Banned from Europe
I guess this is not a huge surprise.The news this morning let us know that U.S. travelers will not be allowed in Europe.
That's okay. I already put my Italian tapes away. I hid the beautiful travel book that showed stunning photos of Cinque Terre's coast. I already knew we would be canceling our trip in October.
That's okay. We'll put it off. But not too long!
I don't want to be hiking those rugged trails along the coast, when I'm 90.
I also would rather not pose for photos, wearing a mask.
It's nice to dream about the day, when we can eventually do this trip, safely!
Back in May
All this at-home-time, is giving me lots of opportunity for plant appreciation!
For Mother's Day, the kids helped out with that. Scott & Chali gave me a fun, Home Garden Kit. Heidi and Jamie gave me a beautiful plant, already blooming and lovely! I was excited to begin enjoying a new healthy focus.
I opened up my kit, like an eager Scientist/Chef!
Sage, basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro!
I had so much fun! I was thrilled when the plants began to grow. I will not show you what they look like now. Have I really killed them all? How can this be? Luckily I have more seeds.
In March I bought flowers for the pots on the patio. It was before we went into "lockdown" and I was determined to enjoy that yard. They looked so pretty. I never thought to take a photo.
Then they started to look dreary. I took a photo because I wanted to have an image of what they looked like, before I nursed them back to health! I was sure I could do it! But they got worse and I pulled them out. What is my problem?
My hibiscus plant has been fighting bugs for months. I haven't seen a bloom all spring. I tried everything I could find in the garage, but nothing did the trick.
The plant has recently begun to get green and healthy! A few days ago, I studied the leaves with my glasses and cheered to see no bugs. And look what I found yesterday!
Oh how I needed this festive bloom! There is hope in my backyard!
Late June 2020
We lucked out in early June, but now the humidity is kicking in.
Don and I could wimp out and stay inside all day. But, we want to get out for walks and we want to enjoy the yard. It's hot, but we need to absorb sunshine.
Feels Like 1960's
This summer feels like the summers of my childhood, when the days were hot and long. We stayed close to home and often complained, "I'm bored!" I didn't go to summer camps or even swimming pools when I was very young. When we got hot and sticky, we played in hoses and sprinklers
This 1964 photo, was taken in a park, in Staten Island. I loved that crazy sprinkler and I loved my flip flops. We called them thongs.
I haven't played in a sprinkler in a long time, but I had a chance the other morning.
I was on a run, when I came upon a little water excitement!
I paused to snap a pic and thought about veering off to avoid getting wet. Then, I decided to just enjoy the fun.
The cool water felt refreshing! I was a little surprised to suddenly realize I wasn't the only one heading right through the sprinklers. I saw a woman coming towards me.
As she came closer, I was able to see the woman was wearing something special. She wore a mask over her face and over that, she wore a clear, protective face shield! I've seen that before, but never walking through sprinklers! I stepped into the grass and tried not to laugh. That would have been okay, since she wouldn't have been able to see me. She didn't have windshield wipers and she appeared to be a little blinded.
I suddenly knew it was 2020, not 1964!
It wasn't summer of 1967, either. There were no face shields and mask wearing families in 1967. But there were fine yard sprinklers that rotated back and forth!
Wish I could go back and enjoy that hot and muggy backyard in Tallahassee, Florida!
For the last 5 days, the weather has matched my mood. We've had long rains and muggy, breeze-less mornings. These are the downer news updates that match the weather...
The number of global Covid cases reached 10 million.
Many people are still ranting over the freedom to NOT wear a mask.
The hospitals in our area are gearing up for ICU bed shortages, just like
Texas, Florida and Arizona, are emerging as the county's latest epicenters.
U.S. cases have surpassed 2.5 million.
Those are my covid related worries. There are other thoughts on my mind...
I've been keeping an eye out for rainbows, but I haven't seen one since this rainbow, a month ago.
I need another bit of rainbow distraction.
Right now, I'm thinking about our special neighbors, dealing with heartbreaking loss... in a time when hugs and even casseroles are difficult to offer. I'm worrying about a friend, who had her worrisome surgery postponed, due to covid issues.
I'm sad that both our kids and spouses live a couple thousand miles away. Poor Scott has 5 stitches in his foot right now, from a little mishap. I can't run over with a card and cookies.
I need to make my daily call to Dad. But I'm tired and I'm running out of clever converstaion starters.
I'm going to keep an eye out. We're due for another rainbow.
If I were a kid, I would crawl up in this tree and just hide out for the day. There's nothing good about today.
There is a huge statewide spike in Covid cases. Yesterday, there were nearly 6,000 new cases reported in Texas. The Texas Medical Center (I believe the largest in the world) filled all their ICU beds and created a COVID "war room"
Luckily, our governor has finally taken notice. He ordered bars to close and restaurants to reduce seating capacity. Elective surgeries are being put off again.
But, this list of worries is not the saddest part of the day. The worst part came with a phone call.
This morning, I got a call from a friend with news of an unexpected death. That is all I will say. I'm troubled and heartbroken and confused, but my feelings are nothing, compared to the emotions of my friend. We have shared news and hugs many times over the years. I can't believe I can't run give her a hug.
Thinking of Trees
So, I won't go climb a tree to escape right now. I'd probably fall and have to go to ER. That's not something anyone wants to do right now.
So I'll think about trees. That's always been a soothing escape for me. If I can't climb them, I can look at them. If I'm inside and I can't see any, I can close my eyes and draw them in my head.
I'm not making that up. It works for me.
I've been griping about mask-griping, for months.
This little squirrel (who looks out, over TX 71) has been my Facebook profile photo for a long time.
Today, I changed my profile pic, to this one. Maybe it looks a little sassy, with hands on hips. Masks have become so political, especially on FB.
But now the county we live in, has a mask orders in affect.
Some I'm sure are mad, but I'm relieved.
What's Your Excuse?
If I see you in a store without a mask, you better have a good excuse.
Even Van Gogh is making an attempt. I know masks can smudge make up. I know they're hot. I know we can't show off our lipstick color. But most of us are lucky. We don't have to wear them for 8+ hours.
I Like These
I've spotted some good reminders.
I have yet to see anything very clever, that argues for the freedom to not to wear masks.
So Many Styles
You'd think some people would be excited about all the style and fabric options.
These comfy masks were made by my incredible neighbor. In March, she made masks for friends on our street. The polka-dotted one was my very first mask!
I found out that my friend who is an artist, had some of her paintings featured on masks. I ordered some sweet koi fish and elephants for me. Don went for a retro space theme.
Don loves a tiki theme as much as me, so he ordered us some tropical masks from Trader Joe's! We'll need holes for our straws, with these!
I think I'm ready to order a few more masks now. I might need a mask for every mood.
Seriously though. If masks are required... and if people really start wearing them, we really may slow down this spread down. The hospitals won't become overwhelmed and fewer will die.
Plus, mask orders could boost the economy.
I know I'll feel safer getting out there shopping, if I know others are wearing masks.
We all need to protect each other!
Don has it easy. He's been cutting his own hair for years. He looks pretty much the same, except for the quarantine beard... which has now bcome just a mustache.
Don's had some fun with his hair growth. I have not.
I was long overdo for a hair cut & color, when my salon closed down in April.
But suddenly it didn't matter what my hair looked like anymore. I pulled it back in ponytails and shrugged in the mirror at the gray roots.
Then I saw this photo that Don took a couple weeks ago. Sheesh. I never see the side of my head, that way. Long and stringy and some creepy coloring!
I called for an appointment a while back and now June 24th is suddenly here! Should I go? The National news is telling us scary things about the covid spread in Texas!
But I didn't cancel this time. I went ahead and drove over, reminding myself that I'd made my appointment early, so I would be the first client.
I knew my stylist would be wearing a mask and that I would be too.
When I arrived I was glad to see this sign on the door.That sign actually just went up on the door today. Today is the first day that our county is requiring masks in businesses. I am thrilled.
I'm not thrilled to share this photo. I look really bad. I was also kind of anxious. How was this going to work?
But I told my stylist (who happens to be wonderful) that I was feeling worried. She moved her equipment cart, with shampoos and blowdryers and scissors, down the hall to a room that is not being used right now.
She wore her mask and I wore mine. I took the loops off and held the mask to my face when needed. I was glad to hear her share her concerns about people not taking this pandemic seriously. We were together 2 hours, but I felt safe and happy. Her job has become much harder, I tipped well.
I was relieved that I got to go home and take off my mask.
I posed with my elephant mask and felt lighter, with no hair hanging on my shoulders.
Maybe I should have just let my gray hair take over. Maybe I should have let Don chop off a few inches.
Too bad I have nowhere to go, with my freshly fixed hair.
I'm still not tempted to dine out in a restaurant. But that doesn't mean I don't miss dining out. Our carryouts never taste as good when eaten at home. Especially our favorite Chinese and Thai foods. Sushi does not taste good, eaten from a plastic container.
But, I've decided the proper dishes help a lot! Our feast from Mori Sushi tasted much more exciting, when we put it on these little dishes.
I think I bought these plates at an Asian grocery store years ago. I can't believe we still have them.
I'm so glad, because I needed them, so I could pretend I was dining at Panda Garden.
Luckily I found a few of these special spoons tucked into a drawer, so I could properly eat my Vietnamese pho. The little plastic spoon that came with the carryouts looked like it couldn't hold the weight of all those heavy veggies and chicken!
When we finally get a vaccine, I'm going to go to Houston's Asia Town and pick one of their 100+ restaurants for lunch. Then I will go have a Chinese foot massage! Yes!
... During Pandemic Times
I don't know any woman who loves her annual mammogram appointment.
But it's even more stressful these days. In recent months, we were encouraged to put off non-essential appointments. I could have procrastinated. But I was happy to go get this done. This pandemic might be crazier, later. Who knows.
I was able to get an early appointment, so that was nice. They even had the door propped open, for more airflow... I guess. I was happy to see the reminder about masks. And I was glad to see such an empty waiting area.
I put on my hideous blue gown, which clashed a little with my mask. I did the mammogram thing. And then I had to do the ultrasound thing... because 4 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have to be sure.
But I had a nice surprise. I had a technician I've never seen before. She was the most gentle, relaxed person ever. No holding my breath or making fists. She was a magic technician. I left in a good mood.
Hope my results are good ones.
No Kids and Dads Together
So here we go again. One more holiday or celebration, with just the 2 of us!
We had no kids to celebrate with us. And I was hundreds of miles away from my own dad. But at least we enjoyed a very unhealthy breakfast, on the balcony.
I was able to get the Sunday New York Times for a special treat. We haven't looked at a real newspaper in years!
When I called my dad, I told him I was looking at the Sunday Times. That's one of the fun things Dad enjoys weekly, while being trapped in his locked-down assisted living facility in Missouri. I thought we could look at our papers and share a little. But we didn't actually want to talk about Trump going to Tulsa... or the culture wars in churches... or Trump firing the prosecutor.
It rained a bit during the day, so it was cozy in the house. Don and I watched a "Master Class" on the internet.
Wolfgang Puck taught us how to cook Pepper Steak with Red Wine Sauce. Luckily Don likes to cook, so he wasn't a bit bothered by cooking on Father's Day.
I made humongous twice baked potatoes, so there was no room for healthy green vegetables on our plates.
The highlight of the day was Zooming with our kids. It's not quite as good as being together. After Zooming, we had to have some gift time. With our stay-at-home time, internet shopping has been a little too easy! Mother's and Father's Day gift time was a little overdone this year!
Our last bit of celebrating had to do with cheesecake. I didn't trust my cooking, since I've had some major flubs lately. So I happily picked one up from Whole Foods, early in the morning. I haven't gone inside a grocery store since mid March. I broke my no-grocery-shopping-record, to be sure we had something sweet for Daddy Don!
Happy Father's Day!
Rally in Tulsa
Our family lived in Tulsa for 7 years. I have fond memories of the city.
Today, I'm glad I'm not in Tulsa. Crowds have been lining up for days, to attend Trump's first campaign rally at BOK Center. This is not the time for thousands to gather inside a building! No one will be required to wear masks. Covid numbers are rising in Oklahoma.
It is also not the time to be taking away from Tulsa's Juneteenth outdoor celebrations this weekend. Celebrations began yesterday in the historic Greenwood District.
Juneteenth is getting an extra spotlight this year. The recent focus on racial injustice has suddenly made more people aware of the special day in June, that marks the end of slavery in 1865.
Tulsa's Greenwood District is also getting more focus, because more people are learning about the massacre that took place here, 99 years ago.
In 1921, angry mobs torched this area and about 300 were killed. Homes and businesses were destroyed. I've been worried about what might happen with these two events occurring so near each other in Tulsa.
On the news, I saw people carrying weapons.
I watched the news and saw people in Maga hats and BLM shirts in the streets. How could I not think about the race riots nearly a century ago?
Why did Trump need to have this rally in Tulsa, NOW?
So it's late now. The event in BOK is over. Fewer attended the rally than expected. There were a million RSVPS, but only 6,660 thousand inside. That's a whole different thought.
I'm glad Tulsa came out okay. This photo with a BLM protester and a man in a MAGA hat, is a positive one. I'm feeling very relieved.
Lately, we have been reminded of the not so good parts. of our country's history. Today is the annual holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the US. 155 years ago, the news that slavery was abolished, came to Galveston, TX.
That announcement came 2+ years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. I've seen the building in Galveston, where that announcement was made, but I never knew the history. I don't think I knew anything about the celebration of Juneteenth, until after we moved to Texas 20+ years ago.
This history is sad, but I am so happy that more and more people have become aware of the holiday, this year. It is a day to celebrate freedom.
Here is my tiny gesture of celebration... on my porch.
News in the Morning
Sometimes I forget to check the local news. I watch National news and see how all the states are doing and sometimes they mention the Houston area.
Texas is getting some attention, along with Florida, Arizona and Oregon. We have something in common. Rising numbers of cases.
You can try to blame the rising number of cases, on all the extra testing. But rising numbers of hospitalizations, is a different story. We all want that hospital bed if we need it!
A lot of people aren't worrying about these numbers. Texas is a huge state. But, 2,622 cases reported in one day! That's enough to make me stay home.
But I don't stay home. I head off to walk or run.
I get out and live in the moment. I watch the turtles and red-winged blackbirds and study the Cypress tree knees. I don't think about Covid or elections or anything else. Yay.
There's always a new worry. Now it's about mail service.
We need a good mail service, especially this fall. This pandemic could make voting a nightmare in the fall.
Best Mail Carrier
I've been using the mail service a lot more in past months. I appreciate all the people who have made it possible for me to receive and send cards and letters.
Here is my favorite mail carrier of all time. Minouz no longer delivers our mail, but I think about her and all those who have been handling our deliveries during these stressful times.
Father's Day Package
On Monday, I packaged up some gifts for my dad. I should have made it easy with online shopping and shipping. But after over a dozen weeks of daily phone chats with my dad... I for the first time know what would actually delight my dad.
I ordered a few out of print books, related to stories my dad has told recently. I am grateful for all the memories and stories that have surfaced over these quarantine days.
Worn and Weary
Once packaged up, I made a trip to the post office. I could have just thrown a million stamps on the large envelope and tossed it in the box nearest my house. Just look at that sad postal box, where I mail my cards and letters.
But I headed to the Sugar Land post office and parked in front of the faded building. It was a reminder that the postal service could use some money. The interior looked just as weary.
I wore my mask and stood at the end of a long line. There were strips of yellow tape to keep us standing apart.
As I moved to the yellow line closest to the door, I studied the sloppy signs taped to the glass. Wow! Masks are required! I love it. I looked around and counted 13 people in both rooms. Everyone wore a mask. That made my day!
June 16, 2016
Four years ago today, I went in for a lumpectomy. Don went with me early that morning and my daughter drove in from Austin, to join us at the hospital. It was good to have support.
There's nothing exactly fun about any kind of surgery, but Don and Heidi made me laugh. I remember hamming it up for a few pics in my hospital gown.
My surgery was no big deal for the doctor, but it was a mighty big deal for me. Don and Heidi kept me distracted and relaxed before I headed in.
Right now I'm thinking of all the people who have faced hospital worries alone, because of the Covid crisis. My daughter-in-law had a scary ER experience in April. Alone. My dear friend faced breast surgery alone, last week.
I was able to come home later that day. Heidi and Don pampered me and I even managed a song or two on the uke. (my drugs must have helped)
My friend didn't have it so easy last week. She was dropped off at the hospital and had to stay the night. She is just one of many in past months, who have faced scary surgeries or illnesses... or even the happy births of babies, all by themselves.
Then and Now
So today I'm thinking about that summer day, in 2016. I'm remembering the days and weeks and months that followed.
We hunkered down and focused on health and kept fingers crossed about the future and connected with friends and family and focused on the things that were important and filled the house with upbeat, whimsical decor and read and ate and watched positive things on TV and we worried about the election in November and we lived in the moment and enjoyed the yard and looked at photo albums and dreamed of all the trips we'd take... and we played ukuleles. Just like now.
Funny. It all sounds very familiar.
We are still staying home and entertaining ourselves. I've lost track of how many puzzles we've done.
I should say, '...how many puzzles Don has done.' He has a lot more patience than me. The photo above shows my favorite kind of puzzle. It's wooden and has a very fun image, with "whimsy" pieces, in curious shapes. Oh how I love the word whimsical!
And give me a magical little image like these kiddos in the clouds!
And please no more than 500 pieces. I just don't have the attention span these days!
This is a fun puzzle! My friend gave this to me 4 years ago, when I was going for chemo treatments.
Each tiny cube has 6 sides, so there are 6 image options! Woohoo for this one. And woohoo for not having chemo... or covid.
If the puzzle has more than 500 pieces, then I better have a podcast to listen to. And the puzzle better have a nice picture! I prefer the images that take me on a trip. Mountains, cottages, beaches and maps! They all let me dream of vacations!
It doesn't really matter how many pieces, actually. I just let Don go at it. My quarantine buddy is the best. If I'm not around when he's close to finishing, he calls me as if I were a 6 year old... or a princess. Yep, he let's me put in the last 20 or so pieces. I'm not a bit above that!
Churches in Texas
Today is Sunday and I've been thinking about churches. Many are open in our state, now. I wish people just keep praying from home. The Covid cases are rising again.
The closest I got to church this week, was a drive by on Monday. I drove by Fountain of Praise Chapel, early in the morning, before they opened for a public viewing of George Floyd. The next day, I watched the televised "Homegoing" Celebration. I heard hymns and listened to Al Sharpton and local pastors and family... That was my church this week.
Preaching Through Actions
Every Sunday, Joel Osteen's sermon is televised from a huge arena in Houston. I've watched for a few minutes, but I've never attended. I do however remember sitting in those seats long ago, cheering the Houston Rockets and watching my daughter swoon over the boy band, NSYNC.
Now I'm suddenly curious to hear what Joel Osteen has to say. The other day I saw him on the news. He was attending a peaceful protest and wearing a mask and I wondered. I am ready to start listening to all kinds of people I ignored before.
Over a week ago, I was watching live TV when I spotted our president, standing with a bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church. This was quite a different religious moment on TV.
Minutes before, I had watched peaceful protesters being cleared, before Trump's arrival. I cringed at my TV. 'Why are they using tear gas? What's going on?' Suddenly the president was standing there, awkwardly holding a bible. "Why Mr. President? Why are you standing there holding that bible?" I really wanted to ask him that.
It was also about a week ago, that a Facebook "friend" shared a post that sickened me. Her comment was in response to a short video showing some white folks in Houston, "begging for forgiveness..." This is a tricky subject, but that's not what upset me.
This "friend" on Facebook has been sharing over 10 ranting posts per day. I only engaged once before. Then I gave up and ignored her posts. But this post was just wrong, for so many reasons. I was disgusted to see her pathetic words, especially when she thinks of herself as a good Christian.
This is the kind of ugliness I'm seeing on Facebook right now. I responded to her post and then I unfriended, after her response. I have never blocked or unfriended anyone before... but I decided my mental health would be better, without her.
Prayers from My Dear Friend
It's been interesting seeing how religion is being used, during these times of crisis. I've decided if I need a little religion boost, I will take mine from Miss Margie. I have enjoyed the friendship of Margie for over 6 years, at the center where I volunteer. She always gives me a hug and handwritten bible verse.
I haven't been able to meet with my Around the Quilt Senior Groups, since March. However, Margie has kept in touch over the phone. The last time we talked, she said she was doing well. We chatted and then she said a prayer, a very long prayer for Miss Beth. Her voice was sweet and sincere. I smiled as she spoke and we "Amen-ed" together.
I love Miss Margie. She looks much younger, but she's actually my mother's age. I pray that she stays well, so we can gather together when this is all over!
For a few months I've studied window view images, posted from around the world.
The Facebook group "View from my window' gained momentum, when people all over the world were under stay- at-home orders. There were images of snowy mountain scenes, kangaroos in the yard, breathtaking beach sunsets... all from windows.
Anyone could contribute, but I just looked. I didn't want to compete with all those Instagram-Perfect photos. I was tempted to just share this photo of an art piece, that happens to be in the bathroom. I like pretending that's really my view!
Actually, have a pretty nice view from upstairs. This little balcony on the back of the house, hasn't had a person on it for about 10 years.
The wrought iron furniture has gotten rusty and the wood is dried out. But in late March, I started taking my coffee and cereal up there in the morning. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Then I displayed some Tibetan prayer flags on the railing. They flutter in the breeze while I watch ducks on the water or birds overhead. Sometimes I spot an interesting bird... walking on the hedges.
The balcony gets lots of sun in the evening, but in April the weather was still cool enough to have a little happy hour, without melting in the sunshine.
Don and I have waved to a few neighbors, on their walks. We've watched strangers, strolling with their dogs or kids. I've spotted a couple of photo shoots, with young graduates in their gowns. I've seen women dressed in saris and some people wearing face masks. I guess some people have watched us too. "Look at that lady in the silly straw hat!"
We got to watch a fire truck do a little hose practice one day.
We were glad they weren't needed for any emergencies.
Sun and Rain
The most fun, was watching the Blue Angels when they did a fly-over in Houston. They were loud and fast, but the quick show gave so many people in Texas and Louisiana a lift, on that very same day!
I wish the balcony had a roof. I would love to sit out during the rain. Maybe I'll take an umbrella out there, next time.
The oddest thing I saw was in March, when I spotted an ice cream truck. It passed over the bridge, accompanied by an eerie recording of Greensleeves. It felt like a mirage at that time, because no one was leaving their homes then. We and our neighbors were hunkered down, struggling to understand what this pandemic was all about. That seems so long ago!
By mid April, we started spotting more people fishing around the lake. Kids with poles wandered over from their homes. One day a few trucks arrived and teenagers set up a tent. I started to feel like nosy, Mrs. Kravitz. I wanted to march out there and remind them of social distancing. But they pretty much just fished.
Spiffing up With Paint
By the time May rolled around, I was tired of covering the rusty chairs with towels.
Yay, for Stay at Home projects... even though many people in Texas are not staying home, once the state started opening up in May.
But I'm just going to keep enjoying the view and keeping close to home.
The days are getting warmer, but the sunsets are getting better. And there's a good breeze up here! Maybe it's time for nighttime star-gazing from the balcony.
I Miss This Porch
With Stay at Home Days, I miss a good front porch.
I spent a lot of time playing on this porch, as a kid in Grinnell, Iowa. Now I'd love to sit on a front porch just like this and wave over to my neighbors.
People don't sit on porches much around here. But I do use my little porch.
I've cleared out lots of stuff during all this home time. I recently put a few boxes on the porch for a "HAP" donation pick up.
As you can see, a UPS box was delivered and placed in front of all my boxes.
That could have been a big problem, when the donation truck arrived. Luckily and not luckily, the UPS package didn't get "donated". The donation truck failed to come, so I lugged those boxes back inside.
We had another problem on the porch recently. Our Blue Apron meal prep box, arrived damaged.
The box was wet and torn. One of the ice packets broke and most of the goods had to be tossed. That was not a fun surprise.
A Nice Surprise
This photo shows my favorite porch surprise! I shared this May Day photo a while back.
This little discovery took me back to my childhood days in Iowa, when kids delivered May Day baskets! My old porch in the photo above, was involved in lots of May Day deliveries.
Our little porch has handled many porch goodies during pandemic days. We've had grocery deliveries and restaurant deliveries.
This Black Bear Diner bag, was left on the porch on a Sunday morning. It wasn't a surprise, but it was surprisingly good!
Don and I pretended we were at a diner having breakfast. It was delicious. If we'd had a big front porch we would have eaten it on the porch!
Message on the Porch
Nobody comes onto our porch these days, except delivery folks. UPS guys, the mail carrier occasionally and a rare food delivery.
I don't know these people and I don't see them, but I made a sign the other day. I just wanted to share a message in a tiny way. I don't know if anyone has noticed.
Maybe I'll make a different message each week. Yes, I'm going to work on a new sign, since this one is falling apart.
Texas in June
Our state began opening more than a month ago. Memorial Day gatherings were two weeks ago. It's not surprising that the number of Texans hospitalized with Covid, hit all-time highs in the last three days.
We've reached 2 million cases in the U.S., so I guess Don and I should be in no hurry to get on the road and explore Texas or anywhere.
It's hard to hold back. Don and I are used to just going NOW. We never wait for the perfect time to travel. We don't go to Holland when the tulips are in bloom. We don't wait for the rains to stop to go to the beach. We like being flexible and adapting, when we travel. It's part of the challenge.
But for now, we'll just think about FUTURE adventures. Maybe at some point, we'll figure out how to navigate some kind of pandemic travel.
Hill Country Escape
I can't really complain, because we have a cabin and we can escape. Yesterday, we headed out to spend a couple days in Sunrise Beach.
There's no real beach in Sunrise Beach, but we can enjoy birds and deer and a distant view of Lake LBJ.
And in the morning, I can run on a quiet road with no worries about other people.
All I had was an encounter with some fawn twins. That made me smile.
I ran across this box of cards the other day. We haven't used these converstaion starters before, because who needs help with conversing? Well I do now.
I used them with my dad on the phone! What a nice boost. I didn't have to be the clever one, coming up with tricky strategies for conversing.
Dad's been on lockdown for months. I've got to stop saying, "How's it going?"
I told Dad I was pulling a card. I read and he was so quick to answer. "Beach!" I didn't know that Dad preferred beaches to mountains. He answered, "Me!" when I asked who was the most optimistic person he knew. Well, I guess. Every day he says he's perfect when I stupidly ask, "How are you?"
Zoom With Kids
On Sunday afternoon, Don and I had a "Cold Weather Zoom" with the kids. They were having chilly weather in OR and CA and it was in the 90's in Houston.
We cranked the a.c. lower at our house and we all put on cozy clothes and drank drinks from mugs. I asked the kids about mountains vs. beach. I was surprised that more said mountains, than beach. But look at us, dressed for mountains!
We talked for almost 2 hours and didn't need the cards. We talked about how we hoped to getting together for Christmas. We wondered if it was possible to meet up in the west, if Don and I drove. We did a lot of laughing but the comment, "We just need to all live closer." was not a joke. We are all feeling the distance.
Zoom with Sibs
10 minutes after we finished with our kids, we zoomed with my 3 siblings and spouses. This was our first. It was wonderful to see each other. We all wished that the 8 of us could meet up in Michigan, like we did a year ago.
We needed no cards to help us talk. There was so much to share. My younger bro and wife showed us their new dogs and gave us weather updates. Hurricane Cristobal was making landfall in Nola.
My sister told us about the peaceful protest she attended in Eugene, OR. My older brother told us how much more work he's getting done, working from home in Idaho.
We talked about current events... which led to my older bro sharing about his memories of being tear gassed when demonstrating at the Republican Convention in 1972. Oh, these conversations!
And then we talked about what we missed most, since this pandemic started. No one talked about missing movie theatres or gyms or restaurants. We talked about travel and hugs (with friends) and seeing each other.
I miss good conversation with family... in person!
Yesterday I drove by Fountain of Praise Church in the morning. It was before the church opened for public visitation. I just looked from the car.
Today, I watched the live coverage of George Floyd's memorial service on TV. It was moving to see over 500 guests filling the church. Many wore white and all wore masks. It was an eerie reminder that this has all happened during the trying times of the Covid pandemic.
The music was powerful. Sounds of an organ filled the space at first. Then gospel singers, with voices exploding with emotion. A choir joined in above the stage, carefully distanced from each other. None of this was like the Catholic church I grew up with. I was envious.
When family members paid tribute to George Floyd, I felt their loss. I teared up, when I heard the pain in the voices, of his sister and aunt and brothers. I didn't understand all the pain behind their loss, but I tried hard to imagine what life was, is and will be for them. After two weeks of protests, it suddenly became very clear that this was the death of a real human being, not just a name.
Baking is always a good way to lift spirits. The service went on for hours. I kept the TV on, but moved into the kitchen. I needed to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. It felt good to listen to the voices and to smell the sweet smells.
But I was distracted in the kitchen. I should have noticed the batter was soupy, when I filled two cookies sheets. This is what cookies look like when you skip the flour. This was a problem, because I wasn't making them for me.
I was making cookies for a friend, who just came back from the hospital today. Luckily I also had a plant to give, so off I dashed to put the plant and "Oatmeal Niblets" on her doorstep. I hope this plant that I re-potted, doesn't die. I've been flubbing a lot of things lately.
I drove home, listening to the radio. I wanted to stay connected to what was happening, just miles away. I returned home just in time to see the funeral procession heading to the cemetery.
I saw the end of the the procession with horses and wagon. I saw people standing along the road watching. It reminded me of when I was 6 and my family drove to D.C. to watch the funeral procession for JFK. Don and I should have driven over to watch.
I'm glad George Floyd was being taken to his mother... buried next to the one he called out for, minutes before he passed.
This was a sad day.
This morning I found myself stressing over the fact that there was a public visitation for George Floyd, 15 miles from our house. So close and it was open to the public.
Two weeks ago his brutal death sparked protests. I've watched the marches and listened to angry voices about racial injustice and now there's talk of defunding police. It's been intense, but today felt different.
I knew I wasn't up for a visitation. I have a hard time with visitations period. But, there was something that felt peaceful on this morning. The focus was on a person and I was drawn to that.
Many of us have found that our cars can offer a little bit of escape, during these pandemic days. Our cars allow us to get out and see a little. I haven't done that much.
In the Car
But, today at 9:00 am, I got in the car with some water and a mask... just in case and I drove.
I headed for Fountain of Praise on Hilcroft. It was early, so the Park & Ride shuttles hadn't started up.
I was happy when the traffic halted off and on. I was able to see the flags flapping in the breeze and see the church ahead... with rows of porta-potties and numerous TV news vans.
As we got a little closer I could see more people heading on foot to the church. Some were dressed in Sunday best, but most were dressed for the sweltering temps that had been predicted. They would be lining up for a long time.
After I passed by, I turned down a street and spotted this tent selling tee shirts. Usually I would have thought, "How could they profit from this!" But not today.
I was glad there was a reason for me to stop. I felt like I wanted to connect with anyone, before I headed home. I threw on my mask and headed over. The folks were busy setting up, but pleasant and happy to tell me that proceeds went to the family. That didn't matter to me. I just needed to buy a shirt to help me remember this morning. I just wanted anyone to profit from it. It felt good to talk a bit and head home with my purchase.
When I got home, I needed to do one more thing before I could relax. I made a tiny sign and stuck it in the plant on the porch. No one comes to our porch anymore, but the UPS guys. Some are white and some are black. It's my little message for all of them.
I sat with my coffee and watched CBS Sunday Morning. The show was a surprising reminder of all that has happened in just one week.
During a week of protests across the country, our capital made some quick and symbolic changes, like changing name of a street.
All week, cameras continued to capture some ugly moments, but I saw more and more good images. Peaceful groups of all races, marching together and wearing masks! People in uniform uniting with protesters... kneeling, hugging...
During a commercial break, I looked at a Facebook post. My neighborhood evidently had a small "march" with families and signs, yesterday. How did I miss that?"
The neighborhood photos, showed kids with homemade posters. A couple of signs said, "Black Lives Matters", but most just had words about kindness.
I read the thread of comments on the post. Lots of praise for the kids. Lots of cheers for spreading the love. And and then there were a couple lame reminders, that "All Lives Matter!". Yes. We know. I was glad to see a few gentle comments explaining, why that is not appropriate right now.
Black Lives Matter
While some spent time this week griping about the BLM movement, others painted the yellow words on the road that leads to the White House. I'm sure many think this was vandalism. No.
Those who have a hard time understanding, should remind themselves that the word "only" does NOT appear before those 3 words. Why is it so complicated?
Protests and Pandemic
This is the 9th day of protests against police brutality. What is this... the 5th month of Coronavirus in the States?? There's lots on our minds and humor sometimes helps.
But I absolutely can't tolerate the snarky stuff I see on Facebook, by people who aren't sensitive about others at all.
New Yorker Humor
This is the humor I can handle right now.
Thank you, New Yorker magazine. Some of this quarantine humor is already dated, but it's simple and nonpolitical and just about right.
As for the virus that is killing people and racial injustice that is killing people... I just see no humor.
Cancer - Covid
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. Only this time, it was affecting more than me.
Coronavirus and Cancer! Both are evil, but neither can totally get me down... if I vent! I hope with Covid, I run out of complaints before 200!