Sunday, April 26, 2020

Goodbye, My Lovely...

For those of you who did not read this post in 2015, the bottom portion refers to my lovely friend Pauline and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, named for me, and a wonderful human being. I said goodbye to Pauline almost six years ago. She died of cancer at 53. Last week, I also bid a tearful and private goodbye to her daughter. She was married, recently pregnant, a graphic artist and a mother who leaves behind a five year old girl and a shocked family. She was a victim of COVID 19.

It was the hair color that I noticed first. You know, the shade that every unimaginative person on the planet refers to as “carrot-top?”

As the little girl’s feet moved back and forth, her head would dip, a syncopation fathomable only to her but amusing nonetheless. She was all arms and legs and flying braids as she turned, and spying my chair in the aisle of the store, flew toward me, saying, “Wow, your chair is cool.” To which she added, apropos of nothing, “Do you like my shoes?”

Normally, a late middle-aged woman in a wheelchair in twenty-first century America does not elicit this reaction. I glanced around, looking for the face of a worried parent, and finding no one, smiled as this small whirlwind skidded to a stop in front of me.

“Hello,” I offered. “You’re full of energy today.”
“Yep,” she said. I just got new shoes, see?”
Presenting her feet for my inspection, she removed a lollypop from a shirt pocket, unwrapped it and pushed it into her mouth, waiting for my reply.

Looking at the side of one shoe, I noted the redheaded hero to girls the world over, stating, “Oh, Pippi Longstocking was one of my favorites when I was a kid.” This was met with, “Mine, too. My grandma reads to me. We came to buy socks.”

Before we could take the discussion further, an older woman appeared, and saying, “Excuse us,” promptly seized the little girl’s arm, pulling her away as I bid them both a nice day.

It wasn’t until I was outside the store expecting the bus that I noticed tears welling, seeing in my mind’s eye, my late friend, Pauline, and her eldest girl, their two red heads close together, long ago, the first Pippi book, spread upon on their laps. Proof positive that the grieving brain makes strange connections.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Hard Day's Night...

That is the song playing in the background as I'm attempting this post. A routine of necessity is evolving here based largely on the need to avoid neighbors who do not practice social distancing. Ditto for our postal carrier who I saw walking with one of the neighbors and chatting with mere inches between them. 

Combined with the recent remarks by Scott Rivkees, MD, our state's surgeon general, I'm more determined than ever to avoid people. Rivkees has said that social distancing should remain in effect until a vaccine is developed which will be at least a year and that social distancing is our new normal.

So, life in this new normal continues in a much less frantic fashion. At the county level, our commissioners instituted a curfew from 9 PM to 5 AM in an effort to curb gathering and further social distancing, a nod to both commonsense and public safety in a state short on both at the moment. 

Earlier in the week as I was checking mail and throwing out the outer packaging from a delivered parcel, my upstairs neighbor rounded the corner, dog in tow, and had to be told to back up. Though I thanked her for doing so, it always astounds me how dangerous "dumb" can be. She is neither very elderly nor infirm and has surely heard the term "Social Distancing" by now. I was so rattled by the encounter that my keys got tossed into the dumpster along with the detritus from the mail. Fortunately, my spare set was copied when the couple in back ventured out on Friday.

Yesterday was spent cleaning the kitchen, sorting out my bathroom and spraying everything down with bleach water. The bathroom and kitchen floors were mopped to the best of my limited ability and looked better for the effort. Two small loads were washed and the afternoon and early found me on You Tube watching a complete performance of Phantom of the Opera. To see others, go to You Tube and put the words, the show must go on, in the search box. I also found Joan Baez singing from her quarantine.

 I've been listening to her since I was a tiny kid and my mother played her Vanguard albums on our portable stereo. By the time I reached high school, those records were mine, along with albums which held Baez's own lyrics. I have no idea what happened to them. Though time has altered her range and she retired a couple of years ago to paint, it is wonderful to see and hear her again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Today was beautiful until grayness overtook the skies in early evening. We've not had promised rain. Despite this, everything from the trees to the foliage and flowers, remains verdant.  Spring in the time of pandemic disarray and mounting death seems off-kilter somehow. It is hard to look at all of this beauty and realize that some of us will not see it again. Equally difficult is the understanding of how little time was spared for the pleasure of nature last season compared to now when most of us isolate at home.

I sometime wonder at the hectic world we've created and have had to slow in order to survive. It seems what many of us once thought was important simply is not. When the pandemic ceases, will COVID stay behind in an altered form? What will we have learned? Will we live differently as a result?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Don't You Just Love Having A Man In The Kitchen?

It is 11:20 PM on a Friday night and I'm gloved and masked and waiting for a contractor on the way home from another job to stop by and figure out if I simply have a bad breaker or if something else is afoot since two of my kitchen outlets suddenly stopped working this afternoon. I've cleared the counter and moved the microwave across the room to an outlet that works so I know this isn't an appliance issue. I also told him I would be outside when he arrived and left the lights all on and the door open so he would have no need to touch them.

He restored the breaker and said if it continues to go off that he will replace it at no further cost to me. I put his check on the hood of his truck as I was going by. He had neither gloves nor any mask, so when I returned indoors, the microwave, counters, light switches and door knobs were all wiped down, my mask was washed and left to dry and I stripped and took a quick shower.

The anxiety involved in simply having something done quickly is almost palpable. I sometimes want to scream, and yet, I am alive and well today, unlike many here and across the world.

Earlier in the week, a friend from grad school days called and offered me masks made by her. They were delivered Wednesday, left with some wonderful homemade split pea soup at my door. I received a shipment of vinyl gloves yesterday and have offered her a box should she need them when her supply runs low. I also gave  some to the couple who live behind me since they have been helping get groceries.

Today, I made a vegetable korma with greens, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and corn, so I'll enjoy that with rice this weekend. I also roasted some potatoes, cut fresh fruit and made  egg salad. That is truly about as productive as I can be in the kitchen.

What about you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

John Prine

His wife and manager has urged people of all ages to take Coronavirus seriously. I cannot believe I live in a country in which there are those who do not...

Wishing you all a sweet and safe night.

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Burger Before Candle Light...

As if the current pandemic is not worrisome enough, yesterday we had two power outages. The first, in the early evening, was brief but enough to mess with every electrical device in my household. By the time I re-started the computer, re-arranged clocks and checked that the refrigerator and laundry unit were both in order, it was past dinner time.

A quick meal of Beyond Burger, bun, fresh fruit and sliced cucumber was fashioned and after a speedy sautee, the burger, a vegetarian creation with lots of protein and fat, was ready to eat. A recommendation from my favorite neighbor, the Beyond Burger more than lived up to the hype surrounding it. Most commercial veggie burgers are at most barely decent and in my many years of eating a few, there are some I avoid but the Beyond Burger was meaty looking with a great texture and taste. The fat content rivals that of a beef patty which is why nutritionists caution against eating Beyond Burger more than occasionally. Stuffed into a bun with slices of heirloom tomato and cucumber, it was almost divine...

Full and still content several hours later, a loud crack caught my attention and I once more found myself suddenly in the dark, this time realizing the entire condominium community was without power. Once our electric company was notified, it took less than an hour for the situation to be rectified but the ensuing stress forced me to call upon every relaxation, meditation and breathing technique I've ever learned. I have always been afraid of dark spaces and total power outages can lead to feelings of panic. That combined with the hypervigilance concerning the novel and nasty virus, and I was exhausted once the lights returned, and glad for the comforts of cat and bed.

Wishing you all a peaceful sleep.


I'm sad to report that I'll too soon finish the last in a series of four books by the unfortunately late Barbara Neely. The central character, Blanche White, is a single woman raising her deceased sister's kids and working her ass off as a house cleaner and sometime-factotum. She also solves mysteries, murderous and otherwise.

Drawn from Neely's  activism, Blanche is often in the catbird seat when it comes to observing her clientele, family and friends and her life in what some refer to as the New South, which as far as Miz Blanche can see, hasn't changed as much as some would like to believe. Plump, middle-aged and proudly independent, she  offers perspectives on both the black and white communities, pressing social problems and other issues. 

Written from 1992  through 2000, this series won Neely several awards for a first novel, among others. Her essays and short stories have appeared in various publications for which I have been looking since reading her first book. 

Thank you Boud for introducing us via your blog.

Cheers and stay well.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Choir Choir Choir...Sings...

Choir Choir Choir is from Canada and has toured extensively. They normally do large group sing alongs but with the pandemic, they are doing things virtually. This is an earlier clip. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Dog's POV...

This was posted by another blogger, Ilona at Life After Money. I found it again on You Tube. If you are not a fan of the F-word, you may want to skip this. For me, it was a much-needed laugh. Cheers and thank you, Ilona.

No Deliveries Available From Anywhere...

To follow up on my previous post, there are now no deliveries available from Amazon, Whole Foods, Shipt or Instacart. There is also no initiative from any governmental branch or agency to be sure that vulnerable people get food from anywhere in case anyone from the UK is tempted to ask. My last option is to either go myself in a wheelchair taxi or plead with someone to bring groceries to my door. That may get old quickly should anyone agree.

I hope you all are well.