything is out of line with the house she says, “funny no one else ever complained about that”. Then when her husband comes over (he’s the handyman for their rentals) he always tells me about other tenants with either the same problem or other problems with the house. I just shake it off but I could live without this response from her. When it began to encroach on 90 in here I send up a white flag. Help. Hot. The walls were closing in. The butter had melted on the counter in the kitchen and I had begun looking up pet friendly hotels in the area with vacancies. Personally I didn’t want to to argue the point no one had ever complained about this before, I was complaining about it right at that very moment, and loudly. Her husband arrived at the door in short order and looked at the thermostat. He said he needed a part which had been replaced before and couldn’t get it until Monday. Always, in my life at least, when something like this is going to happen it seems to pick the absolute worst time to reveal itself. When I first moved in here a tree pierced the sewer line and I was awash with backed up sewage in the toilets and the bathtubs. This resulted in two months without the master bedroom bathroom and half the carpet torn up in there as well as the walls. That also happened on a Saturday and one when I had my mom with dementia sleeping in the spare room. I ended up taking the poor woman to CVS at 7:30 in the morning to use the public restroom. This time it was not only a Saturday, I was having company, AND it was the hottest day so far this year with excessive heat warnings in effect. Halelujah. Sooooo, we got it running somewhat so it will hopefully limp along until the cavalry arrives. We ate dinner with ice packs on our necks and drank enough water to keep an armada afloat but managed to pull the evening out of the bog. This morning is a bit better cool wise in the house but today is going to be hotter so I’m crossing my fingers it holds and keeping the list of pet-friendly hotels at my fingertips.

To add to the mix I woke up this morning and my laptop wouldn’t start. I stood at the window in my bedroom and asked if someone up there was generally pissed off at me or the world had suddenly gotten tipped on it’s axis. The response was shortly the laptop fired back to life and I relaxed a bit. Thank you.

2020 sucks. There, I said it and I’m not sorry. Hope your day is going better. Stay cool and hydrated.

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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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My groceries were delivered Friday. This is an event I’m beginning to dread. From now on I’m not checking the substitutions box. Got four packages of frozen broccoli, four different boxes of ice cream, and a carton of White Castle burgers in lieu of the meat I ordered. Are White Castles even a member of any of the four food groups? My guess is no.  Hmmmm. Trying to understand the logic of this but it still escapes me. By the time I washed everything, threw away all the bags and gloves, put the rest in the shed, and decontaminated and sanitized the house, I found I had lost interest in food entirely but liquor was beginning to sound pretty good. Sigh.

I did make masks last week, and the good times just keep on coming. They turned out really cute actually. The only fabric I had that was flannel had frogs on it so I’ll be somewhat of a trend setter. Ribbet. Can’t believe I’m now seeing ads for designer masks. Really? People will hop on board for anything in the midst of disaster I swear. According to an article I read yesterday Americans have been ripped off in the millions on virus scams. That particular aspect of humanity always makes my heart sad. The “hit em while they’re down” mentality. Wonder what makes people able to live with themselves after taking advantage of someone already suffering. Never get that.

Have to say I am getting so much done. I didn’t want to do most of it which is why it hadn’t been done up until now, but since my calendar is looking a bit bleak at moment doing something certainly trumps doing nothing at all, at least for me. I’m not a good sitter. Even while watching a movie, unless it is totally riveting, I usually have something else on my lap I’m working on like knitting or I succumb to the annoying habit of hopping up and down to fetch something from the kitchen, or if all else fails I simply doze off in place.

Easter Sunday has come and gone. I put out a few of my favorite bunnies around the house to make me feel a bit festive. Yesterday was spent talking to friends. The aroma of the pot roast and root vegetables we had for dinner still lingers in the air and in spite of all that seems wrong in the world something feels kind of right if only for the moment.

Missed seeing our littlest clan member gathering eggs and enjoying his chocolates but life is what it is. Acceptance has been a big part of my world for the past few years particularly with Rick passing. This pandemic is no exception. Along with accepting the reality of the virus, I can also accept I am cozy and safe for the moment. I can accept that the sun is shining brightly outside my window, and I’m about to go for a long walk in my beautiful neighborhood. I will be thankful for that. I got on Zoom yesterday for a family hello. Not my favorite way to communicate. Why is it everyone looks so odd on the screen, or maybe it’s just that I do?  At one point my cheeks looked like I was storing nuts for winter and a little while later I noticed my chin had begun to look like it extended beyond my navel. Maybe I’m doing it wrong? I need one of those APPS that has twenty-seven filters and adds bunny ears and a fake nose for effect.

These days when I drift off of late into daydreamland I keep picturing myself on a white sandy beach somewhere decidedly tropical. Closing my eyes I can luxuriate in the glorious feel of warm sand sifting through my toes mixed with the intoxicating smell of salt sea air. Calgon? Oh, I’m back. Being confined has reminded  me of how much I truly do miss the ocean. Definitely when freedom is again possible I am pointing my car west and finding a beach. Growing up on the eastern seaboard my soul calls to the the sea when I’m away from it too long like a lost child seeking it’s mother.  My grandmother’s house in Halifax, Nova Scotia where I spent my formative years, sat atop a hill overlooking the entrance to Halifax harbor. As a child I would sit on the ridge watching for hours as massive ships entered and left.  Cargo ships riding low in the water heavy with loads were my favorites. They would make their way slowly to the docks expertly guided by the tugs hugging their sides.  Living close to the sea you find it wears many faces. Some days the water dances with joy as nympths of light hop from wave to wave across the surface. Then on foggy nights when visibility was limited the sad song of the fog horns would lull me to sleep tucked snugly away in my bed on the second floor towards the back of the house. Looking back I can’t remember feeling anything but safe living in that house on the hill. Perhaps the security of those early years helped to make me strong for a life to be filled with twists and turns such I had yet to imagine?

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When around five years old my mother, a widow four years prior, began dating a rear admiral stationed aboard an aircraft carrier. One Sunday we were invited to tea on board ship. As usual I was imprisoned in shiny Mary Jane’s, a freshly pressed smocked dress, topped off with a little straw hat. Sigh. A tomboy from the tip of my grass stained toes to the top of my unruly curls, this, as you can imagine, was a fate worse than death. However, stepping on the deck of this massive conveyance is a memory well etched in mind. The surface seemed to extend to forever and infinity from my diminutive point of view. The rear admiral, “a tall drink of water” as my grandmother referred to him, guided us below deck to his quarters. What an experience. Tea was served by an officer assigned to see to such things and included the tea amenities as well as an assortment of finger sandwiches and a lovely variety of sweet tea cakes guaranteed to make a little girl’s heart smile. After that visit he had my vote to be my new daddy. Unfortunately I didn’t carry the majority in the house so mother moved on and I ended up with my first stepfather some three years later. We shan’t go there for now. Those stories are why I pay a therapist to listen to me.

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When left to my own thoughts my mind often goes off on journeys of it’s own. In search of a project I organized my drawers and shelves over the past week. Putting pictures in order and storing them to put in albums at another time brought up so many memories. Looking at my children’s fresh young faces standing before buildings now part of our history was a reminder, along with so many reminders lately, of how quickly life can change and how flexible we humans must be to keep up with the pace.

For some of us this pandemic has been a heavier hit than others. Certainly it has been an inconvenience for all of us and a financial burden for so many there is no denying that. I’m just saying some of us have carried more of the weight I believe. Doctors and nurses, for example, unable to return home to see their offspring for fear there might be a deadly hitchhiker riding on their skin or hidden in their clothing. People who have had to remain at a distance as their loved ones slipped away in a hospital they weren’t allowed to visit, then forced to mourn their passing alone or with a few family members at their sides. I’m finding myself feeling very thankful. It is not over yet.  Our planet has flexed it’s muscles and we who share it have felt the power of nature.  A wake up call? I am sure it is. I do hope we hear the message far beyond the time the immediate danger of becoming sick has passed. The L.A. basin is enjoying glorious blue skies for a change with the freeways not clogged with vehicles spewing toxins into the atmosphere. Though we humans may be suffering Mother Nature may, for the moment, be breathing a sweet sigh of relief for this brief reprieve.

I hope this finds you looking at the screen at familiar faces, or enjoying the smells emanating from your kitchens as well. Sending a virtual hug to all of you who are kind enough to stop by and read what I have written from time to time. Have a great day!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never thought I’d find myself in a position where not being able to go to the grocery store felt like I was being sent to my room. Sigh. It feels a bit like everything in our world is tainted. Before I pick something up I question if I should pick it up at all. If my answer is yes, I break out the gloves and disinfectant, and handle it as though it was a wrapped pack of dynamite sticks with a timer ticking down from ten seconds. Whew. Very stressful. The Tai Chi was helping with my stress until my back went out. At that point my back began playing for the other team. Timing is everything. Not being able to reach down can be limiting if one is living with just a cat for companionship. Miss Boo sat at her bowl yesterday expectantly waiting for me to fill it, looking down at the bowl and then up at me as if to say, “well”? The bowl was in it’s usual spot, but since I couldn’t pick it up, I filled another dish with kibble and set on the counter. I explained, slowly of course so the cat could understand me, “I can’t bend down right now”. Pointing to the dish on the counter I went on to say, “you will have to come up to my level if you wish to nourish yourself”. I don’t know if cats can actually put up one claw without extending the others but I believe her middle claw was straight up in the air before she made her way back down the hall.  Later I did find her seated on the counter next to her bowl licking the butter. I believe this was by way of a statement on her part.

Sometimes it seems to me when you are already dealing with a challenging situation it attracts other annoying situations to it like an industrial magnet. First my back falls out of line, literally, and next the sink in the front bathroom decides to go south. The stopper, usually a simple matter of pushing a lever up or down to operate is now stuck in the down position with a bowl of dirty water swirling around on top of it. Great. What to do? Can’t call my landlord or a plumber so I guess I just shut the door and pretend it isn’t there. Ignore-ance. This is a behavior my daughter suggested I employ when she was seven.  We were driving down the road when I poured a cup of hot coffee in my lap I was holding in my right hand while while making a left turn. Duh, I know. I never said I was the sharpest pencil in the box. Not wanting to pull up my usual selection of words kept handy for use on such occasions in front of her, I just said, “darn”. Sensing the burning coffee had not made my morning, my little girl said, “Mommy, just use ignore-ance”. Got it! I have used that premise since that day, of course later on in concurrence with my stash of words saved for such occasions.

Don’t know where I picked up my rich repertoire of colorful language. Perhaps my mother passed on one or two words. Certainly wasn’t my grandmother. My grandmother never swore in her lifetime as far as I know. The strongest declaration of anger I ever heard come out of her mouth was “mercy”. Not exactly a word that leaves strong men trembling in their boots. In spite of her lack of verbal armor she was a tough old woman. I recall a story about her when she was in her eighties. At the time she lived alone in her apartment.  One morning preparing to get ready to start her day while coming towards the kitchen she caught the image of a young man hiding by her front door reflected in her hall mirror. Grabbing my grandfather’s solid wood cane she rounded the corner and whacked him about the body until he opened the door and fled down the hall howling in pain. You go girl.

Now let me preface, I’m not implying here I have a prolific potty mouth. I do not. I do, however, from time to time feel the need to express myself in a potty mouth kinda way. Some who do not dabble in swearing at all, may say it shows a lack of intelligence to insert vulgar language into one’s speech. I can accept that. Nonetheless, if I have dropped an anvil on my foot, shouting “oh my goodness”, will absolutely not get the job done lowering my IQ or not. Most of us if prone to swearing might have one or two “favorites” we lean on from the familiar “bad word list”. The words available to us when stronger language is called for than “gosh” or “my, my”. Some people may even combine several choice selections from the bad words list when using them to add impact to a particularly passionate statement.

So, as I said my week got off to a rocky start. A friend who I trust to be totally honest about observing no contact came to my rescue since I seemed to be unable to help myself. He began his visit by locking his truck, a good idea generally unless you have left both your keys and your dog inside. Welcome to my world. After choosing a lovely word, one of my personal favs, from the bad word list he dialed Triple A who sent someone out here spit spot (if you will) after learning there was an animal in the vehicle. Observing all the correct social distancing the vehicle was disinfected, the dog rescued, and life, as they say returned  to normal. (Well, whatever normal might be these days because the definition of normal has become definitely blurred over the past month or so.)

Interesting side fact, the “s” word s_ _ _, often found in the middle of “up _ _ _ _ creek” or “_ _ _ _ faced” is the oldest record curse word, dating back about 1,000 years.

Words, bad or good, fascinate me. Personally I believe your intent might be malicious when using a specific word but the word itself is innocent of any wrong doing. Using words to form a story that can be slanted in so many directions depending on how you arrange them is tantalizing to my imagination. Because I have always been such an avid reader and grew up in a household where words of all sizes and shapes were tossed about willy nilly, I have accumulated a fairly extensive vocabulary.  A dear friend and I share a “word of day” on the phone each morning. I try to come up with a word he has not yet conquered and he borrows it and makes it his own. Another thing I do which stimulates word knowledge is do crosswords and play a lot of Scrabble. My mother is an excellent Scrabble player. For many years this was something we shared. Even now with the dementia manning the wheel from time to time she can still come up with impressive words to place on the board. It may take her longer, of course. Sometimes I cook dinner or knit an afghan before it’s my turn, but I don’t mind. The fun after all is in the game not the winning. Can’t believe I said that. Such a lie. Our family is very competitive. The fun is in the winning.

Have a great day. I hope it won’t be long before we can close the book on this dark chapter and go forward with our lives. I wish all of you a safe and virus free week.

 

 

 

 

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Woke up this morning, washed my face and poured my coffee as I do each morning, but it didn’t feel in the least like a typical day in the neighborhood. When I first opened my eyes I wondered for a moment if I’d been dreaming there was no food on the shelves or if it was actually true. Walking past the five six packs of bottled water now stored on my dryer, the reality of the situation once again dropped over me like a lead tarp. The restrictions on our lives only in place for a short period of time it already feels as though I have an ankle monitor snapped around my ankle making the front door seem like an impassable line with danger lying just past it’s borders. Darn.

Yesterday I had to go to the grocery store. I found myself totally unprepared for the long lines and empty shelves waiting for me there. My shopping cart was half full by the time I got in line with the rest of the people buying whatever they could get their hands on. Luckily I got two loaves of wheat bread which should last me quite a while if frozen, because by the time I passed the bread aisle the only loaves available were a couple of raisin and one rye, and people were fighting over tortillas. What, as they say, is our world coming to?

Doing my part I have cancelled all my non-critical appointments and placed myself on a in-house arrest. Not one to let a lot of grass grow under my feet during normal times this is a difficult sentence for me to accept. However, the same principle applies here as I apply to littering. It’s not the one plastic cup a thoughtless guy tosses out the window ending up on the side of the road that destroys the beauty of our roadways and national parks, rather it’s the accumulated cups of many indifferent litterers creating the eyesore. All of us working together will hopefully help to bring an end to this difficult bug.

Life lately reminds me a bit of the only white water rafting experience I have had until now. The river in question was located in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Though early summer, the water was the temperature of ice water requiring rafters to pull on wet suits before heading downstream. There were six occupants in our raft plus the guide. Instructions were given by him as to how to proceed. Each of us held a paddle and were told we would be asked to row at given times during the ride. “Should you fall out”, the guide went on to say, (Fall out? What? Am I falling out?) “point your feet downstream to avoid hitting your head on rocks or objects either above or below the surface”. I can remember being absolutely terrified as we began our descent through the first round of rapids. “Row”, was yelled from somewhere behind me, and though my hands were nearly frozen my survival instincts kicked in and they obeyed the command digging my paddle deep into the roiling water. We drove down over the top of a roll of water. Freezing liquid momentarily washed over me capturing my breath before we resurfaced. “Mama”. At one point at a somewhat slower fork in the river we passed a huge moose standing by the bank watching us as we tumbled along. Probably the massive animal was thinking, “humans, go figure”. I know I was.  In the middle of the chaos I gave in to the ride and allowed the exhilaration of the experience to overtake me allowing me to settle in and feel the excitement. Finally reaching our destination, I wanted to jump out of the raft and go back up and go down again.  Though truly there is no excitement involved in what we are experiencing at the moment, I do feel that once through the rapids if we do what is necessary the water will once again smooth out and calm will be restored.

This whole situation gives you plenty of opportunities to work on conquering fear. For me, I live with a cat. Though a loyal companion she is not much by the way of help in a crisis situation. Secondly I have asthma and this with my age puts me smack dab in the bullseye of the vulnerable group. Keeping a cap on allowing fear to overrun me can be a daily, even moment to moment proposition. Thankfully I have friends and family checking on me regularly to make sure my head is above water and my feet are pointed downstream.

In the end all the worrying in the world will not alter the outcome. Either I will make it to the end of the river or I will not. Truly it is as basic as that. As I have mentioned I do not intend to waste any of the time I have left in my life so I shall believe in what I believe and move on with conviction. What else is there to do?

I have been keeping in touch with people, catching up on things around the house, working on the dreaded pile of paperwork waiting for my attention and generally trying to convince my mind things are going to settle back into a routine here pretty soon and life as we knew it will return to normal, or as normal as mine gets.

The cat, unaware of any shifts in her universe, sleeps peacefully on the pillow next to me totally oblivious to it all. Must be nice. Must admit I am feeling a bit world weary and frayed around the edges. How lovely it would be to be able to simply relax for a little while without something showing up which makes the world seem a little more unsettling. Makes me mindful of how people must feel in war torn countries forced to deal with uncertainty every day of their existence without respite.

Because it is how I cope with things I try to count my blessings during stressful times, thankful for the roof over my head, food in my cupboard, and people populating my life. It’s tempting to want to stack paper goods up to the ceiling and buy peanut butter by the crate, but if we do that there will not be enough for our neighbors, family and friends so I try to buy responsibly.

Last night I did deep breathing exercises before I went to bed. Still my mind conjured up scary images while I slept and woke me up way to early to begin the process of dealing with a different feeling world once again.

One of the things I did learn while pushing through the grieving process after losing Rick was that as dismal as today may seem, a month, six months, a year from now everything will appear much differently. Hope always hangs brightly in the distance like a beacon in the storm.

Hang in there. Read that book gathering dust in the den, pull out that knitting project you never finished in 2010, take an on-line class, teach your kids to cook. Get creative. Talk soon.

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