Goodbye 2020: A Sunset Delightful + A Secret Disclosed

A trippy sunset in late autumn. Doesn’t it remind you of tie-dye?

~ • ~

Would you like to know a secret? One that has to do with my word of the year, simplify, and with the plans I made in the beginning of 2020?

Well here it is: On the first day of spring I was planning to go on an extended hiatus from this blog.

Yes, I was all set to say *hasta la vista* to this blog and take spring + summer off, living simply as it were. Then I was going to come back to the blogosphere in the fall, with more bounce in my pounce.

With a new sense of purpose and direction.

A whole new me.

BUT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DID IT?

Instead, as you may remember, the country shut down the week before my intended *see ‘ya later* meaning that Z-D began working from home [8 months now!] and I realized that personal blogging was going to be a good thing to do in the upcoming months.

Something positive to do.

Something normal and reassuring.

So, stating the obvious here, I kept this blog going and have continued to show up with my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, interspersed with helpful hints [I guess], and augmented with a modicum of snark.

Because I can.

And because I wanted to.

However, 2020 has exhausted me both mentally and spiritually. I will not lie.

And because I sense this upcoming holiday season is going to be stressful, zapping my energy in new ways while testing my patience with ill-mannered people, I’ve decided to call it a year, a few weeks early.

Thus I’m out of here until 2021, intending to return with a new word of the year and with a renewed sense of focus. Or maybe it’ll be the *same old same old* word and the *same old same old* focus. I don’t know yet for sure. Who’s to say?

I just know I’m tired, in need of a break from writing.

Stay safe, everyone. Please be here when I get back.

~ • ~

When Holiday and Pandemic Stress Collide via Psychology Today

How to fight ‘Covid fatigue’ as America heads for a deadly winter via The Guardian

Do you have coronavirus ‘caution fatigue’? via Fox News

What To Say To People Who Say You’re Being ‘Too Safe’ Amid COVID-19 via HuffPost

COVID-19 is not tired of us, says WHO chief via Yahoo! News

~ ~ • ~ ~

The One About The Deck Stairs Betraying Us [No One Was Hurt]

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS… hopefully sometime in the next year, but who knows?

• • •

Our deck is 21 years old and we need to replace it.  To wit the top section of the wooden stairs have fallen apart.

Dramatically, in fact.

You see, the top section of the wooden stairs gave out as Zen-Den started to walk down the stairs to join me on the terrace below.

I saw it happen.

Fortunately Z-D is fast on his feet which is kind of amazing for a chubby older fellow, but there you have it.  He didn’t get hurt.  He used to be athletically-inclined, played team sports, so maybe those experiences helped him in the moment.

Still, unnerving.

  • Did I mention that the deck is 8-9 feet above the ground below?
  • That Mr. Man jumped about 6 feet down to the ground as the stairs gave way underneath him?
  • And that the look of amazement on his face was one for the ages?

Like I said no one was hurt, but now the long tedious process of finding someone reliable to replace the steps, and the deck, has begun.  Spring 2021 seems to be the earliest anyone can get to us.

Of course it is.

Nothing more to say here except stay safe, kids.  When things fall apart may you land securely on your own two feet.

• • •

Questions of the Day: Does anyone have any experience with OR advice about having a deck replaced?  Did you go with wood OR composite?  Did you go with a dark stain/color OR a lighter one?  Did you pick metal posts OR wood or composite?  How did you decide who would build the deck?   

In Which Ms. Bean Hurts Herself While Doing Good, Of Course

This is going to be a rambling blog post. ‘Tis time to tell a story, one that answers why I briefly stopped commenting on blogs, in case you were wondering. And even if you weren’t wondering, here’s the story.

• ❤️ •

FACT #1 – About 10 years ago I was in a car accident.  A 17 y.o. neighbor girl child rear ended me as I turned into our driveway.  She was texting instead of paying attention to driving.

As a result of the accident I suffered a rotator cuff injury that, after drugs and a few months of physical therapy, healed with no lasting damage, until two weeks ago.

FACT #2 – Over the years because I didn’t know how to say “NO” I’ve inherited more stuff than you can imagine.  Among said stuff is furniture that is old, usable, but not really worthy of an auction.  More like vintage, slightly distressed furniture that you’d find at a flea market.

FACT #3 –  In August Zen-Den and I decided to contact St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store to see if they still offered free furniture pickup for donations.

The answer was a qualified “YES” in that they’ll pick up furniture that you’ve managed to wrestle to the garage, but they’ll no longer come into your house to carry the furniture out.

FACT #4 – We live in a house on a wooded ravine lot with a walkout basement.  This means that to get furniture from the basement, where it is stored, to the garage, where St. V de P will pick it up, is literally an uphill challenge.

• ❤️ •

In a moment of middle-aged bravado…

Z-D and I said to ourselves WE CAN MOVE THE FURNITURE from the basement, up the side of the hill, to the garage.  And thus we convinced ourselves that we, and by we I mean me, weren’t weak and pathetic and pre-old.

While many pieces of furniture were easily managed because they were small, think end tables or mirrors, other pieces of furniture were awkward to carry.  For instance, there was a large old oak rocking chair, but most notably THERE WAS AN OLD 5’x2’x1.5′ CEDAR CHEST that had been my mother’s hope chest as a girl.

Amazingly we got the rocker up the hill without incident, but THE CEDAR CHEST WAS ALMOST NIGH-ON IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BALANCE as we trudged up the hill.  It is while carrying this cedar chest and not dropping it that I slipped on the grass on the hill and wrenched my previously injured shoulder.

I instantly knew what had happened, but continued to carry my end of the cedar chest into the garage BECAUSE DAGNABBIT I WAS GOING TO HELP.

• ❤️ •

Well, the rest of this story…

is exactly what you’d expect.  MY SHOULDER HURT LIKE HELL for a few days;  I started alternating ice and heat on it while taking Advil.  I stopped using my arm as much as possible, including reaching out to type on a keyboard.

And now, after about 10 days of TLC, I’m almost back to normal.  There are twinges, but no shooting pain.

As for our donation to the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, it went smoothly.  The men arrived as scheduled, were pleasant, took all that we offered them, and ultimately OUR BASEMENT IS MUCH EMPTIER/BETTER because of it.

I’ll heal, but being charmingly cynical by nature I cannot help but think of the old saying: no act of kindness goes unpunished.  I’m glad we donated the furniture, but did I have to get hurt in the process?

Apparently the answer is YES.

• ❤️ •

FYI: Yesterday morning I found this informative + fun article on NPR: Lift Your Head and Lower Your Arms– You Might Just Feel Better

I’ve done what it suggests and today I’m grooving on proper posture, finding it less painful/easier to type. When the student is ready the teacher arrives, eh?

Defying Lethargy: A Walk In A Township Park On A Summer Afternoon

The Beginning

What cabin fever + depression are to winter, house arrest + lethargy are to summer.

Too hot to move or think straight

However, intrepid middle-aged suburbanites that we are, on Sunday afternoon we managed to get up on our hind legs, voluntarily leaving our air-conditioned home to go for a walk in a popular township park.

A glorious sunny day

It was the sort of day that usually brings out everybody and their dog and their grandma, but instead of a hundred people at the park there were maybe 10. Too sweltering outside I suspect. Still the lack of people was a bit… disconcerting… odd… unexpected.

Not at all normal

Nonetheless we slowly meandered around the paved paths, free from human distraction, not needing to wear our masks obviously. And for posterity I snapped a few photos of the stunningly blue sky and the amazingly green grass.

Of a lovely park, with or without the people

The End

Photos From A Car Ride On Saturday Afternoon, Just Because

Spoiler alert: pretty photos do not necessarily make for an exciting blog post;  however I work with what I’ve got, adding some attitude with my words.

THE BEGINNING

Saturday the weather was unusually clear and sunny and cool.  It was a perfect day to do something, if there’d have been something social to do, which there wasn’t.  So instead of having a nutty at home, we went for a car ride.  Like old people.  

Here is a park bench with no one sitting on it.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this particular bench without someone sitting on it.  It kind of unnerved me, but ’tis a different world now, hey what?  

This is a photo of a charming gazebo that suggests a refined gracious lifestyle and the patience to, or the bank account for hiring other people to, maintain such a folly in your yard.  Cute, huh?

Here is a field as seen from the car window.  To me, a non-farmer, it looks about the same as it usual does.  I include it here because it is something I saw and the sky was a snazzy shade of blue, don’t you know?  Pretty.

This is a photo of a horse doing her best to ignore me.  I wanted to get a picture of her face, but she was having none of that.  Not that I blame her, I don’t like having my picture taken either.  Too personal.

Here is a soccer field without one person on it, near it, around it on a Saturday afternoon in the suburbs.  If the first photo is one of amazement, this photo is a one of disbelief.  In over 20 years of living around here I’ve never seen this field empty like this at this time of year.  Just weird.

THE END