What Have I Read?
When we first started hunkering down at home, I had visions of finishing all the books, that are stacked and waiting to be read, in this house.
But, my attention span is worse than ever. I don't read much during the day and when I do, my mind wanders. So I thought I could get through some magazines. But the new ones do not help me escape.
I love pulling out a book at night before I sleep. But I end up reading the same page numerous times, before nodding off. I rarely get a really good night's sleep. That's not new. But having dreams with a Covid-theme, is new. No TV news in the evening, Beth!
So, I ordered a "weighted blanket" online. My 15-pound blankie with pink moons, is supposed to comfort me and help me sleep. I heard about it on NPR. It feels like the heavy drape you wear, when you get X-rays. But it made me feel claustrophobic.
So I used it in the afternoon, when I read in a chair. I picked a calming little book, about making memories. I hoped I would read a little and fall asleep. But I liked my easy little book too much. It didn't make me sleepy.
Am I creating happy quarantine memories? Sort of.
#48 - Don't Like Games for Two
Yahtzee for Two
Actually I love playing games with Don. We've been playing games together for over 40 years.
But, he usually beats me in the games that involve strategy. I need to win more, in Pandemic Times. I'm luckier with our games of Yahtzee, but I get tired of that one.
Game Playing in the Past
My skills are better with games like Charades and Pictionary and Cranium. But they require more people and we only have 2 quarantining in this house.
Actually it's not the games I miss, but the family members who like playing games! In 2005, Don and I hunkered down with my mom and Scott, to await the arrival of Hurricane Rita. On Mother's Day, a half year later, we had Heidi home from college and played some more. Love those home-time-game-memories.
We have tons of puzzles in this house and lot of goofy games, too.
Puzzles are perfect for quarantine time. Very therapeutic. You can work on puzzles alone or together... talking or not... music or podcasts or nothing.
It's actually been fun to see how many people are suddenly doing puzzles. On Facebook and Instagram, there are lots of puzzle postings.
What I really love, is that our kids are also working on puzzles, as they hunker down. Don and I actually packaged up a few we'd already done and sent them to the kids. How crazy is that in 2020, we have been chatting with our kids about puzzles. Strategies, problems with puzzles... favorite puzzles. These conversations crack me up.
These are puzzling times!
To Wear or Not to Wear
In the beginning of April, there was lots of talk about masks. Federal health officials recommended wearing non-medical, cloth face masks. Trump said it was voluntary and he wouldn't be wearing one.
Today, VP Pence toured the Mayo Clinic and didn't wear a mask. He said he'd been tested and doesn't have the virus. That's probably true, but how about wearing a mask as a good role model or to show your respect for those who wear a mask to protect you.
New Rules for Houston
A week ago, Houston began requiring face coverings, in public places.
We live just outside of Houston, but our county doesn't have the same restrictions. I wish they did, since stores will begin opening this Friday.
Last Friday they talked about curbside options. This Friday, non-essential stores will begin opening in Texas. It would be so much less stressful if everyone just wore masks! But I can see it already. I've seen angry reactions to Costco, requiring masks in their store. "I have a good immune system! I don't need a mask!" That enrages me! It's not about you. We wear masks to protect others from us. We don't know if we are carriers.
And if you're going to go out there in the crowds to protest, because you want to go back to work... cover your face!
Or don't. But please promise that you'll tell your people, when you get sick! Maybe they will listen to you, when you tell them what it's like in the hospital.
Appreciate Those Who Do Wear Masks
I've hardly gone anywhere in weeks, but I've worn my mask to the doctor and to the Post Office and I will continue.
I don't love wearing it. It's hot and it's hard to talk.
But when I'm out and I see someone else in a mask, I appreciate that stranger. Our eyes connect and I know we're thinking similar thoughts.
This person gets it! We are helping each other stay safe.
It's such a little thing to do.
People Who Must Wear Masks
I'm especially appreciative of those people who wear masks, for 12 hour shifts!
I just wish the people who think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion, could spend one day, doing what healthcare workers do. Every time I feel a little tired of this Covid inconvenience, I think of my daughter's friend Jessie and her coworkers, offering their nursing skills in NYC. Jessie (in white) has dealt with mask bruises, along with exhaustion and heartbreak, but she manages to smile. Thank you Jessie!
The Best Masks
I'm planning on doing my part and wearing a mask in public, for as long as it takes.
I'm going to associate masks with good things, like new daddies and sweet squirrels at the Pecan Shop on TX-71! XOXO
Science was never my favorite subject, when I was young. But I've grown to appreciate science and scientists.
My hubby-Don is a chemical engineer and both his parents were chemists. I have nothing but respect. Lately I've been missing my father-in-law, as I run across old photos and memorabilia.
Years ago, Don ran across this tiny box at his childhood home. He kept the empty box and I came across it recently.
"Immunization Against Smallpox... Potent until Oct 21, 1934"
Why did my dad-in-law keep this?
It made me curious, so I read up on Smallpox history. The first vaccine for Smallpox was discovered in 1796! It was the first vaccine to be developed against a contagious disease. The modern Smallpox vaccine emerged in 1958, a year after I was born. The disease was eradicated by 1976.
Suddenly a vaccine for Coronavirus seems so much more possible!
On April 23, I caught part of the White House briefing, where President Trump rambled on, with ideas about injecting disinfectant into the body, as a cure for Coronavirus. That was a pretty dangerous thought.
Today, Trump returned to the podium and claimed his remarks had been "sarcasm". I so wish our president would leave the job of science to the scientists and leave the humor to the comedians. As a leader, shouldn't he put the health of the people above his playful games with the press?
Missing My Father-in-Law
While doing more quarantine cleaning, I found numerous patents with my father-in-law's name. He had 55 of them.
Don's dad has been gone many years. I so wish he were here and could tell us what he thinks about all that is going on in our world. He gave wise advice as a grandfather, back when our kids had infections and illnesses. I always trusted him and he was never sarcastic.
My Only Sarcasm
So right now, I'm listening to the doctors and scientists who I respect.
Texas will begin opening up the state in a few days. Trump is ready to get stadiums and restaurants full again. But I'm going to be listening to this guy for a while longer.
#45 - Don't Like Alexa Invasion
Quarantine Family of 3
Sometimes I feel like Don and I are sharing our quarantine home, with Alexa. Most of the time, that's actually okay. She is a good sport when she answers our trivia questions or tells us about the weather. But she definitely likes Don better. She always answers him immediately. She tells me, "Hmm, I don't have an answer for that."
Don claims it's because he is polite and says "Thank you!"
Sometimes we talk about her behind her back. "Did you ask her yet? What did she say?" We don't dare say her name, or she will intrude.
But, in the evening I welcome Alexa's intrusion! We're cooking more now than ever and music has made it a lot more fun. One night, we turned on polka music and I almost killed myself. Polka-dancing on the bumpy slate floors, in our flip flops, is not safe. Then, after all our laughing and stumbling, I feared my shortness of breath was a symptom! No! We can't let Alexa's music lead us to the ER!
Don thought we needed an Echo Dot, (mini Alexa) in our bathroom. I was not sure about this invasion. I like to shower in silence. That's where I think.
But Don (who always showers first) likes to start his mornings with music. He generously leaves the music on, so when I get to the shower I can enjoy whatever he has picked.
At first I just laughed and went along with it... or turned it off. But then I began to notice how music altered my mood, each morning.
It's become a thing. I never know what music Don will pick. And thank goodness, he loves a wide range. Some mornings I walk into the shower with BB King wailing away. Another day it's Woody Guthrie. Yo Yo Ma can ease me into a peaceful morning and Frank Sinatra can get me humorously crooning along. I could pick my own tunes, but I kind of like it that Don has some fun starting our day.
Choosing My Own Music
The other day, I took on a huge cabinet cleaning project. I spent an entire day sorting, moving and scrubbing, inside and out. There's no way I would have kept at the tedious job so long, without Alexa's help.
Even though I was the one working, I felt like a spoiled princess, hollering at Alexa. She was at my service, all day long, playing the artists I requested, halting when I didn't approve, playing softer, playing louder.
When I wondered about musical artists from my youth, I just spoke up, "Alexa, play Cat Stevens" and then when I got curious about the artist... "How old is Cat Stevens?" "Is Cat Stevens still alive?"
One song led to another... musicals, symphonies, Irish jigs, tropical exotica music... on and on! I found some old favorites and I discovered some new favorites.
Here are my new Go-To Quarantine Songs!
My Tune to Sooth Coronavirus Nerves: "Begin Again" by the Piano Guys
My Quarantine Lullaby: "Slumber My Darling" by Allison Kraus, with Yo Yo Ma
Isolation Themed Song: "Waving Through a Window" by Ben Platt, from musical "Dear Evan Hanson"
I could go on and on, but those are a few fun discoveries for now.
For weeks, people have been sharing ideas for cooking and reading and TV binge watching. I actually like the idea that everyone is communicating their favorites. I jot down ideas, but I end up just going to my own lists of things to watch, read and cook. I really don't need all these tips. I'm not bored yet. But I do listen to suggestions from our kids.
At the beginning of this whole crisis, our kids chuckled about the Tiger King docu-series. Suddenly, Don and I got hooked on the creepy, addictive, odd, thought provoking series. Suddenly everybody I knew was talking about it. I will always associate the show with the pandemic.
Connecting With Kids
Watching the show gave us lots to chat about with the kids. It didn't exactly lead to philosophical discussions, but some fun ones.
Our Tiger King tangent, sent me on an old photo hunt. I pulled up these pics from our kids back in the 1990's. They have vivid memories of our visit to a private "zoo" in Oklahoma... called Safari Joe's. We determined that Safari Joe was not Joe Exotic from Tiger King, but we had a crazy time thinking about these similar places.
More Ideas from The Kids
Besides TV and movie suggestions, our kids and their spouses have given us good tips about meal kit services.
I still remember back when our kids talked about Blue Apron. Don and I thought it was a millennial thing... something we would never do. But a month ago, we were suddenly asking them for advice. It was such a treat when the first box arrived with ingredients and recipes for 3 meals. Perfect for these Stay at Home days. We've had fun cooking together and sharing our accomplishments with the kids!
It's been over a month, since our first Zoom with the kids. Zoom is just one more thing that those youngins have introduced us to. They've been patient with guiding the oldsters!
After answering so many questions about TV choices and Blue Apron and Zoom issues, the kids were ready to learn from us... or at least from Don.
The kids asked for a Zoom Meet Up, with ukuleles! Don played the uke coach and sent some music and tips ahead of time.
It was pretty funny! We all fumbled along together! Our attempt at "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", needs a whole lot more work! But we had a fun time!
Again, this is something that wouldn't have happened, without pandemic boredom! Yay for the benefits of boredom!
#43 - I Don't Like Cooking
Don the Shopper & Chef
For a couple of years, Don has been our main cook. He likes the grocery store. I don't. He likes to cook. I don't.
Like most households these days, we are cooking and dining at home a whole lot more. So, I've gotten myself into the kitchen!
A wonderful thing has happened, in the last 6 weeks. I've actually started to enjoy cooking. I appreciate that we have food to cook. That helps.
There's no rush. We've got nothing but time... to think about what food to buy, how to get it, how to cook it, where to eat our meal and what plates to use.
I even think about which placemats we should use. I dig through the forgotten pile of oldies and out they come.
Maybe I shouldn't waste so much brain power on these silly decisions.
But it cheers me, in a goofy way. Especially when I drag out old dishes, like the bunny plate from an old set, that our kids used. And of course, we have to use our 40-year-old, Royal Doulton dishes. The dishes were wedding gifts, after all. Love the earth-tone colors of 1979!
I'm in charge of comfort food. Whenever we're able to get a rotisserie chicken, I make a hearty bone broth. That makes me feel very domestic. I've recently had time to converse with some friends about all the uses for bone broth. I'm feeling extra healthy.
Banana bread! The smell of baking banana bread, is calming. But I made the broth the same day. Those odors actually do not mingle well.
Using the Fun Stuff
All this At Home time, is allowing me to dig through the pantry, for under-used appliances.
I had a great time with the Spiralizer! Only, I lost the directions and I had to wing it. That glass of wine did not help. Luckily I didn't stab myself, while fumbling around with potatoes, blades and stabber-things!
Today, Don has been smoking a brisket in this crazy smoker thing. That's a little bit more exciting than banana bread!
Oh boy, I wonder what plates we should use!
#42 - Don't Like Being Pet-less
Sweet Molly hasn't been a part of our home for nearly a decade.
Oh how I wish she was still with us, to share our home, during these Shelter in Place Times.
Scott looks like he's torturing her ears, but she was happy in this photo. Molly's ears were like a baby's blankie. Stroking those velvety ears could lower your blood pressure in a minute.
Scott and Chali's Lola, hasn't curled up on our sofa in about 3 years.
She moved to California with her parents.
Josie was a little kitten when she first spent time in our house.
Now she's a big girl in Oregon, with Heidi and Jamie. Don and I have to get our pet fixes from text photos and Zoom times.
Why No Pet?
People have asked for years if Don and I would get another pet. All my siblings have dogs. It seems like we should, but I always answer. "Not with our traveling." Most years, we've been we've been gone 1 week a month. Now, with cancelled trips, it makes me yearn for a pet. Especially one that wants to be patted all day long.
I wonder about all the pets right now. I think family dogs and cats, must be liking this sheltering time. Cats might be less thrilled, but most dogs probably love the extra attention and walks.
How are these pets going to be, when stay at home restrictions are lifted? Are there going to be a lot of depressed animals?
With all my home time, I now have time to worry about pets adjusting AFTER Covid! And with the latest news, I now have to worry about the pets getting Covid! Yikes!
There is no end to the worrying!
Today is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
Like other important things, Earth Day is not getting the proper spotlight. But, I tried to turn my focus away from the pandemic and celebrate this lovely morning. I poured coffee into the 2 earthiest mugs I could find and invited Don to head outside.
I was also took out a 2-year-old (pre-Covid) magazine, that had an article about letting trees grow old with dignity.
That was an interesting read, on Earth Day. In an eerie way, it tied into today's news. So many victims of Coronavirus, (particularly the elderly) are not able to die with dignity.
The elderly have been hit by this pandemic more dramatically than the young. But it's not just the disease, it's the treatment. We've heard horror stories about the shortage of ventilators, leading to heartbreaking decisions over who gets them. So my coffee time, in the great outdoors, made me fret over our elder trees and elder folks...
Earth Day Walk
So I told Don we should get our masks and go on a walk. We are allowed to do that!
It was cloudy and breezy and the air felt perfect.
We saw animals that didn't seem to care that it was Earth Day. They also didn't seem care that there was a pandemic.
Turtles and Toasts
The walking paths were nearly empty, but there were tons of turtles looking up at us from the bridge. We made sure to pull up masks when we spotted people coming our way. Two children in a stroller, seemed scared by our faces. Before long, I wonder if masks will look normal to everyone. Or will we get that far, with mask acceptance?
Finally we toasted to the 50th Anniversary, with our water. I bored Don, as I do every year, telling him my memories of the first Earth Day in Tallahassee, Florida.
On April 22, 1970, my diary describes 100 middle school students, marching to a dump with anti-pollution signs. We attempted to clean up the filthy site, but we failed to make more than a dent.
Home to Reality
At home the news brought us back to reality. The numbers Covid cases climb daily.
Today 2.5 million have been infected and 177,000 have died. But the good news is that our earth is getting some breaks, as most of us stay home. Pollution is dropping, skylines are become more vivid and mountains are suddenly coming into view! I hope we all are learning something from this!
On this Earth Day, I also think back to when Don and I got out and enjoyed the mountains and oceans and rivers, all over this country.
This 5-year old pic is making me excited about adventures in the future!
Cheers to Happy Pre-Covid, Mask-free, Earth Day Memories!
#40 - Don't Like Feeling Unsettled
This odd documentary is one of my favorites, but I didn't watch, when it recently popped up on TV. I'm sort of drawn to unsettling films that amuse me and worry me at the same time. Like the daily White House updates... I'm curious, but I try to stay away.
I feel a little guilty when I watch the eccentric mother/daughter duo. I feel bad that Little Edie's quirky behavior makes me laugh. That's mean.
But I also feel like I'm laughing at myself, sometimes.
I'm not rich or related to Jacqueline Kennedy, but I can relate. Little Edie was the master of sheltering in place!
4 years ago, Don and I watched Grey Gardens, during my "stay at home" chemo days. We didn't have 28 rooms, but we found ways to entertain ourselves.
Little Edie and her mother, lived reclusive lives in their derelict mansion, in the 1970's. They amused themselves with old records and lots of cats. Now and then, Little Edie put on a nice song and dance performance.
During those months in 2016, I felt a little cooped up. Like Edie, I had hair issues and wore a lot of scarves. After watching Grey Gardens, I often let Little Edie's spirit inspire some fun. Don and I got ridiculously creative with my collection of colorful scarves.
Channeling Little Edie
During these quarantine times, I haven't been in the mood to watch Grey Gardens, but I've been thinking about Little Edie and her mother. They weren't staying home for Cancer or Coronavirus. They were home by choice and they found many creative ways to amuse themselves. Little Edie knew how to have fun with "costumes". She carried on with her chatter and dance moves, while her mom watched and sometimes complained.
Sometimes I just need to put on costumes and hats. One day, I greeted my friends on Zoom, with a mask and gloves.
Don has played more of the "Big Edie" role. He puts up with my outbursts. He gets it though. When you're stuck at home, you just find more things to play with. Most of our crazier moments have NOT been captured on film. But the "Dance Like Nobody is Watching" phrase has definitely been put to use.
The documentary is a an odd one and a sad one really. I don't recommend it for comic relief during Covid-time. But it's a good reminder that we all can just get silly at home. Most of us don't have a documentary crew filming, so there will be no evidence to haunt our families in future years.
Cheers to Little Edie and her mom!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast CANCER and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. This time it was the invasion of COVID and it affected every person. I ranted for a year, until I got my COVID vaccine in March 2021.
CORONARY Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was my hubby Don, who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!
Navigating This Mess!
The most recent post is at the top, from coronary posts in 2022, back to cancer posts in 2016.
To find past posts, look below the "Archives" section, to find "Categories".