Sunday, August 30, 2020

Summer's End

Where has the summer gone?   I ask that every year, I suppose, but this time I really mean it.   I spent so much time indoors, left the house so rarely, and had nary a barbecue or swimming day or even a day trip.   The pandemic ruined everyone's plans.  But we are healthy so far, so really there are no complaints.   It is just strange.

Except for missing my family, a lot, this has not been a bad year for me.  I am a homebody at heart, and quite content to putter around with little sewing and cooking projects.  I continue to bake our bread and last week decided that I had put aside enough stale bits and pieces to make a small bread pudding, which was a treat with the traditional decadent bourbon sauce.  I roasted some tomatoes with a red pepper and made a delicious tomato soup, which I hope to do again before summer is over.  And I baked -- but did not get to taste -- a Boston cream pie (which is, of course, a cake) to drop off for my daughter-in-law's birthday.  It is her favorite and definitely one of mine. (The wonky candles in the cake are placed to hold a protective wrap while I drive 25 miles to take it to her!)

I sewed a tote bag -- I might even keep this one -- and am nearly done with another table runner, and now I am slowly working on the squares for a quilt.  I certainly don't push myself, so I have little to show for a summer's worth of free time.

My grands were scheduled to go back to school "hybrid" style, partly in person and partly on line.  But the local infection numbers went up again and so they are both starting school entirely in a virtual classroom until and unless things settle down.  The few schools where they did go ahead and open classrooms have had numerous infections.  I have nieces and a nephew going to a small religious school with in-person classes, I will be curious to see how that works out.  Of course, they and their family have been out and about all summer; in fact, I secretly suspect (although we will never know) that they are the ones who infected my sister.

(Yes, I know that my text is suddenly and inexplicably centered on the page.  The new Blogger is annoyed with  me for some reason, but I am going to take the high ground and pretend I haven't noticed, hoping it will tire of the torture.)

My sister continues to improve, but still has lingering effects from her Covid-19 diagnosis.  The virus  has lodged in her lungs and brain and, besides the "fog" that is apparently typical of the virus, she has had a continuous migraine headache for the past twenty days.  As of yesterday they may finally have found a combination of medications that give her some relief; it is too soon to tell.  They do not know if or when the various complications will resolve themselves, but they are hopeful that it will eventually  happen.  She is still in isolation in a rehab facility and, now that she can safely walk by herself from chair to bathroom and back again, they plan to release her as soon as she has a negative Covid test.  She is not well enough to cook or do even light housekeeping, and she and her son have still not discussed a discharge plan.  I have suggested that she consider coming (2 hours) north and staying with us since her grandchildren, son and daughter in law are out in the world and, judging from the Facebook photos of them with friends, often not masked.  Her family has remained well so their lifestyle seems to be working for them, but she is at higher risk because of underlying conditions, and the doctors cannot guarantee that she will have any lasting immunity.  As she reminds me in our daily texts, I hate not being in charge but her son is going to be the decision maker in this.

We had expected to have a new roof put on earlier this summer but contractors have been busy doing emergency work as a result of the flood this spring.  Things are settling down and our roofers tell us they hope to start on our job this week, which I suspect will be an adventure.  The job involves replacing our five skylights, one of which is directly over our bed.  We will cover everything with tarps and move to the guest room but I am curious to see what our bedroom will look like, open to the heavens.  I just hope that a lot of dead bugs and crud don't fall and fly in before the job is done.  I am not a fan of dead bugs and crud.

After the roof is done, Jack and I would like to get away for a few days, just for a change of scenery, so I have been exploring the internet for options.  I discovered that a hotel we like near Lake Michigan has a kitchenette-room  and we are toying with the idea of going there mid-week sometime soon.  We can take our own food and keep to ourselves, going to the lake if it is not too crowded.  It's a big lake with a lot of shore, so we are pretty confident that we can find a place with the requisite distance.  We are both too immersed in the  political news to relax these days, and a few days away from internet sounds like a good plan to me.  Fingers crossed that all goes well enough for us to take a little time being even lazier than usual.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Moving In and Moving Forward

Oh my gosh, after a year of living here,  my husband finally moved in!  Or at least, he finally moved his furniture in.   Since we had agreed that we would live with our existing furniture for at least six months before we decided what to replace or discard or do without, we are a little behind schedule, I think.  Jack teased me all week that now that he has "moved in,"   it is official now and too late for me to back out of the marriage.  I think we're both okay with that.  I worked hard this week to move furniture around and create a little order.  We have dressers -- finally -- for our clothing, and I was able to set up furniture in our 'family room.'  There is still lots to do, but we feel like we are finally making a little progress.  Best of all, I was able to do the work without re-injuring myself!

I got a little bit of sewing done this week.   My little bit included sewing through the tip of my finger -- again.   This time I missed the nail, though, so it was a more minor injury, but still makes me squeamish to even think about.   There is no excuse for it, especially since my "purple thang" sits right next to the machine for those times that I just have to smooth the fabric as I sew.  I know I will remember not to put my fingers near the needle as long as it remains sore, I just need to keep remembering after it is all healed!

We discovered a local grass-fed beef farm recently and since our freezer finally arrived after a year of trying to buy one, we bought a 1/4 side of beef this week.  Over 85 pounds of dressed meat; we don't expect to starve this winter, and I liked buying from a family farm.  Jack was so excited about it that he ordered a gas grill, which will be delivered mid week.  We are not accustomed to grilling so we started with a basic model, and will upgrade if we find we are using it a lot.  I also found a local farm that raises free range chickens and turkeys, and we will be trying those out soon.  I missed feeling comfortable enough to go to the farmers' market much this summer, so I need to watch for a couple of roadside stands, too, although that is difficult when I so rarely leave the house. 

My sister Marilyn is slowly recovering from the corona virus; she was moved to a rehabilitation facility this week. She will remain there in isolation until she is strong enough to return home and until after she has two negative Covid tests.  She was able to walk yesterday for the first time, a short walk in an adjacent hallway.  She has lost over 20 pounds in the past two weeks.  On the same day that Marilyn went into the ER, another close relative (not my daughter this time) overdosed on heroin.  They needed to use 3 narcan injections and CPR to resuscitate him.  After staying briefly in the hospital, he is currently in a different kind of rehabilitation facility.

The acorns are falling steadily and we are seeing deer more often out back.  Today it is sunny and warm, a beautiful day.  But winter is coming.

Thursday, August 6, 2020


Jack and I are still healthy, we are still (too) well fed, and we are still comfortable, while it seems like the world around us is continuing to suffer and fall apart.  I have had a few forced contacts with the outside world, with the doctor's office that is treating my shoulder and foot, with my physical therapist, and now with the dentist who will need a second visit to repair a tooth that broke for no apparent reason.   People tease that things come in groups of three and I hope this is the end of it for awhile, because sometimes I feel like I might be falling apart.

I find myself blaming the pandemic for everything.   I would not have broken my foot if the regular lawn guys had been able to do the spring cleanup (the pandemic's fault);  I've probably been grinding my teeth without realizing it (pandemic), leading to the broken tooth.   My shoulder recovery was delayed when the physical therapy places had to close (pandemic).  I miss my family (the pandemic's fault), I have not been to the farmers' market even once this summer so we haven't been able to enjoy the usual local produce (pandemic), and I am eating way too much sugar (hmmm).   

And life in general is making me feel old.  We've been notified of two more deaths in our 'circle' of acquaintances this year since Dr. Cranky died; an old friend on Sanibel Island died of the virus, and our dear friend Pat died this week of ALS.   Although only the one  died of Covid-19, I blame the pandemic for all of it.   We are both taking Pat's death especially hard, because we could only stay in touch with notes and texts and little care packages most of this year instead of the visits we all wanted.  We have been so isolated from our friends.  And of course we can't even gather to celebrate the lives lost.  

We are all being robbed of so much, and it would be nice if we didn't feel like the government's mismanagement was making it all so much worse.   That distrust and difference of belief leads to further isolation and distance from people we once thought of as friends.  My grandkids are missing out on so many educational opportunities that they had hoped for; the orchestra cannot function, the math and robotics programs have been stalled, and music camps were closed.  No one knows whether school will really start at the end of the month, and few of us are convinced that it should.  I am missing my grands.  I miss their parents, too.  And I miss seeing my brother and sister.  My sister took a Covid test yesterday after weeks of headaches, and I have no way of knowing how much to worry because I can't see her, so I am worrying a lot.  Jack and I are fine and our kids and grandkids are fine; but although not a thing is presently really wrong, life has lost a lot of its savor, it has lost its hopefulness, at least for the moment.

So.  Shake it off.  The squirrels and chipmunks in our  yard are flourishing.  Our trail cam tells us that the raccoon family is still traveling together and visiting at night.  A doe ran through the yard one early morning this week and the acorns are just beginning to fall.  Nothing stays the same, and neither will my mood or the state of the country and world.

The weather here has been beautiful the last couple of days, temperatures in the low 70's with sunshine.   This week's big bouquet of fresh flowers from my husband is beautiful, and I made ice cream last night.   My life is good and I am spoiled; I resent having it changed by a virus, the selfish behavior of others, and stupid politicians.    I cannot even imagine the feelings of those who have lost family and jobs and homes.   I have reached the point where masked faces look beautiful to me, and the uncovered ones in public appear obscene.  But life goes on.  I saw a katydid in the yard today and it made me smile, I can't remember when the last time was that I noticed one.   I need to remember that all this slowing down has its upside, too, at least for the fortunate ones like me.