Wednesday, April 29, 2020

In Search of a Good Read

Oh how I enjoy a visit to Reader's Guide! I know exactly where to prowl the shelves, looking for whatever will jump out at me--whether it's the cover, the first page or which author is making recommendations. And sometimes, it's just a hunch--and that's all I need to tuck it under my arm, and continue browsing.

During my last visit, a friend joined me. I don't know if it was the distraction of showing someone else a favorite bookstore, but apparently I wasn't giving the same attention to selection as usual.

After finishing a book by a well loved author, I selected the next in line--a New York Times best seller. There was something about the stodgy rhythm of the sentences and my brain failing to retain anything, that caused me to put it aside.

The next book was highly acclaimed . . . until it came under fire regarding cultural approbation. I decided to stick by my decision to purchase, but I couldn't shake the reality of reading a novel about a Latino family written by a European author. And yet . . . I have zero qualms about reading a book written by a woman writing in the voice of a man. Because, isn't that the same?

The next novel, brought me in quick with the clever prose of her writing . . . until she seemed to be getting a bit too clever for me. Maybe it's just me, but I like to be able to make sense of that prose.

And then I picked up the first book of a series. It wasn't love at first page, but more of a slow warmth that has enveloped me and brought me into the story. The main character wasn't immediately likeable, but she's getting there. And I'm leaning toward continuing the series after the first.

I have to say--what a relief! I was concerned that this was another symptom of the virus--or "sheltering at home". And, to be honest, maybe it still has something to do with our current situation. Maybe the book has to be better than usual? Or perhaps I ought to admit that my seeking skills fell off the shelf. (Shrugs) Whatever it is, I'm glad I persevered.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Clueless in the Aisles

Lucky me was able to enjoy some of friend B's company today. She took me hither and thither, amongst the blooming yards, streets and trails of her old neighborhood. My feet trying to match her long legged stride, as she followed a memorized route from her years of living in that 'hood.

After the walk, we both headed (separately) to WinCo. Since our current situation has made it necessary to focus on grocery shopping, we each went on our own through the store. I'm trying my best to check my list repeatedly, to prevent having to backtrack through the store, but it's not easy.

I was able to wait two weeks between grocery shopping trips, for the first time. Now to see if it was a fluke or if it'll work out again--fingers crossed. One thing that seemed to make a difference, was buying some canned green beans. The fresh vegetables I buy regularly don't last quite long enough, so this nostalgic helper has joined the line-up--with bacon and salsa, of course.

Today's trip found me less stressed than usual, maybe due to the walk and chat beforehand. I grabbed my bags, mask and alcohol spray, before heading into the store. Mostly folks are aware of each other and patient when it's necessary to wait for a crowded area to empty out, but today there was an older woman at the check-out who was completely clueless.

No social distancing for her--she stood beside me and talked and talked, about only needing a few things and how she boycotts the self-checkout, etc. And finally, I realized she was going to be next to me for the entire transaction--so I urged her to go ahead of me. Her behavior continued with the cashier. I can't wrap my head around people living in a pandemic, but refusing to accept there is one. Will we end up naming that condition of not accepting reality? Will the name reflect the moment?


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Old Wives' Tales

Old Wives' Tales--they've been rolling around in my head, ever since someone shared a questionable audio file with me via FB messenger. It wasn't necessarily a dangerous piece of misinformation, but it wasn't what it claimed to be. Doctors/epidemiologists, wouldn't be suggesting gargling with a vinegar solution as a way to remove the virus from someone's throat.

But once I listened to it, I began to think of my Mother. Yes, you Mom--the person I never gave enough credit to. You may not have graduated high school, (she married Dad at 16), but you were a voracious reader, with a scientific kind of mind.

I may not have appreciated all of your advice at the time, but I see you now. I see you doing all you could for your family. Even though I wasn't a fan of what I decided were 'old fashioned' remedies, I see now how they made sense and probably helped.

I have a hunch you'd be amused when you read that post from someone talking about their mother safety pinning a damp towel around their neck, when they were suffering from an upper respiratory bug. Yes, you did that, too, and yes, I might be more appreciative now. But I have to share with you, Mom, gargling in the shower is the way to go. Not that I ever listened to your advice . . .


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Recharging

I'm currently sitting outside on the deck in the warm sun. Soaking up the vitamin D, the new growth on the plants, the sounds in the neighborhood.

It's moments like these when things seem normal. Maybe that's why the suggestion to go outside is such a good one.

Without changing your perspective it's difficult to change a mood or find the ability to do anything. These might be things I have to remind myself of daily.
How you doing?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

That Time I Did That Thing

Years back (is it years already?), I began to ponder the lack of something here in town. When I started poking around on the internet, I found I wasn't alone. It didn't take long to become a part of that something. Thanks to many wonderful, gracious, folks, it became a community effort.

But lives and priorities shift and change over time. The wonderful folks moved along with their lives. It made sense to change things up a bit, so I could take more of a caretaker role--saving it until the originator might return.

I learned much, met interesting people and was distracted during a difficult time. It was a gift. And I'll never forget that sweet chapter. Many thanks to all who participated, it was a blast. Now to find that next chapter. I hope it's as worthy and wonderful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Focusing on Dental Health

I might have been making a joke when I mentioned focusing on my 'dental' health a few weeks back, but I have been working on improving the daily care I give my teeth. The main reason, has to do with the consequences of what I once proudly described as "streamlining" my time in the bathroom. Streamlining is just a fancy word for "cutting corners", but that's my opinion.

Since experiencing some health issues, a couple of years back, that caused 50+ pounds to vanish from my body, I decided to become a better caretaker of these biological systems I was born with. Once in awhile, usually in the shower, I imagine that I'm like a farmer tending the crops and rows or a super whose job is to tend an entire building. Because--isn't that we're doing when we groom ourselves?

We all have our own unique microbiome. Microbiomes that have been enhanced by every environment we've ever lived in, as well as all of the folks we've shared our lives with. In my smallish brain, I see our roles as essential to protecting our 'crops'. And so, I began to make sure I use a pick of some type at least once a day, rinse with Plax before brushing, brush my tongue and massage my gums.

How does your "garden" grow?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Habits

As a child, I had my share of bad habits: chewed my fingernails, sucked my thumb, always picking at things (like removing all the chenille from my beloved Bambi bedspread), picky eater (does this even qualify, K?), and I'm sure there's more, but that's filed under 'being a lousy witness'. I'm sure adult K, has her own list of bad habits that she won't even identify or admit, but that's not why we're here today.

Thanks to my mother, I used to have some good housekeeping habits: sweep bare floors daily, dust and vacuum once a week, etc. There were bumps here and there, through the years, but the biggest change happened during F's life interruption. My cleaning schedule rarely worked with F's ability to maintain her mental health.

And now, with this virus in our lives, I've stopped carrying my keys and wallet in my pant's pockets. And yeah, I might be slightly concerned that this will stick overly long. Maybe the good will outweigh the bad in the end--because being comfortable with yourself is HUGE. Give yourself a high five up high, if that's you. AND speaking of high--happy 4-20 to you!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Examining Parts of the Past

My parents' family, the one I was born into, was comprised of five children, born over the course of fourteen years. Which, seemingly, created two separate generations--at least that's how it feels to me now. Similar to how it felt when I was a child.

I was the lonely runt. Lonely after (according to photos), what appeared to be an idyllic toddlerhood. My two sisters were the oldest of the brood and they and their friends doted on me. And a family friend, Ethel, also used to dote on me and tote me around. Once the newness wore off and my sisters departed (marriage/college), there I was.

My closest sibling, J, had a group of neighborhood friends that played together. I'm sure you've read those cute sibling tales where the older brother protected his little sister. But that wasn't the type of upbringing or relationship we shared. One time, I finagled my way into one of their outings, but quickly realized that I was there only to provide a victim for their teasing and tormenting.

Divorce sent two of my good childhood friends to other towns. After that I tried to find a place within the hierarchy of rural neighborhood girls. Who knows if it was my tomboyishness and desire to have my own way that kept me apart, because we're lousy witnesses of our own lives.

And now I'm wondering if that's another possible reason why my parents decided to put me into kindergarten at the age of four--friends. I wasn't a shining star. That's why I'm convinced there was another reason. My mother wasn't aching to start working outside of the house (nor would father approve), so that wasn't it either.

There is something I keep returning to though--if I had been placed in the class with my age group, I would've been a long time classmate of a cousin. A cousin whom I cannot remember ever visiting or playing with. Her mother, one of my many aunts, remains a stern, judgmental woman in my memories. And so I can't help but wonder if there was some kind of 'feud' between the families.

I can still remember meeting this cousin, years later in a restaurant bathroom. I was married and very pregnant, attending a work holiday dinner. She made an observation about my appearance--and I stood there trying to take it in, to make sense as to whether she was trying to be helpful or like her mother.

It may have been one of very few times we ever interacted, despite having both grown up in the same small town. I later learned that she was attending school to become a nurse. That's when I realized that she was trying to be helpful. What a shame we were never allowed to see if we might have been friends. What a shame and yet, perhaps that would've set me on an entirely different course and I would've never met N or had my dear children.

Friday, April 17, 2020

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

     This afternoon, it was time to head out to Winco for the week. The parking lot looked more empty than last week, but maybe it was due to peak blue sky time. No line to go inside and everything I needed was on the shelf--not that we need much, but still a relief. When it was time to pull out of the parking lot, I was surprised to see Commercial St bumper to bumper. The traffic dispersed quickly and once I got home and looked at social media, I saw that the so called 'rally' was gathering at the capitol.     

     N's outside, adding to the landscape rocks we have bordering our backyard--rocks that are essential to keeping the mud (a tad more) at bay. I went out to see how wimpy me might assist in a way that doesn't find N having to later tend me and my muscles. I climbed into the bed of the pick-up, to see if I could shove the remaining rocks towards the tailgate. {Cue laughter--so much laughter}
So . . . my contribution will be dinner. Does that work for you, dearest N? I thought so.

     Oh, and one of the wee dudes & his papa, came over to collect our redwood and cedar ends from the pergola. They know someone with a firepit and we like to share. So much winning.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Question from Frugal Times

How many uses did your family find for these helpful cylinders? I can think of around three, but it's been awhile. And, no, I'm not counting the "binoculars" that can be created.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Day After . . .

     So . . . the day after a couple of active ones, is similar to a day after your birthday or a similar celebration. A regrouping, perhaps? Which reminds me of my father telling me, that this is the world's way of showing you that there will be lulls. Which is a way of saying--without the lulls, you could never appreciate the highs.

Monday, April 13, 2020

A Mask, Perchance?

     Today, we carefully ventured out to help N collect some band folders for the group he belongs to and to do our bi-weekly Costco shopping. Who knew that attaching a mask to one's face could lower anxiety? Not I, but now I do.

     N was unsure at first. As we pulled into the parking lot--there weren't many masks on display outside. But once we walked inside and observed other covered faces for a few minutes, he was on board. After we hooked those loops over our ears, I could feel my anxiety level off. Maybe it's a false sense of security, but . . . it's time to acknowledge our current situation.

   

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dog Grooming Day = Winning

     One day, after musing about grooming the dogs, we realized that the trimming mostly follows a seasonal rhythm. Which makes sense, because we probably mentally pause during the change of seasons, regarding what needs to be done around the house, etc.

     Both dogs were fairly well behaved during their individual sessions today. They each have their 'areas' they tend to protect--whether it's due to a past bad grooming experience or it's one of their tender spots. We acknowledge, troubleshoot and do our best to make it work. Now that they're both getting older/elderly, I've noticed when I'm holding them during trimming, once in awhile I swear they're dozing.

     But yeah--an activity that can take half a day during the Stay at Home? Bring it on! (Do I have any fur on my face?)


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Grateful for a Backyard

     Now that the warmer, sunnier days are popping up more often, I can feel a little of the anxiety lift. I can't explain it. Maybe it's the possibility of a different activity--whether it's sitting with a book and a cup of tea on the deck, strolling around to see the new growth or just a slight shift in perspective, apparently that's enough to lift our attitude.

     Changing your perspective--it's a personal and important method for shaping how we see things through our mental lens. A broader view of a large problem can feel overwhelming, but if we can break it down and change the terms we frame it with--the difference can be huge.

     Now to find a way to pique my own interest on making and sticking to a to-do list. Pretty sure that will require more than a shift of attitude . . . perhaps I need to find a spare kick in the pants.

   

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Amazon Lends Hand to USPS (headlines I'd like to read)

Come on, Jeff.
You've used them--and yes, I assign this usage of "used", as if you (Amazon), are the privileged suitor of someone of less societal value.

No, you're correct Jeff, I don't know you. And I don't know what values you hold dear, but I can see what you stand for--simply by standing along the proverbial street to see what you offer and who you cooperate with.

You're in a situation, that 99% of Americans can only imagine. This is your time. Either you're with America or you're, like Drumpf, against it and all of the historical values we believe in.

We're waiting, Jeff. This could be your Bill Gates moment. Embrace it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

     I've been keeping our grocery shopping to once a week. If I'm missing an ingredient for a recipe, I make do with what I have or omit it. I feel like all the lean years of frugality paid off for these types of situations. It may not be what you wanted, it may not be perfect, but if it tastes good and is nutritious--we're going to be happy, healthy and fed.

     At first, I was heading to Winco each week, but decided to give our small Roth's a try. I thought that might be where I'd be shopping during this historic Stay Home time, but there were just enough gaps in what I could purchase. I ventured back to Winco today.

     And now? Now I'm enjoying a glass of wine, because the venturing out, the shopping, and the disinfecting afterwards and during--it's a bit stressful.

From our hideout to yours --be well, stay aware and find some joy.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Monday Monday

     Okay, I'll admit it--more partly cloudy days are uplifting. Gives me hope that the mud is getting less muddy, though the weeds are gripping more grippily--as the ground firms up a wee bit. I can feel Spring trying to shift my focus: "look! new growth! look! swollen buds ready to burst open!" Thanks, Spring. I appreciate your optimism and your insistence.

     Moments of note from this day:

Oregon Sorry, Washington and Idaho schools will be closed for the remainder of the current school year
UK PM Boris has been admitted into ICU
Randy Rainbow created a video ode to Andrew Cuomo
Ten thousand citizens of the United States of America have died due to the Trump Virus . . . so far

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Bath, Perchance?

     About every 5 years or so, I decide to try taking a bath instead of a shower. And every time I make that leap to sit, rather than stand--I find I lack the fortitude to enjoy a soak. Why? It sounds so tempting and luxurious. Why does it make me muse to myself why I thought it was a good idea?

     And, you may have already guessed, I tried again today. I can't guarantee that it's been 5 years, but I reckon it's close. I made sure the soaps and shampoo were within reach, remembered the gifted soaking salts, dipped in all the toes and other necessary body parts, and . . . aaahhh. I think I actually relaxed and enjoyed it. Even if it was only 20ish minutes.

     But once this silly old brain began to ponder how I could put the trapped water to a second or third use, I knew it was time to get out.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Satur-blurs-day

     I just turned on the television (it's past that magic 5pm hour), and there's a cartoon playing. No judging N, but why didn't you turn that on while I was still on the couch last night? ;-)

     Today, it's been drizzling off and on. Making me wish that the drizzle had sound--like wee chimes. 

     Didn't do much today, other than crosswords and meals. No reason, just chilling and idling. Though, dinner smells good. (fingers crossed) 

     Take care and let me know how you're doing.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Another Day in the Bunker--no not Archie, Edith or Gloria

     What another day in "the bunker" showed me? All the things to be thankful for:
I'm thankful for . . .
  • the choice we made in 1978, is still holding firm & true <3
  • roof over our heads
  • food in our bellies and pantry
  • entertainment up wazoo
  • technology to visit with others
  • BOOKS and puzzles
  • kitchen dance parties
  • feeling well
  • friends and family
  • yes, the treadmill

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hoo Boy!

     If ever there was a time in history to pick your team and stick with it--this is not it. You don't need a fucking team. You/we need fucking facts. No. Stop. Look at ME. Do not look at that insane idiot, who some short sighted folks thought would be hilarious to hire. He doesn't care about you, me, them--he only cares about himself. His children aren't even that important to him. He sees everything as TAINTED. He trusts NO ONE. He only wants to gain the notoriety and advantage over anyone he sees as a threat.

     In 'his' time of "roole", we've watched the alt right grab a firmer toe hold in rural areas. Yeah, don't be confused by the sheriffs who are embracing the "constitution". They've probably never studied more than what their so called gurus would send out to their "followers".

     Yeah. "Followers". They want you to drink their Koolaid and sing their praises. How gullible are you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Blursday?

     Today, I'm thankful once again for Carolyn Hax. Last week, she began doing a Wednesday chat--in addition to Fridays. The Wednesday chat is for all of us during Stay at Home. It's a frigging public service! And also helps to make a person aware that everyone is dealing with this in some way--some folks with huge burdens and less than good situations.

Also . . .   
Have you seen this yet?