Carter Channels Her Frustration For Good

Watching what is happening in America is difficult for us all. I don’t have any answers besides voting when my adult child asks me how we can fix things. For a twenty something this is no where near enough action and for a fifty something I agree with her. I am frustrated too. I can only imagine that as white people of privilege if we feel frustrated that it is only one millionth of what African Americans are feeling. I can never put myself in their shoes, but I still have empathy and wants things to be better.

Late last night Carter posted something on Instagram that is her way of helping. She has decided to raise money for Black Lives Matter by running every weekday at 5:30. Running is not something anyone in our family is very good at. Carter started running last week just for her mental and physical health. As she felt that it was helping her she decided to use it as a platform to help others. You can watch her late night deceleration on Facebook at Carter Lange if you are friends with her.

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Orchid Children

I am the care taker of many orchids. I am not an orchidist, just a baby sitter. My collection of about thirty plants started about twenty years ago. Russ found that giving me an orchid from Family Garden was a fool proof gift. Turns out our sun room is an ideal spot for the plants with cold nights and hot days. The gift Russ would give each year last many many years with little or no care from me.

At most I splash a bit of water in each pot about once a week. I have never fertilized or repotted a single plant. Every once once in a while I throw a dead brown leaf away and only twice have I ever given up and thrown a whole plant away.

It amazes me how these plants thrive and produce so many gorgeous flowers for so long, year after year.

I liken raising orchids to raising children. They come out the way they are going to be. I can’t change them. I do a minimal amount to keep them alive and still they thrive. If I do to much I would smother them. Best to let them find their own way and then they flourish.

At some point they seem to be dormant and then suddenly they blossom with unexpected beauty. Their success brings joy for it is all their own. I am just a witness.

Just Slip Out

Being President can not be as much fun as 45 thought it was going to be. He can’t just say whatever he wants on a Twitter now no matter what kind of executive order he puts out. It’s not a royal order, just an executive order.

He can’t claim that having him as president is the best thing that ever happened to citizen’s pocket books. As someone who likes to claim he has control over things as big as the economy he has finally learned that any President does not make or break the economy.

Being President is a 24 hour, seven day a week job. You can’t go out and play golf while things are falling apart and not take flack for it. Vacations are also looked down upon during a crisis, no matter how badly you need a vacation.

If there is a pandemic you can’t have large rallies to try and get your fix of blind adoration to keep you going. You have to stay locked at home like everyone else in the country.

With as bad as things are I am waiting for 45 to say, “I’m not having any fun being President. I think I am going to stop. I am too rich to keep doing this job.” Any excuse to stop is all I am looking for. 45 deserves to have fun as long as he is not President.

I know that going to Mar-a-lago without Jeffery Epstein won’t be as fun. We haven’t heard from Rudy in a while, maybe he can rustle up the same kind of fun 45 likes. Princess 45 has not been about so she can’t be having any fun either. Maybe she can pull her best Veruca Salt impression and say, “Daddy, I’m tired of people being mean to me and my husband. Let’s leave this horrible Washington DC and go to Florida full time.”

Something has got to push him over the edge to drop out. The fear of losing the election should be enough to get him not to run. Then he can say he won 100% of the elections he ran for and that is the best record he will ever have.

Come on 45. You know you hate your job. You are old enough that you can retire and no one will say anything. Hey you are still young enough that you have time to get a couple of new wives. That is so much more fun for you than what you are doing now. You know you hate it. It’s fine to go, really.

My First Quarantine Nap

If last year you described to me the scenario we are living in now and asked me what I thought my days would be like I might have said, “I bet I’ll take up napping.” It couldn’t have been farther from the reality.

Today for the first time in twelve weeks I took a nap. It wasn’t any twenty minute cat nap, but a full on three hour zonk out and boy did it feel good. I had gotten up early to go to the Dentist this morning to get the rough part of a crown done. I had cracked a molar that had a very old silver filling it. It took a while to diagnose it, but once my dentist did we got right on fixing in.

So I had a large amount of novocaine and he went about scanning my teeth for a new crown to cover the old tooth, removing the old filling and making room for the crown. He made me a temporary crown and sent me on my way until next week when he will have my new, permanent crown to swap out. I left the office numb on the right side from my temple to my chin.

As I was feeling nothing I did two errands to drop off needlepoint to be finished and going to the fish market in Carrboro. By the time I got home I was still a numb as I was two hours before. I had a smoothie for lunch not feeling able to chew and not drool. Then the numbing agent wore off and my jaw started hurting from the morning activities. I took an aleve and lay down on my bed. Big mistake. I awoke at six PM.

I felt much better, except for the guilt of having slept the day away. I did get up and cook soft shell crabs for dinner so that I could appear not to be a total slug, but everyone in the house knew I was one.

I am certain that my sleeping schedule is going to be messed up now, but I am surprised that with so little that actually has to get done that I had not taken up napping before now.

I Like Live Performance

I don’t know how video bloggers do it. Today I had to video tape myself as the lector for church. I have no problem standing in front of 250 people reading some weird scripture. In fact the stranger the better. But having to video tape myself doing the same thing is horrible.

Since our church is run by sane, science loving, smart people we not not clamoring to get back into the sanctuary together. Online church has been quite successful. The pastors have been doing most of the heavy lifting, but now regular folks, who normally lector every Sunday, have been asked to do it on video.

The issues with video are, first you have to set it up. Since I am on this Sunday and it is Pentecost I filmed myself in my red dining room. If that is a reference that goes over your Christian education level don’t worry about it.

Our church volunteer Tim Vann, who puts all the videos together into one YouTube sent me instructions and said that using the back camera of my IPhone was best. The only problem with that is the button is on the front and the only way to know if I am even in the screen was to do it the less optimal way.

I had to erect a large structure on the dining room table to have the camera at a good height to film. Then I had to create a secondary structure to hold my iPad which acted as my teleprompter.

I had a lot to read and it does not work on video if you are looking down at paper the whole time, so I made my script into 30 point font so I could read it without glasses. The script was then six pages long so I had to scroll as I read, all the while trying to look more at the camera that was video taping than at the script on my iPad. It was not that easy.

Now let’s add some of the words I was reading like Cappadocia, Phrygia and Pamphylia. Not ones that roll off the tongue. I practiced without video taping like I normally would do for a live church service. Then I set the camera up and once I figured out I was in the middle of the screen I tried the Call to worship. That should have been the easy part since it was short and familiar. It took five times before I got it right.

Then I went to the lessons. I did the whole six minutes in one shot. I think I mispronounced a word or two, but I was not going to reshoot it because I figured I would always mispronounce something. Watching it back was horrific. I now understand why some actors like to do stage work and not film. At least with stage you have feed back from an audience and anything you do wrong is not immortalized. I can tell you I will never become a video blogger.

Happy Birthday Mask

There is only one thing to get a friend who is celebrating a birthday, a new mask that matches her wardrobe. Since tomorrow is Christy Barnes’ Birthday that is exactly what I did. We had a little social distancing lunch outdoors on the terrace today, which was a gift to me. It was nice to cook for entertaining, even if it was just for a couple. I miss throwing parties.

Time with friends is more precious after twelve weeks staying apart. When this social distancing started I never thought that May birthdays would not get to be celebrated in our normal ladies who lunch outings. Now I don’t envision going out to eat lunch for the rest of the year.

I am basically writing 2020 off as the year of learning to embrace the idea of becoming an introvert. As impossible as that seems I think it might be easier than what it is going to be like for all the real introverts when we are allowed to gather again. Perhaps they might claim the need to social distance forever.

Besides missing seeing local friends I am also missing travel. Usually at this point in the year I would be making plans to get in the car and visit people all around the country. Although I don’t have to live by a child’s school schedule I still consider “summer vacation” the best time of the year. I use summer as the excuse why I can’t go to meetings or do anything productive. Now I just pine for a good meeting.

In the meantime we have to celebrate the best way we can. So if you know Christy wish her a happy birthday tomorrow. I hope she only has need of that new mask for a short period of time. I really don’t want to be making Christmas masks this year.

Adding To Our Family

When you are staying home all the time you really notice when even the littlest thing changes. If a sprout of clover comes up between the cracks in the front porch I pull it before a shamrock has a chance. I see dead limbs on trees that I want to cut out where I usually wouldn’t have seen them before.

The big news at our house is soon there might be five new mouths to feed. A pair of parents have built a tiny nest in the space behind the top of our porch light and our wall. It is the very safest place to lay five tiny blue eggs. We have a big hawk who lives in the tallest pine behind our deck. Since the tiny nest is covered by the porch roof, no predatory eyes can see it while flying over. Since it is six feet off the ground so slithering snake will climb straight up the brick wall to steal the precious eggs.

The only problem with turning our front porch into a maternity ward is that the parents fly away every time we open the front door. That flying away is what alerted us to the nest in the first place. It is too high for any of us to see in, but Russ and Carter are tall enough to hold the phone up to shoot a photo.

The first time we did it two days ago we saw just a group of eggs, but couldn’t tell the number. Today Russ got this shot clearly showing the five of them. We are guessing sparrows, but are not 100% sure since we haven’t gotten a good look at the parents. We are trying to not use that door much so they can stay and keep those babies warm, but we will be checking at least once a day to see when they hatch.

Waiting for baby birds is so much more exciting than looking for weeds growing out of cracks. I will keep you posted as to the increase in our family size. Please no gifts, we have plenty of worms.

No Hugs, No Kisses

It has been so many months since I have seen either of my parents. They have been doing a good job of staying at the farm. Today we took a socially distancing trip up to the farm to get my eyes on them. My mother also wanted to receive the quilt I made for her and have had sitting here for over a month.

I am happy to report they are both healthy. It does a heart good to get to spend a little time with their only Grandchild, but no hugs, nor kisses.

My Dad made a yummy lunch of poached salmon we enjoyed together. Carter went swimming with her grandmother and Russ, Shay and I enjoyed the sunshine.

My mother loved her quilt so we completed the mission of delivery with positive results. It was a safe, but needed visit. Staying away is hard, but necessary.

Annus Horribilis

The thing about sheltering in place is I have only paid attention to what is going on right around me. At first I watched the local and national news, then that got too depressing and I only read a few online news stories. I basically stopped listening to news because it was bad and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Not knowing bad news somehow made me feel like it wasn’t that close to me. Then my mother called yesterday to tell me my Uncle’s house burned down. He is fine along with his son, daughter-in-law and six month old baby who live with him, but the house and everything they owned are gone. Since they live in a rural part of Pennsylvania it took fire engines 30 minutes to get to them. It was too late.

The thing about this Pandemic is that it is so horrible you forget about regular horrible stuff that still happens. My poor Uncle just lost his wife, my mother’s sister, last summer and now his house. As Queen Elizabeth put it the year Windsor burned, “This is an annus horribilis”

We are all having a horrible year, but some people are having it worse than others and it makes me feel helpless. So please pray for my Uncle and Cousins. It isn’t going to bring back their house and give them a place to live, but they need some miracle.

Since I had already given up the news, now I am also going to have to stop answering the phone and reading email to avoid bad news.

Plant Some Sage Tomorrow

At last a beautiful sunny day. We got over four inches of rain the four previous days. I was worried my garden might float away, but it survived. This morning I got up and weeded and planted the new yellow squash, cantaloupe and zucchini plants I purchased on a Tuesday. I also transplanted four germaniums into bigger pots and out them on our side terrace.

As I was feeling very happy with my terrace I decided to do the dirtiest job of cleaning the lip of the table under the glass top. I am not going to describe it to you, but trust me it is not a fun job. After doing that and cleaning the glass top Russ and I enjoyed our dinner there tonight.

It was perfect with no humidity and no bugs which I found amazing after so much rain.

If you haven’t planted anything in your garden or pots this year I am going to suggest starting a sage plant. Sage is a perennial so once you get it started you will have it for years to come. It is an easy plant to grow and there is nothing like fresh sage.

Tonight I made a butternut squash risotto and the star of it was the fried sage leaves. The risotto was an oven method which is so much easier than regular stove top risotto. The butternut squash cooked in the oven at the same time as the risotto and is added after you finish cooking the rice for five minutes on the stove top where you add the wine and the last bit of stock and the Parmesan cheese.

To fry sage leave just put a touch of oil in a small fry pan and get it very hot. I cut the sage leaves with a scissor right into the hot oil and let it cook until they are crispy in less than a minute. Drain it on paper towel and sprinkle in into your risotto.

Once you have had fried fresh sage you are going to want it all the time. Try it on your soft scrambled eggs in the morning or on a little crostini of Pâté. Hurry, go plant one and let me know ho would use it.

Ego Will Kill

I am more and more amazed by Church leaders who are fighting their Governors to allow them to open up their places of worship to hold in person services. Thankfully our church is led by smart pastors who understand that gathering as a group puts people in danger, especially if we are singing.

A friend of mine in California posted something about 1,200 churches out there suing to get to have services. Then it struck me, it is not about people needing to get into a church building to be together to hear the word. We can all do that over the Internet. It is about ego of those pastors who need to preach to live people.

Well preaching to them live might be one of the last things they do. It is the most selfish thing to offer them a chance to come to church. Most people are sick of being home alone and would like nothing more than to go to see their church friends. They probably think that if their pastor says it is all right, then it is. But your pastor is not a Doctor and he may preach the word of God, but he might not be listening to it.

God is not saying you have to go to church or temple to worship. God made smart Doctors. You should listen to them first. You are not protected from catching a virus just because you are praying in church and you believe in some higher power. Stay home and pray.

If you do go to church and you get sick and die when you get to St. Peter and ask him, “How could you let this happen to me?” I bet he is going to say, “You took medical advice from a pastor. I gave you Dr. Fauci, don’t blame me if you didn’t listen to the expert I provide.”

Happy Birthday Shay Shay

It seems like Our sweet puppy Shay Shay has always been part of our family, but in actuality it has just been nine years. But how could our sweet baby be nine years old? I call her our puppy, but in dog years she is clearly middle aged, something I am unwilling to accept.

Sadly is it has been a terribly cold and rainy day so she did not get to strut her stuff out on a neighborhood walk with a birthday hat on. I am sure she is thrilled not to have to wear a hat, but misses seeing her friends.

Shay did make an appearance on one of Carter’s Zoom work meetings, but she missed her regular church Ways and Means Zoom meeting. Oh, to be in such demand.

Outside of visiting Carter’s meeting she spent her birthday supervising Russ at working her bunny room office, a day like the last sixty for her.

So happy birthday to our best dog ever. Thanks for bringing a smile to all our faces everyday for the last nine years. We hope we have at least another nine years with your sweet face.

Rain, Rain, Rain

It’s 56° and rainy today. Did anyone tell mother nature that it is May 19? It is going to be like this the rest of the week. It is one thing to stay home when it is sunny and beautiful, but it gets a little tiresome when you also have to stay inside because it is so miserable out.

Since I still have room in my vegetable garden I thought I might want to fill it up. I thought today would be the perfect day to look for some starter plants since no one else wants to shop for plants in the cold and rain. I was right. I went to For Garden’s Sake and they had a fabulous collection of vegetables and herbs and no other customers. It was easy to social distance and get some squash and cantaloupe. While I was at it I got a few hot pink geraniums.

Now all these plants are sitting in the garage awaiting a break in the rain so I can plant them. Looks like it won’t be until Friday. Two more full days of rain night and day might wash my garden away.

Please don’t let all this rain flood people out of their homes. We can’t handle more natural disasters during the mother of all pandemic disasters. So stay safe out there. Make sure your outdoor drains are not blocked by leaves and debris. If you have a basement that could potentially get water in it make sure your sup-pumps are working. And always remember not to drive through standing water. Just your public message for the week.

When Your World Shrinks

As most of us have shrunk our world to be just our homes I am wondering what others have found to focus on. I have developed an obsession with getting my shower floor tiles and grout sparkling white. It is a ridiculous thing to care about, but yet I still have spent hours figuring out the absolutely best ways to clean every part of the shower.

I have removed the clear silicone at the glass wall and replaced it. I have tried many different cleaners and home remedies to whiten old grout and finally with the last application of Clorox to cloth strips that sat on the grout for hours I have turned my old shower into dazzling white reminiscent of Lyle Wagner’s smile on the Carol Burnett Show.

It is not just my shower that has occupied hours of my time. I have five sheet pans from my catering days. I bought them from my Sysco rep in 1988 when they were on sale for $5 a piece. They are the best pans and have served me well. If I could replace them with new ones for $5 each I would do it, but similar ones of suchheavy duty quality now go for $85 each.

These pans get daily use year after year and have not been sparkling clean since I got married. What better way to while away hours stuck at home than by trying to restore these pans to their original gleam?

Many pintrest sights tout a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide recipe to do just this job I want done. So I tried that. They said time was the secret. I’m not sure if they meant decades because after many nights I have been unable to completely clean these pans. The thing that worked best was a Brillo pan and elbow grease. I am still not half way through working on these pans, but I figure I am going to be here for a while and can spread this job out over multiple months. I might have to resort to a power tool, but that is excitement for another day.

As my world shrinks smaller and smaller I am looking for even more obscure things to clean to perfection. I have my eye on the crystals of the front hallway chandelier. Of course I have actually cleaned that before so it is not the perfect subject of my cleaning obsession.

I would love to know how you have been whiling away the weeks and what ridiculous projects you have found to work on. I can’t be the only person who has fallen into this hole.

On This Day

On this Day in 1756 Britain Declared war on France, on what was called the seven years war.

On the same day in 1792 Merchants formed the New York Stock Exchange.

May 17, 1875 the first Kentucky Derby was run.

On this day in 1938, Ed Carter was born.

It is appropriate that he arrived on the same day as these previous events because he always liked the British so much more than the French. He believes in capitalism and all things the stock market represents and has never shied away from a good excuse for a drink like they do at the Kentucky Derby.

It is quite amazing that my Dad has made it to 82, although he looks almost exactly the same as he always has. He is the most generous and hard working person on earth. In fact when I spoke with him today he was busy helping his “hay man” load 192 12-foot diameter round bales of hay on trucks.

So please wish my father a happy birthday. He doesn’t do face book, but I will forward any well wishes on to him.

Graduation in The Driveway

This morning Russ and I went to a surprise Driveway drop-in to say congratulations to Leander Perun for graduating from Denison. Her brother Drew is due to graduate from Cardinal Gibbons in a week also, but this celebration was for his sister.

The loss of graduation is sad for the family, but to me the loss of those last sweet weeks of college is the saddest. Spending time with your best friends made over the last four years is something you can not replace. Never again, not at any reunion, wedding or other get together will you ever have all your friends and those carefree last days of college.

I have great memories from those weeks senior year of college packing in as many memory making activities as we could. When I graduated from college we were in the middle of a terrible recession. Jobs were hard to come by, people were worried, but not so much that we didn’t revel in spending time together.

The actual graduation was the least exciting event of the senior year. It was bittersweet. Yes, we had accomplished fulfilling our academic requirements and for our parents they had completed paying for it, spending the last hours with our class of friends was sad, but we were together.

For this year’s class of graduates they had no warning that those last few days in March would be the last time they would be together. They didn’t get to have heart felt talks with friends, or final chances to confess a crush on someone, or make up with someone you had harsh words with. Granted young people are more connected electronically now. We only had letter writing and expensive long distance calls to keep us together after college.

The class of 2020 got robbed and nothing can change that, but don’t let that hold you back from having lifelong connections with your college friends. You may have more free time right now to communicate, since few of you are rushing into jobs right now. Those too will come. Pandemics, like recessions eventually subside. It is part of the ebb and flow you will experience many times in life. Learning to ride it out is a skill that you can draw on. Realizing that things go up and go down helps prepare you to be resilient.

So congratulations to Leander and all the graduates out there. The fact you did not have a real graduation does not diminish your years of hard work.

Dirty Jobs

When you have lived in the same house for over 25 years there are chores that stay on the to-do list year after year. Covid has provided time to work through that list in a way that feels productive, but not fun. No, I have not cleaned out the much written about attic. Since that job will involve many trips to donate things and to the dump I have an excuse to not work on it.

In the last two days I tackled a job that has been growing for at least ten years- the refinishing of old teak furniture. We acquired this furniture when Carter’s god father moved from Washington to Chicago. I think it was about fifteen years ago, because he lived there about four years and since moved back to DC and retaken his rightful place as prince of the city.

The furniture was in perfect shape when it came from him. We put it on our deck off our gathering room and enjoyed it greatly. Sometime about ten years ago I noticed a spot of lichen on a leg of a chair. Then another and eventually the furniture was looking like that Character Groot from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. We just stopped using it.

Yesterday I took out a plastic scraper and scraped off all the lichen and other things growing on the wood. It was a disgusting job, but it was just the start. Today I put on my respirator, which I purchased for the kitchen redo last summer. I pulled out the mouse sander and I sanded four chairs and a dining table. It took over two hours and I finally had to stop because my hand was vibrating even when the machine was off.

Tomorrow I am going to finish cleaning those items by washing them. After great study on YouTube I think that will be enough since I have read you don’t oil teak outdoor furniture. I still have a few more pieces of furniture to work on, but at least I made a big dent. The deck itself needs attention, but I am hoping for some other job to make itself known so I can put that off for a little bit longer.

Need Elastic?

Eight weeks ago I went on Amazon to order some quarter inch elastic for mask making. It started because one friend texted asking me if she could commission me to make her a mask. I was happy to make it for her with materials I had on hand. Fabric and thread I have for days, but then I only had three yards of elastic. Another friend asked me for nine masks and she found me 30 yards of elastic. Then more and more requests for masks came in.

I needed more elastic. I went online and sure enough it was sold out everywhere, except for some people charging ridiculous amounts. You would have thought they were selling super bowl tickets.

What I did not realize as I was pursuing different vendors on Amazon was I was inadvertently ordering from them and agreeing to eight to twelve week deliveries. I tried to cancel the orders, but could not. One spool came in four weeks ago. I have since used it up and made over 175 masks. Now a second giant spool arrived today and another is expected in the next few days. Probably followed by two more in the next weeks.

If you are wanting to make your own masks and need elastic feel free to contact me. My mask making has slowed down. I am very thankful to all the people who made donations to the Food Bank in trade for masks. The Food Bank has let me know who made donations so if you still need to do that it is not too late.

I will still keep making masks, but I don’t anticipate needing all the elastic in the world. If I can get some time in my sweat shop between Carter’s work calls I am going to try and make some fun masks with different materials and maybe even some with embroidered smiles, or words that read “thanks for wearing a mask” or “Masks Mean You’re Kind.” Those are better than the things I think when I see people out in public not wearing masks.

Sweatshirt Period

Picasso had his blue period and I have my sweatshirt period. I will look back on these last few months of my life as the time I wore a sweatshirt almost everyday. Granted when we started quarantining it was March and kind of cold, then we had April and with just a couple of warm days I wore a sweatshirt everyday and now we have had one of the coldest May’s ever so far and I am still wearing the same thing.

There is something about staying at home that makes me need the comfort of one of my four quarter zip sweatshirts. I only have them in patriotic red, white or blues, but they have become my go to thing to throw on. Granted they go perfectly with yoga pants and those too have been part of my Covid uniform.

I have had these sweatshirts for between 10-20 years. I probably have not worn the white one in three of four years, but somehow it has gotten into the rotation. Forget wearing sweaters. For some reason they seem too formal for stay at home activities. Even on my once a week adventure to purchase food I wear my sweatshirt and look as unkempt as I ever could.

Maybe the lack of professional hair care has done this to me. Perhaps the shrinking of my wardrobe choices is in relation to the shrinking of my world. More likely I am taking comfort in my discomfort.

I laugh at the catalogs that arrive at our house from retailers advertising dresses and blazers. Where on earth would I ever need to go dressed in those? Even shoes without rubber bottoms seem absurd these days. First, you really can only wear sneakers when you are wearing a sweatshirt and second I am always wearing a sweatshirt. I wonder if my feet will ever fit back into dress shoes again after three months of this? What about after six months?

I am worried about what my uniform will become once warm weather finally gets here. Obviously it will have to be a red, white or blue t-shirt, the summer equivalent of the sweatshirt, but I don’t think I have ones as old and beloved as my sweatshirt collection.

I guess I liken my sweatshirts as the equivalent of a baby blanket. Maybe I should just make myself a baby quilt and carry it around with me, then I could wear real clothes.

Regressive House Wife

Today I felt like I was channeling my inner 1940’s House Wife. Not that I set out to do that. Everyone else in my house was busy working, locked away in their respective offices, interacting with other humans electronically. I had no such excitement so without a plan for the day I just started in cleaning various things.

As most major things have been cleaned and re-cleaned during the last eight week lock down I had to turn my attention to the rarely or difficult to clean items. I started with the glass wall of the shower. As I had stripped out the ten year old silicone beading on the bottom of the glass wall yesterday and replaced it with new, clean silicone I needed to polish the glass. I have finally found the right combination of vinegar and Dawn mixed with a touch of water and a micro-fabric covered sponge as the way to clean the shower glass. It takes two or three passes between the vinegar/Dawn mixture and clean water before squeegeeing the whole thing. Oh the satisfaction of clean glass and fresh silicone.

Once I had that gallon jug of white vinegar out I turned to another cleaning job I have never done- deep cleaning my washer. I had noticed a “tub clean” setting on my top loader. In my whole life I have never cleaned my washer, but what the hell. I poured two cups of vinegar in the machine and ran the tub cleaning cycle. When it was done I ran a second cycle to ensure no vinegar lurked anywhere in my washer.

My robot vacuum ran all over the house all the while I was doing these other jobs. Then I got out a set of mops. I used my hardwood mop and cleans the wood floors. Then I turned to the tile floors. Next I dealt with every toilet. I was on a roll.

Lastly I took on the burners of my gas stove. As I have starfish burners and the gunk tends to turn black on the corners of the stars. Despite cleaning the stove daily when I wipe down the counters I never get all the stuff off. Channeling my inner 1940’s house wife, who had nothing better to do than keep a perfect home, I took a Brillo pad to the stove and scrubbed until my fingers nails were black. I got most everything off the corners of the starfish, but a few stubborn black marks persist. I am going to have to research the best way to remove them in tight spots.

As I had pulled out some stainless steel cleaner to work on the stove I finished up by polishing all the appliances in the kitchen. Only then did I realize I could have been cleaning the oven. Oh thank goodness I have something to do tomorrow. It is still going to be the 1940’s here for a while. Maybe I can pull out my old Electrolux vacuum and I can vacuum the lampshades and all the sofa cushions. If only I could get my hands on some good beef bones I could make my own soap and gelatin.

Cover a Your Mouth AND Nose

I try and stay home. When I have to go out I try and go on an off weekday time, hoping there are fewer people out. I believe the scientists who say no contact and good face covering and hand washing are the best way to not contract or spread Covid. It is not inevitable that we all have to get this thing in the next two years if people do the three easiest things, stay at least six feet apart from everyone, except those who you live with, wear a mask when you are in public, which does not mean when you are taking a walk in your empty neighborhood, but are in a store, and wash your hands, lots.

Last week my outing was to Trader Joe’s. They have this system of keeping us safe down pat. ALL the employees are wearing masks that cover both their nose and mouth. They only have enough carts in use to keep the numbers low inside the store and they disinfect them between each customer. They have employees at the door managing the line outside and have little “x’s” on the sidewalk incase you really don’t know how far apart six feet is. They also only let in customers who are also wearing masks and you can’t bring your own bags. I feel safe shopping there because of all these things.

Unfortunately today I had three errands to run I had been putting off. The first was to Home Depot. Big Mistake. They have a sign at the door telling people to wear masks but half of the idiots in the store were not, and that includes employees. There was a greeter getting carts from outside and giving them to customers inside, but he was not cleaning the cart handles. I asked him why there were so many customers coming in without masks and he just shrugged. You can bet I told a few of those customers to put masks on, but they looked at me like they were on the way to an NRA rally. I even saw a pregnant woman shopping without a mask.

At one point I witnessed three employees without masks who were as close together as people could be talking to each other. I could practically see the water droplets come from their mouths as they talked face-to-face. I will not be going back to Home Depot as they are clearly OK with killing off their employees and customers.

The next stop was a national pharmacy where not only were the customers unmasked, but so were the Pharmacists and shelf stockers. Pharmacists are highly trained professionals and it was shocking to see them with their masks casually around their necks, they certainly know better.

The last stop was the Post Office. They had a sign on the door that said that everyone was to be masked per the USPS, yet the two of the three workers had their masks below their noses. Now I am certain that wearing a mask all day at work can be annoying, but the Post Office workers come in contact with every type of person. Like the woman in front of me who brought in $1,300 is cash in small bills to get a money order. Talk about germ spreading. Cash isn’t even allowed at Smoothy King.

I came home and wrote all the corporations where I had witnessed poor behavior by employees. I know these people are essential workers who are working at stores so we can get needed supplies. I want them to stay healthy along with the rest of us. More places need to follow Trader Joe’s lead and do things right. We are in this for the long haul. Things are not going back the way they used to be for years until we have a vaccine and everyone has gotten it, including all those anti-vaxers.

So not only should you wear your masks correctly, you need to call places out that are not. Change only happens with pressure. Knowing you might lose customers for a lifetime because you are only paying lip service to the necessary precautions is the only way to make businesses be good citizens. I am keeping a list of the good places and the bad places and am happy to write to all the presidents and board chairs of offending companies. Let me know of your good places. I want to call them out for doing the right things.

No Mother’s Together for Mother’s Day

This is the loneliest Mother’s Day for so many people this year. I am not able to see my mother, although we did make plans to try and see each other in a few weeks, but not to get to hug.

I have had a nice day with Russ and Carter, but it is not so different than the last sixty days. I am thinking of people who can’t visit their Mother or whose Mothers are no longer on this earth.

Mothers who are living in assisted living, that are rightfully not allowing any visitors to keep their residents safe, can’t be visited by their kids. Mothers who live far away and can’t be visited because we are sheltering at home and not traveling. Mothers whose children are working at essential jobs such as nurses and doctors and don’t want to expose their mother’s to any potential germs, can’t be visited.

What this Mother’s Day reminds me is to spend time with your mother when you can because even if they are healthy, you might not get to be with them. We just don’t know how long we have with our Moms. So Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet mother. Thanks to my family to spending time with me today too. It’s not a normal Mother’s Day, but it makes me appreciate being one.

Back to 1970’s Delivery

When I was a kid we would pour over the FAO Schwarz toy catalog which came in a September. It was the Christmas wish book for us. Every year I would marvel over the same two items which cost the most in the whole book and were essentially the same price, a live pony and a rolling life sized stuffed pony with cart. How could they be the same price? I wondered if they had the live ponies in a cage at the warehouse where all the other toys were stored.

The catalog came in September so that parents had plenty of time to mail in their order form and wait the few weeks for the toys to be delivered. You really had to be organized back then. There was no way to phone in an order and there was no overnight delivery.

We thought nothing of waiting weeks for something ordered from a catalog. Perhaps that is why we mostly shopped at local store where we could have instant gratification.

Fast forward fifty years and we have practically instant gratification while ordering from Online catalogs. Of course they are nothing like the FAO Schwarz way of shopping where all the items had a long descriptive copy written beside the tiny photos. At one point I thought I might want to be both a copy writer and an art director because I loved reading catalogs.

We have become so spoiled with nearly instant delivery. Companies, in order to compete, were practically forced into offering inexpensive overnight delivery, no matter what it actually costs. Enter Covid-19.

Now that we are staying home we have no choice but to order online and wait for things to be delivered, but suddenly everything is taking so much longer. I understand that warehouses might not have exactly the same staffing they had before and that maybe employees have to be further apart, but the actually delivery mechanism that has been in place for years now has slowed down to 1970’s levels.

I had to order more plain fabric to make masks and it took three weeks to arrive, when two months ago it would have taken three days. My friend Suzanne said that she son’s “Welcome to Brown” big college acceptance envelope came five weeks after the email giving him the good news of his being offered a spot. The post mark proved it.

I have been awaiting elastic I ordered in March. Unknowingly I ordered five different spools from five different vendors. One arrived two weeks ago and I have used it up. A second should come this week, eight weeks after the original order. The other three are coming weeks from now. These deliveries are akin to ordering the live pony from the FAO Schwarz catalog. I figure if I am going to be getting anyone a Christmas present I better start shopping now. Should Carter get the love of stuffed pony?

Oh Lord, I forgot I write a Daily Blog

This life of nothing to do has made me forget the only thing I do. One day runs into the other and nothing happens. Sorry I have no blog today. Just as I am falling asleep I realize I have not written today. Tomorrow hopefully I will do better

Growing Dog Anxiety

Shay has always been partial to Russ. She has always loved him more than me and Carter, but she still liked us plenty. When he worked downtown at his office she would spend the day with me, but as soon as she heard that garage door open she would wiggly wait at the top of the stairs until he opens the door. Then she would stand on her haunches and dance for him.

Eight weeks ago Russ stopped going to the downtown office. He moved into his home office in the bunny bedroom. I wonder if his Zoom mates can see the running bunny boarder on the wall?

When Russ moved into that room, so did Shay. She has a tiny bed next to his desk and the big regular bed to sleep on. At first she would go in while he was on calls and hang out with him, but would still come around and see me and when Carter got home he would visit her, a little. As the weeks have gone on she has stopped visiting me and Carter and stays exclusively with Russ.

When he tires of the office he moves outside to his office bench in the front yard. Shay goes with him. She did not like to sit on the slatted bench without a towel because she felt uneasy about falling through. So Russ brought two towels to make her comfy. Then he found an old cushion for the bench, but she also wanted the towels. Now she never leaves his side.

Today he had a call and needed to concentrate, so he went outside and left her inside. I got a text, “Did you let Shay out?” She had figured out how to let herself out and sat on the bench with him. She peers over the seat back watching walkers as they go by. We have started calling her Gladys Kravits because she is so nosy about people in the neighborhood.

Shay stays by Russ 24 hours a day and refuses to let him out of her sight. Carter try’s to get her to sleep in her room and she will have none of it. If Russ gets up in the middle of the night, as he does every night, she goes with him. She has even stopped going to the kitchen for breakfast if Russ has an early morning call, instead going right to her bed by his desk. Officially she has become the CDO, Chief Dog Officer.

I am getting a little worried what is going to happen to her psychologically when Russ does get to leave the house. I think we are going to have to start practicing because it is not going to be pretty.

Chickens At Home?

As the news of meat shortages hit the airways in the last couple of days there is one business who saw this as an opportunity. Wayfair e-mailed me today with the headline of Chicken coops for sale. As a company I usually think of for sofas I was curious about what kind of chicken coops they had.

This model still only holds two chickens

I was astonished to find they had 36 different models on offer. My favorite part of the descriptions was how many chickens each coop held. The majority were two chicken coops. Lord, it is a lot of work to keep just two chickens. Two chickens hardly produce enough eggs for one person.

Most of these coops are for laying hens so that does nothing for the meat shortage. When I was a kid my father used to tell me about the chickens his family raised during and after the war. They had both laying hens and eating birds. My Dad as a very young boy, say five or six, would be in charge of catching and wringing the necks of the chosen dinner bird.

It used to make my dad really mad that on Sunday when the preacher would come for Sunday dinner after church the family would have one chicken and the preacher would have a whole one just to himself.

I can’t imagine having to clean a chicken I raised, much less wring it’s neck. Having laying hens is great, as long as you are stuck at home. It is going to be interesting to see how long people keep their chickens once they are allowed to go on vacation. Can’t you see the Animal Protection Society now having to accept chickens.

Rather than investing a few thousand dollars in a chicken coop large enough for seven birds it might be a good time to lean in to veganisim. This Covid thing is really doing everything good for the planet. No travel, to cut down on pollution. Less meat to cut down on pollution. Maybe it can cut down on bad politicians too.

Thanks for Birthday Persistence

My friend Shelayne and I always celebrate our birthdays with a lunch. Shelayne was not letting social distancing change our tradition completely. She called me up and invited me to tKe a birthday walk with her and the have lunch on her back porch with our friend Lee. It seemed like the perfect plan.

Thankfully the rain held off for a mid morning walk around Shelayne’s neighborhood. Since they have sidewalks and very wide roads it made the walk easier than walking at my house. It was nice to have a change of scenery and it was a great chance to catch up with Shelayne.

After the walk Lee came over to Shelayne’s with a delicious quiche she had made for us. Shelayne donned a pair of rubber gloves to bring the plates out to the porch. We sat at their giant table six feet apart like guests at a royal banquet. Shelayne had thought of everything to keep us safe. We had extra napkins to use if we needed to pass anything and we each had our own serving spoons to dress our salads. At no point did we get close to each other or touch any common items.

Starved for each other’s company we stayed on the porch for a couple of hours and filled each other in on the goings on for the two months. We decided that we are not ready to go back to restaurants for a long while and found lunch on the porch far apart to be better anyway.

Shelayne declared that she did not want to miss sharing a birthday and this was a lovely way to do it. I am so thankful for wonderful friends who find creative ways to show love. We are going to be going at this for a while and I see I am going to have to expand my terrace table to have people far enough apart to keep the social in social distancing.

I Have A Beef With Hasbro

For the last two weeks Carter and I have been playing a never ending Monopoly game. It stays on the game table in the living room and every day or two I get a text from Carter, “Want to play Monopoly.” Happier words she has never texted me.

This game goes on and on because we have a similar amount of properties and housing, but Carter is amassing a much greater amount of cash than I am. My beef with Hasbro is they in no way provide enough cash in the various denominations to play this game with any skill level. As we are playing the “Here and Now” version of the game the top denomination is $5,000,000. Think of it as equivalent to the $500 bill in good old original Monopoly. The second most valuable bill is $1,000,000. When you pass go you get two of these.

Carter and I are constantly having to turn in the million dollar bills as the bank runs out. We trade in five and get a $5,000,000 bill in exchange. Then the bank runs out of those. So we have to start a secret second bank where are money is just a number written on paper. Currently Carter has $120,000,000 in her credit account and I only have $50,000,000. This does not include the cash on hand we both have. You can imagine that Carter has much more cash than I do.

At one point Carter had every $5,000,000 bill in the whole game. She counted it up and it only totaled $100,000,000. I don’t know who at Hasbro ever tested this game, but they just don’t provide enough cash to play to game with any skill. Carter and I looked online to see if we could buy more Monopoly money to supplement our under capitalized bank and it is not sold anywhere.

Hasbro needs to get into the spare parts business. I understand that we have a limited number of houses and hotels for strategic reasons, but more money is not going to change the way the game is played. If lightening struck our house and Russ wanted to play with us we would hardly have enough money for three players to play long enough to buy all the properties.

So Hasbro, if you are listening. Sell us some cash infusions. It could be a nice revenue stream and makes playing the game so much more pleasant because we don’t have to constantly be turning bills in because the bank is broke. We hate playing the 2008 version of banking.

Really, The Best Birthday

Low were the expectations I had for this birthday. Of course no one has had much Celebrating for the last seven weeks. A birthday is not like a wedding, or graduation so having an “ehh” day was not a big deal. I had Russ, Carter and Shay Shay, so I didn’t need anything else.

My friend Christy had dropped flowers off at my house earlier for my birthday and it was nice to have thee beautiful Lillies to remind me of my friend.

Russ and Carter and dribbled my gifts to me over the last few weeks because a need would arise. Like I got new earbuds so I could listen quietly while they worked. And when Carter wanted me to teach her how to make hollandaise sauce she gave me the pair of tiny whisks she had bought since I was only making enough for one person. With getting those gifts early I was certain today would be not so much.

I was wrong. When I woke up I got a couple of new gifts. I especially liked the tiny spatulas to go along with my tiny whisks. Then the messages started coming in from friends and family near and far. The best thing about Facebook is the birthday reminder function. My parents and sister Janet all called and we had a great time talking.

I had a nice walk on the treadmill while watching church online so I felt productive. My neighbor Lucy dropped off fresh picked Strawberries. Then I took an outdoor walk with the whole family. On this absolutely perfect day we had to do it. When we got back from the walk I discovered more flowers from a friend Nicki, who had come by to pick up masks.

Carter gave me time in the sweat shop so I could work on a baby quilt I was making for some young friends. While wearing my rubbery quilting gloves as I pushed the quilt though my sewing machine, Russ came down and said I needed to come outside, there was a parade outside. Throwing off my gloves I ran outside to discover a large contingent of my garden club with signs, and beads, honking and waving out of their car windows. Since there are three of us in the neighborhood who share today as our birthday they were parading to all our houses. So happy Birthday to Susan and Beth too! It was a fun surprise and good just to see so many friendly faces I have missed.

I went back to the sweat shop and no sooner had I finished the quilting and putting on the binding when I was called out again. Nine of my friends were social distancing on my terrace with flowers and coconut cake. Lynn and Hannah had organized it and it was the best thing that has happened to me all year. Thanks to Stephanie, Christy, Mary Lloyd, Sara, Karen, Amanda and Kathi who joined Lynn and Hannah to surprise me.

Sitting far apart we shared what shows we were binging and other things we have been doing to stay busy while we have not seen each other. Thank goodness they came over because Russ had bought a whole coconut cake without telling me and that needed to be shared.

Tonight Carter is making us dinner and then we all are watching a movie. If I had designed a perfect day, under regular circumstances I would not have beat today. Thanks to all my friends and family for making it so special.

Twenty-Eight and Pretty Great

You know that saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” Today Russ and I had planned on being in Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize… someplace warm and tropical. Someplace to celebrate 28 years together. Russ had not been on a vacation is a long time and I had been researching someplace wonderful for him. This would have taken the pressure off him for this weekend.

This is the worst weekend for him, our anniversary and my birthday back to back, followed quickly by Mother’s Day next weekend. He considers it “my” weekend, but today really is “our” day. A trip away, planned by me, would mean he didn’t have to do any work and it still would have been a great celebration for me too.

Sadly, God laughed. So my trying to relieve the pressure of my weekend back fired and Russ is now trying to make up for the quarantine on the big weekend. Not what I wanted this year. See, Russ makes every weekend “my” weekend. For twenty-eight years he has always thought of others before himself.

I am not quite sure how I got this lucky, but I try and not take him for granted, because he really is one of a kind. There is no one else I can think of who would make all this staying home so easy.

It is sad that my plans to take him away to celebrate him got cancelled, but it is no tragedy. We have Carter home and we are all healthy. It is a beautiful weekend, exactly as it was on this day twenty-eight years ago when I announced loudly in church that “I will” marry Russ Lange. I am certain he had no idea what life with me was going to be like. Thank goodness he stayed.

Sometime, when the world is different than it is today, I hope we can go away, but not get away, because there is nothing to get away from as long as Russ is with me. Happy Anniversary to the best.

Leftover Parade

With Carter home the containers of leftover seems to be multiplying like rabbits. Russ and I had gotten into a good rhythm of eating the leftovers and keeping the rotation of the food in the fridge under control. Then Carter came home. She is a good cook, but she does not like leftovers and she often does not want the dinner I make so she makes her own.

Tonight Russ took about a quarter of the leftover containers out of the fridge tonight to figure out what he was going to eat. He found four homemade salad dressings, most made from similar ingredients. There were two different quinoa containers and he didn’t even take out the other half of the stuffed squash up with quinoa. There were unlimited vegetables in small quantities.

I am going to have to do a better job of eating the leftovers with Russ. The only problem is tomorrow is our anniversary and Sunday is my birthday so that means two dinners of new food. No one wants celebratory leftovers. I wish I liked squash for breakfast. I may have to throw some things away.