A Tooty, Teepee Day

I hear the wheels spinning in your heads. “What the heck is this story gonna be about?” you’re wondering. Well, I am not taking a train ride to an historical Indian village, nor am I in a tent in the … Continue reading

Covid Lockdown “Side Effects”

We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, with unexpected consequences. While we all do our best to avoid getting Covid-19, our general health (mental and physical) is deteriorating. 

Some of us are gaining weight like mad. In order to pass the time and find enjoyment in this time of reduced activity, we all decided to start baking like mad (hence, the temporary yeast shortage in the stores). This was partly because restaurants were shut down (and even now continue to be somewhat inconvenient). Home food preparation is back in vogue once again. Many bakers even dusted off the old bread machines, and put them to work after a LONG furlough. Overall, this is a good trend, but I propose that we got a little carried away with the making of desserts.  Our family has always been an eat-at-home gang. It saves money, fosters good family relationships, and (generally speaking) it’s healthier to prepare your own meals from scratch. However, I was bored, so I started making my own, gluten-free soft pretzels. Then I made a cheesecake, which I hadn’t attempted in years, and a few batches of brownies. Luckily for me, dishwashing is my least favorite activity, so I soon gave up on the baking (but made sure to keep a good back stock of my favorite dark chocolate on hand!). However, based on photos I’ve seen on social media, many folks kept going with the rich desserts – pies of all sorts, cookies of every variety, and cakes that would make Betty Crocker look lackadaisical. 

Then, as the lockdown continued, and a state of ennui settled on our souls, people fought the continued struggle with backyard family picnics, movie nights, and theme parties, all centered on yummy, home-cooked foods. Mixed in here and there was an occasional walk in the neighborhood or hike in the park, but soon it became too swelteringly hot for those kinds of recreation. And, since work-out facilities are all, by and large, still in full lockdown mode, our exercise sessions became fewer and further between. I’ve heard through the news media grapevine that indoor exercise equipment and outdoor recreation equipment are much more expensive now, and often hard to find. I read a news story in early August about how more and more people are looking to purchase bikes, camping gear, hiking gear, fishing equipment, and kayaks. That same month there was another story about a ridiculous surge in the purchase of home fitness equipment. Dumbbells and other hand weights are out of stock, as well as cardio training supplies, treadmills and exercise bikes! This is a good sign, and hopefully a reversal of the weight gain trend.

We were lucky in our part of the country. By the time we were in full-blown lockdown, we were enjoying one of the mildest springs we’ve experienced in years. Long walks in the neighborhood (chatting with neighbors as they worked on their lawns) kept me sane and healthy. When the heat and humidity settled in, I had my little treadmill in the basement to turn to (that I bought used for $50 about 2 years ago) which gave me an exercise back-up plan. For someone who is prone to anxiety, it turns out that I’ve had a really good year, with the only stress coming from my youngest daughter’s wedding & reception (which turned out to be lovely, and lots of fun, with no Covid-19 spread whatsoever from our gathering!).

So if you haven’t already started, it’s time, NOW, to get serious about exercising for overall health improvement. Not only will you feel better, but your body may be better equipped to fight off the serious side-effects of the Covid virus.

An article on everydayhealth.com has this to say:

“Research shows that an antioxidant enzyme we produce when exercising (the antioxidant extracellular superoxide dismutase, aka “EcSOD”) may stave off or lessen the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is one of the complications that people with COVID-19 can develop, and it is associated with a higher death rate from the disease.” And we all know that endorphins are also released during exercise, which aids in good mental heath. Exercise is a win-win pastime!

With the end of Daylight Savings Time on our doorstep, and the cooler temperatures of fall creeping in through the door frames, don’t delay any longer! Dust off those bikes, research local parks, wipe the cobwebs off the jump ropes, work on those dance moves, or go outside. Find what your heart desires in energetic pursuits, cut back on the desserts, and ease your way back to active, healthy living (and, if needed, check out local thrift stores for indoor exercise equipment). Staying busy and healthy makes life grand, even during a pandemic!

It’s Not Funny

I like to do funny stuff on my blog, but it’s hard to laugh right now. I mean, I certainly am capable of laughing, especially with all of those comedy videos that Facebook has been alerting me to. They’ve all been good, “clean” comics so far, the ones Facebook “chooses” for me (not that I watch all of them – I’ve only watched three, but I was LOL’ing through those selections, without being offended by raunchy humor and foul language. That’s the hallmark of a true comedian – someone who can make you laugh with regular, everyday, unoffensive stuff (most often by laughing at yourself, which is a wonderful gift to acquire – being able to laugh at oneself!). And, just so ya know, I’m not including flatulence in with offensive stuff, either. As one of the comics I watched actually said, “Farts are funny! If you don’t think they’re funny, we can’t be friends!” So I’m not a prude, just an enthusiastic fan of “family comedy!”

 

At any rate, there are so many things to worry about right now, like the Covid virus still running amuck, and the organized rioting & destruction in cities around the world, and forest fires, and a heated political campaign playing out all around us. On top of all of that, it’s the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country. I just can’t come up with a comedy piece right now.

 

What bothers me the most is that people have gotten themselves so riled up with anger, it’s hard to interact in a joyful and friendly way these days. The other day, I was at the grocery store, employing my usual, “everyone is my friend, greet everyone wth a smile and kind words” style, and some guy walks towards me with a t-shirt that says, “F…” That, “F…” You. Of course the “F” word was completely spelled out. I was speechless. Really, buddy, this is what you think of the world at large, so much so that you have to walk around in a grocery store confronting EVERYONE you meet with that hate-filled message?! I was afraid to say anything to him. It looked like a lose-lose situation for me, and I wasn’t in the mood to get punched in the face (even if it would make me an internet sensation!).

 

Is that really the avenue for ushering in peace and justice to the world, by using in-your-face hateful words and unkind, destructive measures? I don’t believe that this is the way to go, and no one can make me believe it. And I’ve got news for all these angry people. If you accost me, start yelling and screaming at me to raise my fist or fall to my knees, here’s exactly what I will do. I will look you in the eye and tell you that I love you, because I do. You may be broken and confused and going about this the wrong way, but you have been hurt, and I acknowledge that. I can still love you – the very core of you that is unique and beautiful and gifted in your own particular way. I would say those words to you, sincerely believing every word of it.

 

You have promise, you have potential, and you (whether you know it or not) have love to share with those around you. You were formed in your mother’s womb, known well by God long before you were born, but you have misplaced the truth and the virtues that God imprinted on your heart; you have given up your true dignity for a ravenous and brutal venting of your anger that will not bring about a change of hearts from those you are trying to influence. What we must ALL do, to affect real and lasting change, is take a step back and practice empathy, imagine what it’s like to walk in one another’s shoes, and speak openly and peacefully with one another about this. Fruitful transformation always comes about from a groundswell of the “common folk,” not from politicians and legislators. Their efforts have only served to separate us, their “social service” walls built higher and higher through the years, tearing down bridges, keeping true dialogue from taking place. If you want peace, you must practice peace. If you spread hostility, then hostility will come back to you a hundredfold. Let us walk together and work together, in peace, and solve this in the only possible way – we must lay down our lives for one another, and love each other as Christ loves us, and only then will the path ahead of us become brightened with the light of unity, and we can follow it safely and harmoniously to a place of understanding and cooperation, where, in unity, we will all find the lost beauty of our souls, and live according to that beauty! 

 

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

And enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created

And You shall renew the face of the earth! Amen

Watching My Toenails Grow

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This Covid hostage situation is getting bleak. For busy distraction last week, I swept the entire dust bunny colony out from underneath of our bed (poor things…it was like a natural disaster out-of-the-blue for them, after YEARS of peaceful & easy living). Next, I shuffled around the millions of frames/pictures on our living room wall (thanks to my photographer husband), trying to cover up old nail holes. Then I went out to the garden and named all of my noticeable squash on the vine. Their names are Buster (the big guy), Wallenda (after the famous tightrope troupe), Tom Thumb (the baby), and Pickle (rather resembling a big one). When my creativity ran out, I played 128 card games against my iPad, and assembled 14 virtual puzzles of inspiring artwork (from a puzzle pack that cost me $5!).

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I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time bird-watching with the cats… yeah, you heard that right, with the cats. This summer I decided to put one of my hummingbird feeders right outside of our living room window. Business was slow for a while, at that location, but it has picked up considerably in the past few weeks. It seems like my “Rubios” like it better that the “Rubies” (my nicknames for the birds!). Just this week, I’ve had an opportunity to get a few good photos of my little friends, and even a couple of videos. The cats, in the meantime, spend a lot of time lounging on the couch, very near the outdoor feeder. When the hummingbirds come right up to the window to “say hi,” (which they do quite often), my cats are frozen statues. I imagine them having this discussion, “What the heck are those things?! They kinda look like tiny birds, but they never stop moving. Maybe they’re big bugs…?” Eliot, the skittish one, often looks like he’s ready to head for cover. These beautiful little flyers (along with the bizarre interaction between the cats and birds) have added so much joy to my life this summer, with Ruby’s constant overprotection of the feeders. I thrive on watching their high speed, daredevil maneuvers as they chase each other around, while squeezing in spurts of ample sampling of my homemade nectar!

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Today, to celebrate “hump day,” I decided to do something really wild….I defrosted the downstairs freezer! Wow, that was crazy. There’s nothing like frozen peas gone awry and freezer-burned salmon fillets to add a little excitement to your life. That didn’t take as long as I thought it would, so now I’m back to scheming my next project. I uncovered a new fashion trend online, and thought maybe that could be my next accomplishment…, ridiculously long toenails. Apparently, this is actually “a thing” these days. I mean, I saw pictures on Pinterest. If it’s on Pinterest, it’s got to be trendy! I considered that prospect for about 90 seconds, realizing that, if I were to grow my toenails long, I’ve have to get bigger shoes. Heck…, I would probably have to stop walking. I have always been a short nails kinda girl, with both my hands and my feet, because I’m always outside playing in the dirt. So, no….there’s another potential pastime proscribed from my list….SIGH…

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In order to get through each day, and not waste it all on pointless pursuits, I’ve decided to go back to my old style of getting things done – employing pen and paper! I’m going to start making a list every day, writing chores, baking activities, and creative projects down, and crossing items off when I complete them. I’ve gotten so carried away with this idea, I’m packing in way too many things for one day, often bumping items forward to the following day. Suddenly, I’m feeling invigorated, challenged, eager, and a little bit less of a loser. I will get through this captive covid phase, using my time and my creative talents to their full potential. And, when all else fails, I’ll just trim my toenails.

 

I Got The “Covid-rona” Blues! 

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Trying my hand at a blues “song,’ which is challenging for a happy lady, but I had fun with it. (That’s not a good sign, is it…? Well, bear with me, anyway!) If you want to try and “sing along,” check out this old youtube video for inspiration in style and mood, get yourself in a bluesy groove to belt this out with me!

https://youtu.be/N-KluFB9A8M

(But, honestly my go-to bluesy tune progression usually defaults to a jingle from an old, Enjoli perfume commercial  – “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in pan….)IMG_2600 IMG_2601.JPG

I’ll let these images of BB King, one of the great, pioneering Blues artists, set the mood for us.

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I can hear it, I’m feeling’ it…here we go! Ba, doo, doo, doo, doo (tap, tap)…,

Ba, doo, doo, doo, doo… (tap, tap)…,

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I am sick of the “Rona,” I am tired of masks, I just need a trip seaside, for a swim & a bask, ‘cause I am healthy…..but I got the covid 19 blues!

This is not really living, being stuck in the house, hangin’ out daily, with only my spouse, and I am bored stiff….I got the covid-rona blues!

 

 It’s covid, and it is “in our face” each day. It’s covid, and it looks like it is here to stay! Uh-huh!

 

Every day we hear numbers, what the heck do they mean? It’s a misguided ploy to keep us from being seen…and it’s overdone “reporting,” givin’ me the covid blues!

Now I only scan headlines, nothin’ but bad news, ‘cause people are antsy, everything lightin’ their fuse! Covid and unrest are giving me the blues.

 

 Ring around the Rosy, but don’t hold no one’s hand; we’re being pushed apart, by those with the covid commands. Uh-Huh!

 

I try to stay upbeat, share encouraging smiles, but then I remember, all they see is a mask. I could be a “bad guy,” Covid spreads fear and wariness!

I’m buying a clear mask, so I’ll look like a geek, but at least then folks will see my smiling teeth! Getting creative, to beat these pesky covid blues!

 

Covid’s a virus, but we’re making it much more. Common sense interaction, is what we all are longing for…that’s right!

 

I like to take long walks, and I don’t wear a mask. I say hi to the neighbors, they all smile and wave back, ‘cause we are lonely. We’re not made to live like this!

I stand on the sidewalk, while they stay in their yard, and we chat about weather, and gardens and cars, ‘cause we are sick of… talking about covid 19!

 

‘Cause of covid, they say we’ll all die. So, without covid, we’ll live to a hundred and ninety five?! ……… We’re all gonna go someday! 

 

We would all be more peaceful, if we just faced the facts, we will all die from something, so don’t overreact!

Take good care if you’re high risk, but be kind to all others. Love WILL heal all things, bind our hearts like we’re brothers!

 

Let’s stand together, we can’t fight on our own. We’re all made for friendship, not calling names and throwing stones! Let’s offer mercy! Oh yeah!

(instrumental interlude, leading into closing line…..)

 

Let’s shake these down-in-the-mouth, stuck in the house, gotta get out, wanna fly south,

social life drought, just want to shout….Covid 19 BLUUEEESSS………..!

I’m Still Smiling!

It’s a challenging time for us smilers and huggers. Hugging is no longer allowed, and smiles have been forced underground. When I’m out and about (which isn’t really all that often these days), I often catch myself smiling at someone, … Continue reading

Reining-in the Raised Bed

  I got a little carried away with the late summer reseeding of my garden. If you read my previous post about our backyard marauders, you’ll remember the cute baby bunnies that took over my garden, and ruined all of … Continue reading

Complications, Coming and Going

We celebrated the marriage of our youngest child/daughter on July 11th (that’s why I’ve been off the grid for a LONG time). Life with our youngest (of three daughters) has been an exciting, challenging, blessed, fun, and sometimes just-plain-crazy ride, … Continue reading

T Minus 25 Days to “Baby Bird” Liftoff

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Our “baby” is getting married next month. (My mom called me her baby until I was 22 years old; my baby is 24!) This time in a parent’s life is almost as emotionally nerve-wracking as the first day of preschool for the oldest child. I can picture that moment so clearly my mind, like it was last week – dropping “oldest” off in her classroom with words of encouragement and a forced smile on my face, then crying my way out the door. I got over it pretty quickly, but it was a poignant, bittersweet milestone, that’s for sure.

With “baby,” not only am I saying good-bye, losing my “back-up memory” and my helper-around-the-house, I also have the added fun of considering Covid-19 in our wedding and reception planning. I have a previous blog about our “wedding committee” group, which is a large organization of friends from our faith community who get together to prepare food and serve at each others’ weddings. (https://grandmascoffeesoup.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/a-barn-raising-reception/)

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It’s an amazing bunch, especially (for me, at least), all the mom camaraderie. So many amazing women, unselfishly serving each wedding couple and the nervous mom-of-the-bride with support, encouragement, years of problem-solving skills, sewing skills, prayer, and the gift of calmly tendered clarity. Even with all of them, though, this pandemic-fighting factor is a new conundrum. Leafing through the “entertaining” reading of 20 pages of our governor’s wedding reception guidelines has me putting on the old thinking cap, trying to figure out how we adhere to all of those rules. Things like “No self serve food or drink stations” has us reinventing the “buffet” line, eliminating the coffee and the appetizer tables, and purchasing only bottled and/or canned beverages for drinks. We’re ordering face masks, along with pre-packaged plasticware w/napkins & seasonings. I have to buy bottles of hand sanitizer to use as table decor. Guests are supposed to sit further away than usual, and cannot congregate too closely on the dance floor. I’ve considered setting up a protest sign station, letting everyone make their own little sign, just in case some government spies infiltrate. Since there’s no limit on the number of peaceful protesters, we’ll just hold up our signs and send those pesky troublemakers back to their headquarters! The Bride-to-be nixed that awesome idea. At any rate, we, and our guests, will get through this safely, with all of our friends’ helping hands and many heartfelt prayers.

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When it’s all said and done, Hubsters and I will have an empty nest after almost 32 years of children in the house. There are no training classes for this life-changing transitional event, so I wonder how we’ll fare. We can’t afford world travel or a summer home, and, we both work from home, so we’ll just be here, in our same little cape cod, getting by on our own. A few friends have shared things with me. Early on, the main problem is WAY too many leftovers and loaves of bread going bad. As the strain grows, my friends confessed, their husbands began to micromanage everything they did, and as the wives grumbled quietly to themselves, they realized that they were doing the same thing to their husbands! We’re used to having kids to feed and guide and advise and discipline…it only makes sense that we will turn to one another to keep those skills honed. Luckily for me, we have grandkids nearby who I visit once a week, and our family up north has already booked me for a few weeks in October for “new-baby support.” I can continue to ply my hard won mothering skills on them. And Papa will open up his bag of tricks to entertain the daylights out of the grandkids when they come to visit us. But in between times, Hubsters will be reminding me daily not to pour grease down the sink (a fact which I am fully aware of), while trying to convince me we no longer need to use the dishwasher, and I will be admonishing him to wipe off the bathroom sink counter, and prompting him to put his own dirty dishes in the dishwasher!

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Yeah, it’s gonna be some fun, being all alone in this house, just the two of us… Good thing we have three floors to spread out in (counting the basement), along with our own pets & hobbies, and our daily, shared prayer time to sustain us through this upheaval. We should be settled in quite comfortably in our new “arrangement” by the fall, just in time for the next Covid flare-up/lockdown…….

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Peter Rabbit Has Vacated the Premises

“Get a hobby,” they said. “It will relax you,” they said, “give your life purpose.” Yeah, right… One of my hobbies is vegetable gardening (as my faithful readers know well). It’s usually a fairly easy, fulfilling pastime for me. My usual … Continue reading