Recently a friend texted me before a regularly scheduled Zoom get-together with our quilting group and said she just couldn’t join in because she was in a funk. It happened to be a day I wasn’t in a funk so my first inclination was to tell her to cheer up and get on the video call. That it would make her feel better. However, my better self (which pops up rarely these days) told her to go with her down day and just do whatever she needed to do to get through it. We all have them at random times. Sometimes when I’m feeling low I get silly.
During this time of the Coronavirus I find myself going from perfect calm and enjoying the isolation and few demands on my time, to a day I feel so blue I just cry, or get grumpy, or want to just nap and read, nap and read. I have found that, for me, it’s okay to go with whatever I am feeling on a particular day and lean into it. Otherwise, I make myself crazy judging why I can be such a downer when I am healthy, following the distancing rules, and have a nice stockpile of toilet paper.
This cooking thing. I hate cooking. Actually, it is more the planning I don’t like. Being responsible for meal after meal. What am I in the mood for? Besides alcohol and Mexican food. My husband can fry a hard egg, but still doesn’t know which drawer the spatula is in. And it’s not even in a drawer. It’s in a pottery jar on the kitchen counter. In plain sight. Next to his tin of Oreos. Which is next to the tin of “homemade” cookies (depends on what is available in the refrigerated dough section at Publix.)
Speaking of the kitchen. Here’s what my kitchen counter looks like now.
Not pictured are the 15 lemons I need to zest to put in bottles of 100 proof vodka to make Limoncello using my friend Cynthia’s recipe. Folks, it takes 80 days in a dark place – for the vodka brew, not me – to create this wonder. Come on June.
The other night I decided to try a Pinterest recipe for One Pot Pasta con Olio. Well, it’s NOT one pot. You need a pot to cook the spaghetti, a pan to saute the 15 different herbs, several cutting boards, a mess of olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. I have never used that ingredient before and had to send my daughter, who also has never used sun dried tomatoes, to Trader Joe’s to purchase them. She had to ask an employee where they were kept. I wasn’t even able to give her a hint about whether they came in a can, a bag, or were in the vegetable aisle. FYI, they are in the pasta aisle.
Here’s the thing about directional aisles in the grocery stores. It’s not that I don’t understand them. I know a red X means wrong way. Almost at the end of a one-way aisle I will discover that the item I needed was at the beginning of the aisle. Do I leave my cart where it is and walk backward to pick up the item? I actually did that the other day! But, here’s the genius about the one-way aisles – if you haven’t had your morning walk you can pick up quite a few Fitbit steps doing your grocery shopping if you follow the arrows. Invariably you will discover on aisle 5 that you need something else on aisle 3 (which you have already covered). To get to aisle 3 you have to return to aisle 4 and then make a sharp left onto 3. And then return to 5. It takes a little longer, but totally worth the Fitbit steps. Yesterday there was a party on my wrist (when I reach my goal and the little fireworks go off) for the first time in a month. I walked two miles outside and then went to Publix. GOAL!
Anxiety is a problem I’ve always struggled with. I can worry almost anything to the worst possible conclusion. I can only tell you that when each of our daughters took off driving a car alone for the first time I was alert for siren sounds. Now I find myself anxious about “going back to normal.” I am fearful of ever going to a movie theater again (so much good stuff on Acorn, Netflix, Prime, Apple+). I’m pretty sure we have taken our last cruise. Will we sit every other pew in church? Find a new way to pass the peace. Namaste? I like the idea of a slight bow with hands over heart. What about my carefully written end of life plan if I get this virus. No Yo Yo Ma at the side of my death bed? No one massaging my feet? Holding my hand? Thinking through the awesome eulogies they will deliver at my funer…..oops. No funeral. Some days my stomach feels like this:
Frequently I walk in Mead Botanical Garden with my friend Grace. She knows a lot about the green growing things and some of the birds. I learn a lot, but I love when we take a break from wandering and just listen…And then I ask Siri to play the cardinal song and wait for my scarlet friends to appear.
Coronavirus accomplishments – other than becoming a white-haired overweight alcoholic: making almost 200 masks to give to friends and friends of friends. My sewing table would make a good photo for a jigsaw puzzle.
John’s workshop is in much better shape. I think he cleans up after every project. A policy I have not adopted. I’m a project hopper. He came up with this clever ipad holder – because we never buy anything that can be made at home. This doubles as a weapon.
And I found this forbidden piece of equipment on the back step. No one over 70 allowed on a ladder. Since the dog didn’t drag the ladder to the back yard then I’m pretty sure I know who did. And he’s 77. Way beyond ladder climbing age.
Some people have become very productive during this time. My buddy Liz keeps faithfully blogging. Libby plays Zoom bridge. I meet virtually with my writing group on Thursday mornings. We start out with 30 minutes of chat followed by 2 hours of writing. Today our time ended with dog bed hats.
There is so much I miss. Hugging people. Going to a restaurant and being served where I sit. Unloading groceries without wiping down every Cheetos bag. Being able to sit in the Barnes & Noble café with a stack of books and magazines. My husband going out to play golf for three hours at a time. A lot.
So much I appreciate. The kindness of friends making donations to buy more mask supplies. The nearby fabric store that lets me order online and pick up the next day. The locally owned small restaurants that prepare delicious meals for me to take out (Café Linger, Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen – check them out on Facebook, Krispy Kreme.) The way I have begun engaging with the check-out people.
Appreciating young neighbors with kids offering to run errands for us – as if they didn’t have enough to do. The mail carrier who sings her way along her route. My husband vacuuming and doing dishes regularly. And bringing Vodka Tonics at 5 pm. I do clean the bathrooms, but had to buy a toilet brush for the first time in 12 years because I’m lucky enough to have a helper in Usual Times. There is even a shortage of toilet brushes which I think speaks volumes. Zooming with my kids and my extended family is a blessing. Seeing photos of my brother-in-law holding his first grandchild has brought tears. My sister Cindi would have loved being a grandmother.
To put myself in a better place I go to this chant by my friend Katrina, who does the singing. Give it a try. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyCkclDGqzM