Tuesday, September 15, 2020

KINDNESS & GROCERIES

 


Today was a day like any other.  Health concerns are overshadowing everything we do. Our problems are too numerous to mention. So I won’t. Because we are retired and usually need an afternoon nap… and with Covid19 lingering everywhere… we don’t stray too far from home. Didn’t have much of an anniversary or birthday celebrations this year.  But such is life. All of us are in the same boat. The high point of our day is usually going to get groceries. People tend to be in a hurry there. Get in, Get out. More masks sit below the nose than cover it. And that’s disconcerting to me. Worried germs are going to spread everywhere. And I might catch them. So I pray I don’t. I literally play a game of dodge ball with other shoppers, trying to socially distance when they aren’t.  When I was ready to check out earlier, the lines were long. Everybody it seemed had full carts and I didn’t. I use a scooter, so the basket has a limited capacity and it was filled to it, but not as much as the regular shopping carts. So I chose an aisle with least amount of products in carts. But unfortunately it still had a lot of people waiting. I figured it would be a while. And then kindness happened.  The Hispanic couple in front of me, smiled and told me to go ahead.  I asked if they were sure, and they said absolutely. I  thanked them profusely. It was a sweet gesture and I was touched. As I continued to wait… I noted the person now in front of me was androgynous, spiked short hair, with earrings in places I didn’t know you could put them, and tattoos, head to toe.  As they finished up with their order… they too smiled at me, and said here, let me help you…  reaching into my cart, putting my items on the conveyor belt. How nice was that? One can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Another random act of  kindness. Imagine that? I was surprised. Twice in one day. Lucky me. I paid for my groceries and headed out to the parking lot. I’m always a little leery of my surroundings, when it’s late at night, so I stayed alert to any potential danger signs. Suddenly… a young Indian man, in his early 20’s rushed towards me. At first, I was alarmed and dropped my purse between my feet on the bottom of the scooter, out of sight.  He said, “Please let me do this for you. He edged around me, to open the van door. I was still a little shaken and slightly suspicious, but he seemed innocent enough. And on the up and up. So, I unlocked it… and he proceeded to gently put all my packages on the floorboard behind the drivers seat. He shut that door and held open the front one for me to get in. I was shocked. A man hasn’t held a door open for me, in many years. He told me to enjoy the rest of my evening and said he would take the scooter back inside the store. It was beginning to drizzle and I thanked him, from the bottom of my heart. Another act of kindness. Wow. Three in one day, less than an hour or so apart. When you wake up each day, you never know what’s to come. You see all the bad stuff on the news and are dismayed. You think to yourself how can there be such hatred and lack of empathy when we are all in this world together?  Then something like this happens.  KINDNESS. Random Kindness. It restores your faith in humanity and gives you hope. In this case, it made my day. Pass it on.  It could be the sunshine  somebody  else needs.



Monday, September 7, 2020

A Hodgepodge of Thoughts and Decorations


Been having a general feeling of malaise. Dealing with so many health issues between my hubby and I, and rest of family, that frankly it’s too depressing to write about. So I  won’t. Instead I will show you pictures of my mishmash decorating style for the autumn, Halloween and Christmas holidays. Doing the whole shebang, all at once. 


First off, remember the tree that’s lights stopped lighting last year?  Well it got replaced with a new Christmas Tree in April. And four months in, it’s lights stopped working too. So it was returned as defective. Still waiting for my credit card to be reimbursed $180, including shipping.  It was a real pain in the tushy taking it to the post office. Heavy as hell. Meanwhile, I’m on the lookout for another tree. 5ft prelit multi, flocked, pencil shaped. So far… the search is not going well. They are impossible to find. So fingers crossed, one turns up between now and November, so I can put it up in time for Christmas, providing it doesn’t cost a fortune.


Throughout the house I have scattered an assortment of holiday things. You probably think it looks a bit tacky. But I don’t care. It brings me joy.
And joy is what I need… this year, as it winds down
hopefully, into oblivion.


On my mantel… I have my Limoge trinkets and pretty lady figurines, alongside Dollar Store ghosts and pumpkins. Also there, is a Goodwill autumn garland I found for $1.99.
 I sent back the one I planned on using,
from QVC for 36 bucks.
 My thrifting roots always pay off in the end.


 Across the room… a skeleton, jack-o-lantern, deer, snowman and Santa… line my sideboard full of coffee cups.


 Mrs. Santa, one of my many Annalee dolls... sits on a small curio cabinet by the front door.


 And my favorite witch is standing with a sweet jack-o-lantern on the tall CD stand. I wish she could cast a spell on all this upheaval in the world and bring good health and harmony. Wishful thinking, I know.


 The angel fountain is adorned with another faux garland from Goodwill and a pumpkin from there too… with Santa and his plaid pup... standing nearby, ready to spring into action Christmas Eve. (By then, all the autumn and Halloween stuff will be hidden away again.)


 The bedroom is a bit other worldly. I have a galaxy, not ours… on my ceiling. Planets and stars everywhere. With a tree and odd mix of knick-knacks adorning my dresser top.
 Don’t try to make sense of it, you can’t.
Just sentimental things to me, throughout the years.


 Over in my kitchen… there is a tree and wooden pickup truck… on top of the microwave,
to keep the multi holiday theme going.
 
“Oh my Gourd.” 

Not going to show you the bathroom, cause really who needs to see that? Too many pill bottles, ointments, toiletries, etc. At some point, when it’s clean...
I’ll sneak a Santa in there, along with the
wooden snowman my dad made me, decades ago.

 And last but not least…The family room has
 an eclectic mix of everything...
 to finish the photo parade, of my holiday vignettes.


 It’s my favorite room. Feels more comfy, cozy than anywhere else in house. I like to sit there at night and meditate.
 The tree in there has been in place, as is… 
for the past 15 years or more.
And it still lights. 



 And the other displays around the room... 
 with my Fenton trees, Anywhere Hobo, 
 fireplace ladies, cat, reindeer, piano player,
beach Santa and silver tree...  
 stay up year round too. I confess to taking out
the jack-o-lanterns after Halloween.
And then the snowmen, penquin and other Santas
 after the 12th day of Christmas.





 Still digging through boxes to find my ceramic turkeys for Thanksgiving. And the electric Chanukah Menorah.
They are nowhere to be found.
Maybe that’s a sign?

 This year has been so CRAY CRAY... that I just threw all the holidays together and decorated accordingly, super early. I felt a sense of urgency to do this... cause you never know what tomorrow might bring? So come what may... I have all my bases covered. Just trying to spark a little enthusiasm for our Twilight Zone existence, that keeps lingering on, in homes across the country. I keep thinking, “Next year all our troubles will be out of sight. Til then, we’ll have to muddle through, somehow.” Playing that song alot, these days. Hope you’re getting by and enjoyed this little holiday blog distraction. 
Stay safe. Take care. 


And remember to wear your mask. 
and COVER YOUR NOSE, please.



Monday, August 17, 2020

Knee Surgery, Covid, and Healing


It’s been a crazy year, hasn't it? Recently, my mom went in to have her knee replaced. She lives halfway across the country, so I couldn’t be with her. With Covid19 running rampant and my immune system out of whack, plus a zillion other health problems... I’m at a greater risk of contracting it, than most. And, so is my hubby who has COPD. He is 81. And is not doing, so great. Therefore, traveling too far from home... is a big NO NO. In addition, we both have mobility issues too, so we’d be of little help trying to take care of her. So… my brother and niece moved in temporarily, and took her to the hospital. And they have been nursing her back to health... there on the home front, since her release. Fixing her meals, getting her in and out of bed, etc. The doctor only let my mom use Tylenol, at first. Even though, she was in horrendous pain when the nerve block wore off. Since then, he has prescribed 5mg of Oxycontin a day, for a few weeks. My mom is in a much better place physically and mentally since he did that. She said it takes the edge off the pain and helps her sleep. But she isn’t going to let herself get too dependent on it. Physical therapy sessions have been grueling. Then when she gets back home, she has more exercises that the Physical Therapist has asked her to do. It has been difficult, to say the least. But, she’s hanging in there, doing the best she can. She is 86, so she’s not a spring chicken. She's a tough lady, but this has lowered her defenses. I told her to take things one day at a time, one step at a time. My brother and niece leave in a week. They have jobs and school to get back too. So I hope my mother is strong enough by then, to be on her own. I suggested a visiting nurse but was met with resistance and a bit of anger. So I’m not making anymore suggestions and we’ll see how it goes. If she needs help, I know she'll ask for it. In the meantime, I’m sending healing thoughts and talking to her every day. It’s all I can do from a distance. I love her so much. I wish this pandemic would loosen it’s grip and just let us be. So... we can come and go as we please. I never thought at my age, that my health would be an issue… now everybody’s is. 



Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cleaning Out My Garage


I had an eBay store. And over the years, I collected quite an inventory of stuff to sell in it. Got rid of one storage area filled with things, a while back. Think I wrote about it. Trouble is there is still another one, that needs cleaning out. And then there is the garage. It was piled high with flip top boxes and more items than you’ve ever seen. Every time I try to tackle the mess… something happens to stop me, dead in my tracks and I never make any progress. After 25 years of this… I finally said, enough is enough. And I went full throttle working on it, 3 days in row… up until 5:30 am each morning, before stumbling into bed til noon, and starting all over again. It was a big chore to be sure. My hubby wanted to keep the plastic boxes, which had me scrambling for cardboard ones. Some looked pretty ratty but I transferred the stuff from one to the other. I could have had everything auctioned off and made quite a pretty penny. But with everybody hurting right now. I know they are looking for bargains. I thrifted for years out of necessity, before I did it for fun... and always got some great deals at Goodwill. So I will donate the inventory there, and let them sort it all out. Before we took the first couple loads over to them, there was not a square inch of floor showing in our living room because of everything I’m giving away. Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving. Figurines, plates, decorations, trees. Cloth table cloths and napkins, new in package shower curtains. Wooden crafts, wreathes and clothes, lots of clothes. Books, designer purses, shoes, etc. It’s been like a weight off my shoulders getting done what I did, out there. One half of the garage is finished, still have the rest to do. But for now, I’m taking a break. My back and knees hurt, I can hardly walk and same is true for my hubby. My goal is to have it all done before Christmas, so I can pull my car in garage for first time in 34 years. Fingers crossed. Your encouragement will help egg me on. 


PS)  I'm having a fit with this new format. My photographs are offset and enlarged too. Can not get them centered. My text is underlined and won't go back to normal. I hate this. And all my links to your pages need to be redone because when I click on them, I'm redirected. I reverted back to The Legacy version and I'm still having issues

Friday, July 31, 2020

Bubbles and Eureka Springs


Years ago, the hubby and I took a trip to Arkansas. We went to Eureka Springs in the Ozark Mountains. It was a quaint town with lots of original Victorian buildings. The town is built around the city’s natural springs and was incorporated in 1880. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Native Americans and European folks, who settled there once upon a time, claimed the springs had great HEALING powers. When word of the miraculous individual healings that had occurred, spread… thousands of people flocked to the area to see for themselves. From then on, the community marketed the springs as therapeutic. As a result, Eureka Springs became a vacation destination and retirement Mecca for more than a century. One of the reasons we stopped there was because of their reputation for healing. But also… as lovers of art in many forms, my hubby and I had heard through the grapevine… that there were numerous eclectic shops in the old buildings, throughout the city. That intrigued us. So we parked our car and set out to explore. It was challenging walking up and down the streets there, though… because of the steep winding pathways and mountainous terrain. But headed downhill on our jaunt, we saw bubbles wafting through the air. The further down the hill we went, the more and more bubbles filled the sky. We got immersed in them. They were iridescent and the effect was magical and mezmerizing. We found our Zen. When we finally reached the bottom of the path… sitting outside the shop, was a very interesting character, dressed in period costume…. manning the bubble machine that produced the bubbles… that had peaked our curiousity. We had a delightful time discovering this hidden gem and the handcrafted items inside. We were there for at least an hour or longer, looking at all the treasures. (Try as I might, I can't remember this shop's name) Afterwards, we went on to other sights, but the little whimsical shop, with the bubbles... from that moment on, held a special place in my heart. It became one of the most memorable excursions in my life, and taught me how to heal myself, without the springs themselves. Whenever the stress of the day or a situation seems impossible in my world, silly as it sounds, I blow bubbles. It calms my nerves and invigorates my senses. It takes me to a place of serenity and peace. When I attended a recent seminar on Mental Health one of the psychologists there, suggested blowing bubbles, to relieve tension for children and adults. So I felt vindicated. It was not such a farfetched idea after all. During these difficult times,with unemployment worse than the Great Depression, the pandemic killing and making our population sick, racial divide and unrest... and partisan politics, dominating our news cycles…. many of us are overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps buying a bottle of bubbles, or bubble machine, seems trite or frivolous in the midst of these crisis’s. But... rather than day drinking, or making numerous trips to the fridge, why not give it a try. See if it lifts your spirits or your children’s... for just a moment or so. Maybe you too, can find your ZEN amid all the turmoil. And let that carefree attitude, take you through the day.


Monday, July 13, 2020

OUI YOGURT AND GLASS BOTTLES



I eat OUI French style yogurt. It’s a little more pricey than most yogurts on the market. But I like the creamy taste and delicious flavors. I have grown accustomed to having one in the morning, and another at night, before I go to bed. The problem is, the yogurt comes in glass bottles and isn’t easily disposable. However, it is the perfect size to use for dessert cups. Their labels come off effortlessly, so I’ve been accumulating the cups in my cupboard for quite a while. But since I already have dessert cups, these are beginning to take up space. My husband has started to complain about them being in the way. We have no means to recycle here because they closed down the facilities that used to do it. It was costing them too much money. So I was left in a quandary. Nobody I knew, wanted the glass cups, and I couldn’t bear to just throw them out.They are substantial enough, for someone,somewhere to put them to good use. With the pandemic raging, Goodwill and all the other local thrift stores have been closed for months, and weren’t accepting donations. So that wasn’t an option until recently. Goodwill is now back in business taking the things you have to give. So I boxed up the OUI cups and packed them in shoe boxes. Then stacked ‘em up... in the back of the van, along with 4 bags of clothing that no longer fits, and deposited everything with a volunteer at their drive-thru. It made me feel good knowing... someone will discover these cute little cups on a shelf, in the weeks ahead... excited by the notion, they found a hidden treasure. And it’s all because of the pleasure I have... eating this delectable yogurt, and a company giving back to it's customers, with this special gift of glass dessert cups. It's a win-win for everybody. What brand of yogurt do you like? 



Monday, July 6, 2020

CHILDHOOD REKINDLED


I miss my carefree summer days as a child. My family lived in a house, on a city sized lot, right on the outskirts of Baltimore. We had a white picket fence and all the trimmings. On one side of the street were Catholics. On the other side, Jews. All my friends were Jewish, save for a few Catholic ones who went to our church. I learned to eat bagel, lox, gefilte fish and matzoh. We played in the streets, on the porches and in the yards with careless abandon. Life was good. There was an archway of concord grapes with a gate leading into the yard on the right side of our property. And along the back edge of the fence, in the far reaches of the yard, were blackberry bushes. My mom used to bottle them and make jam. I delighted in picking the fresh fruit off the vine. The taste of those succulent fruits melted in my mouth. I lived there on that street from the time I was 4 years old, until I was in the 7th grade. Then, my family moved out to the suburbs. And I was devastated leaving all my friends behind. Many of the Catholic families participated in this mass exodus. But most of the Jews stayed put. My very best friend Barbara was one of them. We stayed in touch for a year or two after the move, then we lost track of each other. Years later, after we had grown up and left our collective homes, my mother and hers, would occasionally bump into each other in stores, in the old neighborhood. And they would talk about us. Our lives had taken completely different paths and with nothing in common, no new addresses were exchanged for us to communicate. The last time my mother saw hers, I found out shortly later, that Barbara was living in New York City. After 9/11 I tried to find her. Not knowing whether she had married or not I searched using her maiden name. There was a picture in a paper that I thought might be her, but I had no way of knowing for sure. And when I tried to pursue it, I reached a dead end. I was frustrated and disappointed. But it was, what it was and there was nothing else I could do. Time marched on. But it didn’t stop me from wondering about Barbara and her life. Toward the end of last year, my mom got a letter in the mail. It was Barbara looking for me. My dad had passed earlier in the year and she saw the obit. She sent my mom her address and phone number and my mom forwarded them to me. I was in shock to hear from somebody from my childhood. It was so long ago. I wrote Barbara a quick synopsis of my life and mailed it. I warned her I’m pretty boring. Never venturing far from home. I’m just an armchair traveler and a bit of an entrepreneur. After getting it, she texted me. And just like that our friendship was rekindled. It’s as though we never parted. She travels the world. And I’ve been mesmerized by her stories of far off places. She doesn’t do any social media at all. But she’s lead me to old school mates that do. I’ve looked up many of them on Facebook. But so far I haven’t friended any of them. It was ions ago, and most of them probably don’t remember our escapades as youngsters. I am so glad to read about them, though. Sometimes the most unexpected things turn into blessings in disguise. I’m so happy Barbara and I found each other again. It has enriched both of our lives so much, in this time of crisis in the country. And I am so grateful.