Tuesday, March 31, 2020

covered in white...

in which our plucky heroine enjoys some favorite tunes...


Richard Thompson - White Room - (originally performed by Cream)


Pink - White Rabbit - (originally performed by Jefferson Airplane)

These are only some of the songs I grew up with, many of which carry layers of evocative memory.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation:

Euphorbia characias wulfenii... a spectacular plant with tall long-lasting clusters of chartreuse flowers. It self seeds freely, but is also easy to remove when not wanted, as the seedlings are quite distinctive. Definitely not edible, as the milky sap can be slightly toxic/reactive if it gets on your skin. Nonetheless, I always enjoy seeing it in bloom; I am a great fan of plants I do not need to coddle, but which add a great deal of character to my yard.
※※※

In the interest of using some of my stored preserves, I am changing up which one I use in my daily yoghurt mixture*, as each little 4 oz jar gets emptied. So far the newest one, saffron pomelo, is a winner, although the lemon/fig/port I just finished was quite tasty too! These are not the flavors one would find at the grocery store...
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 printer/ironing cart peas planted
x
7 banana breads periodontal surgery
x
8 seven masks x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Entirely unexpectedly, the phone rang with a call from my friend N, who in the midst of all the medical madness, wanted to let me know that a group of folks she worked with had come to the aid of a mushroom farmer who had no way to sell his current crop. N is sending me a 5# box of oyster mushrooms, via a fellow surgeon who lives near me!

* my daily yoghurt mixture is what I began eating for breakfast post-periodontal-surgery, when my usual breakfast (a tablespoonful of raw rolled oats soaked overnight, then mixed with some chopped nuts, chopped fresh fruit, a teaspoon of flaxseed meal, and either yoghurt or milk) was no longer an option, as it requires chewing. Instead, a scoop of whey protein powder is mixed with greek yoghurt, the same teaspoon of flaxseed meal, and a teaspoon of homemade jam, preserves, or syrup. Add a little water if necessary to get a smooth spoonable consistency. For the weeks I couldn't eat regular food, it made a nutritious and palatable meal.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Teatime treats

in which our plucky heroine joins the pandemic Baking Brigade...

So, just after I went into seclusion, I was gifted with a bunch of bananas from dear Gersvinda, it seemed the best use would be turning some into banana bread. I've not baked it in years, but still have the recipe from my childhood, an odd one that uses both baking powder and baking soda, with the addition of a teaspoon of vinegar to help activate the baking soda.
These are mini loaves, the recipe calls for a 9 x 5 pan, but since I rarely bake tea breads, I used the smaller pans and divided the dough/batter; it was just the right amount, and the loaves rose high, but not too much. Might have to make this one again some time. The remaining bananas went into the freezer for future use. The banana nut bread looks just as I remember, and I couldn't resist slicing into it once it had cooled enough. Shortly after the photo, the little slice became an evening snack, yum!
The two mini loaves will be sliced, once they are entirely cool, and then wrapped, and frozen. That way I can remove a slice or two, to have with afternoon tea. The bread turned out very mild and delicious, with a subtle banana flavor, and I can see why I liked it when I was a Very Picky Child. I think we used walnuts way back then, but I like pecans better, so that is what I used.
※※※

a friend of mine posted this on her FB page, and I thought it important enough to share, as it contained information I have not seen being shared elsewhere:
My uncle is an infectious disease doctor. He has a career of working in epidemics and pandemics, and was heavily involved in the Ebola crisis and went to Africa multiple times to do this work. He sent our family this advice, and I have permission to share it with you:

“I want to urge you to make and use masks when out of the house. Despite the current US Govt position, the evidence for their effectiveness is strong.

I think the govt. policy mistake (discouraging use of masks by the general population) was caused by not considering that almost all the virus in the air is in droplets (not bare 100 nanometer size virus), and even the most rudimentary home-made mask will be very good at blocking droplets. No need for masks that block virus-size particles. Talk about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good!

So no need to buy or hoard masks, just make a few from cotton, and reuse them for the duration. You can decontaminate it after use if you wish by laundering it, spraying with alcohol, or baking in the oven at 150 F for half an hour. Of course spread by direct contact with objects is also an important risk and proper precautions there are needed, but you screen all your windows when you want to keep mosquitos out, not just one side of the house.

I hear that soon a new official US directive will come out soon recommending the public wear masks. Hopefully it will be permissive regarding the nature of the masks. Too bad we didn’t do this from the beginning.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation:

Some of the sidewalk chalk art on my street from earlier this week...
※※※

I'm making lists of both the things I forgot to make sure were on hand, and of how much of things like foodstuff I am using up in a week, so as to have a better idea of what to restock for earthquake prep
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 printer/ironing cart peas planted
x
7 banana breads periodontal surgery
x
8 seven masks x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I am safe and healthy. Right now, that is a lot...

Also, the banana bread recipe:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup dry milk + 1/3 cup water
(or 1/3 cup wet milk)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1 egg
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts

9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan, lightly greased
bake at 350F for 50 to 60 minutes or until done
Preheat your oven.
Sift all the dry ingredients together (not nuts, though).
Mix all the moist ingredients together in a good size bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the moist all at once, and mix
Quickly mix in the nuts (once wet and dry are mixed, the sooner you get the batter into the pan into the oven, the lighter your bread will be.)
Fill the pan(s) and bake.
Begin testing as for cake at about 50 minutes.

Let cool before slicing, very important.

Notes: I used two small mini loaf pans instead of the large one, which worked well.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

a helpful hack and assorted other mumbles

in which our plucky heroine manages to finally accomplish a thing...

Quite a few months ago, I saw a blog post about turning an Ikea Raskog cart and their tabletop ironing board into a clever mobile ironing station. Seemed like a good idea to me at the time, since I already had the cart, (used as a nightstand in the small bedroom) and it would still be useable in that mode with an ironing board topper. A weekend trip to Ikea and the ironing board was in hand. I did try it out in position atop a cart before purchase, to make sure that I liked the height, which is actually better for our short plucky heroine than my full size ironing board). But until this week, the various parts languished here, awaiting some effort on my part to turn them into a Useful Addition to the Homeplace:

It occurred to me last week that this idea would also make a dandy printer cart. In the past I didn't use the computer printer much, it being eversomuch more spendy than xerox... but since running out to the local copy store is now a non-starter, and there will be occasional things I need to print out (like those tax forms which are delayed but still due eventually) So, I gradually sussed out how best to make this happen...

I didn't have any of the suggested 2x dimensional lumber to cut for use to support the tabletop ironing board when attaching it to the cart, so instead I cut smaller pieces of wood and glued them together in layers to create two supports the right size. This worked well, the smaller lumber being easier to cut with a hand saw. I do own a circular saw, but have never used it, and these are not the best of times to try using an unfamiliar power tool. Two glue laminated chunks were fitted into the uppermost basket of the cart, and attached with screws and washers through the metal mesh bottom.

.
Wanted to make certain of a solid connection between the cart, the internal supports, and the tabletop ironing board (not shown here) which also has a mesh internal structure. Fortunately, I have a robust collection of random hardware, and was able to find some suitable washers. Very glad that my ongoing declutter did not extend to my boxes and jars of hardware bits! I'm sure that there are more elegant ways to do such things, but IMHO, especially in these times, done is better than perfect!

a current view of the corner of the living room, now rededicated as the "Acorn Cottage Pandemic Command Bunker Headquarters" ... laptop, phone, chargers, and the new printer cart. Rest of dining table is taken up with the slanted drawing board. This is okay, because my reaction to stress is to not want to eat. I've a view out across the front yard, where I can see the pink violets just starting to blossom, and the yellow forsythia in the parking strip, and far above the houses across the street, there is one tiny niche* where I can see the western sky...
※※※

Day 16 of my isolation. I have been trying to be less obsessive about checking in online about the pandemic situation. I am going to move my big calendar to a more visible spot, to help me notice what day it is. This week I have managed to do at least one Useful Thing each day, or a part of a Useful thing. Nowhere near my usual productive self, but better than the first week of isolation.

I have been trying to get out and walk every day that it isn't bitterly cold and raw with rain. Walking around the neighborhood without a destination is a little boring, which I am attempting to combat by seeking out interesting things to photograph. While most pedestrians seem like they are trying to keep their distance, I am getting a bit angry at the joggers/runners, who invariably ignore distance and seem to think that because they are moving fast, that it doesn't matter if they zoom past Right Next To You. I can avoid the ones I can see in front of me, but the ones that sneak up behind without even a word of warning!!

I am terribly worried about my Aged Parents in this pandemic. My siblings and I tried everything to get my father to stay home and shop online, or some other grocery option, but without success, and he went out to the grocery store and the drug store yesterday. Now I am terrified that he may have been exposed to COVID, despite what precautions are being taken by the stores. Nothing I can do about it, which leaves me feeling terribly helpless. Today I found out that my Aged Aunt has also been out grocery shopping several times, as well as to the hardware store for light bulbs, etc...

This afternoon I was sitting at my dining table with the laptop, looking out the window at the dark clouds to the west, and the forsythia dashing about in the wind. I had the computer turned to FB, where Richard Thompson, in my opinion a World Treasure of a musician, was live-broadcasting a concert from the couch in his home, via his FB channel. I had always wanted to see him in concert, but never imagined it would be in a situation like this. There were over 12K people watching from all over the world. When the concert began I started crying. The generosity of artists in this crisis has me in awe.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation:
I thought this little mushroom was fascinating, less than 1" tall, growing inside my indoor worm bin, where worms eat my produce scraps and live thier lives amidst shreds of damp newspaper, turning the bedding and food scraps into fertiliser for my other plants.
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 printer/ironing cart peas planted
x
7 x periodontal surgery
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I have a goodly assortment of tools, and random supplies, and hardware, and didn't declutter everything from the house, and I have the example of my parents, who made things for the household, in various ways all while I was growing up.

* I miss having a vista with all my heart. Only one time in my life did I have that great blessing in my life, the years when I lived at Fjord's End, at the end of the Delphi Valley, and my daily view was all down the valley across the cow pastures to the hills beyond. It was a gift I never knew how important it was to me until I moved there, never having had it before in all the decades of my life, and never will again...

Friday, March 27, 2020

chitty-chitty-snow-peas

in which our plucky heroine impersonates a gardener...


So three days ago I started "chitting" snow peas, which as far as I can tell is sort of like making sprouts, but you plant them once the root has barely begun to grow, before it is longer than the seed itself, as a way to give the growing a boost. (note: I am not much of a gardener, but I know how to use Google).

The seeds are soaked in the water only for the first 6 to eight hours, according to my instructions, then they get treated like sprouts, ie, drained, rinsed twice a day and drained each time, until the roots sprout... I used to grow sprouts pretty successfully back in my hippie days
three days after their initial soaking, the now sprouting pea seeds are ready to be planted...

I have three medium size pots that I am planting, they are supposedly a super early snow pea that reaches maturity in 30 days. All I need to do now is cover the seeds with a layer of soil, and cover the pots with bird netting to foil the dastardly squirrels.
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 x peas planted
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I managed to purchase snow pea seeds earlier this year, pre-pamndemic, in the simple hope of having some of a favorite vegetable. Now I'm doubly grateful, since with only a cabbage in the fridge (thank you Gersvinda) and a few packages of frozen spinach, am running low on green veg, and am looking forward with hope to the pea seeds and shoots this spring


Thursday, March 26, 2020

a picture is worth a thousand words...

In which our plucky heroine returns to the computer keyboard...

I decided it was time for a virtual consultation with my dentist, and thought that it would be useful to send him a picture as well. Since the clinic is closed for the foreseeable future, I sent him a text message instead...

Prior to that, it seemed sensible to me to include a picture of the part of my gum that can be accessed without assistants... Turns out it is devilishly difficult to take a photo of the inside of your own mouth! Imagine our plucky heroine standing in front of a mirror, holding a pocket flashlight in one hand, and a phone camera in the other, while simultaneously trying to hold my mouth open with the hand holding the flashlight, point the flashlight at the relevant area, encourage the phone to actually focus on the surgical site, and poke the take a photo button...

... after a number of back and forth messages, so far as can be determined all is reasonably well with my surgical site. I am now allowed to eat food that is somewhat more normal as long as it is not crunchy, sharp, or excessively hard. I am quite tired of a diet that consists entirely of yoghurt, broth, rice noodles, scrambled eggs, and mooshy tuna salad sans veg.
※※※

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has it's beaches, it's homeland and thoughts of it's own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
But the heart has it's seasons, it's evenings and songs of it's own"

from Eyes of the World, J. Garcia / Robert C. Hunter

※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 x peas planted
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


Today's gratitude - I am getting a tiny bit better each day at coping, my body is doing it's best to heal from the periodontal surgery, and this week I have been managing to get at least one thing done each day beyond basic maintenance of self and house.


Monday, March 23, 2020

telling tales...

in which our plucky heroine tells herself a new story...

this was actually helpful for me as a way to reframe our current situation to better cope with the Time of Isolation... (when I was a kid, I wanted to go into space; my dad worked on the space program all while I was growing up) so in a way, I have this lovely spacious (compared to an actual space habitat) spaceship to be in aka Acorn Cottage, and I get to take at least one EVA every day aka walk around the neighborhood near my spaceship, and I can stay in contact remotely with the humans on my planet, even if I cannot touch them. All about the point of view.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation
this one is easy : the delightful daphne! Probably my favorite of springtime fragrant flowers... I don't have one in my yard, but my neighbor Karla has a large one next to the sidewalk.
※※※

today's gratitude - finding ways I can help, even when isolated. I am calling people I rarely talk to on the phone, and I have started sewing masks for a local womens clinic. And I never am not grateful that I have a roof over my head, a safe place to shelter me, friends and family that love and care for me, and a brain that despite my age remains flexible enough to tell myself new stories when needful

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday stroll

in which our plucky heroine notes the ups and downs...

Yesterday I topped 10,000 steps, walking in circles around various blocks in my neighborhood. It is so very weird to choose movement without any destination, I can remember only a few times since childhood that I was not both enjoying the walk or ride, and also intending to complete an errand at the same time.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation:

not sure what this pretty thing is, I would hazard a guess dwarf lilac, but it is way too early for that, since the one in my yard is just leafed out, but only buds for the future flowers, and this has no leaves at all...
※※※

Plan of the day somewhat derailed:
start drawing/writing a tablet manual for Mom - tablet needs to recharge before I can start remembering how to use it... put this project on temporary hold, move on to next drawing project for Michele, medieval dancing rats and crows


plant peas outdoors- need to rearrange the backyard, will wait until not in direct sunshine later today

mod Ikea cart to hold printer (and also act as an ironing board) - gosh, it takes a long time to hand saw through 2 x 4's and super annoying to find that the first one is full of insect tunnels...ew! Not going to bring that indoors. Switch to plan B and figure out another way to support the upper surface
※※※

on further thought and searching online, found a source for seeds suitable to grow microgreens that extra plus, wasn't Amazon, but a reputable venerable New England vendor I remember from my youth
※※※

I am already doing this as standard operating procedure, but if you happen to have a bunch of green onions...
Allium self-sufficiency re green onions : green onions are a doddle to re-grow, I do it all the time. If you have a bunch of green onions with little rooty bits on the end, cut off the white rooty end about an inch and a half to two inches. These can be planted in dirt in a pot, or planter right away without further need of processing or starting. What I do is use a stick or large sharpie etc and make a vertical hole a little less deep than the cut off pieces, gently put them in the hole and firm around them, and water. in a few days at most you will likely see the green end elongating and starting to grow. From then on, they will continue to make green onion for you to use. Just snip off a few spears from each one as needed, always leaving at least one or more of the spear-leaves on each one. This works so well that I normally only ever purchase green onions a few times a year to restart the process.
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - my very incremental ongoing decisions of planting food and herb plants here at Acorn Cottage... I pretty much suck as a gardener, and it isn't anywhere near my favored activity, but here is a list of the things I have planted or encouraged to grow here, which mostly do their own thing with limited effort and input on my part: Italian prune plum thicket, funky apple tree, persimmon tree, quince tree, walking onions, green onions, rosemary, sage, thyme, salad burnet, chickweed, lovage, feral grapevine, feral violets, rhubarb, figs, blueberry, and black elder. Certainly not the wide range that a true gardener would have, and some of these plants are more productive than others, but I have dried fruit in the pantry, jars of sweetness on the shelves, and the ability to season cooked food, as well as add very small amounts of nutritious greenstuff.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine begins to adapt...

First morning since beginning seclusion over a week ago that I woke up feeling that I could cope. Instead of just taking my medication and literally going back to bed again. I suspect that the continued gradual abatement of surgical pain is at least partially why. Still slow goings here at Acorn Cottage...

One thing that has really irked me now is having to deal with all the junk mail, which normally I just grab out of the mailbox with my hands and dump immediately into the recycle bin. I remembered that I had a spare pair of copper tongs that I normally use in the workshop. The perfect thing for grabbing items from the mailbox one at a time, and if I store it so I never have to touch the working end, I can avoid at least one necessary hand wash
※※※

an interview with epidemiologist Larry Brilliant
thoughtful commentary from someone who knows what they are talking about...

actual science about the use of cloth masks
Read this and draw your own conclusions. Bear in mind that masks function in two directions, incoming, and outgoing, as well as as a signal. My takeaway from this article is that reuseable cloth masks may cause greater harm ie increase chance of infection, when worn to protect from external contamination. My guess is that they may decrease chance of infection when worn by someone ill to "catch" effluvia. And of course there was no study done of the difference between wearing a cloth mask and nothing at all, which may become the choices here, and are already in some places, with medical personnel wearing scarves or bandannas
※※※

I love my neighbors... I just looked out the front window, and Pete was mowing my front lawn. I don't have quite the stamina currently, and my helpers live in a different state and I don't expect to see them for months
※※※

Today's lunch was a tasty improvisation on Thai "swimming rama", but using what I have on hand... the last of the mashed cooked fresh spinach, some teriyaki sauce, dried basil, a dab of almond butter, and cooked rice noodles. It was still soft enough that I could eat it, but the flavor was pretty good, I would make it again even if I could chew properly. Soon it will be time to start both using what frozen veggies I have, and actively growing microgreens.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation
the playing fields at the park are unmowed, and the English daisies are turning their faces to the sunshine..
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 new ricebag casesfruit tree pruning x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -we now have an online FB neighborhood group as another way to connect.

Friday, March 20, 2020

warm soup on a chilly night

in which our plucky heroine watches the numbers change...

The recent changes in my eating patterns as a result of the combination of periodontal surgery and pandemic seclusion are interesting. I am being Very Careful to not waste any food out of boredom or carelessness.  In the past I might choose to eat a greater variety, and sometimes foods got lost in the fridge,  but now instead choosing to simply repeat meals of things that get opened, so that I am sure to get all the value. There will be no trips from Acorn Cottage out to the shops for weeks, maybe months. I am also eating very small amounts at one time (because eating is still really hard work) if more frequently. As a consequence, I have lost almost nine pounds this month, and my blood chemistry is extraordinarily good. If I can continue this trend, in a healthy way, I may be able to wean off of two of my three medications, which has been a long term goal of mine for years. It would be ironic if the pandemic conditions actually brought about a positive health result for our plucky heroine!
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation...
Virginia creeper just starting to sprout. The anchors that hold it to the wall make a delicate tracery. While my own anchors feel just as delicate and fragile, I am remembering that they are strong even when hidden.
※※※

food in the time of isolation...

today I tried a new soup off the pantry shelf "Tom Kha Broth". I had acquired a few jars for my earthquake pantry a while back, when they did a new product tasting at my local NS. While I am sure it is best used as intended with chunks of chicken, mushrooms, and assorted garnishes, I was just delighted to have something with an entirely different flavor profile that I can ingest while my mouth is still healing. I did add some of the mashed up spinach to the heated up soup, for additional nutrition.
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 xfruit tree pruning x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I just love Wikipedia! I like to think of the internet as the reference library that never sleeps, and use it often in just that fashion. But then even as a child I loved the reference and non-fiction parts of the library just as much if not more than the stories

Thursday, March 19, 2020

less crying, more walkies

in which our plucky heroine creakily adapts...

I have supplies to get through the next several months, of food and medication, and things-to-do. While I was prepared in a physical way, and have been able to begin physical sequestering on Friday, I am having a difficult time with the transition to absolutely no social interaction at all, save with text on a screen. Since I live alone, without even a pet, my daily interactions with other humans in the everyday world are usually with things like shopping for groceries or going to the library, all of which are no longer possible, much less the chance to actually see any of my beloved friends or dearloves in person at events or by visiting. The lack of this is affecting me more than I would have expected. I still cry every day.

Today I was a bit more productive, though it still took me most of the morning to get moving and dressed. It was a beautiful spring day, sunny and around 60F in the afternoon, and flower in bloom. The laundry went out on the clothesline. I rode my bike for a while, and also did a bit of pruning in the front yard. Earlier in the day I did two more of the "quarantine art camp" drawings, and made a tiny bit of progress on my rubakha embroidery (trying not to be sad about not knowing when there will be a chance to go to an SCA event again). My mouth continues to heal, as far as I can tell; the pain seems to slowly abate, and the Tylenol is lasting almost the entire four hours now.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation...
I always enjoy the vivid blossoms of flowering quince, which blooms at the same time as forsythia. Rather wish I had it growing here at Acorn Cottage.. just for pretty!

QAC#2 - transmundanetuesday - three random prompts every Tuesday, Carson Ellis has been offering this particular fun activity since last October. (and our Wednesday QAC activity is to make our own personal set of Transmundane prompts, which I plan on doing over the weekend)

QAC#4 - continuous line contour drawing... this was something I'd not done since I was in school...
※※※

All non-emergency medical, dental, and veterinary is shut down in the state of Oregon as of today, in order to save as much protective supplies as possible for medical use in the pandemic. This is unprecedented in our generation. Some of my cohorts are beginning to sew cloth face masks, as in some places the hospitals are asking for home sewists to begin making DIY masks to be used in hospital, the shortage of supplies is beyond belief. I am going to check with our local hospitals, if I can, and find out if that is actually being asked for here where I live, though I expect it to be just a matter of time...
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fenceyard waste bin
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganisedrecycle bin
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 three drawings
repair dainty bag -
5 xfruit tree pruning x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - so many people are stepping up and creating new ways to share and interact online. Last night I watched some fragments of a live benefit concert that included Paul Simon, and Willie Nelson, and many other musicians, "broadcasting" performances from where they were isolated in their homes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

whoops...

in which our plucky heroine remedies an error...

Today has been a bit difficult, even though my poor sore mouth is actually improving, yay! But it is sinking in that the shift we are undergoing will be permanent, not in the sense (one hopes) that will be ongoing and endless pandemic, but that our former way of life will be gone forever. I had odd dreams last night, about traveling with friends, and realising that I had left important resources behind when packing, which in and of itself was not something that in dreamland would normally be troublesome, but when I awoke, I began sobbing and found it really hard to stop. Eventually I found my way back to something resembling my ordinary equanimity, but it was a struggle.


※※※

I somehow forgot to check the medicine shelf for test strips, when I was updating everything "medical/first aid" prior to my surgery. Big oops! Fortunately was able to sort it all out over the phone, and even more fortuitously, my next door neighbor was willing to pick my prescription up from the pharmacy! I love my neighbors, and hope that they will remain healthy. I left a big jar of my Awesome Sauce on the front porch for them, and T left the bag from the drug store in its place... we spoke through the closed window.
※※※

Today one family that lives on the next block left. I was out on one of my "sanity strolls", and saw they were packing a trailer and their truck. The only reason I know, is that their young dog escaped and ran over to me, and they asked me to catch the dog. They said they were "going to the country" so I can only assume that they have a cabin somewhere rural. To me right now, this last week feels like the start of the sort of novel I do not like to read...
※※※

from my "beauty in the time of isolation" album:

QAC Assignment #1: SELF-PORTRAIT - I am using the book I made at Summits A&S to draw things in during this time of isolation. This was the first page, as the self-portrait seemed like a good beginning. I can't tell if it looks like me or not, but it was interesting to try to look in a mirror and draw what I could see...

I think these are willow blossoms? since there were also fuzzy catkins on the tree

the setting sun backlit newly unfolding foliage on the rose bushes down the street, and they glowed!!
※※※

today's gratitude - the electronic world, which allows us to share information, and to stay in contact with one another. Without that, this would be a slow moving tsunami we would not be able to prepare for. Within it, there are being great kindnesses shared as well. I keep my eyes open for the helpers...

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

some Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine remembers that she is an aging hippie...

Time of Isolation - Day 5

"when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"
~
Hunter S. Thompson

That phrase was a was a watchword back in my younger days, and when it came floating up in my mind, it brought me cheer and reminded me to be stalwart in times when all seems confusion, and that inner strength will help carry us through.
※※※

"beauty in the time of isolation" ... sharing photos of things seen on my sanity walks while practicing social distance:
I never ever tire of finding moss and lichen landscapes.

a nearby house has a front walk guarded by two of these small stately lionesses... I am very fond of how expressive they are.

Not certain, but I think this is some variety of purple oxalis
※※※

this prophetic story: "So Much Cooking", written in 2015, made me cry... (warning, it refers to the bird flu pandemic, and has an ambiguous ending)
※※※

I think I made the right call... Dental school clinic called to let me know that if I wanted to come in and be seen on Friday for a follow-up checkup (after my major periodontal surgery last Monday) that was possible. I told them no. I have at least four maybe five possible risk factors, and (unless it is a medical necessity that I be seen) I feel safer staying home in seclusion than going out among people... So hard to make these sorts of decisions with so little real data

※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fence-
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganised-
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 x
repair dainty bag -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the long unseen friends that sent a surprise gift this winter, a fancy skillet that turned out to be an amazing addition to my batterie de cuisine... With my ability to chew food in abeyance, there have been a lot of eggs cooked in the last week, and that skillet lets me make omelets that look as good as they taste.

Monday, March 16, 2020

a sunny if silent day

in which our plucky heroine shares some additional options for things to do...

Time of Isolation - Day 4

I am the very model of effective social distancing!
I listen to the experts on the topic of resistance-ing;
I know that brunch and yoga class aren’t nearly as imperative
As doing what I can to change the nation’s viral narrative.

I’m very well acquainted, too, with living solitarily
And confident that everyone can do it temporarily:
Go take a walk, or ride a bike, or dig into an unread book;
Avoid the bars and restaurants and carry out, or learn to cook.

There’s lots of stuff to watch online while keeping safe from sinus ills
(In this case, it’s far better to enjoy your Netflix MINUS chills)!
Adopt a pet, compose a ballad, write some earnest doggerel,
And help demolish Trump before our next event inaugural.

Pandemics are alarming, but they aren’t insurmountable
If everybody pitches in to hold ourselves accountable.
In short, please do your part to practice prudent co-existence-ing,
And be the very model of effective social distancing!

- Eliza Rubenstein

From the renowned fantasy artist Charles Vess:
"Since the next several weeks will be quieter and slower than most for you, perhaps you'd like to read my novel, 'The Queen of Summer's Twilight'. Its all on online and free on my GMP blog. I hope that you'll enjoy it..."

Looking for a fun thing to do while distancing from your everyday life and contacts? The artist Carson Ellis is going to be posting daily "art assignments" and encouragement on her Instagram. I plan on participating...


My friend and author A. M. Brosius has written a number of fascinating and enjoyable alternate future history novels, and a number of them are serialised on his Dreamwidth account. As he recently posted:
"I'm not sayin' that if you're stuck at home for days and bored that you could go to dreamwidth and read the serialized novels that I have posted there. But you *could* y'know?": Chapter One, Book One:

※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fence-
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganised-
3 cara cara marmaladecorned beef in freezer -
4 x
repair dainty bag -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - am grateful for having a separate food freezer, so that I can store food as long as we still have electricity, and that allows me to cook things ahead for when I am finally able to actually eat real meals. The corned beef and cabbage will be later this year, but no the less nommy...

Sunday, March 15, 2020

the time of isolation

in which our plucky heroine practices social distancing...

Time of Isolation - Day 3
with notes from this weekend

aaand... got a phone call Sunday morning from Dr Atapalli: OHSU Dental School and all associated clinics are closed until further notice. Not going to be any timely follow-up appointments for my surgery (which I was concerned about re COVID exposure, since I had already begun precautionary self-isolation) so that decision was taken out of my hands.

(though I do admit I am also a wee bit stressed about not getting knowledgeable feedback about the status of my gums and tooth from someone who can actually see how/if the healing is progressing.... (The stitches in my gums will apparently dissolve in a few weeks, which was the other concern of mine)
※※※
※※※

This past Saturday the view from the front porch was a street blanketed with a layer of snow! I know this was forecast, but it was warm enough two days ago that some folks were wearing shorts!

※※※

sanity practice: I'm already struggling with the lack of the small amount of daily human contact I built into everyday. Instead of my once or twice a day stroll or bike ride to the store for groceries, which allowed me a chance to interact with other humans, there was a sensible Massive Shopping, so that I could stay isolated. I am hoping that walking twice a day and taking a photo of something beautiful/interesting to share, and posting that on my FB page and here, will give me similar physical movement at least, though I will need to plan walks on a different route.
※※※

Once my mouth is healed enough that chewing is an option, I'm going to attempt growing "microgreens". The thought being that although it was not really possible to acquire "sprouting seeds" (aside from some mung beans, that fresh greenstuff will be a good addition to the daily meals.
※※※

All this baffling fuss about toilet paper reminds me that it is also possible to use a plastic water bottle with a "sports cap" as a bidet. The bottle can be filled with warm water from the bathroom sink just prior to need, and deployed as necessary.
※※※


※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fence-
2 blood orange marmaladepantry reorganised-
3 cara cara marmalade- -
4 x
- -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - The warm felted wool slippers, acquired as part of my mystery gift, are such a delight every morning that taking them off and putting on my compression socks and day shoes is a let-down. Truly such a smallish thing can be such a treat! (and I'm glad that I chose to go ahead and acquire them prior to my surgery and the subsequent unexpected viral-driven sequestration)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

phase change

In which our plucky heroine experiences slow motion vicissitude...

So, a week ago, there were clouds on the horizon, but my biggest concern was getting through the periodontal surgery... A lot has changed in the interim.

Monday afternoon
- home from surgery. 3 hours in chair. Needed a total of eight shots of novacaine, over that period; I am starting to get better handling my novacaine phobia, indeed there were entire minutes or more when I was able to consciously relax, as least as much as is possible with the kind of work happening to my jaw. I used the procedure as a way of focusing my attention on the difference between what happened when I was 14, and how respectful and attentive Dr A and the staff were. Ended up getting a bone graft. Jaw and mouth hurt a lot right now. Was given a prescription for antibiotics (because bone graft) but no pain meds. Sure hope the Tylenol 500 will help.

Monday evening - well that is interesting... frozen peas hold the cold much better than then purpose-made blue gel cold packs, who knew?

After spending several hours at pain level 7+ last night, got a callback from the nurse hotline that was able to tell me it was okay to take 1 Tylenol 500 every 4 hours, instead of 2 every 8. My thought was that would modulate the amount of medication to a more even distribution over time, instead of feast or famine. I can deal with general moderate discomfort much more easily than with wild swings of analgesia. I've now set my phone to alarm every four hours, and made up a chart to fill in each time I take medication, which is the best way I've found to keep track

Tuesday - Phone call this morning from Dr Atapalli - a scrip for four (4) pills of pain med sent to the pharmacy, which I was able to pick up that afternoon,

Weird guy in a white Mercedes was taking photos of the front of Acorn Cottage, and when I left the house to ask why/what, they zoomed away too fast for me to get the licsence number... on consultation with my cohort, and the non-emergency hotline, I filed a police report.

Notice via social media that the entire SCA zone (Kingdom of An Tir that covers the PNW has suspended all events and activities from local get-togethers to large regional events. At the same time, news starts coming in that various major events and schools in various parts of the country are shutting down, at least temporarily.

I start thinking about how to maintain self if access to fresh produce and products is limited. Wondering about using food dehydrator for veggies, which are limited in ways to store in the pantry. Wondering about making sprouts, if this goes on a long time...

Wednesday - The Atlantic is posting many articles that are informative and thoughtful. Currently all the articles about COVID are free to access. After reading this one though, I may have to stop reading about the current situation in Italy, because crying so hard...

Conversation with dear M, who offers to subsidise my being able to fully stock pantry. This is good since my inventory made it clear that unless I want to subsist on jam and fancy condiments (both home canned) that I had better add some protein etc to the shelf contents. I then also took a rough inventory of the freezer, and began making lists of what would be the most useful.

Thursday - the day of Massive Shopping Trips, as compared to my usual European style do a small shopping every day. Dear Wanda offered to give me a ride around to the various stores I normally shop at. Costco in the morning was more crowded than I have ever seen it (the entire parking lot was full, and the lines to the cash registers were more than halfway across the warehouse). Fubonn, in contrast, was calm and no more busy than any other midday I was there. Ditto the Interational Market near Ya Hala. Trader Joe's was a zoo! I was grateful that the few specific items I went there to pick up were still in stock, the frozen food sections were beyond decimated, and the beans were entirely gone. After that, Wanda dropped me at home and I put the frozen and refrigerated foods away, piling the dry goods on one of my folding camp tables. Then a trip out on the bicycle to New Seasons, Freddies, and Walgrens. Exhausted, and still need to reorganise the pantry


Friday - combining "use up the fresh food" and turn it into something I can eat now with my "no chewing post surgery" restriction... found some "Indian eggplant" (the tiny ones that look like dark purple eggs) yesterday at Fubonn, and have made up a big batch of 5 flavor eggplant. Most will be packed into ziplocs in the freezer, but it is so yummy and soft and unctuous, that it is actually appetizing
※※※

I wish I had thought to go to the post office last week and get a sheet or two of extra stamps... I've enough for paying necessary bills, but none for correspondence (edited - just found out that USPS will sell me stamps online. Mischief managed...)
※※※

March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 candied pomelo peel back corner fence-
2 blood orange marmalade--
3 cara cara marmalade- -
4 x
- -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x
x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Wanda who kindly spent a big chunk of Thursday driving me all around town so I could do a Really Big Shopping, and dear M, who underwrote the shopping that I otherwise would not have been able to do...