Friday, June 5, 2020

Well, It's Been A Week, I Tell You!

Unsurprisingly, I remain concerned and saddened by what is going around me. On some days I wish I could be news-less, but I feel I have to be aware of what is happening in the world and that this is not the time to bury heads in the sand. I do try get most of my news by reading off the page or hitting various websites rather than much TV.  There is still much to be concerned, and caring about. My nephew goes to college near Baltimore and has been in Lafayette square in DC for three days, sharing via video what has been going on. I've been watching the Arbery trial, demonstrations and  so much more-in limited amounts.  All happening with no leadership to speak of, at least not the leadership where it should be.

As a veteran, and like every many military persons who has spoken up in the past few days, I am appalled that the President of the United States thinks asking US military members to fire on their own citizens is legal or proper. Never mind teargassing quiet demonstrations for a photo op! And even more appalling is the idea that they are looking "forward" to such or that it would be "good training". Frankly, I'm not sure which is more concerning-the fact that he seems to have almost no knowledge of the constitution or federal law, or that he thinks those things don't apply to him.

Yesterday my church  had a one hour virtual service called Prayers for Healing, Peace and Justice. A group from my church is going down to the cathederal today and then to march. My prayers are with them, and in normal days I would be in the fray for as long as the legs held out but these are not yet normal days. As part of a book study, I (as many others around the blog sphere) have begun White Fragility.  I paid for it in this case, since the wait is so ever lovin long.

Meanwhile, normal life goes on, even as I continue praying and worrying and planning and making sure there is self care in the mix:

On the money front I have only spent 33 dollars and groceries this week-mainly because I wanted strawberries and pecan coffee cake and multiple sizes of ziploc storage bags for organization purposes and to put those cards in. In theory I may need sandwich rolls down the road as I plan on turning a chuck roast into Italian beef for sandwiches (menus down below). 

I'll do a one week shopping on Monday or Tuesday which may go over  since I may add some Schwan's into the mix and/or some non perishibles for the pantry for long term. . I did have some moderate spending on the mailing fee for a couple more clothing boxes (also see below), some gas now that I am driving regularly,  and an Amazon fire stick since my son gave me his old TV (a mere 26 inches) and I'm not having the cable folk in the house.

Health and self care wise, I am trying to improve a bit. I'm good on the sitting with my self bit, as well as morning and evening meditation. I've still been spending lots of time outside, although not quite as much some days. Today we have a high of 94. After so very much searching, I have found a forty minute online program that is more no impact than low impact and still is getting my heart rate to the max (who knew simply standing in a runner's stance and moving your arms back and forth runner like at a high speed could be so intense) both my heart and my knees are thanking me. I also discovered that yes, there is actually sitting in the chair pilates. While I'm not there yet, I'm comfortable cutting my hair agin. 

On the other hand my poor feet are due for some pampering (or at least as much pampering as this non bending gal can do).  I stayed in a nightgown for a whole day, and as I looked in the mirror washing my face today, I realize just how long it has been since said face and tweezers have been aqainted.  Ooops!!

From an emotional/enrichment/creative/being fullfilled perspective, I have found that my new thing is to give myself three things to do each day. Those are other than than the normal daily needs like feeding and picking up after myself, and not including morning and evening meditation which is pretty much a routine part of my retirement. Sometimes I do more, sometimes I don't get any of the three done. I've reached the point where I'm embracing the quiet time (reading, TV, meditation and such) and no longer feeling the need to fill my days.  Usually my three things are exercise and two fun or creative projects for me. Today my things were exercise, opening the boxes of clothing that arrived, and cutting out a set of fabric/placemats, matching hotpads and coasters. My book, TV and yard await for the rest of the day.

So what have I actually accomplished in the past week?

  • I've now gotten all the clothing boxes including one that advertises itself at a lower price, and one from an online consignment store. Photos to come.
  • I improved my swollen gum issue with self care enough that I am no longer in pain, the gum is no longer swollen and I dont have to run to the dentist when I'm not comfortable
  • I actually went out into the world to do a clicklist order, get gas, and drive 20 minutes!
  • I attended a church zoom meeting on how we can "do" outreach (other than money) during pandemic times. More on that later.
  • I found two new TV shows on by subscribing to Masterpiece Theater on Amazon. One called "The Cliff" and one a French/German show called Crimson Rivers, and I read the new Michael Connelly (so glad he went back to writing about the reporter)
  • I cut fabrics for placemats, knitted alot, practiced my quilting on those table mats, did not yet make any more cards and other wise generally chilled throughout the week.
  • Bugged the Texas apartment manager to get me an official application so we can get going..the online option is not working. They are back in their offices.
And there we have it. Hopfully I am back to blogging normally now.  What did we have for dinner?  Let me think...

Chicken breasts, covered with fajita mix and peppers and onions, drizzed with olive oil, covered with Mexican cheese mix and baked. Recipe here. Made two meals

Fish with vegetables, fruit and an orzo quina and vegetable mix I got from Schwans that is absolutely fantastic.

Frozen cheeseburgers with salad and sides (these were accidentally delivered tous by Walmart from someone else's order and they had to be used). They weren't terrible but we obviously opened the buns and put other good stuff in there as well. Walmart also accidentally delivered me a stack of Totinos party pizzas and I have absoutely NO idea, none, when or if we will use these.

Jambalya with sausage and chicken only  (everyone but me is allergic to seafood and I am desperate for some right now) not made by me (made two meals)

Top sirloin steak, cooked in a pan since we were out of  propane with the sides you would imagine (one meal and lunches).

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Different Perspective

In case no one understands racism.

Please understand that I am aware of how difficult this is to read, especially in light of the fact that I have multiple readers from the Minnesota area. And understand as well, that I may not necessarily agree with everything written here, although we are in fact a nation built on rebellion, and violent rebellion.

But I sympathize a great deal, and I honestly think if I hear one more "they are just ruining things for themselves", I might be ill. Admittedly I come from a diverse background and know up close and personally more people of color who are affected by this than I can count. And have children who were the minority in their group and know up close and personal the advantages they had as being blonde haired blue eyed kids. But the fact that this has happened forty times if it has happened once, and the fact that until this morning not a single person was arrested, and so far it is only one, is an example to me that the way we are handling it is simply not enough............and that if something had happened when people were "taking knees",  we would not be in this position now.

I am leaving comments open. Respond anyway you want, as long is it doesn't include the words "but, but, but", because that sounds like there is more concern of riots than the murder of a man. Yes, this post is a bit afield of anything I normally write or say. And I understand it may alienate some loyal readers.  I did made it clear awhile back that there would be alot of social justice posts, and that alot of readers would disagree.

Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest.
The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often rioters do not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights.

There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal.
profound judgment of today's riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, 'If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.'
The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty.
Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Black people live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison.
Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hitting the Hump?

Like many of you, it seems, I have for whatever reason, seemingly  hit some bumps in the road lately.  I mean, in theory I have accepted for awhile that life will not be as it was, probably for close to a year. I've accepted that large group meetups, swimming in the heated pool at the rec center or taking an exercise class, in movie experiences, and over night day trips are a thing of the past. Just to begin with.

But all of a sudden, the at home thing has really hit me. Especially as I am among those who are committed to truly continuing to stay home by choice, as opposed to starting to hit the exit doors. While I appreciate that restaurants are open and my son's company will survive, I personally am not going to a sit down restaurant any time soon. Nor am I going to a hair dresser, nail salon or any one of a host of opportunities that are opening up. I'm still taking advantage of curbside pickup from my local small businesses, although I prefer delivery. And Instacart is my future, probably permanently. This feeling has just grown after my couple days of driving to recharge my car and driving in and out of local shopping centers to see what's going on. After seeing non family members maskless and shoulder to shoulder and growing crowds and how people make fun of those who wear masks, I'm avoiding that environment for as long as I can. 

Is it summer?  The changing seasons?  Does the close to seventy day isolation mark mean something (or however many days it is since 10 March)? I thought I was doing well, but all of a sudden not quite so much?

Today I left my bubble for the first time to drop off my car and get a new battery. I learned my lesson and will be driving twice  a week alone now to get out and about. If a swollen gum does not start healing, I'l be visiting my favorite dentist next week. Other than that, nothing will be changing that much that I can see.

I realize that I am better off than many, and in fact I have shared the lists of things I have to keep me "busy".  I have about fifty things that I CAN do anytime I want to inside this house. I have a VERY large yard filled with plants and flowers and trees. I don't live alone (something that I consider even as I remain commited to living alone in the fall in my active community in Texas), and my nature is to self entertain with little difficulty. Even so, more than my large social groups, I miss the chance to run to the library (even if it is to drop off a book), to take a drop in exercise class, To take myself out to lunch alone at the spur of the moment, to drop off a package at the post office, to partake in a local church group small group (see below).  

So what to do?  It would be easy to just make a list of all the things I could sew or knit to or paint or write get through the summer, and I'm working on a list of "creative" projects to make or finish, as well as ideas of a complete handmade Christmas that I can work on in my free time.

But I also need other things that will make me happy, busy, content, or all three, as I move through the next months. So I've begun a list, and I know that I am not alone in this, as I've seem something similar on at least four blogs in the past few days.. Some of these are things that must be done to put my life forward, most are things I want to do, and some I suppose are things that will challenge me. Like other lists, this list is ongoing and a moving target, if you will.

  • Go outside for at least two hours every day unless it is absolutely pouring or hailing (my doctor would rather I exercised in house instead of walking, so this is my substitute for my two hour walk, and as I hope my photos show, the yard is worth it, no thanks to me). I have a huge need for sunshine, fresh air, and nature.
  • Start ordering via take away or delivery at least once a week. I know many readers have been doing this. We have not, and while I am on the agggressive savings plan for Texas I am SO VERY tired of cooking. And as the mother of a resturant manager I want to support local businesses. This is a sanity saving issue.
  • Find a summer online Olli or other type of class and watch it (I think my local Olli center has nothing till Fall so I may need to look further)
  • Have brother and sister in law over to see the yard, give my notice and maybe have fourth of July cocktails (we have two large outdoor table and chair sets about sixteen feet apart so they could come in side gate and we could still distance)....edit: Yesterday SIL called and asked if we wanted to come over a week from Saturday and visit and social distance in their back yard so we could see their garden!
  • See if there is a way to have a small group park meeting with my gals, or maybe in someone else's yard so we could see each other at least once.
  • Join in a small group in my church. The plan is for these to be virtual now, but they would be less than ten people and by zip code. So as the groups felt comfortable, they would get together in person.
  • I'm a road tripper. Take a drive that ends in a park or somewhere that I can hopefully get out and move around a teeny bit while isolating and then drive home.
  • Eat the yummy stuff: No, I don't want to throw health to the wind. But an A and W rootbeer float is calling to me, as is the lemon meringue pie a certain person will make today. And I want a nice smore, like  yesterday.  Damned the ever lovin calories.
  • Bake:  a custard pie, a family sized flan, blueberry muffins
  • Wear the good clothes on occasion. And the perfume, earring and accessories. Even if it's just for me and those who live with me.
  • Cook: explore a bunch of slow cooker recipes specific to summer
  • Figure out some physical, active volunteering I can do as opposed to just giving money (which is needed during this time).  I actually have a plan for this that I will share.
  • Take a virtual museum tour and/or watch a virtual concert or play on a regular basis (we have Disney plus and I am counting the loooong days until I can stream Hamilton which I was supposed to see on a train tour to Chicago).
  • Take a virtual group sip and paint and other craft class
  • Call daughter and son in law weekly (not sure I am driving down ahead of the move at this point unless I feel I need to do something with the Sequoia)
  • Work on the Texas list, which includes room by room breakdown of take, sell, donate, give to son's apartment, research pods for moving, and about eighty other things which deserve  seperate post. This is must do stuff, boring as some is.
  • Create some new music play lists on Amazon Music
  • Play with old family photos and make a shutterfly like album or two.
I need more. Any ideas?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Makin' It Monday

Today in the midst of whatever Covid type celebrations we are doing, let's take a break to remember all of those who have given their lives for our country during this time. (Note: while it's always appropriate to thank a veteran, Memorial Day is for remembering those who gave their lives specifically). Take a few moments to remember the purpose of the day, family members or friends who have died, or even observe a ceremony online or on TV.

I am still working on the second blue sweater band and hope to be finished today or tomorrow, other things got in the way this week. Even though I am not done, I spent an hour or so on the "Webs" yarn website looking at yarn and my sister picked out the yarn she wants for her next knitted project.  Shawl? Kimono? Not sure. I also looked at yarn for projects for me. I like the blue I am working on now, but I need to go brighter. 

Can't decide between these two cotton yarns for a tank for me.

The one that's not for me
I started my first card projects for Meals on Wheels. Since I wanted to go easy and quick to start, I used this card tutorial I found on Utube which simply involved wetting the paper and dropping and swirling paint-just my style. After which, you add doodles. Instead of a color scheme, I just used a whole bunch of colors the first time as an experiment.  The cards came out okay, but I did the next few in a limited color scheme, making the colors lighter and  and covering more of the card (my blank cards are bigger than hers) While I like to think I'm a good writer, I often fail when choosing cute or kind sayings for said cards so I went a searching for some card sentiments having to do with lifting spirits and such over the weekend. Once I completely finish the second set, I'll post on the Richly Retired Insta and Facebook pages if anyone wants to see them. 

While I have envelpopes, I'm wondering if they need them or just just go into ziploc bags since they are being put in the Meals on Wheels non-contact food bags.
Taping said cards down and protecting my multi-use table

First attempts. Too many colors, not enough coverage (doodles are just to see if that pen would work)

Second attempt. Fewer colors, lighter, and I covered more of the card. I still need to doodle and write and then I'll share on Facebook and Instagram
On the sewing front, I'm using some of those fabrics I showed you awhile back to make table mats for the coffee and side tables in the TV room. We often eat in there, and wanted something bigger than coasters by far. So I ended up with three ten inch square mats, one that's twelve inches square and a few others that  can move around as we wish. All will mix and match.  Since the tables are dark and the furniture is also dark brown with the beige carpet I grabbed a floral and the green and peach/rust. The other living room has turquoise walls, so a different color scheme will be difinitely needed. Since they're small, I also get a chance to practice a different quilting pattern on each. 

Sunday morning my daughter texted me. She wanted to know if I would be down there by my birthday (last of September). I told her it was a goal but it could be later. She responded with "Then we should plan a 70th birthday bash for you'.  Which would be lovely. If I was going to be seventy. Hey, I need that extra year!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Frugal Friday-Frugal (And Spendy) Things

Around here, the thrift shops have finally started to open and in some cases pick up as well as dropping off. I've spent part of my at home time going through things and am sure I'm not the only one with bags to say good bye to-especially since I'm looking ahead to things that won't move and so on. I plan to go through each bag a second time to see if there are things that I can craft with, or regret letting go, or that maybe a family member would want, and then call the DAV and schedule a pickup of all the bags that have made a home in the corner of my bedroom.

Let's see if I can come up with the frugal (and spendy) things happening lately around Casa Barb:
  1. The grocery budget has come mainly under control. While we haven't quite met our hundred buck maximum a week (I suspect the seventy-five dollar goal may be on hold for more than awhile), we've come very close the last couple weeks. With the understanding that if we have to pay more for meat or go to non-traditional sources we are fine with that. I've just done my freezer pantry inventory (updated above with the planned meals) and so we are moving along. I'm going to start posting a "what we ate" menu as part of Friday's post. I won't have a "plan" post because we don't plan a week in advance round here. We shop for the freezer and pantry and pull out a day in advance or two.
  2. I have a windshield crack all along the bottom of my windshield. It was a ding that I didn't fix in time (there is lots of construction between here and Dallas and I tend to be of the "It's just gonna happen again next time", philosophy) which turned into a windshield wide cracked condition. I finally called Safelite and was thrilled to find that the total cost of said repair will be covered by my car insurance. A nice surprise since I was unaware I had windshield coverage.
  3. On the spending side, I've had the shipping from those clothing boxes, and purchases of two items so far. I also purchased a pile of fabrics to make two sets of mix and match napkins and placemats (and perhaps potholders or other things as well). I won't know how the cost of these will compare to store purchased until completed (not thrift shopping at the moment), but I do know they will be the exact color, style and thickness and will match the dishes where ever I go.
  4. As part of my saving goals, I made a master list of wants and needs, which is fairly short, really, and again posted in the tabs above for accountability. With moving being four to six months out ( and a small possibility of earlier), I am loath to purchace too many things for the house, although throw pillows and a proper stand for my patio umbrella probably fall into that category. As does some kind of new vacuum before the current one explodes into oblivion.
  5. Also as part of said saving goals, I went through the monthly expenses. While there were a couple eliminations, I'm not feeling too guilty about my subscription status. Paying for Hulu, Netflix, Prime and an online course doesn't seem too terrible when I'm not spending money on gas, movies, dining out, happy hours and my normal entertainment quota! To date other than those clothing purchases, spending beyond food has mainly included craft and sewing items needed to finish current working projects and the rare treat like my Godiva box, so I feel on the right track.

Today I am working on cards for the elderly, some sewing, and starting a new book, as well as enjoying the outdoors. Someone else is again planting and watering, after making her fifth trip of the week to get more plants and/or dirt and even some small yard art, bless her energetic heart. Happy Weekend all!

Meals we've had this week (only six because of multiple leftovers), which we also had for lunch, except when I had a sandwich. While we don't necessarily eat alot f meat, we do plan menus round it even if we only have one chicken thigh or part of a breast:

Oven barbecued chicken thighs with biscuits (the only way to do this is to cook them at at least four hundred degrees. Then they get the "barbecue" finish without all the liquid at the bottom. Salad, fruit, vegetables

Spaghetti with sausage and sauce, salad and bread

Hamburgers with buns and all the fixings, including avocado.

Ham and potato casserole-its actually called loaded baked potato casserole and I found it on the $100 a month website and will try to link it later.  Vegetables and fruit

Stacked Buritto Casserole (purchased). Sides of choice from leftovers

Top Sirloin Steak with mashed potatoes and fresh broccoli and fresh fruit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

To Texas!!??!

So yesterday evening,  I emailed the Sequoia senior apartments, since I know they have been working at home and offices and common areas have been shut down.Their general, public portal had a limit in characters I could type in, so I basiclly reminded them that I had toured in February and at that time they had said six weeks for a time frame to wait (end of September). I was wondering if that timing will still good or if things had beome a more complicated.  I also wanted to find out, if there were future spikes and so on, if they had been able to exchange keys and allow folks to move in during the current quarrantine.

This morning, during our call back, the rental agent said "Oh, by the way, we have two of those two bedrooms open right now".  Talk about a shocker!  When it told her I wouldn't be able to take advantge of them, she was surprised and wanted to know if I was committed to a lease,  or something else was in the way. I said yes, but the real issue was that I simply needed more lead time since I am moving from Colorado and hadn't done any serious work because I thought we were looking at one October. 
Not sure what that second bathrom will get used for unless I need a caregiver...

Well, let's just say that this call and the conversation that resulted have me changing my plans and intent and speed of action!  Said rental agent sugggested that if I was looking at October, I should fill out the actual application, deposit and so on by the end of July at the absolute latest since I'm on the waiting list but haven't actually done the "contract stuff". I did forget to ask if my daughter was acting as my agent if she could pick of the key and so on and so forth with my POA (I'm in a position to, and willing to, pay a month while finishing up here if needed). Oh, and when I asked her how she had been handling new move-ins in case my dates coincided with new a stay at home period, she said  they do almost everything virtually and have as non contact as possible a procedure for key exchange.

So realistically, my space could be open as early as one October or any time thereafter. Hey, maybe earlier. Maybe even this summer.  This changes a lot of things for myself, son, and others.

Note:  I've had the deep conversation with sister. She is adamant, that even on a very small fixed income, she is unwilling to live without a real house and a yard. She let me know that she would even rent just a room in someone's house to have access to a yard. In this we are diametrically opposed. While I hope she comes to Texas we would not be living together in those circumstances. And honestly, our lifestyle and relationship was one way when she was working, but there have been changes in how we respond to each other with two of us home full time. So this may be the best choice.  As for son, he would consider staying here and sharing half the expenses and using his spaces and mine for a few months. But his goal is to move out.

All of this has shown I need to speed up my planning and action items-just a bit!

  • I'm going to wait to have the family discussion/landlord talk in July. I have no doubt that brother will suggest sister get a roommate to share the uppper part of the house, assuming son does not stay, as she cannot afford more than she is paying now. And while I've said nothing specific so far, they do know that my daughter has been pushing me to move. I do expect that they will want me to make a specific day commitment and that if the apartment is not ready then, I will stay with my daughter. And if I need to pay brother a month on the other end I can.
  • I need to agressively save throughout the summer.  While the application fee is not great and I only pay the current month rent in advance at this new place, I will be wanting to either rent a small truck or a pod, buy some new (as in real new) furniture and be able to help son with his initial aprtment deposits and move in costs. Since I do not see myself doing alot of socializing this summer, this should be easy. Groceries, gas, and an expense here and there should be it.
  • Now that thrift shops are re-opening, I have alot of donation items all ready gone through to get out of the house. My next goal is to get everything organized and into containers. This may sound strange, but except for books and kitchen stuff, I'd like everything else "contained" as I think when the time comes it will be easier for whomever has to move it. As opposed to fabric sitting on a shelf, I put it in plastic bins and baskets and so on. Hopefully you understand what I mean here.
  • I would say that I need to transition my diva group, but honestly I don't see anything happening here. Restaurants will open next week with a maxium of six people per party at tables eight feet apart with masks and so on. Neither I nor my co-assistannt meetup person are inclined to host any real group event any time soon, and our Zoom thing has been very low number wise.  Instead, I plan to close down the meetup, knowing that it can re-open later with help from me even from afar.
  • I (and my son) need to do our due diligence and research, in depth. He needs to look at the approximate costs of house sharing, versus an apartment alone, taking in the cost of dog walkers and so on and so forth. I need to research everything from reviewing all the apartment offerings again, to  so many other things.
  • I need to make lists. And maybe assign a notebook specifically to this project. I already have a working list of what I will take with me, what I'm not taking that son will want in his apartment and what neither of us wants and will need to be donated, sold or given away. I also need a list of things that can go in the pod (most things ) and things that we will need to transport in our cars (china and crystal, memorabilita and pictures, jewelry, my clothing). And those two lists are just off the top of my head.
Lord willing and the creek don't rise as they say, I'll be taking a trip to Dallas in July (it seems the safest time right now), to visit DD and SIL and further get the proverbial lay of the land apartment and local scene wise. Meanwhile, I thankfully was not bored before, and now there is no doubt that will have more than enough to keep me busy!!  

Really looking forward to using a pool and spa more than two and a half months a year.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The DYI Covid Haircut and my Stitch Fix Box Experience

Obligatory Pictures of yard work in process

See Above!

So, dear friends, on Friday I reached the end of my proverbial rope. I decided I wasn’t going to take another morning shower just so my hair would lie flat (I’m an evening shower, clean nightgown type of gal).  I could not stand all the hair on my ears another single minute and was just generally tired of the hair being in my way all the time.  Which is when I reached for the clippers (actually beard trimmers cause we purchased the wrong thing, but they cut my son’s hair so I figured they would cut mine).  

Fifteen or so minutes later, with much hair in the sink and on the floor, I was finished.  Fortunately, while my finished was far from perfection, sister was on hand to help with the evening out/lying flat thing, as well as the ear and back issues (she cuts her admittedly longer hair all the time). While it’s less than perfection, it will keep me going until the first of June-which is the earliest I’ll feel comfortable in a salon-and I know now that if I have to I can do it again, with a little help from my friends. 

My vision doesn't seem different or brighter with my glasses off, but when I look at self phots, it seems like the glasses don't clear up all the way. Next prescription I may move to regular glasses and sunglasses.

In other news, I subscribed to a few of the curated clothing boxes this week, most with free introductory offers  I had planned to do it before and never got there ( and maybe talked about it briefly somewhere). I am not in dire need and traditionally tend to be a buy it used or buy it on sale kind of shopper. But times have changed. I tend to avoid in store shopping even in  non-pandemic times and figured this down time might give me chance think outside my normal "box". I wanted to both see what a stylist could do for me and check out clothing I might not otherwise have an option to see. This may seem out of the norm for the frugal retiree, but frugality is about time as well (at least in this time of life) and I tend to be an "own one really good quality item instead of ten" kind of spender. When it's affordable and a quality I care about,

So  I did a brief questionnaire on a few different sites about my measurements, and the kind of clothing I wear and so on and so forth. I shared with them my personal style (very bright retirement life casual), style preferences and color preferences and small things like the fact that I can’t wear Ponte pants and need knit and soft jeans and such. I did thumbs up and thumbs down on a variety of outfits shown to me, and I  also mentioned a specific favorite outfit from head to toe. I'm pretty sure I gave each company a short blurb about what i was looking for. I did choose a fifty dollar general range for most items. Which is more than I would usually spend. But I wanted to start mid range and see what my options were. I may adjust that down for the next time.

I did make it clear that I did want fashionably casual but did not want so called business casual as the first few things they showed me were just that, and I also (for companies that offered any such items), let them know that I would be happy to get lounge wear, active wear, and/or accessories.

Stitch Fix was the first box I received.  Stitch fix charged me a tweny dollar styling fee which could be used towards a purchased item, and allowed me to choose how often I wanted to receive a box.  My first box arrived with five clothing items tissue wrapped. Along with the five items, they sent me a price sheet, a style “cheat” sheet showing what other items (I assume of theirs) that I could wear the items enclosed with, and a large addressed bag for returning items.

Note: I do leave all boxes, including this one sitting in a special bin in my home for 24 (minimum boxes) to 48 (minimum plastic) hours before opening, and once I opened this box I let it sit open for  day. I'm aware that some people are more stringent and some more lax. I'm not in a position to let nothing come in my house, or to not shop for multiple months so this is my solution.

Since I was alone at the time, I took quick down and dirty pictures with my hall mirror (I need to improve my selfie skills, folks), of the clothing I liked and used hangar photos for the other two items. While none of these where in my specifically desired colors, and there were no pants, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved two items, and liked one. Not a bad first shipment for a quick questionnaire.  I did love the white top, as soon as I tried it on. I usually opt for more of a cream color but it fit well and would go with anything.  At thirty dollars after said styling fee,  I will keep this. I also loved the maxi skirt, which is black, not navy. I waver as to how much I will wear it right now, with social life at a standstill. I also remind myself that half of my tops at least are florals or prints. Then I remind my self that Texas is maxi skirt and dress weather for almost any occasion and tell myself that it fit well and will last. 

The  on me fit of the new Tshirt I recently ordered which tends to be more my style than the lthree quarter sleeve with ruffled look.

The green top is pretty. And cute when I wear it. But I am not a fan of the smock-ish look, I prefer things that fit like the floral T (which is in my closet already) does. And I’m definitely not a fan of the ruffle at the end of the sleeve look. I’m not a ruffle woman and will make that one clear. Then there were two absolutely not items. A blue and purple shirt (again with the ruffle sleeve) and a lavender-ish cardigan. Obviously meant to go together and beautiful, but not the right color or style for me.  

All of the items were in the forty five dollar to sixty dollar range.  The white top will be thirty dollars after my twenty dollar styling fee, which is acceptable.  But I’m going to adjust the per item cost downward most likely, moving forward. I am happy that the clothes they sent me were relaxed, and comfortable yet well made. I plan to give this plan at least one more month, updating my stylist on what worked and did not work for me, and adjusting the price.  I’ll let you know how that works.

It's supposed to be ninety degrees on Monday. I may have to uncover the air conditioner, as I work on my cards for the Meals on Wheels peeps.