Out of Chocolate! Oh NOOOOO…….

Oh dear.

I’m almost out of chocolate. I have one Trader Joe’s bar left, 72% cacao. I will ration it, to make it last a few days. However, I don’t want to go there to get more because of the line to get in and out. It seems to me rather defeating the purpose to have people standing in line much less than 6’ apart, waiting for their opportunity to go in the store. But at any rate, I am a chocoholic, but I am not willing to do that.

My alternative is to go to Publix, or Winn Dixie, and buy some. Or Walmart. But honestly, I don’t want to do that either, I don’t want to make a trip there unless I really need essentials. By the middle of next week I will probably need more fresh fruit and veggies, I can get it then.

I checked on Amazon, they have LOTS, like 7 pages, of chocolate. However, I fear that because I live here in Florida that it might be melted by the time I get it off my doorstep and into my house. My nice cool house, thanks to my new air ducts. So glad I had that done a couple weeks ago before this virus became such a scary thing.

Maybe I should use this time to try to break my chocolate addiction. And I use that word lightly. Of course, I am not really addicted to it, but I do enjoy a little, every day. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Dark chocolate, my favorite, is low in sugar, is a great anti-oxidant, and I’ve seen in classified as a superfood. So why deprive myself? Hell, it’s helping me.

Maybe it’s why I just got the best lab report I’ve had since I was diagnosed with diabetes many years ago. My diabetes and my rheumatoid arthritis are both very much under control, and I intend to keep them that way. The RA is still basically in remission, as long as I take my weekly med for it. My diabetes A1c is 6.5, which is what I’ve been striving for years to achieve. A1c is the marker for how someone’s sugar has been over the last 3 months. Mine started as 12.6 those many years ago, and has gone down steadily, but not enough. The medications I am currently on seem to work well. But I digress…

Maybe the chocolate helped me get there. I’d like to think so, lol.

So today is another day in quarantine. Dan said he would see me today, so that’s good. I’ve spent 2 days alone, and am ready to have him around, even though there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go. Maybe he’ll bring me some chocolate. He knows I’m almost out. I have dark chocolate for me, milk chocolate for him. I got into his milk chocolate yesterday….but I left some for him. So….maybe he’ll get me some as a surprise and to keep me from eating his chocolate.

Yesterday, I went for a walk, and my friends who live a couple doors down were sitting outside, enjoying the gorgeous morning, so I stopped to talk to them. One of them is baking constantly during this isolation, the other says she is eating it all. She’s transgendered, and her wife calls her “my trans-fatty….” I thought that was cute. They are good people, part of my writer’s group. Maybe they have some chocolate I can “borrow”.

I spent a good hour last night texting some of my older friends who don’t drive, checking on them. And called others on the phone. Every day I try to touch base with people, especially those who have a hard time getting out. Even though I am in self-quarantine due to my compromised immune system, I would break that if someone needed my help. I’d just be real careful, and use the hand sanitizer liberally, and not touch my face, or unnecessarily touch anything in a store.

I’m hopeful that perhaps by the end of the week I can have a couple of friends over to sit on my deck and share a bottle of wine. I drank alone yesterday, I was celebrating my great lab report. Just about a glass and a half but it was good. I missed having some chocolate with it, because chocolate goes really well with a good red zinfandel wine, but the good thing is that drinking the wine numbed my desire for chocolate somewhat, lol. However it wasn’t a lasting distraction, so here I am again this morning, trying to figure out how to resupply the chocolate. Such difficult times these are.

I hope all of you have the basics you need to get through this. Chocolate, wine, beer…. Really, I hope everyone is safe, and well, and continues to stay that way. Love and light to everyone.

Getting Through These Strange Days

So, strange days continue unabated. Getting stranger and weirder each day.

It’s not all bad, not at all. Without all my regular diversions of friends, local music events, chair yoga classes, etc., I am spending a lot more time in stillness, reading, cleaning, watering plants, and cooking. I am lucky enough to live here in Florida, where it’s nice enough to go take a walk and get outside.

I wake up and wonder what more bad news I will read over coffee. But then, I look out my window and know that it’s not all bad, that this world is still a beautiful place. I wonder if this break that’s been forced upon us might not change us all, for the better.

I’m spending less money, that’s a good thing! Because there’s nowhere to go. I signed up for a course on mindfulness, based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s free, it’s 5 days with 3 hours of content a day. The course is taught by people who lived with and worked with him in Plum Village. It’s called “In the Footsteps of Thich Nhat Hanh”. It seems a good way to spend 5 of these isolated days we are in. If you’re interested, this is the link to sign up for the free access to the course: https://promo.lionsroar.com/free-summit-thich-nhat-hanh-lrscl/

I do miss my friends. We are all checking on each other, calling on the phone. I was thinking why couldn’t a couple of them come over and sit on my deck, I can bring the libations and food out from the kitchen, after sanitizing everything. But I am a little nervous since yesterday the first case of coronavirus in my small town was confirmed. Yesterday, Dan drove down by the beach and there was still a restaurant with an outdoor bar open, people sitting at the bar. Not social distancing. And I rethink my dream of having friends over even if we’re outside, even if we are 6’ apart, even if we’ve all been quarantining all week. The beaches were mobbed this week with spring breakers who didn’t seem to even know there is a pandemic going on and were totally ignoring the recommendations regarding social distancing, etc. So, yesterday the county voted to close all the beaches, which is a good thing. It’s sad too, and I feel bad for all the businesses that depend on beach traffic during season. The restaurants are not closed here, they are ordered to be at half capacity, with correct spacing. They’re open because so many people here during the tourist season don’t have facilities to make their own food, they have to go out.

Two restaurants in town are giving away free food. One is giving a free pasta dinner for two to anyone over 65, and it is my favorite restaurant in town. The food is SOOO good there, I have paid good money for the meals they gave me for free. Another one is offering a bag lunch. It’s a BBQ place, with good BBQ. Both places bring it right to your car, so you don’t even have to go out. It’s a really nice thing to do.

I tried to go to Trader Joe’s the other day. I buy my coffee there, and that’s all I needed. Figured I could run in and out and not touch anyone or anything but my coffee. And I have hand sanitizer in my pocketbook and I’m sure they have wipes by their carts to wipe them down. But when I got there and pulled into my parking space, I saw a line of 15-20 people outside, waiting to get in. They weren’t allowing anyone to go in until someone came out. So…..I didn’t wait. Not worth an hour or so in line to get just coffee. Instead, I asked Dan to go to Publix and get me some Starbucks Italian roast which he did for me.

We both got our hair cut yesterday, and mine was colored. We were the only ones in the salon. I felt pretty safe, but who knows. I only know that we both needed it, and neither of us was willing to wait until quarantine is over. Today I was supposed to meet with my primary care dr, to go over the labs I had done last week. They called and asked me if I could do it over the phone. Which I think is wonderful. I was not eager to go to the dr office for sure. I am going to the chiropractor today though. My back has been bothering me a lot lately, I need him to put it back into place. I know it’s a little risky, but I think it’s low if I am careful and keep my hands sanitized and keep them off my face. God, who knew how often we touch our faces in a day? It requires real mindfulness to not touch it.

It’s time to get a few things done today. Take a walk, water my plants, and who knows what else. Love and light and good health to all.

More Gratitude, and a Little Bit of Trader Joe’s

Here I am, back on my deck. It’s a beautiful Florida morning, and quiet. There’s a lot less traffic on the roads since everyone is staying at home, for the most part. I mean, there isn’t really anywhere to go anyway, since basically only the grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations are open. But I’d rather be here than any of those places!

However, I am getting low on my much-loved Trader Joe’s coffee, El Pajaro. It is dark, and rich, and bold. I buy the whole beans and grind them. I think that it is sufficient a scare for me to head there today on the way to Dan’s and get some more. I’ll just run in and out, and not touch anyone, and use my hand sanitizer liberally. Whoever thought I’d have to worry about going to Trader Joe’s?

So, what am I grateful for this morning? For the blooms on one of my peace lily plants. I have one huge plant, which seems to have stopped producing any flowers. There have been times when there were a dozen on that one plant. Last summer Dan and I repotted it, and cut out some of it, because it was so large. We replanted the cuttings in a different pot, and that’s the one with 4 new blossoms on it. The old one got a few after we repotted it but nothing in months. I keep them both watered and fertilized, so I’m not sure what the issue is with the big one, but I am happy that one of them is producing those beautiful white flowers.

I’m grateful for the 8 hours of sleep I got last night.

I’m grateful that my back seems well enough this morning to go for a walk.

I’m grateful that I can drive up to Dan’s and spend the evening up there, and share my roasted chicken with him.

I’m grateful that I don’t have to quarantine alone all the time. I am basically an extrovert, and even though I cherish my time alone, I need people.

I’m grateful for a circle of friends that check on each other by phone.

I’m grateful that the government is finally taking some definitive action on the virus, and that people are heeding their instructions for the most part. I qualify that because at a few of the beaches people gathered in great numbers to party, causing local authorities to have to close the beach. I get it, people are on vacation here, it’s the height of season, but come on folks. What were you thinking? Oh, you weren’t.

I’m grateful that I’m safe, that I’m well. Most of all, I am grateful for these things.

Sending love and light to everyone. Please stay home, stay safe, and stay well.

Enjoying Self-Quarantine, So Far At Least

Whoever thought that our whole country would be shut down? In fact, the whole world! I have been self quarantined for a few days now, though Dan joins me. Last week I went to open mic, because I thought it would be the last one for a while, and it was. It’s been canceled for probably at least 30 days. Then we went out Friday night to see 2 of our best friends perform at a restaurant in town, and again realized it would probably be the last time for the foreseeable future.

After those two outings, and with all the dire warnings of the CDC, I decided I should be one of those who stayed put, for the most part. Because even though I feel like my health is great, really, I know that the med I take for rheumatoid arthritis is meant to suppress the immune system, and it’s working good, in that my labs show the RA is in complete remission. But also I’m diabetic, insulin-dependent, giving me two strikes on the list of serious risk factors.

Today I went to the chiropractor, then I went to vote in the Florida primary. In hindsight, I realize that I should have opted for the early voting thing, and would have had we foreseen this virus. But the polling place was very slow, only one other person voting when I was there. They had someone holding the door open, so I didn’t have to touch it. The poll workers all had on latex gloves, and I had my trusty hand sanitizer and made sure to use it. After that, I made a list for Walmart and went there to grab a few things I needed to round out my supplies for the weeks ahead. I used the sanitizer dispenser as I walked in and wiped down my cart handle as well.

I feel pretty safe.

I saw one of my best friends there, who is given slightly to conspiracy theories. And while I see that point of view, I don’t subscribe to it, because I am a firm believer that the universe is not random, and that the point of this whole exercise is to take stock of ourselves, our lives, and what’s important to us. Not to be fearful. I invited her to sit on my deck with me and have a beer. She said she would, but I haven’t seen her yet.

We all have plenty. I mean, here, among my friends. Of course, I realize there are many who don’t have plenty. But it’s not the case in this tight little insulated community that I call home.

I suppose if I was inclined I could get upset about the market crash since most of my disposable income is in my 401K. Hopefully, I can refrain from needing it until the market recovers, though I am doubtful that it will ever return to the place it was. We all knew that it was unsustainably high.

I have a dr. appointment on Thursday morning, and a hair appointment. I’m comfortable with that. I, and Dan, are usually the only customers in there when we go. Friday I am supposed to go back to the chiropractor but I’ll decide Friday whether or not to keep that appointment. I have a whole chicken marinating in a mixture I made using olive oil, wine, and herbs from my yard. Simon and Garfunkel herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Oh and garlic, not from my garden, lol. I have not made a roasted chicken in so long. I’ve never made one for Dan, and I used to get lots of compliments one it when I did it. So tomorrow I’ll take it to his house and we’ll roast it.

When I was done with my errands today, I went on my deck, which is becoming my custom when I’m home alone in the afternoon. The temps are perfect now, hovering around 80. Humidity is fairly low for here. I read until I fell asleep. How utterly lovely to fall asleep with a book in my lap, and a dry breeze blowing through my hair, in the shade of my banyan tree.

I looked up from my book at one point and saw this bouquet of heart balloons stuck in a tree. It felt like a sign, I mean…yeah. A good sign. Hearts in the wind. A scrawny Florida squirrel runs up the branches of the tree. The squirrels are scrawny here, never having to stuff themselves to get through a winter. The squirrel stops on a branch and lays down and starts talking in squirrel talk for about 5 minutes and then moves on.

I sit here, with a glass of red zinfandel wine. It’s my favorite. Dry not sweet. Robust flavor, and a wonderfully smooth finish. I had one glass left in a bottle and decided it was a good time to drink it, sitting out here in the late afternoon, with the world kind of stopping. I am feeling grateful to have an excuse not to do anything. I’m not going to Dan’s, I’m not in a hurry to cook something easy for dinner. Instead, I am watching the geckos chase each other around my deck, sipping wine, enjoying the sunshine and warm, but not hot, temps. I pressure washed my deck a few days ago. It is so much more pleasant to sit out here with the deck clean.

So, me being who I am, have been making a gratitude list of things I am grateful for during this odd, strange time in our country and all over the world. But here goes, anyway.

I am most grateful for the wonderful people in my life. Daniel, my son, my sisters, my good, good friends, from all my life, growing up in Iowa, living in CT for 45 years, and here, in Florida. I am so blessed.

For my mostly good health.

For my cute, tiny, Florida bungalow.

For the bouquet of heart balloons in the trees.

For the awesome weather. For the breeze that’s caressing my neck. For the sun that warms me by day, and the stars that shine by night.

I’m grateful that my son’s employer has decided to close and pay everyone for the two weeks they will be closed. Not sure if it will be extended if the crisis is not yet over in 2 weeks, but it’s a good start. His girlfriend’s employer did the same.

And honestly, I am really grateful that everyone is taking a step back, and taking a breath and that so many people are looking at this whole thing as a good thing. It’s almost like Dickens Tale of Two Cities “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Let’s search out the good in this crisis, so it will carry us through the worst of it.

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

Strange Days

Strange, as defined by Google: 1. unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand. 2. not previously visited, seen, or encountered; unfamiliar or alien.

What strange times are these.

We are required by international consensus, to stay home, to avoid crowds, to “socially distance” ourselves from others, to be fastidious. Is this not good advice in all times?

I went to the grocery store yesterday with Dan, to see what we COULD buy. We are lucky in this country, at least for the time being. We can buy pretty much anything we want to eat. We cannot buy disinfectants, at least not now. Or paper products. I think I have enough of what we can’t buy to last until this crisis is over. I made my own hand sanitizer from aloe and isopropyl alcohol, because I can’t find any hand sanitizer. I have bleach. But honestly, since I am not really going anywhere for a while, I don’t expect to need it at home. The store was uncharacteristically quiet for a Sunday, during peak tourist/snowbird season. There were parking spots available which is totally weird for a Sunday. Was it my imagination that people were quieter, treating each other more kindly?

Dan ordered toilet paper from Sam’s. He got a notice from UPS that it would be delivered Wednesday. This morning there is an email from Sam’s saying the order was canceled. But I’m pretty sure that if UPS says it has a package weighing 27 lbs, and a tracking number, and nothing else has been ordered that could weigh that much, that it’s going to come. Yes, I know 27 lbs is heavy for just TP. He ordered two large packs, a total of 55 or 60 rolls, to share between himself and me, his brother and his mother. Not really an excessive amount for 4 people. I’ll let you know if it comes or not.

I came home from his house yesterday, and sat out on my deck, reading and enjoying the gorgeous weather. It was almost surreal out there. So beautiful. So peaceful, even though I live in a densely populated area, there was very little noise. Not even many cars on the street. Two young sisters visiting next door were finding all the good hiding places in the yard, playing together so sweetly, cooperating with each other, laughing, smiling. Their young mother looked over at me and smiled, she looked very content, happy, maybe even joyful. Birds were singing, the breeze was blowing. It felt luxurious. Weird, in the midst of all the angst we are reading and hearing about, to feel like I’d been given a gift.

Time to be still, not just for the 15 or 20 minutes of meditation each day which is my normal practice. But all the time, at least in our minds. An opportunity to discover how to quiet our minds from all the worry, as we realize we have no control except to stay home. Make use of the time, soon enough the insanity of daily living will return.

Although, maybe it won’t. Maybe collectively we are slowing the pace of life, maybe many people will realize they like being home more, being with just family and close close friends, not worrying about what might be, or may never be. Just living, staying in the moment. Because it’s all we can do. And it’s the best thing we can do.

I’m not sure that this virus is not intentional on the part of the universe. I believe the universe conspires on our behalf all the time, and that it’s not capable of not loving us. Looked at through that lens, perhaps its what we all needed: to be forced to stay home, to stay still, to have time to think about how and what we do and say, and what energy we are putting out. To realize what;s really important in our lives.

Maybe. Maybe not. I kind of think it’s one of those things we can choose….to see it as a gift, or a curse. Pollyanna that I am, I see it as a gift. Because I choose to.

I hope everyone is healthy and enjoying this little break in our lives. For those who are not, I send you loving and healing light in the hopes that you are soon free of whatever it is that ails you.

Love and healing light to all.

An Amazing Evening of Sound Healing

Last night we had our March full moon sound healing at the beach. I can only say it was pretty amazing.

We had about 100 people attend! We were supposed to play from 7 to 8. When I create the event on FB, I always recommend that people get there a few minutes early to get settled in. Last night we had people there 45 or 50 minutes early, just enjoying the evening. The temperature was in the low 70’s, the sky clouded up, but the sunset was still visible in the distance. People just kept coming. I stopped trying to count them when it got to about 50, but Dan counted heads at the end. He counted 96 people, and that doesn’t account for those who left a little early.

We were so thrilled, to have so many people come! My FB event had something like 270 interested or going, so I was hopeful that 40 or 50 of them would show up. But 100? That was just awesome, beyond our wildest expectations.

Because we had practiced a lot regarding how we put the journey together, I felt it was one of our best performances. People seemed to love it. There is a time when Dan walks through the crowd beating the buffalo drum over people’s heads, and I do it a few minutes later with the rainstick. I had people grasping my hand for a moment, and many people thanking me. Most people are in a pretty deep meditation by that point (it’s about half-way through the sound healing). At the end, so many heartfelt thank you’s, and hugs. I felt blessed, really…. We made good tips, for sure, but the thing is, I love doing it so much I don’t mind when we don’t make much. Because I just love seeing people get from it what’s intended, emotional healing.

Note: I need to clarify, we don’t heal anyone. People heal themselves. We just provide the venue for them to really dig deep, and let go what needs letting go in a safe, and pretty painless way.

Case in point. After we were done, and most of the crowd had packed up and left, I was loading my car with our stuff. I saw Dan talking to a woman who appeared to be around our age, and I didn’t interrupt, because it seemed she was really intense, and I kind of knew to just let that be. She was not there just to thank him. Turns out, she came and asked a question about how she’d felt vibrations in a certain part of her, and wondered what it meant. Dan explained that it was probably emotions she had buried at some point in her life.  She told him her story, and how the sound healing affected here.   Her old deeply buried emotions were coming up, because she’s ready to face it and heal it. He said she started crying like a baby. He said he’d had to hold her for a moment, she was so distraught. He then explained to her that a LOT of people cry when they are healing, that it’s just part of the journey. After about 10 minutes or so she left but was very grateful to him for helping her understand.

I was quite proud of him for the way he handled her because he’s not been a real believer in the healing aspect of what we do, but I think that was enough to change his mind. He dealt with someone who was doing some profound healing from a life-time of buried emotion. I think it was meant to be that he was the one she approached because they had something to teach each other.

Now he knows what I mean when I say “THAT”S why we do it. That’s the whole purpose of this.” Just having one person that gets that kind of result from going is enough to make me cry, really. I’m so happy to be able to help people in this small way. And I know that she was most likely not alone in her breakthrough. I’ve been to too many of sound healings and have known so many people who have benefited from sound healing in a profound way (myself included!). I love that Dan’s eyes and heart were opened a little wider from that interaction with this woman.

I really felt the donations we receive are kind of divine compensation for doing what we do. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. I love making a little extra money doing something that I am so passionate about. It’s not even like work, at all. Well, ok, loading and unloading the car maybe, but really, that’s about an hour’s worth of time.

I’m going to try to upload some pictures from last night to share with you.  Love and light to everyone.

Go With Love (A Poem)

Your-task-is-not-to-seek-for-love-but-merely-to-seek

Sometimes people are just difficult
Perhaps it’s a temporary life issue
Sometimes it’s a permanent way of being.

To criticize endlessly
to anger easily
To defend against a false but perceived attack

Isn’t it just as easy to be loving
And kind, and generous in thought?
Especially to someone you say you love?

No one is perfect
Not you, not me.
But love is.

So if it’s perfection you want
Go with love.
If it’s warmth and support you want
Go with love
If it’s a better world you seek
Go with love.

Always, go with love.
It will ease your fears
And take away your pain.

Go where the love is.
Go with love.
Just love, as a verb.
As a way of life.

 

By Deborah E. Dayen

Image from Google Images