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?

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Rejoicing With A Glass Of Wine: Cheers To Tenacity & Typos

TENACITY, I GOT IT

AFTER TRYING UNSUCCESSFULLY for three weeks to get wine in our weekly grocery order for curbside pickup, we finally got some wine in the house.

How did we do this, you ask?

We joined an online wine club wherein you pick from their selection of wines and your wine is then delivered, a few weeks later, to your doorstep.  All that is required of you, beyond deciding which bottles of wine you want and having a valid credit card, is to have an adult sign for the wine when it is delivered to your doorstep at an assigned time.

I am an adult, with time on her hands, thus I was more than willing to sign for the wine.  Which I did by standing in my jammies, shamelessly, on our front stoop a week ago Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m.

And by having gray frizzy hair.

The friendly UPS man sized me up from afar as he walked across the lawn carrying the box of wine.  He didn’t bother having me physically sign for the wine, instead he scribbled something on the electronic form and went on his way.

That worked for me, buddy.  No need to be uptight about the signing part of the blessed wine delivery. 😇

Hallelujah!

FUN WITH TYPOS

LAST TUESDAY NIGHT I opened the first bottle of the wine we ordered.  We were having salmon and mashed potatoes and spinach, thus I reasoned a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc would be lovely.

[Truthfully I almost always think a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc would be lovely, but I digress.]

As I was sipping the first glass of wine to cross my lips in quite some time, I decided to read the back label on the bottle of wine.  I like to know what I’m supposed to be tasting according to the vineyard.  Plus I’m into marketing, so I do like well-written copy.

When I can find it.

And even when I can’t…

Below is a photograph of the back label on the bottle of wine. Can you see the typo? The numerical one that made me smile?

And with that I’ll end this post by telling you we enjoyed this bottle of wine.  Perhaps it was because of all the effort it took to get it.  Or, perhaps it was because it taught me a profound lesson: YOU CAN’T JUDGE A WINE BY ITS TYPO. 😉

Happy Weekend, everyone.

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.

A Month In Review: Making Glad, Staying Home, Doing Whatever

Let’s start with the facts.

April is my second least favorite month of the year*.  This is the last day of April 2020, the longest April on record. Ever.

We do not need to go in depth into why this particular April has been endless, ridiculous, depressing, frightening, annoying, overwhelming, underwhelming, disruptive, insane, inane, et cetera, et cetera.

To my credit, I do believe, early on I set my intentions for this month and have accomplished those three intentions to the best of my ability.

• + •  💜 • + •

FIRST, I made a point to not complain about our personal small inconveniences during this dreadful month and I give myself an A- on this point.

Article to read: “I’m Depressed, But Feel I Have No Right To Be”: Class Guilt During The Pandemic

SECOND, I made a point to have no opinions about how other people  handled their time at home this month.  I give myself a B on this point, having mostly not said a word about some of your more dubious behaviors, oh my friends and family + neighbors and numbskulls.

Article to read: The Psychological Reason Why Some People Aren’t Following COVID-19 Quarantine Orders

LASTLY, I made a point to be gentle and forgiving with myself, allowing my moods to swing, my thoughts to roam, and my sense of purpose to be redefined within the context of the times.  On this I give myself an A+ because, not to put too fine of a point on it, I’m still here, sane, and relatively happy.

Poem to read: Lockdown Manifesto 

• + •  💜 • + •

And with that I will turn the page in my calendar, putting April behind me and gazing into the glorious month of May, my second most favorite month of the year**.  I’ve nothing scheduled to do in the month of May, but certainly it’ll be better than miserable old April, right?

One can only hope.

* August is my least favorite month of the year.
** October is my most favorite month of the year.

[May 2, 2020: I’ve reworked the look of this post to do an experiment with images, fonts, and the way in which Twitter tweets a link to it. The content remains the same.]

As One Does Now: In Which Ms. Bean Becomes Mildly Exasperated With Her Husband

A story gleaned from our daily life.

The scene…

Husband and Wife at home, quarantined like many other couples.

Husband, working from home with his trusty laptop computer, having commandeered the kitchen table that is in the middle of everything at the back of the house.

Wife, writing in study at front of house.

Doorbell rings.

Wife sees FedEx guy leave small box on the stoop.

Wife goes to kitchen in back of house to get her gloves so that she may pick up the box, safely.

As one does now. 

Wife tells Husband, who is sitting at the kitchen table that is smack dab in the middle of everything at the back of the house, what she is doing.

Husband who is staring at computer screen appears to understand, nodding head in an affirmative manner.

Wife collects small box from front stoop, walks to kitchen at back of house, and wipes down small box with Clorox wipe.

As one does now. 

Husband sees Wife bring box into kitchen and seems to understand that she’s applied the proper ablutions to it, leaving it in plain sight on the kitchen counter because she’ll open the box later.

Wife returns to writing project in study in front of house.

One half hour later…

Husband strides purposefully from kitchen in back of house to front door, opens it, then expresses dismay that the box delivered by FedEx is not there.

Husband is flummoxed and queries Wife as to where said box is.

Wife explains all that transpired within Husband’s purview while sitting at the kitchen table that is smack dab in the middle of every stinking thing in the back of the house.

Husband looks baffled.

Wife says didn’t you notice what I was doing, hear what I was saying. Weren’t you interested?

Husband says: “Of course I was interested, but I wasn’t watching what you were doing or listening to what you were saying at all.”

Wife *sighs* LOUDLY, *rolls her eyes* DRAMATICALLY, and returns to her writing project, refusing to respond to Husband’s absurd, somewhat disparaging, comment.

As one does now.

Adapting With A Smile: Getting The Groceries, Trying The Recipes

Welp, it has finally happened even though I said I’d never do this.

You see, we’ve started using online ordering for our groceries, then we go, together, to pick up our order outside the store.

There’s no charge for this now and it does seem like a healthier way for us to get groceries.  Plus not to put too fine of a point on it, we have the time– and allow me to clue you in, it can take time to do this.

On our last adventure our assigned pickup time was for a 5:00-6:00 p.m.  We arrived at 5:03 p.m., got in a line with about 20 cars in front of us, and left the parking lot with our groceries in the trunk of the car at 6:58 p.m.

Yes, almost 2 hours in line to get food, safely.

Ain’t life a pip? 

• • •

The knocked over sign said: PICKUP LINE STARTS HERE  We laughed at the folly of it all, having been in line for an hour before getting to this *beginning* spot. From the look of the damage to the sign someone before us may not have seen the humor in that sign at that point in line.

• • •

We did have a weirdly good time waiting in line together.  

We started watching shoppers, most of whom didn’t have masks, going in and out of the store.  We started making up back stories about them OR criticizing how they handled their groceries once they got to their vehicles.

Case in point, a woman wearing surgical gloves came out of the store pushing a cart, walked to her car, opened the trunk, put her groceries into the trunk, walked over to the trash container, removed her gloves properly.

Then USING HER UNGLOVED HANDS she opened the flap on the trash container, disposing of the gloves therein.  She walked back to her car trunk, shut the trunk, got into the car, and drove away– using her hands that had touched the trash container to do so.

ICK!

• • •

The shy sign said: PICKUP WAITING STARTS HERE We chuckled with mirth, but weren’t duped. We’d been in line for close to an hour and a half at this point. Clearly this sign saw what had happened to the previous sign and was taking precautions to stay safe.

• • •

Now that we’re dining in all the time we’ve been cooking and baking: carbohydrates are our friends.

In truth we’ve been having fun while trying new recipes and/or revisiting old ones.  In all cases we’ve adapted the recipes to work with what we have procured via said online ordering/pickup scenario discussed above.

Below is an alphabetized list of recipes we’ve made.  I’ve rated them and made a few notes about what we changed because of… oh you understand why.

Click on the title of the recipe to be taken to it online.

Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie [A+] – used ground beef instead of ground lamb

Baked Cheese Grits [A] – used half & half instead of whipping cream

Bisquick Velvet Crumb Cake [B-] – added nutmeg to batter, cinnamon to topping 

Brown Rice and Corn Cakes [A] – used onion powder instead of fresh chives, white flour instead of whole wheat

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies [A+] – didn’t change a thing!

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes [A] – added 1 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of nutmeg

Easy Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie [C-] – made as is, not bad but old-fashioned and blah

Grandma’s Anything Goes Strata [B] – used all milk [no half & half], used cooked bulk breakfast sausage instead of deli meat, added 1/4 tsp brown mustard

Lemon Curd [A+] – no changes to ingredients, cooked using double boiler instead of directly on heat 

Martha Stewart Spiced Walnuts [B+] – used 1 tsp chili powder for 1/2 tsp coriander

~ The End ~

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?

• • •