While Spring Rain Falls, Musing On How I Feel Now

A prismatic spectrum of colors resulting from last weekend’s sun shining through beveled glass onto neutral chair fabric. Cool huh?

What a wet week it has been so far.

After a lovely sunny weekend that suggested Summer was here, we’ve been inundated with rain.  Constantly.  The kind of rain that brings flash floods.

Spring is back and says *HA!* fooled you, sucker.

My gardening projects are on hold because I don’t do mud.

Plus I’m a mellow woman so I’ll get to weeding + planting + trimming in due time.  It’s not like the flower beds are going anywhere.  Even with the threat of flash floods I think our yard is safe.  It won’t be washed away.

Thus instead of being outside in the garden I’ve been sitting inside our screened-in porch observing the weather, watching the gray sky above, noticing the monotony of falling rain. This has put me into a contemplative mood about these last few months.

The great pause, as many are calling it.

These long days during which many of us are not doing what we thought we would be doing this Spring.

I find it trippy to realize that everything in society is being transformed around me while I sit at home waiting to see how these changes will affect me and my relationships and my lifestyle.

This colorful and smart graphic clearly demonstrates all the feelings I’ve gone through in these last few months. You too? [Click on graphic to go to source.]
On the one hand I feel completely insignificant.  Passive, even.  Just waiting, twiddling my thumbs.

However on the other hand I feel *hell to the yes* I’m doing something.  I’m actively holding it together in the middle of a pandemic.  I’m demonstrating a bit of grace + tact + cooperation while feeling wistful about, but not dwelling on, what was normal.

A normal we’ll never see again.

I accept that life is different now, but what I think it means for me, how I feel about it?  Well, my feelings are all over the place while the hours pass and I muse a little more.

Waiting to get into the garden, and my life, again.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

How are you feeling about these last few months? 

Do you find yourself going back and forth, up and down, hither and yon with your feelings?

How do you hope to feel in the future?

~ ~ ~ ~ 

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.

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 1 Of 2]

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

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 Show & Tell.

~ ~ ~ ~

SHOW & TELL

The STUFF featured in the above photograph has one noticeable thing in common: these recipe pamphlet and cookbook covers have the color red on them.  Other than that they are about as random as can be.

They are in order of publication year:

1933 – The Art Of Mixing by Wiley and Griffith

1941 – Quick•easy RECIPES from MUELLER’S

1942 – THIS IS MY BOOK OF MAGIC RECIPES from The Borden Company

1943 – How to bake by the Ration Book from Swans Down

1949 – Aunt Chick’s Pies by Nettie McBirney

1963 – Joys of Jell-O from General Foods Corp.

1960s [?] – TRUDY TENDERFOOT MEETS REDDY KILOWATT from Ohio Edison Company

~ ~

DISCUSSION

Anyone else feeling less guilty about not following through on Marie Kondo’s advice about getting rid of STUFF that doesn’t spark joy?  Especially in light of the fact that STUFF often makes for good conversation starters?

Anyone know why red was [or is?] a popular color for the front of cookbooks?

Anyone try a new-to-you old recipe lately?

~ ~ ~ ~

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.

• • •

Ms. Bean Is Delightfully Ornery Whilst Conversing About A Cocktail Recipe

It’s probably not nice to torment a friend who happens to groove on numbers, but you know what? I’m not always nice. 

+ 😈 + • 

I WAS TALKING WITH a longtime friend about a cocktail called The Pink Drink.  Years ago I found the recipe in a magazine and over time we’ve modified the recipe to please us.

It’s one of those simple three-ingredient “trio” cocktails that when made ahead and stashed in the freezer for a few hours, can be slushy or just darned cold.  The viscosity of it varies depending on how much alcohol you put it in when you make the drink.

If you want it slushy [our preference] use less alcohol. If you want it just darned cold [original recipe] use lots of alcohol.

Both are good. The choice is yours.

It is that simple.

+ • + • 

HOWEVER MY FRIEND, a numbers freak who prefers all things quantified, is one to want precise measurements for any recipe.  She snorted derisively when I told her the recipe for The Pink Drink is more conceptual than measurable.

Friend wasn’t happy with that explanation.  She wanted specific details, demanding that I tell her how I make this drink.

So I did.  But being the creative ornery wordsmith that I am, my explanation about how I make the drink sounded more like my philosophy on how to live my life than an actual recipe.  I said:

“For me it’s all about the good taste, not the buzz.”

Friend was not amused, but I was.

+ • + • 

THE PINK DRINK

  • pink grapefruit juice
  • pomegranate juice
  • orange-flavored vodka

measure the above ingredients relying on any proportions that make sense to you.

[original recipe was 30-30-30 one-third each ingredient, but we go for 60-30-10 now]

introduce ingredients inside a pitcher. encourage them to mix it up. place pitcher in freezer for a few hours, allowing them to chill together.

serve drink up in a martini glass with a twist of orange, if’n that’s something you like to do. or serve in a highball glass over ice.

[remember this is a concept, think of it as improv, not a precisely-scripted Tennessee Williams play, ‘k?]

+ • + • 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you always nice? Or do you stray into ornery on occasion?

And how does this make you feel?

+ 😈 + • 

Three Thoughts Thursday | Writing. Decorating. Answering.

This is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.  

• • •

ONE

I think that this website, Alliteration Applications, could be a useful tool for writers.

It’s easy to use and if you happen to need to create an alliterative phrase, for some reason, this website makes quick work of it by helping you find words that might work for you.

I’ve never needed anything like this website, but I do like goofing around with words, so I think it’s fun.

TWO

I think that the idea of granny chic, as a trend in interior design, is an unexpected throwback.

According to this recent House Beautiful article, The Rise of ‘Grandmillennial’ Style, there’s a trend toward embracing what might be referred to as old-fashioned traditional style.  As such, chintz, floral wall paper, needlepoint pillows, and bright colors are in fashion again.  There is a quiz that you make take to see if you are part of this trend;  click on the title of the article, scroll down, find the quiz.

I would not enjoy living in a space with this particular decorating trend, but I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to embrace it.  You go girl granny.

THREE

I think that the number of Deborahs who comment here is noteworthy.

Yes, referring back to the poll question found on THIS blog post, Deborah, either full or shortened to Deb, is the first name spelled the same way that I see most often in my comments.  There are five of you: Circadianreflections Blog  | Debs Despatches  |  I am, therefore I write  |   Temenos of the Blessing Light  |  The Badass Widow

The name Kate was the winner of the poll, btw.  But it wasn’t the right answer.  Sorry, kids.

• • •

Questions of the Day

Are you fond of alliteration? Do you even have an opinion about it?

What do you think about granny chic decorating? Is it a trend whose time has come OR is too cluttered & twee for you?

Do you follow any of the Deborahs mentioned above? If not, why don’t you change that right now?

• • •