Three Zooms A Day Keeps the Dr. Away

Today was as normal a day as I have had in the last three weeks. When I say normal I mean most like my life Pre-Social Distancing. I had my first Zoom this morning with my Needlepoint group. Three of us were able to make it and it was wonderful to see my friends faces as well as hear their voices as we caught up on what has been going on for the last wee bit.

Then after lunch I had a Zoom with my minister Chris and our church receptionist, Barb, so we could talk about plans for our new fellowship hall. I had a construction zoom yesterday and needed to make electrical decisions for security systems. I was quite impressed that Chris was able to set up the Zoom and send the invites. Technology is not usually his thing but this new world has taught him new and useful skills.

Tonight I had my last Zoom with friends from my boarding school class. My friend Mary initiated the gathering and my roommate Nancy joined us. We expected a couple others who never materialized, but we had so much fun we are going to do it again next Tuesday evening so all you Walkers girls from the class of ‘79 come join us. You can find the link to the zoom on our Walkers Facebook page. If you don’t know how to figure it out message me and I will help you.

Getting to spend time with Mary and a Nancy tonight is a bonus of this social distancing. We probably would not have thought of having a Zoom unless we were planning a reunion. The reconnections this new world is offering us is something I hope we continue when we are allowed to re-emerge.

I got nothing productive done today in the crafting/puzzling or cooking world, but I was filled with happiness and love by seeing and talking with my friends.

Empty Calendar

I had two things on my calendar that actually happened today. First was an online Mah Jongg game with my friend Ann who was in Annapolis and then a zoom video meeting of the construction/architects crew for the building I am working on at Church. It felt practically productive to have anything on my calendar.

The rest of the day was filled walking, watering the garden, washing the kitchen floor and playing Monopoly with Carter. I made her cry which did not make me feel good, but she will beat me eventually.

The true highlight of the day was two different Amazon deliveries. One was freeze dried liver treats for Shay that come on subscription and the second one was replacement brushes for the robot vacuum. These parts were not expected for three days so getting something in one day delivery is cause for celebration. I also think actually seeing the delivery man through the glass door and screaming “thank you” to him was part of the excitement. This is what we have devolved to for fun, replacing a part on the vacuum.

It has only been under two weeks that I have been social distancing and what I consider a fulfilling day is drastically swirling down hill. I am trying my best to feel fulfilled by doing my part staying home. I am most excited that my high school friend Mary has planned a zoom happy hour for tomorrow at 6:30. My roommate Nancy has opted in. So any EWS friends if you want to join send me a message. I like to have something on the calendar that does not involve the vacuum.

Hell Might Have Frozen Over

In proof that the world has changed Carter asked me if I wanted to play Monopoly today. Normally I have had to beg my family members to play games with me. Before Russ and I were married he would play gin rummy with me. Once we got married he told me he hated games and stopped playing. It felt like a bait and switch, but I loved him enough to keep him.

My daughter takes after he father. It doesn’t help that when she was little and would attempt to play games with me I would beat her, thus souring her to playing games at all. So it came as such a big surprise that Carter initiated this game with me.

As Carter set the game up I also was play Mah Jongg online with other friends. It was like a dream come true, playing two games at the same time. The only way this was possible was Carter’s willingness to be both banker and real estate broker.

Carter also spent the better part of the day building a charging station for Russ’ power tool batteries. I know she would rather be doing wood working than playing a game, so it was nice she split her time between parents.

We know we are in this stay safe at home period for a while and Carter left the game set up on the game table. That gives me hope she will initiate another game. I can only pray.

Fun Like a Regular Day

As I sit in the sunroom with the pollen hazy light filtering through the dogwood blossoms I can hear the basket ball bouncing on our neighbor’s driveway. They generously let Russ and Carter play since we have a gravel driveway which is unsuitable for basketball.

“Stuck” at home has been lovely for me today. I was up early so I could actually shower since I was having a Mah Jongg game online with Christy and Deanna. When I told Shay we were having Mah Jongg she went to the front door to wait for her friends to arrive. She has not gotten used to greeting people on Face Time and was sorely disappointed not to get a snuggle from Christy.

After a fun time of playing with the new card we parted so I could go outside and supervise the excellent work that Russ and Carter were doing in the garden. In a miracle from above our rototiller started after non use for the last two years. As Russ tilled the driveway gardens and the zinnia garden by the street Carter planted herbs by the front door garden. The smell of basil made her crave tomatoes, which thankfully we have as I am no good at growing tomatoes.

After lunch I went to the sweat shop to work on my quilt. I have been dragging it out as I figure I am not going to be able to take it to my long arm quilter for quite some time. While quilting I started watching the third season of Ozark. I want to drag that out too.

Then Deanna texted me for another Mah Jongg session. If I have to stay home I am thankful that I get to do things I love. My wish for all of you is that you are healthy and occupied with fun too.

No Mah Jongg Christmas, But It’s OK

If this were a regular year tomorrow would be pop-up holiday at my house. The new Mah Jongg card arrived today, normally known as Mah Jongg Christmas at my house. Sadly with the stay at home order I am not having a spur of the moment Mah Jongg Party. Instead I will be playing Mah Jongg on the app called “Real Mah Jongg.”

Real Mah Jongg is a very good way to play The National Mah Jongg League way. If you have never tried it go on and down load the app because they give you a two week free trial. After that it costs $6.99 a month, which is steep for a game, but in these times we have no other choice.

You can play against the computer, real people who you don’t know, or your friends who you invite to play with you. So social distancing is not the best for Mah Jongg since it is all about playing with your friends, but this will have to do.

The canceling of Mah Jongg Christmas is nothing compared to people who have to postpone or cancel their wedding, the prom, graduations, or other major celebrations. I am also certain we will not be having Easter at Church no matter what any particular politician says. It all just goes into the story of the year we all stayed home.

But being home with our little family has advantages of its own and that is how I am choosing to look at this. We will be a lot more appreciative of things after all of this is done.

Time to Clean Your House Again

Last week I noticed on social media a lot of my friends deep cleaning their houses due to being stuck at home. I commented to one friend that none of us will ever have anyone see our house in that pristine condition since we were all stuck home alone. I think many people also wanted to disinfect their spaces just in case.

Now this week in Durham as well as so many other places we are ordered to stay home. This means that that if you have someone come clean your house they can’t come for a while. Now you are going to have to clean your own home. My friend Julie suggested that if your have someone who cleans your house it would be wonderful if you could still pay them through this time. Many may not be getting checks from the government or unemployment if they are self employed.

If you don’t already have a robot vacuum now might be the time to try one. I have a relatively inexpensive one called a Deebot which I have been very happy with for going on two years. Trust me, you are not going to vacuum the old fashioned way as much as you need to. And just because you did a big time cleaning last week I hate to tell you that now you need to do it again.

Don’t kill yourself and do it all in one day, like a cleaning person might do for you. Do a couple of rooms everyday and always be cleaning something. It’s not so bad to clean an hour a day, but it is horrible to clean eight hours a day and not get paid for it. And no one is getting paid anywhere.

Throw Back Activities

Sometimes being a pack rat and having a house with enough storage is a good thing. Yesterday Carter pulled out her old Wii game playing system and set it up on our big TV. She had fun playing games she had not played since she was ten or eleven. It was a great way to get out some of her energy.

Today while I was working on my very difficult puzzle Carter put in the Wii cooking game. She remarked that the game is so old that it is the square aspect of the TV screen. As I was searching for a piece for my puzzle with a green polka dot drinking straw on it, Carter was making virtual lasagna.

The amazing thing about that game is the level of sophistication the recipe had. Carter had to master béchamel sauce and put spinach in her lasagna. The game even explained what Mis en place was and why chefs prepare all their ingredients first. Perhaps playing that game at nine helped her to become the fabulous cook she is today.

I was just happy for a new diversion. Maybe tomorrow Carter and I can play tennis on the Wii. It will provide a different exercise than just walking on the treadmill. I just can’t handle the cooking game because that will make me want to cook real lasagna and I am trying to stay away from that.

Social Distancing Grooming

While humans are letting themselves go during this time there was no reason to let shay turn into a sheep that hadn’t been shorn in three years. Carter set up a grooming station in the garage. She single handily clipped Shay all over. It took quite a while and I could hear carter sweetly reassuring Shay the whole time.

It was a great effort on Carter’s part and I am so grateful that she did it before Shay developed Matt’s that would require her to be shorn down to the skin.

Since Shay got her teeth cleaned last week she has one little peg leg shaved so you can really see how skinny those little legs are. She may not be show quality groomed, but she is clean and can see without too many curls in her eyes.

Great job Carter. I am so happy you are home to care for your puppy. One big benefit of social distancing! Look on the sunny side.

Too Much Togetherness for Shay

For Shay, social distancing has turned into doggy focusing. Shay is our form of entertainment and distraction. While we are trying to keep our minds off things we can not change we look to Shay for things we can.

Before I could find a new groomer, the lock down took place, but no one told Shay to stop growing hair. She has turned into a wooly mammoth. With Carter now home she and Russ have taken the need for grooming serious. Russ ordered a clipper set and it arrived today.

For over a year Shay has had a wonderful groomer who came to our house to take care of all her beauty needs. Before social distancing started I called her up to see if she could give Shay a much needed haircut. Much to my dismay I found out her groomer has moved on to real estate. Our loss.

After Carter and Russ took Shay for a walk Carter gave her a good bath. After her bath Carter did a little combing in preparation for tomorrow’s big clipping session. So this this is a multiple day blog to see how this at home grooming goes. Please pray for Shay and the hands that clip her.

Home Again, Home Again

The reunion of Carter with her baby Shay made the trip worth it after an eleven hour drive. I am just relieved that we are all together under one roof.

Carter and I woke up in her precious apartment early this morning and cleaned out her refrigerator and packed her plants and fish in the laundry basket I brought up. We hit the empty road by 7:45 and drove home with minimal stops.

The greeting from Shay jumping all over Carter for a few minutes straight with little yelps of joy made the day. Just happy to be home with Russ, Carter and Shay.

Retrieving Carter

After over a week of social distancing alone in Boston I couldn’t take it anymore and I drove to Boston to get her. This does not have her happy, but getting back to Durham to wait out this mess gives me peace of mind.

So I left Durham at 5:45 to make the marathon Drive to Boston. As you can see from this first photo the roads were empty.

With all the world doing their best to stay home I made the trip in record time. Never in my life have I been able to drive from Durham to Washington DC in under four hours. Being Alone on the road was very strange.

I had to plan my stops thoughtfully because there were not many places open with restrooms. I also had to touch every gas pump with a napkin.

I had no issues during the whole drove until I reached New Rochelle and there was some reason the road was blocked for five minutes. New Rochelle is the center of the Covid -19 outbreak and I feared having an accident there. But it all worked out and I made it to Boston in eleven hours.

Since there is no traffic here Carter and I went out in the car to look at houses in her favorite south Boston area. Future goals for Carter.

The real proof that no one is here is I got one of the three parking spots right in front of Carter’s apartment that does not require a resident parking permit.

Tomorrow, back on the empty road to Durham, but at least I will have Carter with me.

Good Neighboring

This morning I got an email from our neighborhood list serve. A mother with young children was asking neighbors to help her entertain her kids and other neighborhood children. She wanted to create a neighborhood scavenger hunt and asked us to put a flower or a heart somewhere on our house, this way when her family took an afternoon walk the kids could have something to search for.

Many neighbor’s replied that they were in on the game, including us. So now we have a big red heart taped to our front door. When Russ and I took our walk this afternoon I too looked for the hearts and flowers in the neighborhood. It was a fun game. I am thankful that we can do a tiny part in helping to entertain children when their parents might be at their wits end.

Besides taking a walk I left the house to take Shay for her teeth cleaning. Our vet was doing drive up service. Shay knew something was up when I asked her to get in the car at 7:30 before she had any breakfast. She felt tricked as I turned towards the vet’s office.

The Dr. Came to the car and took Shay and instructed me to return at 3:00. Thankfully Shay had no bad teeth and no extractions were needed. Unfortunately the doodle part of her means she needs her teeth cleaned every year. At least dogs don’t have to social distance and she was able to keep her appointment.

Since she had anesthesia she is still a little groggy. Tomorrow she can look for the hearts and flowers when she feels ready for a walk. Sadly she will have to stay away from the kids.

Real Life Learning

I feel for all the parents with little kids home who are trying to home school them. It certainly is going to make us a nation who really appreciates our teachers more after this episode passes. Being your own child’s teacher takes a very special person. You don’t have to run a classroom like they have at their own school. Learning can happen in so many ways. Cooking is the best science and math you can do. Taking apart the vacuum to clean the brushes is a great life lesson, but I fear most Mom’s don’t even know you can clean the brushes. (The life lessons you learn when you sell vacuums door to door.)

Although I don’t have a child at home I still had a life lesson call with mine today. Carter face timed me to be on the line while she did her taxes. I was really more moral support since I could not see her screen. It was a lot of comic relief for me as she read the instructions to herself, rather than out loud and then made some Scooby do sounds questioning what in the hell they were asking. “Hhuuurrh?”

Then she would ask me what they meant without telling me what the question was in the first place. It was a good thirty minutes of me watching her face as she puzzled out the electronic forms. I won’t tell you the paltry sum all this face contorting was for, but it was excellent practice.

So if you really want to give you kids some big life lessons let them work on your taxes. If you don’t want them to know how much you make because then they might think you can buy them a newer X-box, then at least let them make dinner. Suffering through one child cooked dinner is so much safer than being audited by the IRS and it will still be a good real life lesson.

Outdoor Work Goes On

In a true testament that my mother does not read my blog she called me today and told me she tried to make bread. This is a sign that things are really bad. First, she has never tried to make yeast bread before in her whole life. Second, she doesn’t even really cook. Third, she doesn’t even eat bread.

She told me she tried to make onion dill bread and it was a big fail. She knew she didn’t knead it enough. I am proud she knew that. Almost no one kneads bread enough. Even with my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook I can hardly knead the bread enough and my mother doesn’t have any equipment like that. So listen to me people, stop trying to make bread.

Ona different note, I saw people today, from afar. The landscape guys came and took out the dead tree by the house and replaced it with a Japanese specimen that should be more interesting and at least alive.

I also had to go to church to make some decisions about the fellowship hall. Church may actually be closed, but the construction workers are still on the job. Since the building is not closed in yet I felt comfortable going and staying many feet away from people. The windows should be finished being put in tomorrow. It is looking good and thanks to those workers who keep working since this is not a work from home possibility.

For the rest of who are at home I have heard about a lot of Spring cleaning going on. I said to one friend, no one will ever see how clean our houses are since no one can come over. So if you want to show off all your hard work, please feel free to share a photo of your accomplishments with me.

Don’t Tell Me What You Are Baking

For the last few days I have heard from a lot of people about all the baking they are doing. There is something about being stuck at home that turns Americans into Betty Crockers. One person who shall remain nameless said, “You thought the freshman fifteen was real, welcome to the the Covid 30.”

I am thankful that I started on January 1 on my no sugar and limited flour regime. I have to say that stopping artificial sweeteners has rid me of my sweet tooth. I have lost 26 pounds, which is just a start to what I need to do.

Like everyone else stuck at home I have a desire to bake too, but I am holding back. Yesterday my cousin Sarah posted that her son was going to learn one new thing everyday and yesterday’s was how to bake bread. Today my friend Mary Lloyd sent me a link of a guy also trying to make bread at home.

As someone who had made bread for years I have to say it is rarely worth it. Learning to make a good yeast loaf is hard. We don’t have the right ovens, or moisture, or the right flour or fresh enough yeast. Sour dough is even harder. And when you consider you might need five to seven cups of flour to make one loaf of bread it starts to be way more expensive than buying it.

If you feel like baking consider making cookies that you can store in Dough balls in the freezer and only bake one or two at a time. It really might help curb your desire to have just another cookie. None of us want to emerge from our homes at the start of summer and not fit in our shorts.

Stop the Travel Porn

The days of social distancing are really just beginning. I know for many parents it was the first day of home schooling and I hope things went well for everyone- the fighting was kept to a minimum, the sugar consumed was minor and some actual learning took place.

Shay and I social distanced together at home while Russ was social distancing as the only member of his firm in his office. I have cleaned more things in my house than ever before. This morning I removed all the furniture from the breakfast room so I could deep clean the floor. No one will see it, but it is very clean.

I played a record on my stereo while polishing the wood floor. I forgot how good my stereo sounds. I had to remove some junk that had gotten piled up on the turn table inside the cabinet in order to put the record on. It enlightened me as to a whole new area of the house that could get paid attention to during this time of isolation.

Between cleaning and dancing I was checking e-mail. I would like to request all travel sites to stop sending me mail about fabulous trips I can not take. I have never been so inundated with beautiful photos of beaches I can’t get to.

After lunch I got the mail and the only two pieces were a travel magazine and a postcard from AAA about a trip to Hawaii. Really they should save their money and not mail this stuff this week. No one is going anywhere.

I can see I am going to have to limit the number of times I check my email each day if all this travel porn keeps up. For now I am only interested in tips on how to make my own furniture polish and How-to groom my own dog videos as my dog groomer has moved on to a new career. Shay doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to be watching some YouTube this week and ordering clippers from Amazon. Even writing Amazon makes me think of a trip to the Amazon I can’t go on.

Virtual Spirituality

I am thankful people are taking social distancing seriously. Being asked to stay home in our comfortable homes with power, Internet, and food is not the worst thing that can happen to us, if you have all those things. If you feel the need for people other than the ones in your house call someone on the old fashioned phone, of FaceTime them. In order for us all to survive this is what we need to do.

Our church had online service this morning. The wonderful and brilliant Sam Bryan, took his job as technology volunteer seriously and figured out how to live stream the church service. No congregants were invited. It was just the ministers and Monica the minister of music with Sam running the video.

We logged in from our big room and put the service up on the big TV. Shay finally got to go to worship. As a busy member of many church committees she has felt slighted that she was unable to worship, but not today. She paid very close attention to the whole service. The only thing she was not good at was saying the Lord’s Prayer. She did not enjoy when I sang along with the TV, but then again, no ever does.

I multitasked and worked on my puzzle while listening to church. I have no desire to watch other people’s church, but having my own familiar service made the day seem normal. I was also comforted by the praying for the world right now.

I saw on Facebook that Shay’s cousin Brady Pottenger was also watching church with her dad Dave and he was dressed in shorts, like Russ was. This habit of going to church in shorts with your dog might start some kind of revolution.

For now, just stay home, try and not go stir crazy by doing something productive and fun, don’t eat too much sugar and if you need to talk with someone, call them. I have noticed that we haven’t gotten any telemarketer calls for the last couple of days. Social distancing has some advantages. Perhaps we can be excited the next time the phone rings that it might be someone we want to talk with.

Slowing Down

I am a production worker. I like to produce things fast. The first time I read Cheaper by the Dozen when I was a kid I was immediately drawn to the father’s job as an efficiency expert. I can’t help but look at a job or a task and find ways to do it faster. It is a terrible trait because watching most people work makes me crazy with the desire to suggest improvements. I have learned not to always offer unsolicited advice, but I have to really bite my tongue.

I am constantly working on finding ways to be more productive in my own hobbies. This is how one year I was able to needlepoint 63 ornaments in one year. When I work on puzzles I sort the pieces to find the edge pieces and all the while I put the non-edges into groups mostly by color, or if they have words or letters on them, or faces, etc.

Now in the time of social distancing I am spending a lot of time doing my hobbies. I am almost finished piecing a new king sized quilt for my mother. It is the most intricate quilt I have every made. I have worked many hours on it. I got to wondering what I will work on when it is done and decided I needed to slow down just a bit and stretch out finishing this quilt.

I have been working on a big 2000 piece puzzle that is part of my Christmas present of Puzzle of the month. I have almost finished this one and realize the next one is not coming for at least five days. So now I have to slow down working on this puzzle.

To fill my slowing down time I dusted today. I don’t think I have every dusted so well. I did a first pass, then ran the robot vacuum and then dusted a second time. It goes against my grain to dust the same room twice. It’s all just part of keeping occupied while we are staying home. I would say I could clean out the attic, but let’s wait until I am really desperate.

Dogs At Work

Russ went to work today as a way to social distance himself from me. Since he was the only one in his whole giant office he was safest there. He also had a lot of Zoom Video’s and the back drop of his brick office wall is so much more business like than the bunny rabbit border of his home office. See, he lost his original home office to Carter when she moved out of her baby room to his suite of rooms downstairs and I took over his old office when Carter left and turned it into my sweat shop.

I guess I could trade with him and turn the baby room into my sweatshop and he could have his original office back, but that’s a lot of work. It would be easier to remove the bunny border and paint the baby room.

While Russ was at his office he looked out his forth floor window that overlooks the entrance to the Durham Bulls park and saw the Bulls Bat Dog having a photo shoot. He watched as the dog patiently did different poses with his bat at the photographer captured it all.

I think it was optimistic to be doing this photo shoot as the idea of thousands of people gathering for a baseball game seems unlikely anytime soon.

At least dogs are still able to go to work in this time of social distancing. Shay did her best work to stay away from me all day. After not being by my side all day I finally had to go up to my bedroom at 4:30 and beg her to go outside since it was such a warm day. She did it begrudgingly. Perhaps she was put off that the Durham Bull Dog got to go to work today and Shay had to stay home. Social Distancing is making her depressed.

Voting Matters More Than Ever

Politicians are known for spin, but spin should never cross the line into out right lying. With our current White House occupant we got numb to his lying. It was a joke because it happened so many times a day, day after day, week after week. He was aided by outlets like a Fox News and sycophants who he surrounded himself with. It was hardly tolerable, but his own party circled the wagons and protected him.

Now the world is faced with the worst pandemic in our lifetimes and we have the liar-in-chief acting the only way he knows how, incompetently. On the ABC news tonight they reported that he said all people coming off flights from Europe were being tested for Covid-19 then ABC said that was a lie. 45 was exposed to a person who has tested positive, yet he refuses to be tested himself, thus putting everyone who comes in contact with him at risk.

There is not much we can do about him today. The stock markets 28% loss may be the one thing that takes him out. What I am asking is please think carefully about who you vote for and do vote. It makes a difference who our government officials are. Pick people who have some humility and surround themselves with the smartest people they can. No one leader can do everything themselves, but the wrong leader can wreck havoc.

We need people who are intrinsically honest and can actually lead. I pray for all our leaders and all the health care workers. Please practice social distancing, especially if you come across 45. He has been exposed.

Social Distancing

Introverts are finally getting their due with the whole world going into social distancing with the Coronavirus. For ages most people have been more or less forced to interact with other humans more of their waking hours than they would chose because of their work. Now everyone is being told to work from home and not go to large gatherings of people, like concerts or sports events or the movies.

Colleges are closing down classes and telling their students to vacate their campus. I am thankful Carter lives off campus and is working at her co-op this semester. Today was her first day of “work at home.”

In years past when she lived in a dorm we planned for her move out for weeks in advance. Storage companies had to be engaged, boxes obtained and packed and then the waiting for them to be picked up by the storage company. Then there was the packing suitcases to come home. If she only had two days notice to do all this I am unsure how she could get it done.

I did no social distancing today. I met my friend Cristina for lunch where we were the only customers in the restaurant. It was a form of social distancing since we had the whole place to ourselves. We stopped in at needlepoint and Nancy told us that if people have to self quarantine she will start delivering needlepoint supplies to their front porches. Good to know she has a plan to keep us all stitching.

I also went to a Costco where every old couple in a Durham was shopping together. Why couldn’t one of each couple had stayed at home? The lines were crazy, but thankfully I chose the self checkout since most of the old people couldn’t figure out how to work the scanners and they veered away from that line.

I also had two church meetings, both small where we sat far apart from each other. Shay came to the finance meeting because she is the honorary chair of the committee. She sits in the chair between me and Sharron, the business manager, and monitors all social interactions of the committee. Thank goodness Dogs are spared from the virus because she would go into deep depression if she had to social distancing.

Tomorrow I will go back to social distancing after I get my mammogram. The least social thing I can think of to do.

Bring Back Bowing and Curtsying

It’s time we stop shaking hands. Back in the olden days, when everyone wore gloves all the time, shaking hands did not spread germs. After going to the dermatologist and looking at all the age spots on my hands I wish I lived in an era when ladies wore gloves all the time.

So now in the age of Covid-19 we are doing everything possible not to pass germs, so no hand shaking. Yes we can bump elbows, but that is awkward and still gets us close to each other. I propose we go back to bowing and curtsying. Now I don’t want it to be a sexist thing so either sex can bow or curtsy depending on how you feel. It seems a most regal way to greet each other.

Shay has been bowing for years now as she doesn’t have any opposable thumbs for shaking. Her bow is deep and shows great emotion and love for the person she is greeting. I think this could catch on.

So if I see you in the street I promise a curtsy or a bow and please let it convey to you my most warm greeting to you as if I had given you a big bear hug.

“Gnocchi” to Feel Better

I can’t do anything about the stock market or the CoronaVirus, so the best I can do is share a healthy food with you.

During stressful times people tend to eat unhealthy food. The attitude is, “Hell, things are really bad, perhaps this pasta will make me feel better.” I know, because I fell victim to this thinking most of 45’s presidency. I finally came to grips with the fact that he may be getting fatter, but I don’t have to, but the stress still exists.

The answer to the “I need to eat pasta to deal with all this stress,” is cauliflower gnocchi. Trader Joe’s makes an excellent frozen product which can satisfy you pasta craving without succumbing to all those empty carbs.

It is easy to fix, you just put the frozen gnocchi in a non-stick pan with a little water, cover it and cook for eight minutes then uncover and add a little butter and cook another five minutes.

I made a mushroom, chicken, arugula sauce to put over my gnocchi tonight and I had a 400 calorie “pasta” dinner that was very satisfying.

It doesn’t make up for the almost eight percent drop in the stock market, but at least I don’t feel bad and guilty.

Old, Really Old, Clothes

I love my husband. I also love his frugality when it comes to his clothing. I am often begging him to throw away socks with holes or something that has lost its elastic. He rarely succumbs to my requests.

In his defense he is as thin today as he was when I first met him. He hasn’t always been this thin, but as he went up and down over the last thirty years he kept all his clothes. Today after church Russ changed out of his church pants into a pair of jeans. I looked at these familiar jeans and asked, “how old do you think those are?”

“Late 80’s, early 90’s” He said casually.

The barley any blue left jeans had a tear in the back pocket, but other than that they were still acceptable as body covering despite being at least thirty years old. They certainly weren’t in style or up-to-date, but they were classic, at least once. Russ saw no reason not to wear and keep wearing these old pants, along with old shirts and older jackets.

I am very thankful that men’s clothes don’t change so much so that Russ can still wear his decades old wardrobe. I am just thankful that he out grew his 70’s clothes. Having seen the things his mother bought him from Sears I would have to intervene if he still had any of those to wear.

Russ and Carter’s Big Space Adventure

Since I got a special weekend with Carter in Boston Russ thought he and Carter needed a trip together. For the record they invited me on this little jaunt, but when they told me what their plan was I declined. I am not saying they purposely chose something they knew I wasn’t interested in because I know how much they wanted to go on this particular trip.

Russ and Carter have a shared love of nerdy things like Teslas, Space X and the Big Bang Theory. So when they were discussing that Space X was going to be launching their 20th resupply mission on a Friday night they thought it would be something fun to witness.

So they met up in Orlando yesterday and visited the Kennedy Space Center during the day and went back late last night to watch the blast off. I was so thankful that the mission went off on time since Russ and Carter were only going to be there last night and if it got scrubbed for any reason they couldn’t hang out for more days waiting to see it go.

Apparently it was very exciting according to my nerds. Carter even reported on Instagram that it made her cry. Russ created a little bit of art to commemorate the trip.

This morning they went to the beach and then they visited an art museum in Orlando before having a late afternoon meal and parting ways at the airport. Russ is already home, while Carter is still awaiting her flight. It was a fast 36 hour trip for the two of them, but one I am happy they had making some father daughter memories.

As is our family tradition Russ and Carter picked out a Christmas ornament as a remembrance of the trip. Russ had me open it, as if it were a present for me and when I asked whose tree it was going on, he told me it was the best looking ornament they had there. Apparently nerds don’t have tasteful Christmas trees.

Quarantine Stuff to Do If Needed

It seems like the Coronavirus has caused some people in Seattle and New Rochelle to have to self quarantine. This is obviously the best way to flatten out the spread of the virus. It seems to have worked in China as the virus is not expanding in the quarantined area, but that sort of mass self quarantining will be much harder to do here, even if it is the right thing to do.

As I think about self quarantine I feel like it is something not so different from my regular life, minus playing games with live people. I can spend hours in my sweat shop working all alone, work on giant puzzles, needlepoint for at least two hundred and sixty-five hours without running out of canvas or fibers. I have enough rice and beans, oatmeal and homemade chicken stock to feed us for two weeks. As long as we have electricity I can walk miles and miles without leaving my house.

There are many unread books in my house, let alone every book every written available virtually. Millions of hours of pod casts and enough viewing options to occupy every waking hour.

Then there are the parts of my house I can clean that somehow rarely get paid attention to. The inside of all my windows could be washed. The garage could be tackled and that alone could take the entire two week quarantine period. All my files could be reorganized and I could shred thirty years of financial paper work. And then there is the attic.

I am not hoping to get quarantined, but if I do I thankfully have saved all this stuff to do in my house just so I won’t be bored. Thank goodness I always have house work.

Hand Washing 101

I hope Dogs can’t get CoronaVirus because I don’t see a way I can keep Shay from licking my hands. When I go to pet her she often returns the favor by holding my hand down with her paw and licking it. It doesn’t matter if I have just washed them or had them inside a turkey carcass, she thinks my hands need to be simonized.

It is hard enough to keep myself healthy by washing my hands for at least twenty seconds. I am so sick of singing happy birthday twice to make sure I wash long enough. I need to come up with a new song to sing that is the right length. Unfortunately one of the only songs I know by heart is American Pie and that is like nine minutes long. I wouldn’t have any skin left if I washed my hands to that entire song. Maybe I could sing it just until the Chevy gets to the levy.

With the ridiculous run on soap and hand sanitizer I am thinking that no one was washing their hands before. Why didn’t they already have soap? We are those really old kind of people who still use bar soap. Do you know how long a bar of soap lasts? It would take years of me singing American Pie and sudsing up for me to make a dent in all the soap we have in our house.

I have a set of fancy soaps with my monogram engraved into the bars. It takes about 400 washings before I wear the soap down to the place that you don’t know my initials.

I hope all this hand washing takes hold and people continue after Mike Pence has proven he doesn’t know shit about viruses. If you run out of soap I think Shay would lick your hands for you, but then you have dog germs and you will need to wash your hands anyway.

We Are Safe With Jill

No matter what your politics are you have to give it to Jill Biden last night for jumping in to protect her husband Joe. When the anti-Dairy protestors interrupted his speech in LA Jill jumped to his defense and kept the non-cheese eating girls from getting to close to her man.

Not only is Jill an actual Doctor, which means she believes in science and is smart, she can shadow for the secret service guys. I happened to be telling Russ that I thought that potential First Ladies should have to debate when this story came on the news about Jill blocking for Joe. The newscaster said that Jill’s response to her reaction was, “Hey, I’m a Philly girl.” That made her tops in Russ’ book right away.

Way to go you Philly Girl. You made us all proud. I am not sure that eating Dairy is going to be a big campaign issue for either side, but those cottage cheese hating woman will think twice before they attempt to get near Joe again.

Today I am Brilliant, but Not For Long

I went to the dermatologist today for a total body check. If you have never had anyone look at every inch of your skin with a little light-up magnifying tool you have really missed one of life’s most uncomfortable moments. I had a place on my back which I have not looked at, but felt, that worried me. Thankfully it was nothing serious. My Dr. called it a “Wisdom Spot.”

Dermatologists are the best marketers of the medical world. “Wisdom Spot” sounds so much better than “age spot” or “liver spot”, which are the old fashioned nick names for what I have. Well, I won’t have it long as she froze it and hopefully in three weeks it will fall off.

So for the record, right now and for the next three weeks I am smart, at least my skin announces I have wisdom. I am perfectly happy to go back to no wisdom soon.

I just want to know who the person is who invented the “freezing things off your skin machine.” That person deserves the noble prize. Just my two cents while I have all this wisdom.

A President I Like

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday and North Carolina is one of the states involved. Russ and I usually vote early, but this election I said, “I want to wait until the actual day because I need all the latest information available.” So I am glad I did wait since Pete and Amy dropped out today. It is quite a mess to figure out who can beat Trump and not divide the country more.

As I was studying Presidential candidates this afternoon I got a Facebook Message from my College class about a new President. My Classmate Leon Rose was just given the job as President of the NY Knicks. “At last, a President I can get behind,” I commented.

Leon is one of the nicest people I went to college with. He loved basketball back in college, but he found his calling to be on the business side of basketball. He has been the agent for some major players so I think he will make a great President of the Knicks. I wish him all the success he will need as it is a very tough job. NY is not always the most forgiving sports market.

So good luck to Leon. I think the Dickinson Class of 1983 would all vote for you!

Long Sunday

You would think that Russ and I have turned into dairy farmers by our sleep patterns these days. I woke up at 3:30 and he woke up at four and since neither of us can go back to sleep we just got up and started our day. As we were up at the crack of dawn we went to early church. This caused quite a ruckus as we sat in our regular 11:00AM pew but the McCaughns, who sit there at 8:30, came in just after us and had to sit some place else. If we keep up this early waking we will have to wait to go to church until after the McCaughns have already been seated.

It is amazing what you can get done on a Sunday if you go to early church. I was able to work in the sweat shop and then I went off to the Durham Branch of the Food Bank for a special volunteer event for members of the Full Plate Circle. The Full Plate people are extra good givers to the Food Bank so I was there to thank them for their generosity.

I have to say that they were an extra nice group of people. Not only are they generous, but they are very hard working as they were filling boxes for seniors of milk, canned salmon, peanut butter, cereal, spaghetti, juice and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. My dear friend Chuck ReCorr was there dressed in his normal natty attire. He was the only volunteer with a pocket square and a blazer. He pointed out to me that he was not wearing a tie and these were his “work” clothes.

Since I had an official Food Bank name badge on one woman came over to me to ask me if I could tell a man he was putting the juice in the box incorrectly. I did and he didn’t like my suggestion. The woman next to him said, “That’s Dana Lange, and this place is named for her, you better do what she asks.” I wasn’t going to play that card, but I thanked him for volunteering just the same.

Thankfully spending time at the Food Bank energized me enough to stave off a nap. The only problem with getting up at 3:30AM is I am hungry for dinner at 5:30PM. After boxing food for hungry senior citizens I am extra thankful that I get to cook my own food at home. It is always a good reminder how lucky we are.