Yikes! Every Day A Little More Insanity

OMG, this is getting so boring. It’s nighttime. Too early to go to bed, but too late to do anything but watch tv. Or write, apparently.

I don’t get regular cable tv. I do have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube to find something to watch. NONE of it piqued my interest. None. So what I’ll probably do is go to bed and read, because this is just so boring. Maybe I’ll play the gong for awhile. Or the keyboard. But I’m kinda tired, just not tired enough.

Today, Dan and I went to Trader Joe’s. I just wanted some of their coffee. They have really good, really reasonable coffee. We only had one mask, so he went in and I waited in the car for him. Took him less than 10 minutes. Then we went to Sams Club to pick up an order. The instructions were to call them when you get there and someone will bring it out to you. OK…we did that. And they said, “Ok, come inside to the pick up desk.” WTF. It said right on the phone screen someone would bring it out. I mean under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have even done the pick up thing. But if you’ve been to Sam’s lately, you have seen the line of people to get in, about 30 or so long, not really social distancing properly….

Aye yi yi. So Dan again went in to get it. With our only mask. We actually have a few masks, but he left his at home, and I have one I keep in my car, and another at my house, and one at his house.

I read that the Donald wants doctors to see if they can’t inject people with household disinfectants. And asked Dr. Birx to see if there isn’t some light therapy that might work. What a genius we have for a president. My God. It’s like a really bad futuristic movie. Meanwhile, people are going broke, going hungry, losing their ever-lovin’ minds. I fail to have even the slightest comprehension of what some people are thinking. A rally in Staten Island to protest the quarantine restrictions. A sign said, “End the lockdown rally. No mask needed. Bring your children. If you’re sick, still come. It’s your right.”

Yep, it said BRING YOUR CHILDREN. I have no words.

So now I’m home, can’t find anything that seems worth watching on tv. Going to bed, going to read for awhile. Going to try to forget about how much crazier this country has gotten, and led by the craziest of the crazy. It’s beyond the pale of imagination. Who would have ever thought? Yikes.

Good night folks. Love and light. Try to stay sane

Rolling Days

The days roll into one. There is a rhythm to them. Rise, have coffee and check the news. Do a meditation then go for a walk. Do some chair yoga. After lunch go out onto the deck, and read, or write. Fall asleep in the chair.

Maybe Dan will come and vary the day some. Maybe I’ll go to Dan’s and vary the day some. I keep a running list for the grocery store. So sometimes we take a run over when we’re at Dan’s, and put on our masks and latex gloves. We are lucky we have N95 masks, because he ordered them 4-6 weeks ago, before we were aware of the shortages. But we don’t have many. We have given them to his mom, and brother, and a good friend. We keep a couple at my house, the 5 or 6 that are left we keep at his house. He wants to send a couple, 2 or 3, to my friend who works in the state psychiatric hospital in CT. She gets one surgical mask a week. The get one N95 mask, which she keeps in her locker and only wears when she needs to. Now, she deals with psychiatric patients, not sick patients. But she’s had patients on her floor come down with it. They move the 10 or 14 (I can’t remember what she told me) COVID-19 patients to an isolated room on another floor. But still….It’s scary.

So what to write about? The weather? Yesterday and Sunday we had some crazy t-storms, and we needed the rain. We need more, lots more. 15 minutes, even a half hour, of a downpour, doesn’t make up for 2 months of no rain at all. Today was magnificent. Warm, dry, a breeze. It couldn’t have been better.

So, there’s not much to say. Today was the same as yesterday, mostly. And tomorrow. I’m working on some writing projects, but they are long term. I may post some of them here, haven’t decided yet. But the important thing is that we are well, and safe, and staying out of trouble. Life is crazy for us all.

Love and light to everyone. Stay safe and healthy.

Sit With Me and Listen to the Wind

Heavy Wind

A heavy wind is blowing in
From across the Gulf
Blowing past the barrier beaches
Flying across the bay

And up the street
Into my back yard.
The live oaks sway back and forth
The palm fronds bend as the breeze builds
The peace lilies dance in their clay pots
Their white flowers on the cusp of blooming

It’s a weighted wind
Carrying the moisture from the turquoise gulf
Laden with the fears and sorrows and prayers of so many
Across the land.
Blowing past the deserted beaches,
Streets and avenues, once full of life
Now standing empty

Silence surrounds us
Don’t want to watch the news
Don’t want to read it either
Nothing but bad news in the news.

How many more today?
I can’t listen to the answer.
When it’s over,
I’ll weep for everyone
Those who are gone
And those left behind

But today,
I’ll take the silence
I’ll listen to the wind talking as it flies by
Speaking of change coming
For all of us

I’ll sit in stillness
Asking no questions
Staying in the moment
where safety and peace
Sit with me.

 

By Deborah E. Dayen

 

Searching for Happiness

What things make me happy today? Hmmm.

I’m not sure anything is making me happy on this our 4th, or is it only the 3rd, week of quarantine. I’ve lost track. I started before it was ordered because my immune system is somewhat compromised. So I’m thinking it’s my 4th week, maybe just starting. Who cares?

It’s been too long, but it’s necessary. I keep wanting to run to the store for things, and then, think better of it. This is the worst time, they say. Do without. So I’m snacking on olives, just a few, one of the few things that I have that are not carb-loaded. Kalamata olives, green pimento-stuffed olives, large green olives stuffed with garlic and jalapeno. They’re good, and I’m grateful to have them. In my quest not to become an alcoholic during this time, I am drinking a diet ginger ale.

My, life is boring. Or, my life is boring. Either way I punctuate it, it is a true statement.

A friend texted me a couple of days ago and asked me if we could do a virtual sound healing. So, I’m looking into it. It’s possible. I bought a tripod for my phone. And think I may get a decent microphone too. We would hold it either on my tiny deck or in my back yard. Sans an audience. Although…..honestly, I may have a few people show up. It won’t be until May, so maybe we can, by then, have a few people over if we continue to social distance. I guess that the thought of doing a sound healing makes me a little bit happy. Not as happy as if the beach were to be re-opened. But that’s unlikely.

I am happy that my peace lilies have got new flowers coming up. I’ve thinned them back and fertilized them. I have also been tending to my herb garden and some big plants in my front yard. I’ve begun to learn how pleasurable it is to watch things grow and to take care of them, and see them thrive.

I am happy with the weather here. It’s 84° with a very balmy tropical breeze blowing as I sit here on the deck. There are large puffy clouds floating across the blue sky. I am very happy that I have an outdoor space here. A place to look at my healthy plants, watch the geckos race up and down and across the deck rails, as well as up and down the banyan tree roots. And squirrels, running along the tops of the fences. A place where I can sit, and contemplate the trees. Large live oaks, their branches reaching horizontally across the yard and rooftops. The palm trees gently waving above me. I can hear the birds singing. Once in awhile I hear neighbors talking, even though it’s not often, it does somehow bring me back to a semblance of what life was like before.

Before……boy, that word in this context sure conjures up some visuals, and many many thoughts of what was before, and how we took it for granted.

It seems like the first couple of weeks were not hard. Novel, like the virus, new to us. We all talked to each other on the phone, our tribe, musician friends of mine were posting mini-shows of singing for us all. Restaurants in town that were trying to stay open were giving away food, really good food, just trying to lift our spirits. Then John Prine died from the virus. He owned a home here, a block from the beach. Most of the musicians in town who have been here a long time knew him. I guess once in awhile he used to show up at the open mics when he was hanging out here. So since the news that he was in the hospital, any videos put up have been of my friends singing his songs. I am almost ashamed to admit I didn’t know anything about him until I moved here. Nominated for 11 Grammy’s, winning two. A wonderful musician and songwriter. Very sad he was taken by the virus.

But back to the first couple weeks being not so hard. Enjoyable, really. And, I have to admit, it’s not hard. I feel for people in the cities, who live on top of one another, and there’s nowhere to go except to stay in their apartments. I am beginning to really miss going out for a glass of wine, to see my friends play, or going over to each other’s houses. Going out for a pizza, or fish tacos, or going to the beach for a couple hours, just to hear the waves lap the shore. I’ve been trying to walk every day. I walk a few blocks to a place called the Tangerine Greenway. It’s just some green space in town, about a half-mile in length, with a walking path running through it, and some wetlands that have egret, ibis and sometimes heron in it, when it’s wet. Which it’s not because we haven’t had rain since the beginning of February. The weather wizards say we are in for thunderstorms next week, every day. I suppose it will be welcome, and it won’t rain all day anyway. It rarely does that here. The sun will be out between the dark clouds.

My back has been giving me a lot of trouble lately, and I like to walk on the greenway because there are benches along the walking path, so I can sit down and stretch it back out. Yesterday and today it was really hurting me, so today before I went I put it on ice, and then hooked up my TENS unit and walked with that on. It is remarkably better now, so I’m glad I did it. I intend to keep using the TENS until I have no more pain. So there’s another thing I’m happy about, that my back is feeling much better.

I’m happy for the people who are in my life. I had 2 of my neighbors, a married couple, and my BFF here on Tuesday. I put all 4 of my deck chairs and the table on the ground out back (after completely sanitizing everything) so we could maintain our social distancing. They all brought their own drinks and food, and we just sat and talked from 6 to 8 feet apart for the afternoon. We are going to try to do it once a week, it kind of helps remind us of our real lives which we will someday return to.

I keep reading memes that say, normal is not where we want to go back to. Normal wasn’t working. Collectively, I guess that’s true. But I am inclined to feel like my own life was working ok. It could use a little tweaking, but I have a happy, retired life here, and I’d really like to get back to it. Chair yoga, sound baths on the beach, hanging out with friends while other friends entertain us. We who don’t perform are the “clappers” and we endeavor to do it well!

I hope all of you are doing your best to thrive during this strange and difficult time. Love and light to all of you.

Working It Out, From the Doldrums to Gratitude

It’s a beautiful day here in the Tampa Bay area. One of the many things I have to be grateful for: the blue blue sky, the palm trees swaying gently, the early morning light casting long shadows, the warmth of the sun. I feel very blessed to have landed here, and never more than right now when we are all sequestered in our homes.

I woke up this morning, not in a good mood. I knew I should be grateful for many things, but that deep feeling of gratitude wasn’t bubbling into my consciousness this morning. My back which has bothered me for months now, was particularly achy when I got up. I stopped going to the chiropractor because I am just uncomfortable being in their office, even if I wear a mask and gloves. Like many people during this lockdown, instead of losing weight, I gained a pound. That alone is enough to piss me off. But truth be told, I am definitely not getting enough exercise. As I walked into the kitchen to make coffee, I thought “another boring day. What can I do today that might pull me out of these doldrums I am in.”

Let me say, that doldrums is not a place I’m familiar with. I was alone this morning, Dan will be over later, I’m pretty sure. And I really have never minded being alone too much. I think it’s probably a good thing for us that he is not here, because my initial mood this morning was selfish, and self-centered, feeling a bit sorry for myself.

But I went ahead, made my coffee, took my insulin, made myself a small bowl of fruit as I do every morning, and pulled an ice pack out of the freezer. I sat at my kitchen table next to my open windows, and within minutes my back felt better. I perused the news on Apple News on my phone, and the lead story was from the Washington Post (I was happy I could read it) about how New York’s statistics are providing some hope, even if our nation had it’s worst day ever. We were told this week and next would be the worst of it, but they are saying that the numbers may not be as bad as we were initially told, and as Gov. Cuomo said, “It’s not an act of God we are looking at, it’s an act of what society actually does.”

This is not to say that perhaps it’s an act of God that we are mostly doing what we need to, to curb this vicious virus. But that’s another discussion, and for the purposes of this blog, I’ll go along with Cuomo’s assessment. We are, collectively, doing what we need to do to stop the spread of this thing, but also, to survive it. Is there a choice here? Not for most of us.

I’m gonna guess that I’m not the only person who is sick of this isolation. And truth be told, I’m not that isolated. Two of my best friends live a few houses down from me, and when I go for a walk in the morning I often see them sitting outside, and stop and talk. I have Dan with me often, and what a blessing it is to have even one person with whom I can be close, with whom the social distancing thing is not necessary. I heard from my friend Linda in CT last night, my gong mentor. She and her husband taught me, by osmosis, everything I know about sound healing. I say, by osmosis, because they never tried to teach me, but performed sound healing/gong baths twice a month for years and I rarely missed any of them. I also heard from a fairly new friend who loves our sound healing at the beach and asked me if we could do a virtual one. Another friend called me last night just to check on me, and another texted me to remind me to go out and look at the full moon.

So, my isolation is not so bad, is it?

Writing this has brought me back to gratitude, and the feeling now rises in me from the depths at which I buried it.  Being able to feel gratitude leads to so much more inner peace with all of this. I hope and pray that when this is over, there is a new normal across the globe. One that understands the connection we all have to each other, one that takes us away from so much materialism to an appreciation of all we have. I hope that the good effects on the earth of industrialized nations having to shut down temporarily will translate into our caring for the earth better, and more lovingly. That our steps upon the earth are gentle and loving, no longer displaying careless and calculated disregard for our planet.

I hope that all my readers are safe, and well. Sending love and light to all.

A Failed Attempt at Bread Baking to Pass the Time

Yesterday I made two loaves of bread. I used a recipe that came with my Kitchenaid mixer. It was called Rapid Mix Cool Rise White Bread.

I’m sure if you are a seasoned bread maker, that name probably is foreboding. Like, I’m sure a real bread-maker would look at that and say “What could possibly go wrong?” The answer is, a lot. Speeding up making bread is probably not going to produce a good loaf of bread. At least, it sure didn’t for me.

First of all, you just add the yeast to the dry ingredients. Then you add hot water. Then the mixer does the kneading. It only takes 2 minutes, or maybe 4. But personally, I think even 4 minutes was too long for a mixer to be kneading. Then it rises in the refrigerator. YES! In the fridge, in a couple of hours!

I was excited, I have wanted to try baking bread but under normal circumstances, I just never find the time. However, when one is home all day, every day, what better time to try it?

I’d love to be able to make bread. Even though I’m diabetic and can’t really eat much of it. Still, I think that would elevate my baking to a new level, if I could make a good loaf of bread. I know people who would eat it, and I’d have a slice or two.

This bread however, was not that loaf, not that recipe that was going to elevate anything, except maybe your weight or glucose levels. It rose, as it was supposed to. I baked it, but it never got that golden brown color that a loaf of bread should have. So maybe I baked it an extra 5 minutes trying to get that color, but to no avail. It is a sickly color of beige. Still, I thought, maybe it will taste decent. When I took it out of the oven, I tapped the crust, just to see how it felt, and sounded. Well, it sounded kind of .like a tree might sound if you tapped it. Tree bread. But, tenacious as I am, I had not given up yet. I thought I’d just wait for it to cool and try a piece.

After I managed to saw through the tough, hard crust with a bread knife, I got to the bottom crust, which didn’t want to be cut. Not a good sign, I now know. I kind of tore it. I slathered some butter on it, and went for a bite. Ok, the taste was ok, maybe because it was warm, but it was just ok. The bread was so dense. It was not the light fluffy loaf of bread I had envisioned. It was heavy, and tasted too much like flour. I think probably not using the mixer to knead it would be a good idea. I’m guessing that eating that piece of bread was probably the reason my weight was the same this morning as yesterday. So, when Dan gets here, he can try a piece. If he does not like it, it will go into the garbage.

But it sounded so simple! And it was! But it was not good.

I’ll be on a hunt for a new recipe. As soon as I can find yeast again. Apparently I’m not the only person who thought that this would be a good time to learn to make bread. Flour and yeast have been hard to come by. I’m not giving up on this quest to make a decent loaf of bread, that I can’t eat anyway. But I make lots of stuff I shouldn’t eat. I like to bake. I just have to give it away.

So onward. I’ll try to find something else good to make today. Or tomorrow. Whatever. I have a month to figure it out. If I can buy yeast.

Stay safe, stay well, stay at home, wear a mask and gloves if you have to go out. Love and light

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Beautiful

So much bad news, sad news this morning. So many mistakes made by a government, led by an egomaniac who doesn’t have an empathetic bone in his body. So much needless misery he brought to the country which he is supposed to lead, but doesn’t.

I was treated to a beautiful sunrise this morning, which is often the case. This one was exceptional, I couldn’t get a picture of it. I’m hoping it’s not the only beautiful thing I see today.

I talked to my “little” sister yesterday. She lives outside of Austin TX, with her husband of 43, almost 44, years. She’s been able to work from home, and only works part-time. She’s feeling kind of lucky that she has something to fill half her days. Her husband has been maintaining their huge, entire backyard garden. They are vegan, and grow most of what they eat. He has a degree in agriculture so he knows what he’s doing. But still, they are worried. Not excessively so, but worried. They have kids and grandkids whom they can’t see.

I also spoke to a good friend for a long while yesterday. I generally see her a few times every week. We are both part of Hypatia, my writer’s group, she teaches chair yoga, we both belong to the spirit girls group, and we both go to a lot of the same music venues. But now…I have not seen her in a few weeks. Both of us are enjoying the good parts of quarantine. Neither of us minds the times alone, for the most part. We love the quiet, the lack of traffic, the lack of crowds. But we miss our tribe, that group of us that rely on and love. It was good to catch up with her.

We all see that a lot of good can come from this, and hope that is what the final result is. That when a vaccine is developed and we all get it and this horrible scourge is conquered, that people will remember what was important, and remain kinder, more compassionate, still caring about their neighbors. Will our short term memories forget this, and go back to our old lives? Will a new world order based on love and compassion have started replacing the one that our leader tried to stuff down our throats. The one that teaches each man and woman to be out for themselves, to get as much as they can, and not care if everyone else has enough. The toilet paper shortage is a metaphor for how we’ve been behaving. I am not apart from that, I have about 25 rolls, which sounds like a lot. But honestly, isn’t that much if I’m going to be locked in for a month, at least, but most likely longer. I only have it because Dan managed about a month ago to order 60 rolls from Sam’s Club, and then divided it between his house, my house, his mother’s house and his brother’s house. 15 rolls each. And I had some already.

I went to the grocery store with Dan the other day. We both put bandanas over our faces, and orange rubber gloves on our hands and felt somewhat protected. Though we kind of laughed at ourselves for the bandanas, because we looked like bank robbers, and really did they do much good except to give us enough courage to go into the store? It’s my first time in the store in 3 weeks. Of course, I saw a lot of people with a mask of some kind on. And some gloves. But happily, we found most of the shelves full. I was able to get lots of fresh produce, and some frozen veggies, which they were out of completely when Instacart brought my order.

My son laughed at me for my precautions, for a moment. He’s young, he feels impervious. I reminded him that I am not, impervious. And told him there were quite a few people who were dressed as I was. We are an older population here, unlike his area which is young people. Most people here just do what they are told to. They stay home, they go for walks, they find something productive to do with their time. We all enjoy the peace and quiet.

Occasionally, I wonder how this will all play out, in the end. This spending of trillions of dollars, all the death and pain. All the small businesses that will never recover from this. The town I live in depends on tourist season, which has been cut short this year. From crowded streets to empty ones, from crowded shops and restaurants to no one being open. A few restaurants tried to stay open for take-out, but as of this week, only one of them is left, and I’m sure they are struggling. Many of them were giving away food, dinners, sandwiches. I guess they thought it was better to give it away than throw it away.

It’s a strange new world.

One of the things I like is the quiet. I can sit on my deck, and hear the birds, and the squirrels, and watch the geckos running along the porch. I can meditate out there in peace, which is nice. Except when the guy who lives on the other side of my back fence begins his work. I don’t know him, or what he’s doing, but every day he is out there, the sounds of power tools breaking the lovely silence. Still, it is not as annoying as one might think, because I’m glad to know someone is there. Sometimes it feels like there is no one else around. I try to walk almost every day, in the morning. I might see a couple of people out walking their dogs. I might see a single car driving down the street.

Obviously, I am having a hard time, at times, wrapping my head around this whole thing. Too many things to even try to rationalize in any way. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m sure this head spinning I do occasionally is a collective WTF, from all people everywhere. I read more WTF news every day. I don’t listen to it or watch it much, because too many people pretending they have a handle on what’s happening, spinning it to make their side look better and the other side look bad. I say, leadership comes from above, and we don’t have a leader. His approval ratings have jumped up, but are still below 50%. Many of us remember that after 9/11 Bush’s ratings were over 90%. Usually, the country can unite behind the president. In this case, many of us blame him for the intensity of this disaster. His glib, stupid remarks that it was a hoax, his refusal to even acknowledge it as a problem here until it was beyond stopping. When I do watch him, it isn’t for long. He’s out there, trying to get credit for doing things that he should have done in January and February. He’s denying the stupid stuff he says, sometimes the next day.

I love the fact that many businesses didn’t wait for his instructions, but began retooling to make the things we needed. Two distilleries in St. Petersburg began making hand sanitizer and then giving it away in a drive-through line. Back when our president and governor wouldn’t even give a stay at home order. Florida’s order finally went into effect today. A state whose population is 40% over the age of 60. Not that those of us over 60 were stupid enough to wait for a presidential or gubernatorial order. I’ve been isolating for about 3 weeks now, as have been most of the people I know. But this is a small town, and who knows what people are doing in the cities.

I do love the sense of cooperation among people. I love that I constantly see in my FB feed calls for a worldwide healing meditation. Free online courses for mindfulness. Reminders to be grateful for what we have. In this case, the admonishment of “There’s always something to be thankful for, even if it’s just our breath” is uniquely pertinent. The virus steals our breath from us. That thing we can always count on for a return to focus, a reminder to be mindful, to be grateful. We have to be vigilant not to let it steal our joy from us.

I realize I am not my usual positive, happy self this morning. I guess this is a stream of consciousness writing. Trying to sort out the thoughts in my head, and bring my head back around to being mindful, that I am fine, I have everything I need right now. I am grateful for so much. I will try to focus on gratitude and hope for the remainder of the day.

Stay home, stay safe, stay well. Love and light to all.