Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I (will) feel better when

I've had a rough month or so. Beware this post starts out ugly.

My husband has taken a turn for the worse with the Type 2 diabetes nerve pain. He went from golfing twice a week to unable to walk without a walker. He fell 3 times. He has a non-healing wound on his big toe. He's been angry and depressed but has somewhat leveled out. He goes back to the vascular surgeon week after next to see about the stent in his leg and if he needs more.

On my side -  I've been stuffing food in my mouth every few hours and I've gained about 15 lbs since Mar 13. It makes me feel physically bad. Luckily I can still wear most of my clothes. I can't seem to get back on track with my healthy eating and movement. I can seem to motivate myself to do even the things I like to do. I am so discouraged.

I took a turn for the better today - and hence I feel like blogging.
I cleaned the stove top about 50% but it looks 500% better, made guacamole, sent the check for my genealogy society dues and got a good start on putting together my sewing table that I got for my birthday. I feel so much better when I do stuff.
Here's my new desk (also put together from a box of pieces). The chair is kind of in the way. The computer tower was supposed to fit on a shelf underneath on the right but it didn't fit. It's so much nice than the tiny desk I was using. Now I have room for a sewing center and I've got a TV as well. I'll get more pictures when I get the room closer to being done.


My husband also bought me a cookbook on my wish list "Molly on the Range' by Molly Yeh which I am really enjoying. Along with the recipes she writes about the changes she has made in her life and her cooking after moving from NYC to a North Dakota farm. I've always enjoyed watching her show on the Food Network - Girl Meets Farm.
I love reading her story and recipes but I'll warn you - when she writes she uses "colorful" language. I know some found it offensive. I chalk it up to youth. Anyway she explains how to cook Toad in the Hole which I finally tried and I love it!




I feel better when I move around.
I feel better when I eat when I am in control of what I eat and I eat my favorite foods,
I feel better when I interact with people outside of my family.
I feel better when I follow my Fitbit.
I feel better when I watch something good on TV that makes me feel like or want to be a better person.
I feel better when I wash my face, shave my whiskers, put on some type of moisturizer on my face, neck, arms and legs.
I feel better when I dress in my favorite clothes - jeans and green & blue tie-dye t-shirt.
I feel better when I give things my all.
I feel better when I do something I've always wanted to do and it takes off and Bob likes it too - like the gardening and cooking.
I feel better when I do what I need to do and don't procrastinate.
I feel better when I make and go to appointments like the doctor,  podiatrist, optician, veterinarian, social security,
I feel better when I drink water.

What do you do to feel better?

PS I finished 'Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver and it was a great story. I'm still going to review it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

We went to the park finally

My life has actually gotten somewhat better during the quarantine/lockdown/whatever you call it. I am not exactly sure how it happened but I'm thankful. We are fortunate to still have incomes and nobody close has had the virus. We are in an area where it is not much worse than a normal flu breakout, and now that my daughter is visiting again it's a lot like normal, only better.  

Working from home is a lot more relaxing and I am getting just as much done. Right now I talking with incoming freshman students and helping them with appointments with academic advisors. I've had quite a few conversations with concerned parents as well. 

I've never been a shopper or a go-er. I like to get out in the fresh air and I love nature, but there are very few indoor places that I enjoy. Once in a while I miss that first rush of walking into the grocery store  and seeing all the fresh produce and people with carts - which lasts about 2 minutes and then I just want it to be done with. I've picked up my groceries for over 2 months now and I've adapted. One thing I haven't been able to get yet - print paper towels the full size sheets. I always buy printed because it is cheery and reminds me of something in my past - not sure what. 

This week was the first time I wore my mask (the one I made worked!) as I had to go inside the restaurant to pick up our food.  I thought I would feel more awkward or that it wouldn't stay in place but it was fine.  

At a favorite Asian place, a couple with two small children who were checking out before me did not have on masks, but the cashier and the servers all had on masks. They had also left the door propped open so I didn't have to touch it, and they had separate containers for the clean and dirty pens (to sign the receipts) although I didn't realize it until after I put mine in the wrong one :( 

My daughter and I spent several hours at the park last Saturday. I was surprised it was so empty because the weather was perfect. 



We walked a bit but I was out of practice so then we just sat down at a picnic table in the shade and watched and listened to the birds. Maybe take our lunch there - we'll see. 

I've pulled weeds!  I've planted more seeds  - a wildflower mix that Mr T bought online.  Did I mention I used the trimmer? I didn't know I still had it in me.  It feels so good to out in the yard again. All my vegetable  and herb seeds are up in the planter box. I got the raw in-the-shell peanuts for the blue jays - they come and take them away quickly. 

I got a jury summons for July, August and September and sent in the paper work. Curious to see what happens there.

I started "Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver. She has a way with words. It's about people living in Appalachia.  I'm enjoying it and I'll report later. That first chapter caught me by surprise. 




Saturday, May 23, 2020

Some picture highlights of my week


Final Fantasy 14 - This is me as my character - I won a cute hat - well actually it's a bandanna - during a dungeon quest playing as a archer. My daughter "made" the upgraded archer gear for me.

First time I've seen this female blue jay. 

Male Blue Jay sitting on planter box watching female eat.

Blue Jays - I have been hoping to attract blue jays to my feeders - and this couple has been around a few times. I've heard they like peanuts in the shell so I need to get that on my order. Taken through a double window and screen. I haven't quite advanced to picture taking yet.

George - being a cat.
George - our orange tabby - is always surprising me. I walked into my office/sewing/whatever room and he was just sitting there so calmly. The iron was NOT on. I don't know how he got up there without the iron not wobbling off. He doesn't even come in here very often.

Better Boy

Our tomato plant has double in size since the freeze a couple of weeks ago where it lost some of it's leaves.

Our shed and the sun on the neigbor's roof

The other side of our yard sunrise and neighbors shed. 

I spied the sun shining on another roof behind our yard. 
We've been having a spate of rainy cloudy days. Since working from home, I've realized how much I like the sunshine. This one morning the sun was rising and just at the place between the horizon and the cloud layer where it shot through on to some roofs. Then up behind the clouds again. It made me happy.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rough Week Seasoned with Good

I recently started this blog to help me collect my days and thoughts, and have discovered so many other good blogs out there! I have been inspired in many ways - emotionally, intellectually, and I have learned new things,  Even at almost 69 years old, I am questioning what I want out of life and making adjustments.  It is a joy to open my laptop and read the new posts and pictures and connect with people who share my interests. 

This past week has been rough - I can feel myself saying "chin up" a lot.  Friends have told me I would know when I would want to retire and I am feeling it. I have to remain at the very least until the end of Nov 2020 to get the small annuity on my 10-year anniversary. So that's a little over 6 months away. But my goal has always been to work until I am 70 - which is in June 2020, which is a little over a year away. 

I switched over to four 10-hour days Mon-Thurs instead of the usual Mon-Fri 8-hour days. This means I have Fridays off which helps me, but the longer days are hard. I sit at a computer and manage email, calendars and records plus answering the phone. Next week I will begin calling and talking to new students who have been admitted for Fall 2020. We still don't know if classes will be virtual or face-to-face. I am free to get up and move around whenever I need to, but it is still hard.  I was able to connect my small work laptop to my own large desktop monitor and keyboard which is helping a lot. 

Mr T has had to resort to using a walker to get around. Golf is out of the question for now. He is experiencing a lot of shooting pain down both legs and in his back when he tries to walk. Sitting or laying down he is fine. He is very depressed and sleeps a lot. Tomorrow he will be calling the doctor again. So far they have prescribed medications to deal with his pain but it has gotten much worse. Having had a nerve pain issue myself, I am pretty sure this is what is going on. And pain and inflammation medications doesn't really touch that. 

Not as important but still troubling, I have gained back about 8 pounds since mid-March. Too much comfort food I'm sure. I need to turn this around because it affects how I feel physically and emotionally. 

On the plus side - our Better Boy tomato plant survived the late freeze - just a few brown leaves but now new ones are coming in. We got the seeds from Burpee in the mail and  yesterday I planted the raised planter box with jalapeno pepper, carrots, radishes, chives, lettuce and Swiss chard.  Our rosemary plants are greening up again and I also have nice oregano and mint. I managed to use the trimmer around the fence in the backyard - which surprised me as I didn't know I had it in me. I can't see me doing the mowing though. We have a guy who does the front yard for a reasonable cost so we might need him to do the back for a while as well. 

My Creeping Charlies (the slips my friend sent me in the mail) are doing great. So green and lots of new leaves. They stand right up to get the sun. I need to find a nice pot of some kind for them - they are very cheery.  My orchid I received last  May now has 7 new blooms. They all  like it here on my kitchen table. 



On the sewing front not much happening yet. I took out all of my sewing stuff including fabric and laid it out on the floor. I have gotten rid of so much but I still have a stash of old fabric pieces that came from my mom's house when I cleaned it out - some were remnants of clothes that I made as a teenager. I also have some newer pieces, one where the pattern is still pinned to the fabric. I have sewing notions as well - zippers, bias tape, seam binding, pins, needles, snaps, hooks, etc etc - many of which belonged to my grandmother. I am hoping to bring new life back into my sewing. It's not happened yet. 
I did quickly put together a mask, but the elastic is too tight. I need to order a sewing table of some kind. 
Here's my the stash of old remnants. I think I am going to do a post with any pictures that I might still have with these. 




The best news is that my daughter - who lives about 4 miles away in her apartment - has gotten past some of her anxiety and 1 - came over for lunch and did her laundry last weekend and 2 - I picked up Japanese food and went over to her apartment yesterday. She is scared she is going to give us the Covid 19 virus but she works and home and is just a diligent as we are about not going inside where other people are (grocery and other stores etc). We watched a couple of good videos - one is the first of a three part documentary on the making of Final Fantasy 14 online - which she introduced me to and I am so glad. It's a great escape and I learn a lot about myself and others as well. We also like to watch street walking videos of Japan as well. 
Here's a picture of my FF14 character in her Fisher outfit. I am currently training her in a bunch of gathering and crafting jobs which is a lot of fun. I am learning how to make my own jewelry and other pieces as a goldsmith, weaver,  leatherworker etc. In addition to fisher I gather raw materials as a miner and botanist. She also has Archer and White Mage roles where I take on the evil. I"m so glad I decided to try this game. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Learning to Be Together

Sometimes when I am out driving to pick up groceries or get take out food I forget for a few seconds that we are in a pandemic.  I drive, looking around and listening to the radio which I don't do at home. On the weekends, our oldies station plays really good stuff, not just the usual oldies playlist.  They say radio is on the way out, but I am glad it's still there. I don't like commercials but I do love the disc jockeys voices, local news and traffic alerts. Trees and flowers are blooming and construction has been happening. I miss my daily drives into the university. I should just go for a short drive everyday as a mood lifter.
Mr Turnover and I are like a lot of people in that we are becoming more interested in cooking and baking, trying different takeout places and gardening. When your survival is challenged there must be some kind of food instinct that is awakened. This past week he has made waffles twice - first banana walnut and then apple pecan. They were delicious.  He used the recipe on the Bisquick box and added the extras. We put the leftovers in the freezer and I get one out mid-mornings and put it in the toaster for a snack with a little maple syrup. I also made blueberry "syrup" - something I have never tried before. It was so easy and good. Last night he grilled a chicken - also perfect. Along with young corn on the cob and fried potatoes it was so good. He inherited a lot of his mom's talent with food. 

Banana Nut Waffle tastes better than it looks
Grilled Chicken - tastes as good as it looks

Blueberry syrup /topping
                                   


Our pantry is starting to get stocked and I have started to look at the weekly sale sheets again - feeble as they are - to see what  bargain I might find to add to my stash. We are still learning how to best use the pick-up at two local grocery stores so we mostly have not paid too much attention to prices.  I am happy when Mr Turnover plays with me on this. We both work together on the online carts and trips to pick up. He is not a price watcher yet, but I am slowly mentioning prices. On someone's blog they mentioned a small generator to back up their freezer which I mentioned to him as well. Not that we have many hours without power, but it can happen anywhere anytime. 

It's been a really good week for me and Mr Turnover. I may need to write more than one post this week.  The weather has really warmed up.  His golf course has opened back up and he and his partner went and played yesterday. He is sore today of course. He learned to play golf about 20 years ago and has loved it ever since because it is a sport he can play now that he is older. His other passion is TV sports - Los Angeles teams of course. So this quarantine has hit him harder than I because I am still working from home. 

We ordered one of those raised vegetable planters on legs. I have been hoping Mr Turnover would get interested in gardening because it is something I would like to try and I feel it is a two-person job. In the past he has shied way whenever I had mentioned but out of the blue he mentioned it.   We weren't sure we could actually put it together, but after a few learning episodes, we did it. Now we are waiting for the soil to be delivered. And then we will decide on what to plant.
George staking his claim seconds after it is in the house

Still thinking this is for him.
Complete and outside!
                      
I decided to take Heidi, our elderly corgi, out for a walk around our block at 8:30 pm.  It was still 78 degrees and a light breeze - my favorite weather. But as I got down near the end of the street, some young people with big noisy dogs came up the street and I decided to cut my walk in half and cut across the street to my house. I sat on the front porch for a few minutes to catch my breath then decided to remove some loose twigs from our little tree in the front yard. Well holding on to Heidi with one hand and pulling at the twigs with the other I lost my balance and fell flat on my face on some very soft think green grass. I don't know if anyone saw me - being face down I must have looked scary. But I managed to sit up and text my husband in the house to come hold Heidi while I get myself off the ground. 

Heidi next to me at "work" - I must be eating something. 

It's been years since I've done much of anything other than work at the university (I'm an office assistant) and just the bare necessities of daily life and of course time online with social media, genealogy and games. Lately, with the quarantine, I work from home and life is much simpler. Previously I was anxious about retiring because I had no idea what I would do or how being with my husband all day every day would work. But actually it has been good being together. We work together a lot more than I though we would. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Creeping Charlie

I do not have a green thumb by any means. My great claim to fame, decades ago,  was a patch of corn I grew in a backyard garden in California and a row of sweet peas that thrived on a chain link fence in my front yard. Both back when I could dig in the ground with a spade and get down and up easily from the ground. I currently have a few herbs in pots - 2 rosemary, 2 mint and 1 oregano. I'm trying to figure out the best way to grow large tomatoes in a pot.


Clearing the area mid 1980s
My daughter and my corn late 1980s

People used to knock on my door and ask if they could pick some.
Of course I said yes because the more you pick the more they bloom.
They had a strong sweet smell. Late 1980s



I have 5 struggling houseplants -  one being an orchid that I received last May from a coworker. It has bloomed again somehow. Another coworker gave me a puurple velvet plant and two succulents. I'm trying to get back to growing houseplants. I moved it from the kitchen table  to my home work station for a bit.



Yesterday I received a very special package in the mail. A friend of mine in southern California sent me 2 "slips" from his Creeping Charlie plant. He had received the original plant over a decade ago from a dear friend who has since passed. So the fact that I have a cutting from the plant that she grew is a great comfort. I took friends for granted most of my life. Now that I have only a few, most of them coworkers, I realize my mistake.

                                                               
During the 1970s, which was a sort of heyday for houseplants, Creeping Charlie, also called Swedish Ivy, was very popular because it was easy to grow. Others I remember seeing a lot of back then were Wandering Jew, Spider plants, String of Pearls, Donkey's Tail, Pothos, Sansevaria (Mother-in-Law's Tongue), Asparagus fern and of course Boston ferns.
We used to have "plant parties" where a small local nursery or plant shop - yes there were shops (in southern California anyway) where they just sold house plants. Sometimes they were in  an alcove in someone's back yard or patio area. I still miss the early 1970s. 

On another note, somewhat related because it comes from a plant - I just put the last roll of toilet paper on the spindle from the original package we had on hand when this whole mess started in mid-March. I remember wondering if I would have to resort to other measures if we could not get toilet paper - but now of course - I have two large packages waiting in the wings. One thing about this pandemic - it's opened our eyes to what we have taken for granted.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Maintaining

At some point I will quit remembering how many weeks it's been since I last went in to the office at the university. For now, I know I've just finished Week 5. .It's difficult to remember all the changes that are happening - even on a weekly basis.
Time has healed over some of my Week 2 dread and fear. Although there is not much been much change in the Covid-19 pandemic, I have made changes in my life that allow me to mentally move my focus away from the fear of it. 
These daily comforts are:
Routine - those things you do every day to get from one hour to the next. The first hour of my day includes letting the dog out and in, feed and water the dog and cat, putting the kettle on to boil, getting the french press ready with fresh ground coffee, getting my medicine for the day, turning on the gas fireplace, lightning the incense, pouring the water into the coffee pot and then getting into my recliner with that steaming cup.

 
Protecting my mind - I try to limit my review of the news to once a day. This has made such a difference in my peace of mind. Sometimes I am tempted to look hoping to see something improving, but I remind myself how important it is to keep perspective. This is going to be a long haul, and I am already doing everything I can.   I unfollow friends on social media who persist in negative posts. Knowing all the bad that CAN happen is not helpful to me.

Distract and Diffuse - I spend my free time doing easy things I enjoy to ease my mind.   I am currently playing an online role playing game (Final Fantasy 14) that I love. We save the world from the bad guys. My husband and I watch TV together off and on. (We just finished watching Bindi and Chandler's wedding story on "Crickey It's the Irwins"). I enjoy checking in with my online family tree on Ancestry.com and seeing and "meeting" new DNA matches.
My role playing character - I love her




I use the Calm app every evening after I get in bed - the sleep stories are so soothing and help me let go and fall asleep. Very useful when I wake up and some worst case scenario pops into my thoughts. I also use the daily meditation "Daily Calm' for a 10 min refresh in he morning.


Socialize more - I read through posts by people I work with and old friends from the past. We are all in need of reassurance that we are all in this together. I give and take advice about getting through all the changes. I look for and give support even if it's just liking a post. I read blogs and comment where I feel moved. I've been impressed by the ones I've found so far. Life is still going forward and staying engaged online helps me.

Looking forward - It's both scary and encouraging to hear discussion by leaders about moving towards opening back up. I like that there is a plan forming  - just need to take it slowly. I know I am in the group that will be the last to do so. My next steps will be getting back on WW (Weight Watchers), Exercising and getting back to Housecleaning. I know how fortunate I am. I feel anxious for those brave ones who must move on, get back to work and restore institutions like schools. businesses, medical facilities, etc not knowing what lies ahead.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Four Weeks In

I'm sitting here watching The Zoo, waiting for my Meijer grocery order to be readied and I can go pick it up at 7:30pm. I had an original pickup time of 4:00pm but delays happen - and it's the day before Easter.  My husband is keen on grilled rib eye steaks for dinner - and those steaks are in that order. If they don't have them he is going to be disappointed. He doesn't give in easily. My daughter's weekly order this morning with Kroger was completely cancelled - they just didn't have the groceries or the people to handle it.

He and I just finished Week 4 of "sheltering in place". We're both in stable health with typical aches and diseases for 68-year-olds.  We have more than enough to eat and no financial pressures. My employer is generous and I work with great people. We live in a house in a quiet modest neighborhood. We have a fenced in back yard. There are no end of things to be thankful for. 


However, Thursday, while working at my computer in the back bedroom, a wave of sadness and nostalgia came over me. I gazed out the window where the little tree near the corner of our house is covered in tiny dark pink blossoms. Soft music was playing.  I've heard people call it grief, which I thought was too dramatic but now maybe.. Our culture will not be the same after this. We've moved on to a new place, just not sure what it holds for us yet. The TV commercials I'm seeing are proof.


I looked through my Google photos to find one of me during this past 4 weeks, but the only thing I could find is one I took of myself on the Zoom screen just prior to a work meeting online. I spend a lot of time  - working 40 hours a week and then I "play"online as well, and now I am starting a blog. It's part of something I don't understand at the moment.            
Note: The grocery order was ready and I had a great person, Dena, who brought it out to my car. She went back in and got two T-bones for us (no rib eyes). When she saw my Mickey Mouse wallet we chatted about our infatuation with Walt Disney World. Yes sadly WDW has been closed for weeks, which is unheard of, but she was so upbeat about our future visits and all the cool new things we'll see when we next go to experience the magic.
From my vantage point of the parking lot I only saw one person with a mask. I'm hoping to get one made one of these days.