May 2020: As We Continue To Stay At Home I’m Getting Silly

As a longtime blogger and a person who attempts to arrive pre-amused to life, I’ve come to realize that I’m at my blogging best when I ramble a bit about whatever is bouncing around in my mind then write about it here.

I tend to naturally process my life in a way that allows me to be entertained… inspired… often educated… sometimes baffled… by what I see going on around me and within me.  Once I’ve done that I babble about it.

No pre-planned editorial calendar for me.

That being said, here is a blog post written today, the 972 gazillionth day of staying at home.  I am, of course, not alone in my home because my Sweet Babboo, who will continue to work from home all this month, is in the next room.

[Pretty pink tulip to any commenter who knows that reference… without Googling it.]

I’ve got big plans for the day, NOT.

Oh sure I may crochet a little bit, I have a wacko project in mind.  I’m not good at crocheting, but I am good at dreaming up pointless projects for snorts and giggles.  More on that as it takes shape.  [Pun intended.]

Who knows, I may attempt to read a novel, something I’ve been unable to do since we all started to stay at home.  Apparently when I’m frazzled by a world gone topsy-turvy I’m unable to focus on reading a book.  This makes me sad, but self-awareness is good, so now I know.

Finally I’ll be fussing around with the annual flowers that I bought last week when I went inside a store, my one adventure in the world during the month of April.  Stay-at-home-ness, I gots it 99% of the time, but pretty posies for the month of May are a siren song to me.

Thus having shared with you how I’ll be fiddle-farting my day away, I’ll ask you:

WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU?

Tell me your plans for the day. Or the week. Or the month.

Tell me how you’re feeling about your life as we continue to struggle with COVID-19.

Tell me anything, anything at all. Entertain me. Amaze me. Inform me. 

Think of me as your agony aunt and ask me your question. 

I am still here at home getting a bit stir crazy silly. 

Please talk to me.

One-Liner Wednesday: A Memorable Piece Of Marital Advice From Aunt Ann

This is one of those you-can’t-make-it-up stories.

Z-D says considering all the bad advice that is on social media lately I need to share this here. It’s a story from my past that imparts some memorable advice.  

Kind of weird advice.

I swear to you that his Aunt Ann said this to me years ago. And I’ll also tell you up front that I can honestly say I took her advice to heart.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

~ ~ ~ ~

Many years ago I went to a bridal shower held for moi.  It was ostensibly for me to meet about 20 of Zen-Den’s older female relatives, but was in fact a way for them to size me up.

They were not a friendly crowd.

It was an awkward uncomfortable event for me, an introvert, a sweet little lambie tossed in among the wolves, but I did my best to be likable because back then I cared about such things.

At this shower we played a game in which all the women at the shower were to write their best piece of marital advice on a 3×5″ index card.

While they got snacks I was to read all the cards to myself, picking the card with what I believed to be the best advice.  The person who wrote this card then got the door prize.  I can’t remember what it was, but these women wanted that prize.

There was a competitive spirit amongst them.

That I do remember.

I realized immediately that this game was a trap, the Kobayashi Maru of bridal shower games.  No matter whose advice I picked I’d tick off someone and there’d be repercussions, perhaps for decades.  These were women with a penchant for holding onto resentments.

Grudges were their lifeblood.

I did not like this game, but miracle of miracles I read Aunt Ann’s piece of advice and I instantly knew that I liked it the best PLUS I realized that no one there would ever resent me for picking it.

Yes, that’s how timeless and profound it was.

Aunt Ann told me: Never start ironing your rags, because once you do, you won’t be able to stop. 

Is this not so? And was I not fortunate to have Aunt Ann point this out to me, thereby setting me on the course to a life of freedom that comes from having wrinkled rag?

Huzzah!

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To learn more about Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday click HERE.

Which Three Personality Traits Are Helping You Deal With Today?

Photo by Johnson Wang [@jdubs] via Unsplash

• • •

YEARS AGO I TOOK AN ADULT EDUCATION night class about managing your stress. The 4-part class was offered by a regional hospital and was taught by a woman with a background in massage therapy who was at that time working on a graduate degree in religious studies.

She was wise & funny. Delightful in her pragmatic approach to life.

To be clear this was not a class aimed at finding the causes of your stress or analyzing why you had this stress. It was a class based on the assumption that the sources of your stress were your own business, specific to your own life.

The class was about creating a “tool box” of positive coping behaviors;  that is, by learning to breath in the moment or detach from your ego or chant a soothing mantra or acknowledge your own worth, you could deal with your stress in a healthy way.

The premise being, quite simply, that if you know how to calm down in any situation, then you’ll do better at whatever it is you’re doing.

Is this not true?

~ 💚 ~

ONE OF THE TOOLS I REMEMBER FROM this class was the question I posed in the title of this post. We were encouraged to think about who we were based on our own particular personality traits. [List of 600 personality traits here.]

This was trickier to do than you might think it’d be.

To wit, we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our relationships so saying I’m a wife, a niece, a sister-in-law was wrong.  And we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our job titles/hobbies so saying I’m a manager, a writer, a walker was wrong.

While those descriptions of myself were accurate they weren’t the point of this mental health exercise.  They were considered a distraction from understanding yourself better, a way to gloss over who you really were.

NOPE, we had to state who we were based on our own self-awareness.  We had to acknowledge our individual personality traits whether they be considered a strength or a weakness, then accept the trait.

To thine own self be true, you know?

~ 💚 ~

I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CLASS IN a long time, but over the weekend I realized I was reminding myself each day to focus on three personality traits, allowing myself to feel empowered as a result of it.

I realized why I was asking myself this question and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from using this simple approach to stress management.

So in conclusion here is my answer to the question.  For me, most of the time my personality traits that are helping me deal with my days during the pandemic are: 1) I’m organized, 2) I’m creative, and 3) I’m perceptive.

• • •

What about you, kids? Care to share which three personality traits are helping you stay above the fray, cool in every way? Or if not cool, at least sane for most of the day?

• • •

What’s Cooking? Old Recipe Pamphlets and Cookbooks [Part 2 Of 2]

Today it’ll be Think & Do + Poll Question. Yesterday it was Show & Tell + Discussion

THERE IS A PLACE BETWEEN TRASH AND TREASURE WHEREIN ONE CAN FIND STUFF

STUFF being defined as interesting things, unique things, obscure things that are worthy of conversation but not much more.

In this case the STUFF is from a box I inherited that contains my grandmother’s handwritten cookbook, a couple of printed cookbooks, and other bits of information about food and drink.

Thus I give you Think & Do.

~ ~ ~ ~

THINK & DO

This recipe for Frankfurter Roast with Prune Stuffing suggests: “You’ll like this simple method of utilizing either prune or raisin stuffing with the plebeian but flavorful frankfurter.” 😳

~ ~

This recipe for Cottage Cheese Salad Dressing combines sweetened condensed milk with sieved cottage cheese, vinegar, and a few spices. 😖

~ ~

This recipe for Chicken [or Ham or Salmon or Tuna] Mousse suggests that it is: “A hearty flavorful entree for hot summer or busy, meeting-filled days.” 🤨

~ ~

POLL QUESTION

~ ~

Sources:

Frankfurter Roast with Prune Stuffing is from 100 Selected DRIED FRUIT RECIPES chosen by 100,000 HOMEMAKERS at GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION, published by CALIFORNIA DRIED FRUIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE, 1939

Cottage Cheese Salad Dressing is from THIS IS MY BOOK OF MAGIC RECIPES by The Borden Company, 1942

Chicken [or Ham or Salmon or Tuna] Mousse is from Joys of Jell-O by GENERAL FOODS CORPORATION, 1963

~ ~ ~ ~

A Fun Project: Getting Freaky With A Couple Of Jigsaw Puzzles

These are pictures of how each finished puzzle is supposed to look.

• • •

Jigsaw puzzles are suddenly popular. We have a stash of them so for snorts & giggles we mixed two of them together to create two unique masterpieces. Here’s how we did it.  

• • •

1. Find two puzzles with the same number of pieces that were cut using the same machine. Just because two puzzles are from the same company and have the same number of pieces doesn’t mean they have the same shape pieces. Lesson learned hard way on this point. 

It’s all about the details when you decide how to merge the puzzles.

2. Put together one of the puzzles then put together the other puzzle beside the first puzzle. Stare at the puzzles until your eyes cross you see an interesting way to mix the images in each puzzle. This takes imagination, but you can do it;  time is your friend.

This is an action shot as we began the methodical mixing of the pieces.

3. Carefully begin the process of extracting the pieces that form one image in the first puzzle, setting these pieces aside on a flat surface like a baking sheet, then extract the same area from the second puzzle. This requires patience and a steady hand.

Our first masterpiece called: Hot Air Balloons Landing On Giant Folded Quilts

4. Put pieces from the first puzzle into the empty space created in the second puzzle. Continue this mixing of the pieces until you’ve created your own unique puzzle that makes you smile. If you’re not smiling at this point you’re doing this wrong. 

Our second Masterpiece called: Giant Quilts Covering Hot Air Balloons In Sky

5. Photograph your masterpieces, pat yourself on the back, then deconstruct your puzzles, keeping track of which pieces belong in each box. Congratulations, you’re officially a jigsaw puzzle artist nonpareil.

• • •

Your turn. Whatcha been doing for snorts & giggles? What else should we be doing with all this free time? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

• • •

Who Goes There? Chatting About The Names We Use When Blogging + A Poll Question

BACK WHEN I FIRST STARTED writing a blog I read a blog [whose name I do not remember] written by a woman named Karen [I think].

She was hilarious and outrageous, posting every stinking day about her small-town life.  Her writing was wordy and it was perfect.  No grammar or spelling mistakes, ever.

I was in awe of her.

She had a huge following.  They were as outrageous as she was which made reading the comments a hoot.  I was more reserved back then, so I didn’t jump into her comment section like I would today.

• • •

IN RETROSPECT THE MOST INTERESTING thing about her comment section was that the commenters created nicknames for themselves.  This was ostensibly to distinguish one from another, when more than one person had the same first name spelled the same way.

For instance [making up examples here] there’d be “Cathy from California” who wasn’t to be confused with “Cathy who hates gerbils” who most clearly was not “Cathy the Cookie.”

It was all inside jokes and seemed harmless.  Rather fun, crazy awesome, even.

• • •

HOW THE HECK DID I get thinking about a blog from 15 years ago?

The other day I sat down to answer my comments here.  I had three comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.  Then I had two comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.

Suddenly, thinking back to the blogger from years ago, I was curious about how many people with the same first name spelled the same way leave comments here on a regular basis.

I had no idea, so I did a little behind the scenes research.

I was surprised by what I learned and I’m betting that you, my gentle readers, won’t guess which first name spelled the same way is the most popular one among my commenters, but give it a go.  Here’s the poll question.

Also, out of curiosity, have you ever seen a blogger with commenters who have created specific nicknames to use only when commenting on that blog? Is/was this a thing? Or is this something as unique as I think it was? 

The Tale Of The Drunken Daffodils That Didn’t Get Drunk Enough, I Guess

Last fall I decided that I’d attempt to force some daffodil bulbs to bloom inside the house this winter.  I thought the yellow flowers would be a spot of cheerfulness in February, the grayest of months.

I found THIS ARTICLE that told me how to create the perfect environment for my daffodils so that when it was time to take them out of the dark basement, they’d not get leggy.  Instead, they’d use their energy to make the flowers bloom bigger, better, more colorful.

Bloom being the operative word here.

I did as instructed, rescuing the bulbs from basement darkness a few weeks ago.  At first it seemed like I was going to have, as they used to say, a success experience because the bulbs were getting jiggy, pushing healthy green leaves upward.

I was jazzed.

In fact, in anticipation of the yellow flowers I put the pots with the bulbs in a sunny spot on the kitchen table, where I’d see the beauty from many rooms.

As per the article in order to stunt their growth, I watered the bulbs with a carefully measured concoction of water and alcohol. I mean when you task me with the responsibility of getting some daffodils drunk, I take it seriously. Do my best. Or so I thought.

However as the days have gone by, the daffodils have grown leggy and there’s no indication that they’ll ever bloom.  I agree that they’re a lovely shade of green, but as for the yellow flowers?

There are none and I am sad.

Thinking this through all I can figure is that despite what the article said, in order to stunt their growth the bulbs needed more alcohol than I gave them.  This means I failed them, not getting them liquored up enough to bloom where they were planted.

But if nothing else at least I tried, getting a good blog story out of it. 🍸

These daffodils appear to be sober and aren’t blooming, with no indication that they will. Let that be a lesson to you.