Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Spring Photos 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Pandemic 2020 - Day 18

It was a Friday the 13th when the United States stood still - and the toilet paper disappeared.

That day in March of 2020, the public realized that we aren't immune to things that affect the rest of the world, and the race to the grocery stores left everyone stunned and frightened.

Essential supplies vanished overnight.

Here at the ol' farm, I'd been stocking up a little bit at a time for about two months, picking up an extra can of soup and such here and there. We have always had plenty of toilet paper, a habit I apparently inherited from my grandmother. It's a staple we have always purchased in bulk and in multiples of that.

What I miss the most is the fresh food - and getting out of the house once a week or so for a tour around the grocery aisles. I have not been in a store since the 13th, as I have asthma and my husband believes that he has a stronger immune system than I do, even though he is older.

I've had a few Sunday drives with him, but mostly I've stayed home. It rained most of March, so the weather was dour and glum. This did nothing to help the situation. On warmer days I tried to get outside a little, wearing a dust mask because I am allergic to everything and the pollen has been high. I also was sick for two weeks with something - not Covid-19 - I had a little sore throat and laryngitis but ran no fever. It is another reason for my husband's insistence I stay home, though.

My hair is growing by leaps and bounds, and a week ago I took the scissors to my bangs. Unfortunately, I wear progressive lenses, and I can't see a thing without them, but I can't cut my hair with my specs on. The cut was too high and crooked, but the hair is out of my eyes for the time being. I discovered one needs a very sharp pair of scissors for hair cutting. Mine were incredibly dull. I thought about ordering a pair but apparently so has everyone else, as all but the very expensive hair cutting scissors were out of stock.

Oh well.

I still talk to my friends on the phone, and we text and email. Aside from my trips to the chiropractor and the grocery store, little has changed except for this general uneasiness that has gripped me. I've had vivid dreams and nightmares, and I've noticed it is difficult to concentrate. As much as I'd like to start a new project, I'm not sure now is the time to do it.

We did have one issue come up this weekend - the mattress on the bed has developed a failure on one side. The mattress is still under warranty but it will be some time before we can attend to this matter. For one thing, I don't want strange people in my home right now and for another I don't think any of the mattress stores are open.

Today, Governor Ralph Northam initiated executive order no. 55, which tells us to shelter-in-place. We are only to leave our homes for food, medicine, and fresh air/exercise.

That's a rather clinical assessment of the last 18 days, I think. Perhaps I will get more into the emotional toll at another time.

For now, I simply wanted to make a note of this strange and unprecedented time in my blog.

Be well, dear reader, and may the universe look after you.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. If there's a personal god, what quality would you most like that person to have (and why)?

A. Empathy. If a god has no empathy, how can she have compassion, love, understanding, and comprehension  of the human condition?

2. What's your death-row meal?

A. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing, chocolate milk, a chocolate candy bar, and a banana.

3. Assuming we make it through this outbreak with minimal loss of life, what do you think our big takeaway should be?

A. That we are all one world and that there is no "us" versus "them" except in our own minds. Being prepared for eventualities is not a waste of time or money. Human lives are worth more than economic prosperity.

4. Whom do you find yourself missing more than you would've predicted?

A. No one, really. I stay alone except for my husband most of the time anyway, and the people I do interact with are generally still available to me via the usual methods - Facebook, the telephone, and text.

5. What brings you the most joy? Not happiness, not contentment -- JOY.

A. Being completely immersed in something to the point of forgetting about everything else.

6. Do you find yourself regretting anything you've said or done on social media?

A. No. I am particular about what I put on social media.

7. What are your favorite and least favorite things about your body and face?

A. Isn't my face part of my body? Odd phrasing. My least favorite thing about my body is my fat, and my least favorite thing about my face is my right eye, which sometimes droops. My favorite thing about my body is my hands, without which I would not get much done, and my favorite thing about my face is my eyes, without which I could not see. Plus they're a nice hazel and they change colors depending on my clothes.

8. What are your favorite and least favorite things about your life?

A. My favorite thing about my life is my creativity, and my least favorite thing about my life would be that I am alone too much.

9. How's the self-isolation affecting your libido?

A. That's just too personal a question to answer.

10. Which three places in the physical universe would you most like to visit?

A.  (1) An M class planet in a galaxy far, far away (2) the sun, and (3) New Zealand.

11. On whom did you have a crush years ago? Have you ever told them?

A. I can't recall having a crush on anyone long ago. I'm 56 years old and any crush I would have had would have occurred when I was a teenager and long before I met my husband of 37 years.

12. How have your religious views changed since you were in high school?

A. I wasn't religious, then I was, now I'm not. Now I'm spiritual, not religious.

13. If you could change one law, what would it be?

A. I would put term limits on federal House and Senate seat holders.

14. If you could add one commandment to the original ten, what would it be?

A. All people are created equal and women are people.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday 9: Somebody's Fool

Saturday 9: Everybody's Somebody's Fool (1960)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

None of this week's questions mention the corona virus. However, if you want to share how you're feeling about Covid-19 at this extraordinary time, please feel free to do so. You can share in the comments if you are so inclined. We need to support each other as best we can.

1) Next Wednesday is April Fool's Day. Do you have any pranks planned? Do you expect to fall victim to any April Fool's Day mischief?

A. No. I seldom do and this year things are so crazy we don't need any April Fool's mischief.

2) When she was a kid, Crazy Sam would fool her mom by putting bubble wrap under the bath mat so there would be a POP! when her mother stepped on it. When you encounter bubble wrap, do you always indulge in a pop or two?

A. Yes. It is rather hard to resist. That was pretty clever, putting it under the bath mat.

3) While we're using this song to celebrate April Fool's Day, it was written about another subject entirely: heartbreak. The lyrics tell us that at some point, we each get our hearts broken by someone who doesn't love us as much as we love them. Do you think that's true?

A. Yes. It doesn't have to be a lover, either. It can be a friend, parent, sibling, grandparent - pretty much anyone. Emotions wax and wane and I think most relationships have periods where one person is more loving or lovable than the other.

4) In 1962, this week's featured Connie Francis published a book aimed at teens called For Every Young Heart. It addressed topics like going steady and schoolwork vs. social life. Do you ever read advice columns or self-help books?

A. Yes. I read Dear Annie in the paper and I have read many self-help books over the years.

5) Connie Francis can play the accordion. Sam hasnever met anyone adept at this complicated instrument -- not even in her high school band. What about you? Do you play the accordion, or do you know anyone who can?

A. I have played the accordion though it was a long time ago. Apparently one of my friends has picked it back up and is sitting on her front porch relearning it during our physical distancing time.

6) In 1960, when this record was popular, Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Have you read it?

A. Yes.

7) Also in 1960, one of Life magazine's best-selling issues had Sophia Loren on the cover. At that time, she was an international film star and considered one of the world's most beautiful women. Who do you consider one of 2020's most beautiful women?

A. I have absolutely no idea. I'll go with Gal Gadot because she plays Wonder Woman and the second movie is supposed to come out in June. I suppose that will depend upon whether or not the theaters are open by then.

8) A 1960 issue of Vogue acknowledged how expensive it had become to maintain a fashionable wardrobe and asked, "If you were to buy only one thing, what would it be?" If it's good enough for Vogue, it's good enough for Saturday 9: If you could purchase only one new article of clothing for spring 2020, what would you buy?

A. A really good pair of sneakers.

9) Random question: When someone makes you really angry, are you more likely to respond with stony silence or a big noise?

A. I tend initially to be silent but then have a long build up and explode, leaving the subject of my ire wondering what the heck happened because he or she is clueless.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.  (#330)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday Thirteen

In these days and hours of fury, when we're all trying hard to get along, I thought I might offer up some things I learned from having my husband home for months while he recuperated from surgery.

It was a huge change to our schedule - my schedule - so it took some adapting.

1. Find your own space. If you are a homemaker, for example, find a room or corner or couch or whatever to call your own.

2. If you had a home routine, try to stick to it. If you normally rose at 6 a.m., continue to do that. It helps to keep the rhythm the same if you can.

3. If you are married, learn to be friends again. I am amazed at how many of my married friends are not actually friends with one another.

4. Board games can be very helpful in passing the time.

5. Learn to shut the doors. If one person keeps the TV on all the time, shut the door and drown it out with music. Headphones are also useful.

6. Try to do some things together, like gardening or walks in the woods. While you're out and about, revisit old goals if you've been together a long time. What haven't you done that you can work toward together?

7. Create a key word that means all conversation and everything else must stop if one of you say it. This is a safety word that means, "I'm uncomfortable, things are getting out of hand." Make it a funny word and not something you would normally use. Our key word is "Hassenpfeffer" which reminds us both of a Bugs Bunny skit. Your key word could be anything, even a made-up word. The important thing is that you both honor the "total stop" when one of you says it.

8. If you clean and you're particular about it, do it yourself and don't ask for help. If the other spouse offers to help, give him or her some other chore than the one you're performing. Housework is never-ending and there are always drawers to clean out and straighten, trash to pick up or carry out, cabinets to wipe down. Don't turn down help, just turn it into something else other than what you're doing, unless what you're doing is a two-person job. (And don't complain about how the person does the other assignment, either.)

9. You don't have to spend every minute together simply because you're stuck at home with one another. Give each other space. Let the other person go read a book or watch TV. We all need our personal time.

10. Try not to argue over money. That might become difficult in the days ahead, but remember your relationship is ultimately the most important thing. Try to compromise on priority spending.

11. Let the other person take over a few chores he or she doesn't normally do. Maybe switch off so that one cooks while the other one mows for a change. Shake it up a little bit.

12. Try not to be critical of the way the other person does things. So what if the spouse folds towels differently than you do? They're still folded and put away.

13. Remember to breathe and try not to be too hard on yourself or your partner during this time of change. Despite the efforts to "return to our lives" things will be different from now on. There will be no going back. You may return to your job but you may not have the same people there. Stresses will change, and come and go, but hopefully you have a partner for life. That's the relationship to nurture.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 649th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.