Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Different Kind of Palm Sunday

This morning I did my morning routine, got out of bed and wandered to my blue chair to prepare myself for church. A completely different kind of church, but church none the less. In the normal times this would include all the congregation walking into the church while waving the palms, a full reading of the Passion of Christ, and of course communion, and music. I find myself very much missing the bread and wine. And of course Palm Sunday is generally the beginning of a week of daily worship, special services in the church and all the community that normally happens up to and including Easter Sunday. Except for this year.  

Still, I was at church, if not in church. Credit for that feeling goes to both the staff at my wonderful church as well as all the other church goers who shared peace and prayers throughout the service which is streamed on Facebook . Our organist and choirmaster sings the hymns with the words above so that we can sing along-just as one example. While the reading of the gospel passion usually takes place at the front of the church with multiple readers, this time there was a screen as all the readers spoke from their own homes.

And finally,  our sermon today was on taking advantage of the enforced narrowing of our lives, while finding ways to reach out to neighbors while being safe. And also a reminder that although we are not all sitting together we are all still together. A good reminder as we enter that week this year without the in person community.

Still, the first chance I have to be in a church, with others, safely, I will be there.

In a kind of revelation (not the biblical kind, mind you), all the prayer comments and wishes and shared needs (along with a casual comment made elsewhere) have led me to my goal to find a way to volunteer when I can't do so in person (besides making masks-which is a wondeful endeavor but seems to have been taken over by about twenty or thirty people in my next door group).  First, I live very close to a hospital and have recently been made aware that  others in my neighborhood have been taking turns going in together to purchase take out food for various hospital staff including the ER since they often don't have time to eat and are working extra shifts. I have decided to jump into that and specifically try and figure out how to get that food to those people who work the second and third shifts who often just get the leftovers at any party or event.

I also had a reach out from Meals on Wheels. They are asking for food. Non perishibles like canned food and crackers and small sizes of items. I figure when I do my food delivery this week I will ask the nice young man if he can make a side trip and take part of the order to the meals on wheels office drop off (which is near me as well). More importantly, they also asked for cards and well wishes for all the elderly who are alone. I have alot of paper crafting and art things, have gotten some cards, and hope to spend some letter writing time in the coming weeks.

The giving, the making, and the communication are all things I can do. Easily, and from my home while being safe. Which helps. Me and them.

Today I sat outside in the seventy degree weather in the sun for forty five minutes. Twice. I am finding the sun (and the fresh air) really helpful. Even though the days can run together now even more than normal retirement, I do try and keep Sunday as Sunday for the most part. Which today included alot of sitting, relaxing, no exercise and even having a piece of pecan pie. 

I'll make up for it. Tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Facing Reality-In For the Long Haul

Today our governor strongly recommended wearing cloth masks out in public. I think this is a grasping at straws/trying to send a message statement, because so few people are paying attention to the directive. But even if it is only ten percent effective.....that's something.

Also today,  I received my Amazon order. Instead of throwing it in the trunk of my car, son lifted it and put it on the desk of my sewing room. While I am not overly concerned about these kinds of things to the point of paranoia  (I'm much more paranoid about the groceries and the grocery bags), I put the box immediately into a large trash bag and opened it and wiped everything down and then quickly sanitized my desk and the floor where the box was. Just to keep on top of things-I feel  to be in much less danger from delivery than from going into an actual store, but still trying to be overly, overly cautious. I live with a young adult with a history of asthma and pneumonia besides being a senior (who, me?). The rest of the boxes are in the trunk of the car. When this is over, at some point I'll have to toally sanitize the car especially the trunk area.

Folks, I've slowly come to the realization that this is not suddenly going to end. At least not with a bang and an "Oh, it's over, let's make dinner reservations" kind of day. We are not all just going to run out the door like freed prisoners  and go back to what we were doing, wherever that is or was.  Yes, I know many of you have realized this already and I am slow on the uptake.

We have not yet reached our peak (here in Colorado this will take until Easter or afterwards, who knows?), and even then the virus will be with us for a long time. Many of us will need to be more cautious and reconsider how and when we do things (and I say this as a very social person). There are countries that have not yet been affected and will be (heck there are states that are not yet seriously affected and will be). Life is going to be different for a very long time around here-and there.

In the long run I think we will all be okay.  I know I will be okay, although changed.  For now, I am learning to do things differently and mainly embrace the difference-and learn a few things. I have embraced virtual church as being available, although not superior-the church is more than just a building. On the other hand, being a movie in the real theater person, I've come to realize that streaming movies can in fact be just as good-or would be if I had a TV as large as my daughter and son in law do.  Put that one on the list for Texas, please!! I've also returned to being much more comfortable mainly alone, appreciating my own company and what my own home and space have to offer.

Having said that, I realize that I am luckier than many. Much luckier, so I really don't want to sound like Pollyanna, heaven forbid.  I do not have grandkids, just two children that I communicate with regularly and worry about as they are essential employees. While I've become more of a social person in the last few years, I am, as my son would so eloquently put it, great at knowing how to "self entertain" most of the time-and have a pile of at home hobbies (knitting, sewing, weaving, painting, geneology, reading, TV watching, baking) that keep me busy at home. I also  have people who live with me. I have a yard and don't rely on just a condo with a patio (said even as I embrace that next part of my life where I will have the large patio, greenspace and no yard).

I also have an income affected not a whit by the current economic situation. I've not lost income nor gained income. It is tomorrow as it was yesterday. And I am of the temperment that if I lost a couple hundred grand in the stock market, I would become a drinking person, full out and full up. No matter my knowledge about the long term market.

I understand others are in different circumstances. Social  people going crazy, families who cannot see each other, people with financials, or with family member financials that are in dire straights (I'm right there with the second part, believe you me). Never mind the plain old fear. 

But I can only write about what I do and what I know, and hope others appreciate it or are willing to talk about why they don't.

All of which is to say that I am moving to embrace my new normal as much as possible. There will be good days, and mediu days, and there will be bad days. But for me, I don't want to center it around counting the days and the weeks.

So as the blog continues, it will be mainly still about my frugal retirement lifestyle. Through the lens of my short term and long term circumstances, whatever they may be good or bad. I'm gonna treat (or try and treat) this blog about a life, rather than a life on hold. Some times it'll be good. Sometimes not so good. Sometime's you'll like it and sometimes you won't.

Sometimes  I'll bellyache about really wanting to go for a drive (that's honestly the only thing really killing me right now). Or about how the family is driving me cukoo. But we'll also have either Thrifty Thursday or Frugal Friday, pictures of what I'm making, frugal slow cooker recipes and all of the normal kind of blog posts. Within that lens.

Let's hope it all works.

As an aside (and I suppose I should apologize for the political).......anybody else notice that every single future suggestion for economic stabilization and income health and health care and most everything else pretty much comes from the Bernie Sanders playbook?  Even the ones being suggested by some of the far right republicans?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday Week 3-Personal Space

Tomorrow I'll be a bit more back in form with a Frugal Friday post (yes, even in quarantine) and a Makin' it Monday post as well. I'd like to try to get back to my normal posting mojo and an end of week summary.

I'm a huge believer in personal space. When my husband changed careers and started at the literal bottom when we had two kids and a ten year old and a baby were sharing our only other bedroom, we somehow, I am not sure I remember how, managed to create spaces for both of us. I know part of that required subdivison of the master bedroom.

Even though I am not staying in this house, the past few days have been a revelation as to how it would and could work if DS were retired.  It's verification, if you will, that the kind of living situation we chose is the right one. Rather than common living space with just seperate beds and baths (Golden Girl style), we chose an option that has given us each more than one room of our own, as well as a noisier TV room including living space, and a seperate non TV living space. Close enough to be heard if we want, but not heard if we don't.

The other two are finding their way and seeing how they will manage for at least the next two weeks, if not longer. So far, we've managed to be together some, apart more, and it is working out. As I type, I am the one sitting on the blue chair by the fireplace, my sister is in the living room watching an episode of The Final Cut. My son is down the hall with the dog watching TV in his space while on the computer.  This is after communal dinner and clean up. The days have been mainly filled with individuality, with some coming together in the yard/patio and other places and the knowledge that other peope are there, if they are wanted or needed.

This in no way changes my desire to move to Texas and even live alone if that is what the cards say. In fact, I'm pretty much looking forward to it and planning for that option at this very moment. But I had always wondered what would happen when my sister retired, if we were still living together, what that would be like after pretty much having a house to myself from dawn to dusk five days a week. Obviously, the current situation is not the norm, with three people in the house or the yard all day.  But it could have, would have, worked.

Of course, that in no way addresses the situation of one of the three people not knowing what to do with themselves just after two days (why I expect this to last a couple to three weeks barring a quarantine), and the sudden knowledge that I'm a quiet person who hates background noise and lives with someone who needs it. All the time

Bessed privacy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday Week 3 ...Settling in at Home

I did figure out how to set up a Zoom account, and I think we are good to go, that I just have to forward the information to the other attendees. I kept it to smaller group this time, as we experiment with our options. If it works well (hoping, hoping) then I may go ahead and spring for a paid membership so we can chat for more than forty minutes if our hearts desire. Still thinking about the Facebook group as well. One giant step for community socialization!

Today is son's second day home from the restaurant wars. He's still at the "I'm on vacation and away from the wars" stage, but I know that will wear off for him quickly. He's a high anxiety, social guy. He's not a digital reader as such, but I'm getting him a small Amazon fire. He can play games on it and we love some of the same authors (I've been plowing through Ace Atins and he loves him, for starts) so that will be other amusement and education beyond his. He already has his own little studio area with TV and Xbox and private entertainment space, so we can all three have our own at home area. I'm gonna also work on extending the social distancing list to include more things-I know he'll happily take on sorting family pictures and such, and has been wanting to  help me downsize (and grab some family stuff for himself along the way, of course)

If sister stays here he'll be her roomate, and have three rooms and a bathroom to himself and I know he's working out in his head how to make one a "den" for friends. This scenario is looking more and more likely as sister wants to live in a house and I DO NOT.  Not sure that's a compromise I can make even to live together.

I'm finding that I'm happiest if I do a few things each day, so I've started dressing in clothes that are comfy but make me feel good and even adding perfume and earrings and such. I'm writing little notes in my jourrnal before I go to bed at night of things I want to do-not to create a schedule but so I have a couple things to look forward to each day and so that I don't do my easy default of knitting and then reading all day and suddenly noticing it's dinner time. I'm going outside, no matter the weather unless there is precipitation. It's been seventy and sixty most of the time, but even on the much cooler days I am going outside all wrapped up and reading for at least an hour.

Today I:

  • Knitted
  • Took three pounds of ground beef and divided it between two slow cookers. I'll freeze the chili and sloppy joes are dinner and lunch
  • Went outside for fresh air and walked around the house for exercise
  • Planned some future social things for my gals via virtual communication and
  • Started my new book.
Our county has 381 cases and 7 deaths. I think Colorado is right at four thousand cases total. We are exepected (knock on wood) to peak by Easter latest. Which doesn't mean we can all run out of the house and hug each other, but does meant that hospitals and such will have seen the worse.Thank the Lord this did not happen in late fall to winter, is all I can say. Sunshine is keeping me sane.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Another Day in the Shelter at Home Zone-Week 3

I got up too late for morning prayer again. I need to set my phone perhaps because this is important to me both for my structure and my prayer life. I'll need to work on that.

Son is now home full time, and sister will be tomorrow. Since both are anxious, easily bored, social, semi depressive types, I expect the home to be spotless and that the multi tiered yard will be the jewel of the neighborhood. Plus of course there is some downsizing and organization to be done. Notice I said some, friends. It looks like places near me are not allowing even drop off for donation (for obvious reasons) so the bags will slowly pile up, room by room.  

Today I placed a grocery order in an app called dumpling, of all things. I did a Walmart order because I needed some things that I knew an all purpose store would have like eyeglass cleaner, and facewash and pens and artists canvas along with food. When I signed up with the app it looks like I signed up with this guy's small business. There was both a fifteen dollar shopping fee, and I left a 20 percent tip, but at this time of life(especially when there are no entertainment or other expenses) it was the right thing to do. He texted me every time things were out, and offered me alternatives if there were any each time. Very happy experience and I am sure I will follow up with him again. Naturally no cleaning wipes or lysol spray were to be found  

I opened the hatch of my Nissan Murano SUV and asked him to load everything there (I waitd inside), then I took an empty, clean storage bin outside and one by one wiped off each item and put it in the bin. I did leave some non perisibles and the bags in the car for further snaitizing and disposal. This eliminates  most of the need for a clean and a dirty side of the counter. As soon as I was inside I obviously washed my hands and swiped the front door knobs.

I also did a quick Amazon order of my shampoo and sleep gummies and a couple other items, and will probably do a small crafting order. While I have no immediate needs while stranded at home, my clothing inventory tells me cardigans and kimono tops are dire needs so I will keep my eye out.

As are a couple so called loungers or long tshirts. The kind of thing that I can wear with our without bra and look nice out in the yard even if the neighbors see.   Which they will. We all have large yard with pockets of privacy but not privacy fences for the most part. Others wear shorts and tees. I wear these. Or tank style ones.

Budget wise, the lack of going out and about, paying for gas, traveling on day trips or dining and such enables me to do a little more shopping this month than normal and still keep savings room. Even though I will probably be paying most of the "monthlies" myself starting in April with two furloughed roommates. In normal times I would be scouring the used market first both for sustainable and budget reason but I am not comfortable even with online consignment shopping right now, so I will work with sale and clearance instead

Other than unpacking the grocery and doing online orders, today I :

  • Knitted outside in the 70 degree sun for an hour and a half while the dog sunned himself (now ready to pickup the band and knit the sweater)
  • Exercized using the Sit, Stand, and Move program shown belw (I am sharing l of my U-tube programs so that others who are looking for indoor exercise can explore)
  • Spent about forty minutes on my house (which included the dishwasher since we are trying to wash everything that is not delicate that way when we can for right now) to make up for missed days.
  • Had breakfast for dinner (Elk sausage, pancakes and eggs and fruit)
  • Decided on The Valhalla Murders as my newest TV show when I am ready and The Janes by Louise Luna for my newest read. (need to update the book section).
  • Walked past my son's room and made the easy decision NOT to watch The Tiger King
  • Plan to climb into bed with said book and my large Kindle for TV watchingwhile it was still light out.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Week 3

My plan has been to do a daily diary and update except for Saturday and make Sunday be a weekend update. Not sure why since all the days kinda flow together. Either way, last night was a fail.

This morning, my friends, I had a glass of milk and some hershey's kisses for breakfast. For lunch?  Pig in blanket appetizers and a V8.  Such as been my day. Good thing thing that this evening I had beef vegetable soup and rolls. I can say I got a modicum of fresh healthy things in my system even with no exercise.

I chatted with my brother for awhile today, partially about landlord/tenant stuff (He's waiving rent, which doesn't matter a bit to me but does to the two unemployed roomates) and partly about how we are each surviving in our worlds of the moment. He actually said last week he had  brief panic issue (he is not even going to the store, like myself), which was a small shock to me. My brother is one of those people who is always happy at home and in the yard-to the point that I have been wanting to write a happy at home article using him as an example. I'm sure part if it's psychological. You don't care about leaving if you can  leave whenever you want, ya know?

I also spoke briefly with a couple of my Divas today. Both were feeling very hemmed in, so I may do that Zoom coffee and conversation or happy hour. I may even create a Facebook group attached to my meetup group just for the purpose of chatting and sharing photos. Who knows.

One of my sanity-saving graces these days is my church, I gotta say. Not only are they streaming a Sunday service through Facebook where we can comment to each other, share the peace and prayers, they also have a Monday through Friday morning prayer, a Thursday night prayer and a Sunday afternoon Zoom circle (which I have yet to join in). For the kids they have a story time at night, virtual youth group events and Sunday school. I'm looking forward to this support as we look to the week before Easter and Easter itself which is going to be difficult since this is a time of lots of community within the church.

Yesterday I did a half an hour of aerobics and a half an hour of weights afterwards, using the program below (I need an aerobic program that doesn't move me ten or twenty feet in each direction with my downsized home). Today I did nada. Tomorrow I will again do the aerobic activity and standing and sitting leg exercises including sitting and standing over and over. I need to eat more healthy than today and exercise in some way most days, but I have decided this is not the time to obsess about anything else. I'm dressing in regular clothes every day and they fit. Other than that..........another thing for another time.

This morning I did a quick inventory of what is on hand. Protein wise we are probably good through the week but no more, so I am slowly starting with various delivery platforms see to how much of what I order I get, what their turn around time is and so on, because I'm not going to a store. My brother ordered from Whole Foods the other day, getting some meat and mainly fresh stuff and they had good success. They also did a liquor order of wine, Bailey's, Tequila and Grand Marnier. I think they are settlee in for the long haul.

Unless something changes, my son is taking PTO for fourteen days starting today to both protect himself with health history as well as his roomates. He won't last more than fourteen days though and then he will return to the restaurant. Hopefully by then Colorado, which is unfortunately ahead of much of the country will have reached it's peak.

To get myself in the Texas mode, today in addition to reading and knitting (and ordering that white chair) I finalized my clothing inventory and made a list of needs (very short) and wants (pretty short as well, mainly in the accessory area), based on my future living arrangements and lifestyle. Since I am documenting everything these days, that will go as a page up on the top as well pretty soon.

Tomorrow I have decided I will pamper myself as bit between overgrown hair, past due toenails and hands that are a mess from washing, washing, washing.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday (Week 2) ...A Better Day

A VERY BAD drawing of my indoor walking route!
Today spirits were higher and I had a mainly good day although I did not get one thing done that I had hoped (housework, of course). I have decided that as often as possible after my morning in bed routine (prayer and meditation, journaling, and some other things in bed) sometime between eight and nine that I will get dressed and not in sweats or hide from the public leggings. While may not put on blusher or makeup, I feel much better when I am "presentable", even casually (even when no one is coming to the door). Jeans, a nice long sleeved shirt, hair done, earrings, casual perfume or sceted body lotion and chapstick at least make me feel SO much better.

I also reminded myself that an upside of this time alone is that I have extra time for discernment and planning for the coming year. Never mind the fact that I am also not spending money as such. Yeah, I spent a fair amount to stock the freezers. But without much further grocery spending, I am able to put a large part of my so called disposable income aside after a couple purchases like said chair. This is money that I can use to help my kids in the coming economy of "who knows what", and to spend on small businesses in my neighborhood now and later, as it works for me. I need three skeins of good yarn, and while they might be a bit cheaper from the big yarn store in the sky, I am ordering them from my local independently owed yarn store.  Just one example.

I got an email today with a long list of ways to "socialize" while staying at home today, from a virtual tour of the Botanic Gardens and Zoo, to a broadway show, to (believe it or not) the option to do a paint and sip type class via Zoom with friends!

Today I 

  • Connected by having a forty minute chat with my sister in law (with brother on the other end talking to her) who lives accross town.
  • Exercised by walking a good fifteen or twenty minutes twice around my house (for those who've asked how I can do that, the movement area in my house is a ushape and with no furniture I can get a good clip. See lousy hand drawing).
  • Worked in my sewing room by spending time on the bunny wall hanging, and working on a section of my landscape quilt, as well as doing my alloted knitting time (I should be ready to start on the body this weekend)
  • Did absolutely nothing cleaning or organizing wise around my house except for a quick pickup, someone else even cooked. Some days it happens.
  • Missed going outside because we have rain and sleet although we are supposed to be back to sunny and fifty and then sixty for the next week and a half (with sixties and seventies in Texas so I am not feeling to terribly bad about my not being there)
  • Had a combination dinner which came out well:  Two days ago I made swiss steak with beef, carrots and potatoes. We ate much of the meat out, leaving gravy and extra veg with a little meat. Last night we had boneless ribs so today dear sister put the rib meat in with the beef and gravy-which was perfect.
Son is off all weekend and has requested my help in the keep vs throw decision of clothing that no longer fits or has other issues. I'll have a mini fashion show as each shirt nd so on gets tried on I suppose. I also made some earrings and tomorrow my goal is to learn how to make a nice loop on top. We will see how it all goes.

Thank you to everyone who has been stopping by, commenting or not. I appreciate it!

I made some mistakes, the arms of the rolling walker are exactly where mine need to move. But once finished I wll put pearls o the tail and hang it on the wall.