Thursday, April 30, 2020

Good Intentions

I planned to read all 23 books.... but, it turns out, there are only 22 of them.  I finished the series this morning, much to my dismay.  I'll miss the characters and Alaska..... equally. 

This left a hole in my day's planned activities.  Further complicating the situation was a technical glitch with the Pilates program and by the time it was all sorted out I was on to cleaning the bathrooms.  It's not my favorite chore, but it needs to be done and I'm much more efficient than TBG and I was peeved about missing my exercise hour and therefore in the perfect mood to be cleaning toilets. 
I spent some quality time with the lime remover and a Mr. Clean eraser in our shower.  The tiles are lovely but require a lot more maintenance than a drop in shower with a plastic insert protecting the walls.  As I sighed a bit more loudly than I might otherwise have done were I not looking for solace, I reminded myself that that's the price we pay for beauty.

My Young Friend and I worked in the yard,  she redistributing the stones which serve as ground cover and I putting irrigation flags at the outlets which spew water at each setting.  It's a chore that I've never felt emotionally able to tackle; the controller has flummoxed me so often that I just leave it alone and pray. 

But our water bill is twice what it ought to be and while some of that is probably because we are spending so much time counting to 20 while rubbing soap over suspected fatty globules of virus and not bothering to turn off the faucet.  I made a quick Curbside Delivery trip to Home Depot to pick up the irrigation flags I bought on line and spent a semi-productive 90 minutes with the manual pulled up on my phone as I placed flags appropriately.... or so I thought until I realized that not only is there 1-2-3 but also A-B-C to contend with. 

The temperature was triple digits: I sent My Young Friend to Costco and I went inside to shower.

I had planned to read the last book in the series all the way through today.  I planned to spend an hour doing Pilates.  I planned to finish the irrigation upkeep.

I had very good intentions. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


I was alive today. 

I exercised and cooked and showered.  I read half of the 22nd book in my 23 book series.

TBG got the mail "because that's something we should still be doing, right?  And I don't have to change my clothes if I just go to the mailbox, right?"

There was nothing of importance, which made me grieve for the USPS for a moment before my brain moved away from the discomfort. 

San Francisco has extended its stay at home order through May, though Big Cuter has been (as of 4pm on Tuesday) unable to determine what steps are being taken to reopen life, right, because I don't mind staying in if it's productive to do so and if there is a plan.... but, is there a plan? he wondered.

I don't like it when my boy is discomfitted, but I'm powerless to assuage his angst. 

I'm really in need of a distraction.  That last sentence had too many ten dollar words, and it's kind of embarrassing to flaunt my education so extravagantly.  I seem to be blathering along here, too.

I was alive today. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


It was BYOE at our house.... or, to be precise, on our driveway.... last night. 

The E stood for Everything:  Chairs, Liquid Refreshments and the vessels thereof, snacks if needed..  It was the easiest party I ever hosted.  I was in charge only of knowing when the shade would hit.

The six of us - Dr. K and Not-Kathy, Fast Eddie and JannyLou, TBG and I - sat appropriately distant from one another, the breeze either blowing the virus away from us or onto us, depending on whose version of the facts we chose to believe. 

The tiny flying bugs weren't too annoying and then the bats came out and we stopped swatting.  Not-Kathy pouring her mini-mason jar of light brown liquid into a fancy-shmancy glass, Fast Eddie sharing good news.... there was nothing really outstanding about any of the little things that happened over those 90 minutes..... and it was the best time I've had since the beginning of March.

Monday, April 27, 2020

It's Not Only....

It's not only staying in my pajamas all day and thinking that it's just fine.

It's not only recognizing that I haven't used deodorant since we've been locked down, and that, if TBG is to be believed, I haven't done anything to raise a stink since then either, . 

The sense of accomplishment washing over me after Pilates-On-Line and a shower would be perceived, in any other time frame of my life, as absurd.

It's not only the rush I feel when we have new groceries in the house, or  Little Cuter's We hit the jackpot!! when SIR scored a mega-pack of toilet paper at Costco. (There are people who feel that way on the first of every month, and I sent a donation to the Food Bank as I typed those words.....).

Hamburgers on the grill with fresh meat and fresh buns have never tasted so good.

It's not only feeling no guilt over staying inside and binge watching Billions, it's feeling virtuous while doing so. 

Friends are sending masks my way.  My bandanas, last seen when I was hiking 20 miles a week,
have reemerged as ppe's.

Having figured out a way to play mah jongg on-line, I'm able to get my gaming fix.  I still have three more books in my mystery series on the Kindle.  I FaceTime with my grandkids every day.  I've figured out groceries.  So far, my family is safe and healthy.

Somehow, this is all feeling much too comfortable. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Cleaning the Garden Garage

I won't let her inside the house anymore to help us clean, but My Young Friend still wants to work. I'm using her energy and enthusiasm to tackle the outdoor projects I've been putting off forever.

This week, we tackled the third garage, the one most people use for their golf carts, the one TBG bequeathed to me as my Garden Garage, hoping to contain my clutter.  

Sadly for him, that was never going to be the case.  I'm capable of keeping things neat, but as my desk has proven over the years, maintaining that status is nigh on impossible.  The same was obviously going to be true of the Garden Garage.  

Once I was perforated and bending became more painful than it was worth, things deteriorated further.  I'd start out with great intentions, and return, my hip defeating my heart's desire.  Putting things anywhere other than the nearest clear(ish) surface was all I could manage.  

And so, I had piles and piles of piles on piles.  There were several containers of irrigation supplies, most hidden beneath empty bags of soil filled with the detritus of that day's project.  There were tools in need of repair, and tools I'd forgotten I owned, like this weed destroyer,  
a relic from the brief, early moment when I thought I'd be doing my own yard work. 

My Young Friend took everything out through the garage door, as I stood far away, working on the other end of the room.  She washed the floor while I organized the crap I'd collected.  Just stacking the plastic containers from plants installed long ago freed up half the patio.  After that, I was ruthless.


Yes, I was going to save the orange Eames rocker I rescued from G'ma's house.  Someone will replace the broken wooden support..... at some point.  The bike rack may be useful someday, no, I don't know what day, but I know I'll be glad that it sat on top of the wheelchairs and the walkers and the car seats in the corner next to The UV when that day comes.    
All those baskets and plastic shoe boxes will be repurposed.  I was too tired to move them out of the way for the picture.  The pretty box on the floor holds Grandma's Garden prizes and it, along with the pool noodle, was just too low down there for me to bend and grab.
There were some treasures, too, like this faucet handle I bought in Marin.
And then My Young Friend found this: 
My father took classes at Queens College for many, many years.  Mozart and Clouds and Shakespeare and, when we moved to California, a semester on Geology and Earthquakes wherein the professor reassured him that were The Big One to shake, our house, though moved to Sausalito from Tiburon, would still be standing on the ground beneath it.  

I spent a long time communing with Daddooooo, surrounded by his tools and his stories.  

It was, in a all, a lovely day. in Quarantine.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Being Really Sick Right Now

A friend had heart surgery in early February, before we knew just how scary things were. 

Her plan to hike (in sections) the entirety of the Arizona Trail was put on hold while her body revolted.  She wrote a series of goals while preparing for the procedure, starting with Don't Die! 

Having accomplished that,she began to rehab, aiming to get back on The Trail as soon as she could manage.  She had family and friends to encourage and support her every step of the way, until they couldn't any more. 

Thanks to Covid 19, she's socially distant, restricted in her options, and at risk every time she goes out her front door.needs

A friend is considering a variety of treatments for a cancer that just won't seem to go away.  Options include an intense, 2 week trial and a less intense, 7 week, well established regime.  There are pros and cons enough to consider without adding on the now necessary consideration of the number of times he'd be exposed to The Community At Large.

There are many stories in the Shelter In Place Country.  These are just two of them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day (redux of the reduxes)

(This is the 8th post I ever wrote, back in 2009.  I like it just as much today as I did then.)

I like Earth Day. I was there at its creation, after all.

Created in large part by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, in 1970 it was a touchy-feely alternative to the harsher realities of the anti-Vietnam War protests. War was such an uncomfortable subject and arguing against it made your parents wonder why they were spending tuition dollars while you were telling the lawfully elected President of the United States of America that you knew more than he did. With your picture in the crowd on the front page of the NY Times. At 18 years of age, no less. 

But planting trees? Recycling newspaper? Not littering? And all this in service to Mother Earth. Who could be aggravated about supporting Mother Earth?

Earth Day had teach-in's. They were more fun than sit-in's, which invariably involved police and disciplinary action. They were less fun than be-in's, which owed more to Timothy Leary and The Grateful Dead than to anything political or practical. Teach-in's were earnest and had hand-outs and statistics and pictures of desolate landscapes ravaged by the cruelty of man. There was science and legislation and outrage and lots of tree give-aways.

Earth Day had no mandatory family gatherings. It required no gift giving, no card sending. You went outside and did something - cleaned a playground, weeded a median strip, planted one of those free trees. You felt good because you were doing good.

Now there is Earth Week and "We're greener than you are" tv networks Were this still 1970, there would be protests about the idea being "co-opted by 'the man'". Instead, Sheryl Crow is designing reuseable grocery bags for Whole Foods and Wal-Mart is selling them next to the discounted paper towels.

And Mother Earth is grateful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Recreacting My Life - A Snippet

My Pilates studio is offering classes via Zoom.  Today, I took two of them. Then, I swam laps, working on my endurance and breathing.

The pool is surrounded by my springtime blossoms.  Violas and snapdragons and gomphrena and roses.... oh, my roses..... surround the pool in the backyard.  When the breeze is blowing just right and the sun has heated the blooms to their most fulsome loveliness the aroma is everywhere.  Just sitting outside and breathing heals my soul.
I miss being outside with the Prince scholars.  On the other hand, my own garden has never looked this good.

And now I've discovered a wonderful way to connect with Scarlet  - on-line Mah Jongg.  We FaceTime on one device and play together on another, each in our own houses but together. Staying Home has brought the amount of time and enjoyment I get while playing games into specific relief.  I missed all the aspects of it - the game itself, the friend across the table, the anticipation and the after action reports. 

For the past three days, I've had all of that from the comfort of my kitchen table, in my pj's, for as long as we feel like playing, whenever we feel like playing.  After all, neither of us has traveled the 9 miles that separate us to get to the game. 

We're just a click away.

I said this before - we're only as far away as we allow ourselves to be.


I know how lucky I am.  I wish I could invite you all to join me. I know how privileged I am. 

I send healing vibes to all as I continue to call my MOC's and remind them that We, the People are more important than big business, that money isn't getting where it needs to get, that voting by mail is an essential part of the funding package.

I, like most of us, am doing the most, the best that I can.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Living My Best Life

That's how Little Cuter described her family's approach to staying home. 

We're living our best life, right FlapJilly?  
Right, Mama!

That was all well and good until this weekend, when being grateful for food and family and shelter and the internet and a backyard and (finally, now that the snow melted) playing outdoors just wasn't enough for a little girl who's supposed to be enjoying the last two months of kindergarten. 

Getting ready to start the grades is a big deal, at least for the scholars at Prince Elementary here in Tucson.  There's a strong sense of putting aside childish things, of accepting the responsibilities of homework and reading on your own and of climbing the stairs to the classrooms of the 1st and 2nd graders. 

e-Learning is fun and productive and full of creative, do at home presentations that would not be possible from FlapJilly's classroom. The Marvelous Mrs. MacCambridge and her colleagues have done a great job, but the kids are operating in their own personal silos.  The social skills they're supposed to be honing are family-centric at a time when their developmental needs are pushing them out into the wider world.

And no matter how lucky she is to have an upstairs and a downstairs and a front and a back and an inside and an outside to roam, yesterday it all became too much.

Nothing new will EVER happen again.

How do you explain indefinite to a 5 year old?  I can't even explain it to myself.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Case for a 12 Month School Year

The New York Times is worried about kids. They cite alarming statistics - the loss of 30% of reading gains is just one - in store for students without face-to-face teacher time. Fifth graders, who need to shore up their math skills for the rigors of middle school instruction, are at particular risk.

This worries the Times. The learning setbacks that schoolchildren commonly experience over a summer vacation can easily wipe out one or two months of academic growth, they tell us, and the disruption caused by the virus will be even worse.  What to do?  What to do?

I've been smiling at all this angst.  There's always been a solution to the losses over the summer - Year 'Round School.  I've been on this bandwagon for ages.

My school board colleagues looked askance at me whenever I broached the topic.  Vacations?  Summer Camp?  Family Immersion Time?  What to do????

Well, a quarter system consisting of 10 week blocks of learning separated by three week breaks adds up to 52 weeks of learning and fun, without a two month work stoppage.  Disney is fun in October... more fun than swatting mosquitoes and breathing through the humidity of Florida in July.  Summer camps can operate year 'round.  Resorts would have more vacationers spread out comfortably through the calendar. And family time?  After one month of freedom, the days begin to stretch out endlessly.  Short breaks between quarters will feel valuable and will end before they become boring.

And Family Immersion Time?  How's that feeling right now?  Sometimes, enough is enough.

Here in Arizona, it's always seemed silly to send the kiddos home for the summer when, for some, the only air conditioned space they have is in the school building.  Months without school breakfast and lunch are hard to handle for those who are food insecure.  Sure, bagged meals can be picked up, but a hot lunch makes all the difference, especially if there's not much waiting for you at home for dinner.  

Live with that image for a while.  

Pedagogical reasons abound.  It takes time to get into the swing of things; two months off in a chaotic home situation makes the start of school a challenge for teachers.  The loss of skills is obvious; many of our students don't have families who can help them keep up. 

High Schoolers with nothing to do for months at a time are a recipe for disaster.  Shorter, more frequent breaks are less likely to induce boredom related misadventures.

All those empty school buildings, serving no purpose as June and July and August roll by, make me crazy.  All that potential, sitting there, unused. 

What about the money?  Teachers will have to be paid like the full-time employees they are. No longer will they hear but you have summers off!!!  I know that those summers are used for continuing education, for cutting out shapes and maps to decorate and educate, for reading and choosing books to share, for developing lesson plans and planning field trips and adventures.  It's not a 9 month job, even if the calendar pretends that it is so.  Year 'Round School validates what's already happening.

The 2 month summer vacation from school was designed to allow farm kids to harvest the crops.  I don't see many American kids out in the fields these days.  

Our economy has changed.  So should our schools.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Book 19 - A Snippet

Dana Stabenow published Book 23 in her Kate Shugak series earlier this year.  It's been a while since Book 22 came out; I was waiting for the dog days of summer to reread the series in its entirety.

I didn't wait for June; I started with Book 1 once I realized that I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.  I've been averaging a book and a bit a day.  They are all on my Kindle; I just keep clicking and downloading them from where they've been lurking in the ether. 

And today, I clicked on Book 19.

Three more in my queue.  One more to purchase and download. 

I can't tell you how sad that makes me.  I've been able to escape lock down; I've been in Alaska with a dozen or so recurring characters and a few dozen others who have been my neighbors and boon companions for the last month.  I'm missing them already.

I have other series, thousands of pages worthy of immersion.  But I've grown accustomed to these faces.........

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

April 15

This day makes TBG nutty.

He stresses for weeks before.  He has to gear up to get going.  The paperwork spreads over the dining room table for one very long morning, then I take it all to Kinkos to copy it and mail it off.

This year, we have until August to file.

I know I'm just putting off the inevitable, but I have to say that this has been one of the most delightful April's I have spent with the man since we began filing taxes jointly.

I hope your day is as nice as mine is going to be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Thoughts From Today

JannyLou and I were going to sit an appropriate distance apart on the path between our houses today,  But the wind was blowing and her allergies were acting up so we postponed until things settle down.

And, as she texted, maybe I'll have something to say by then.
I tried to take a nap, more from boredom than anything else.  Trying to fall asleep, I lay on the bed, wondering what t-shirt I was wearing.  I wanted to remember, I didn't want to look..... until TBG came in and I sat up and saw Little Cuter's breast cancer awareness's pinkness above my shorts.

For some reason, the fact that I couldn't come up with that on my own continued to bother me all afternoon.
We're getting really good at unpacking that which comes in from the Outside.  One of us has dirty hands and does all the collecting and opening and tipping onto the plates that the other, clean hands, has laid out. 

Though it pains me to toss rather than recycle the containers, I don't want them in the house one second longer than they have to be.  On the other hand, the before and after photos showing now clear skies more than makes up for the plastic we'll be adding to the landfills.
Not-Kathy managed to get back from Michigan, where she was on an errand of mercy.  Shepherding her elderly aunt and uncle on the plane and into their temporary residence here in Tucson was going to be complicated enough.  Allegiant Airlines didn't help the situation any by cancelling not one but two flights before finally allowing them to get out of Dodge early this morning. 

She texted that she was home, sitting quietly across the room from her much-missed husband.

We'll Zoom when she can let people in again.  For now, I'm letting her be.
I tried to watch my President this afternoon. How do I tune in exactly when he's saying what every taking head will be repeating ad nauseum for the rest of the day?  It's uncanny.

Today I watched him try not to say that as President he has the power to do everything.....because .....
nope, couldn't do it. 

But I'm not letting him into my seclusion.  He's not invited.  I want only thoughtful, kind, peaceful interruptions in my shelter.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Natural Beauty

My Peace rose tree is in bloom.
Giant blooms are about ready to burst - this was the first one.

 The bush outside our bedroom window is also flush with flowers, some yellower than others.
The vases were gifts from a friend who was to celebrate her marriage here in Tucson on Sunday afternoon. Since the happy couple and her children are in Washington, D.C. and the rest of us are sheltering in place here where she used to live, all I could do was break out her glassware and send them a virtual hug.  

And then there was this butterfly, exhausted from being drenched by an hour long rainstorm, drying out on the patio.  She was too tired to move, even as I came in for the close up. 

In troublous times, when Easter Egg hunts are family-centric, when Seders are Zoomed, when nothing seems to be as it was, the natural world reminds me that life goes on.

Friday, April 10, 2020

More Joy

Once again, I'm reminded that cliches are cliches because they are true.  Today I realized, once again,  that it is the little things that matter.

My young friend was willing but I was terrified to let her come into the house to help me clean.  I'm sure she's taking care, but I'm not there every minute to be sure.  She's found work at Door Dash and Instacart so she's in and out of places all day long. No one can tell me for sure how long the virus lasts on surfaces or in the air; I haven't had her touching the bed or the laundry in weeks.  

But we want to pay her and she wants to work, so, today, she took everything out of the garage and washed the floor to within an inch of its life.  Then she put everything back where it started out.  Our cars are still in the driveway; it's too pretty to move them onto that floor.  

And then, because there was still time owed, she took my list and my credit card, and JannyLou's list and some cash, and went to Whole Foods for us.  An experienced quarantine shopper, she outfitted herself in gloves and mask.  She consulted with the worker bees to determine the best time to shop (turns out the morning is the worst; they get restocked after lunch and have holes on the shelves early in the day) and is now set up to do our meat and produce shopping on a regular basis.

She'd never been in Whole Foods before.  She says she's never going to shop anywhere else from now on.  It smells so good in there. 

I'm trying to quell my jealousy over her ability to walk through the fruits and vegetables. Instead,  I'm focusing on the little things that have brought me joy today - a clean garage and fresh groceries, the result of a delightful young woman whose eagerness to help is matched by the gleam of the sun on her braces as she smiles.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Happy Passover

Feel free to insert your own caption.) 

There are many Seders being held on Zoom tonight. None of us (I hope) are sharing physical space with extended family groups, those people we see once or twice a year, who make us nutty and whose absence we mourn around our Seder tables. 

And yet, there are stories.  There are the stories in the Haggaddahh (spelled that way because no other transliteration looked any better) and there are the stories about what happened the night that Auntie's green jello mold actually did end up on the kitchen floor.  More often than not, those are the stories we remember long after we've forgotten the answers to the 4 Questions.

Sometimes, those stories are about recurring behaviors, revolving more around personality than the actual facts of the particular matter.  Again?!?!  Cue the rueful laughter.  

Here is our story.

One year, Brother's family hosted the rest of us in Maryland.  There was a very cool toy store in his town square, and our hotel was located right across the plaza.  There were cousins to play with and grandparents to spoil us and it was, all in all, a very lovely time. 

As always, Daddooooo was not where he was supposed to be, when he was supposed to be, which was at one end of the looong table, yarmulke on his head, glass of wine in his hand, participating in the Seder.  Who knows where he was.  Who knows what he was doing.  Taking a photograph?  Deciding to do a minor home repair?  Just being ornery?

Remember, it doesn't matter.  What mattered is that It's happening AGAIN!!! 

Little Cuter, wearing a blouse her mother wore to a Seder when she, too, was 6 or 7 years old, a blouse brought from Israel for that purpose by her great grandmother and grandfather, the parents of the human at the other end of her face, her own grandfather, whose name, is coming out of her mouth the way it has come out of the mouths of generations of women before her.


Note that her mother is smiling, her brother is quietly observing while trying to hide his grin, and her grandmother is Shhhhing her, hoping to preserve the peace.  

Just a typical family dinner. 
This picture has been known and loved by everyone involved.  We all laugh at all the parts.  Even Daddooooo.  It's one of our favorite stories.... not the exact details, but the feelings... all the feelings.

What's your story? Is there one that makes you smile and grimace and ache and love all at the same time?  Even if you're alone for the holiday, be it Easter or Passover, or just the anniversary of your personal Shelter in Place Lockdown Quarantine, you can, perhaps, feel the feelings and tell the story, even to yourself.  

Being apart when you're used to being together is hard.  I spent some time with that picture today,  and felt a lot closer to those I'm not with.

It's not the same, but it helped.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

More Beauty

I looked out the bedroom window and saw this:
I went outside and looked closer at this: 
I moved out onto the patio and saw this: 
which looked like this:
My tomato plants started as one, planted three seasons ago.  
The yellow flowers will soon be small red blobs of deliciousness, read to be picked off and eaten. 

And then there's TBG, for whom this
is every bit as beautiful.
Thank you, Amazon, for recognizing that chocolate is essential for him in times of woe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Garden Therapy

Little Cuter was jealous that my roses are blooming.
  She thought you'd like to see photos. 
 Because I am an obliging sort, and because today was like yesterday, and because I cannot write about politics since that would involve watching He Who Makes My Blood Pressure Rise, and because there's no need to excuse sharing beauty, here they are. 
 These white ones are budding out profusely.
 Up close and personal, these, 
  on the same bush.
But there's more than just roses. The sweet acacia,
 a volunteer pooped out by an obliging animal,
 is covered with delightful yellow balls which fall 
and land everywhere, spreading concentrated doses of pollen far and wide.,
even invading my tiny vegetable garden.
The onion is continuing to sprout happily, joined by the radishes popping up beside them.  In the next few days I should see the carrot tops popping through.  Brother sent me a delightfully decorated envelope containing lettuce seeds which, even though they are a cold weather plant, will be put in a pot, just because.  

If you can't get out into the world, I hope this trip through my garden provides some measure of comfort.  I stayed in my nightgown until 4 o'clock, when I ordered Chinese food to be delivered for dinner.  TBG said You look great, comfortable, happy... don't worry about it.... but I did.  It took going outside and smelling the fresh air and examining the plants up close to shake me out of my why bother funk.    

The garden reminds me why.

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Things That Make Me Happy

All the items on my grocery list were available. 

I didn't know that would be the case; I ordered chicken in all its variations, hoping that one or two would end up in my trunk.  My freezer is now filled with filets and cutlets made from the many packages Safeway provided. 

I drove 19 miles to pick them up, with the mask Sister made for me firmly in place when I lowered the window to accept the receipt, and 19 miles back from the only store that had a pick up date within a week of the order I placed. 

TBG and I spent a long time disinfecting and re-wrapping and wiping and washing with soap before we stored our treasures.  I had a giddy smile plastered on my face throughout the entire operation.

We have a decontamination station in the garage, which holds the clothes we wear when we venture further than the mailbox.  We've devised an I'm Clean/You're Dirty system to handle opening packages and wiping down the contents.  Cooking requires mental preparation.  All of this makes me very happy .

I know how lucky I am.  As I type this, everyone I love is safe and healthy and relatively sane.  That also makes me happy.  That's a foundational happiness, upon which everything else is built. But around the edges, on the surface, where I live every day and bump into the world, having groceries in the house makes me very very happy.

Friday, April 3, 2020

School's Closed

Governor Ducey thinks that gun shops are essential businesses and shouldn't close.  The absurdity of arming people who are forced to stay inside with those who probably annoy them the most is beyond my comprehension, but we chose to move to the wild west, and we have to shut our mouths and move on until Giffords or Everytown  gives me a plan to effect change.  On my own, I have nothing to do but write to him and express my outrage (which I did).

Personal Care Services are also deemed essential - that means that I can get a manicure or a haircut if I choose to put myself in the chair.  My nail salon has closed for the duration (they are mothers of young children and Family First is their mantra).  TBG has agreed to cut my hair (he's really good at it) and since I've never applied color to my tresses I am among the lucky few who aren't worried about exposing their roots (according to Sister, the line in the post office in New Jersey had social distancing markers on the floor which were occupied by women of various ages and ethnicities all wearing hats).

Schools were originally closed until March 27th; I heard nothing all weekend about their reopening.  But this morning my news feed informed me that it's all shut down for the year.

I could hear the silent screams from parents who were looking for a reprieve

I could feel the approving nods from faculty and staff who were looking for a Safety First approach.

I shared the sinking feeling in my stomach with the kids who look to school as a place of joy and wonder, who miss the garden and the playground and the grown ups who care.  I'm as lonely as they are.

And now I have to make a plan.  Grandma's Garden produce is given to the scholars as the year winds down.  They fill small containers and carry their treasures home.  Some of them live through the summer, some of them don't, but all of them are honored and cared for with love.

At least, that's the plan.

The cold weather crops (broccoli, kale, lettuce) are just about at the end of their cycle.  The onions and sweet peas and radishes and carrots should all be ready to harvest in the next few weeks; we timed the planting just so.  I can't bear to leave them in the garden, unloved and uneaten and unappreciated.  And what about all the seed packets we were going to plant last week, after spring break, so that everyone could take home a plant of their own?  Some I can save for next year, but some ought to go to good homes right now.

How I will manage to do that and stay safe remains a mystery.  Until I figure it out, it's just an idea.

Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Signs of the Apocalypse

I've been wondering why people hoarded toilet paper.  Pasta and sauce and sugar and butter would all make sense to me.  Toilet paper did not jump to the front of my mind when we last walked through Albertson's, Thursday, March 12th.  I wish that Rao's marinara sauce had.

Onions and potatoes are available; eggs are not.  Aren't the hens laying?  Somebody's got those eggs, which aren't getting any fresher, and there are probably workers who'd like to help process them.  If we only had testing with immediate results, the supply chain would be much happier.


So, back to what's on the shelves.  My $200 Safeway order resulted in two bags of groceries - a sad head of iceberg lettuce, an onion, three bananas and three tubs of ice cream.  Chicken?  Nope.  Mozzarella cheese?  Nope.  That spaghetti sauce I love?  Not at any price.

JannyLou and I discussed this yesterday afternoon, outside, on the path between our houses, on chairs at least 6' apart, with a brisk wind blowing any airborne particles away.  She told me a story of an ex-pat family she knew while they were living in Mexico.  Somehow, they managed to leave Iran on a jet that shared the tarmac with the Shah, who fled as they watched.  They were in Chile for Allende.

There was more, but the lesson was the same every time.

When the toilet paper and the cooking oil start flying out the door, the revolution is not far behind.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fools

Did you ever leave an urgent message on a friend's answering machine from Mr Lyon, with the zoo's phone number?

Did you ever wake up to a saran wrapped toilet bowl under the it looks okay to me seat first thing in the morning?

Did you ever open your bedroom door and find yourself looking at another door, comprised of newspapers taped together, blocking your way?

Did the salt ever end up in the sugar bowl...... or was it the other way around?

Who, me?

It's hard to be foolish when the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but Happy April Fools Day anyway.