Here we are

Tomorrow the stay at home order for Texas expires and our governor has chosen not to renew it. There are still a few restrictions, with restaurants only allowed 25% occupancy, hair salons and tattoo parlors still not open. Meanwhile, we have not met the criteria that the federal government set for moving forward, but that doesn’t seem to matter, and even the feds don’t seem to care about it that much. Dallas County is continuing to see an increase in cases and in deaths and thankfully our County Judge has continued our stay at home order…but the governor claims his order supersedes any locality’s.  While the feds, the state, and the county put out mixed messages and disagree amongst themselves, we are choosing to implement our own policies for our own household…basically we will stay in for the foreseeable future other than essential errands. I want to see what happens with people getting back out and mixing and mingling before I feel comfortable doing anything much. I am pretty confident we will see cases move upward but would be happy to be proven wrong.

We worked in the backyard some more today and it was super hot. I was a sweaty mess by the end but we are making progress! I looked at some lights to string along the fence but didn’t order any yet. Maybe we should clean up the fence before we decorate it.

Since I worked so hard in the yard (haha), I didn’t take a walk tonight. Rich and I sat out on the front porch for a bit as the cats lazed on the steps and sidewalk. Here are a few pix I’ve accumulated from previous walks but haven’t used yet. Have a good Friday, stay safe, wash your hands, have hope.

Orange

We did more yard work today, this time in the back. I am not a fan of yard work but I have to admit feeling quite a sense of accomplishment after an hour and a half and things looking much better. We still have a lot to do, but it was a start. And I actually started thinking, “we could have a cute back yard if we put in a little more effort.” I came inside and ordered some colorful outdoor pillows for the two chairs against the house. We have talked about scrubbing and re-staining the fence and maybe we will get around to that as well.

Texted with some of the kids and grandkids; everyone seems fine at the moment.  Went for a walk and found lots of orange.

Tuesday

Rich made us a breakfast sandwich around noon, I did a little knitting and wrote out some more cards for people. I am going to have to order more cards and stamps soon! Then we decided to work in the front yard. He trimmed bushes and hedges while I did some weeding underneath the hedge along the driveway. It is WAY overgrown because we are not yard people and we really don’t have a clue how to do landscaping. We inherited some nice plants and flowers that we have just let grow wild. I am sure the former owners (my son in law’s parents) would be appalled. Thankfully they don’t come by very often! They WERE yard people; well, at least his mom was.  We are so bad that we often talk about just paying someone a fortune to come over and re-do everything, get us back to square one and maybe we can keep up with it after that.  I like it a little bit wild but I suppose for the sake of our neighbors, we might want to clean it up some. Of course, not being a yard person, I managed to scratch up my arm and make it bleed so that was about the end of that. Meanwhile Ajax was snoozing in our bed and I figured he had the better idea. We plan to do some more yard work tomorrow but it’s storming like crazy right now so maybe we will get out of it. haha

After dinner, I took my daily walk and decided to focus on sidewalks, plus a bonus of two dog poop warning signs.

Ubrickquitous

We had a good day, ran a few errands, listened to music, read, texted with a few people, my sister called, had a big salad for dinner, Rich did yard work and I waited till after dinner to take a walk because it was so hot today. I didn’t go far and I am getting a little bored with the streets near me but I didn’t want to drive to another neighborhood at 7 PM. I like the lighting better at this time of the evening, too.

Nature Walk

I’ve made a few friends through the Buy Nothing Project Facebook group that I administer for my part of Dallas–lots of cool people trying to find ways to reuse and pass along items rather than sending them all to the landfill. One young woman named Haley posted some pretty flower photos the other day, accompanied by a logo for the City Nature Challenge. Not familiar with it, of course I had to go look it up. Check it out here. Sorry to say that it is finished today so you don’t have much time to join in, but keep it in mind for next year! People from all over the world go out into their communities and document the wildlife they see even in a more urban environment. Apparently it started out as a competition to see what city could have the most participation but this year with Covid19, it’s a more friendly “challenge.”

Since I am documenting my walks every day anyway and we live right near a nice greenbelt in Dallas, I set out yesterday to take photos of some of the plants in my area. I was hoping I might catch a creature or two as well, but didn’t have much luck. I saw some butterflies and bees but my iPhone camera (or the operator) didn’t capture them very well. I also saw a woodpecker, which was pretty exciting for me, but he was hard to catch on camera.  A pair of birds kept flitting through the trees and chattering at me but they were high up in the canopy.  Next time I need to take Rich’s fancy camera with a good lens. 🙂

 

Kindness All Around

Not far from our house on yesterday’s walk, we chanced upon a man sitting in his yard. Nearby was a lemonade stand with several coolers set out in front of it. He was on the phone so we waved and he said hi and we kept going. At first I thought maybe his kids were selling lemonade but they’d gone in the house for a minute and left Daddy in charge. Then Rich noticed that someone had written “free drinks” on the sidewalk.  The man said, “please take something–there’s water, lemonade and fruit punch!”  I said I’d make a donation, but I wasn’t carrying any cash. He said, “No, no, it’s free! Take one!”  So we both reached into a cooler and grabbed a lemonade to take with us on our walk. Just a guy making a little difference in his neighborhood, but it really touched us that he had an idea and made it happen.

As we continued our walk, I was thinking about all of the kindnesses that have been shown to us during this time.  I know my volunteer agency needs help and yet the volunteer coordinator has been so kind and gracious about my desire to stay home. She still calls to check on me even though she knows I am not coming in. And she’s always been a little bit gruff so I appreciate her kind attitude. 🙂 My friend Susan sent me some of my favorite teas and emails me almost daily so we can continue our years’ long conversation about life. My friend Judi is making homemade masks to donate to those who need them, and sent two each to Rich and me. We’ve received cards in the mail just to say hi. One of my ex’s cousins regularly calls to check on us. Local friends have offered to run errands or pick up groceries. Of course, the kids call and text and Zoom with us but sometimes one of the grandkids will initiate a call or message on their own and that warms my heart! It’s a trying time in so many ways but I also feel that people are beginning to focus on emotional connections and reaching out more than they might have in the past. With hardships, maybe growth does come if we look for it and embrace it as much as we can. That is not to downplay the very real issues that are being exposed right now,and that’s another long, long post, but to express a hope that those of us who are able to make a difference will take it upon ourselves to do so.

Yesterday we went to the small farmer’s market near our house and purchased bread and soap. We appreciate the vendors who are willing to come out and put themselves at risk and know that it is a worry but they have to make a living. And here are a few more pix from our lemonade walk. See if you can pick out some additional kindnesses along the way.

 

 

Routine

My days are looking very similar and I am not sure how to dress them up to make them any more interesting! I stay up too late at night and I sleep too late in the morning. I get up, use the bathroom, put my crazy hair into a pony tail. I drink a big glass of ice water which has become my habit since I had a kidney stone years ago and the doctor admonished me that I needed to drink more water. I used to think I could never drink water in the morning but now I crave it as soon as I get up.

Then a cup of hot tea, which lately has been Rakkasan’s Nine Dragons Oolong sent to me by my friend Susan.  I’ve been adding Manuka honey to my tea because it’s supposed to be a good antibacterial.  Breakfast varies depending on whether Rich wants to cook something or if I am on my own because he’s already been up for hours. LOL Today I just had an English muffin and started my daily perusal of the internet, which always ends up eating into a lot of my time. There’s email to check and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, articles to read, online Scrabble games to play with my mom and my sister, news items to browse, maybe the bank account if there are bills to pay, back around to email and Facebook again, messages to write, posts and photos to post, on and on.  Honestly it could be never ending if I didn’t force myself to get off.

Most days, with no plans, I wander around in my pjs for quite awhile and eventually take a shower and brush my teeth. I have not used the blow dryer on my hair since this quarantine started, which is probably good for my hair. Nor have I worn any makeup, which I don’t usually anyway, except for the days I do volunteer work and the occasional meeting or event. Now I don’t have any reason at all since I am not doing those either.

Today Rich decided to go to Home Depot to get a new weed eater because his has given out, plus light bulbs and a few other household goods. He said he was also going to make a quick run into Fiesta Foods to pick up a couple of grocery items since it is near Home Depot.  He gathered up his new mask homemade by our friend Judi, some gloves, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, a cap, some bags, his wallet and keys and headed out. While he was gone I turned on my music, unloaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, took my shower, and did some of my Great Courses (visual literacy and chess today). Sometimes we have lunch but often these days we eat breakfast so late that we hold out for dinner, sometimes having a snack in between. Today: peanut butter crackers while doing my classes.

Rich came home saying Home Depot had a line out the door so he skipped it but went to Lowe’s and got everything but the weed eater, then to Fiesta for food. He unloaded the bags on the porch, sprayed down the packaged items, brought the produce into the house and dumped it in the sink to soak, stripped off his clothes, gloves, and mask and threw them into the washer, got in the shower while I washed the produce. Whew, everything is such a production any more!

I went out for my walk, which he begged off, saying he was going to mow the lawn tonight and that would be his exercise. It’s 84 degrees today and I was really hot by the time I walked for almost an hour but was glad I went out and explored a different neighborhood not far from us.

We had a yummy grain bowl with veggies for dinner, watched the news, and now he is mowing the yard.  Our evening schedule usually includes watching Jeopardy, more news, and then our favorite current series “Schitt’s Creek,” which we are about finished with. Rich likes lots of programs that I don’t care about so we typically sit on separate couches with the TV on and I am on my laptop or phone doing other mindless activities while he watches shows. We’ll talk with the kids or my mom or his sister, sometimes a friend. Once in awhile I will work on my knitting but I haven’t done much of that lately. We discuss the state of the universe and how much we miss the kids and what we might do when the quarantine ends. We rant and rave about Trump and his minions more than is good for our mental health. We’ll stay up too late again and start the same series of events tomorrow, with little variation–maybe I’ll write some cards or vacuum the rugs or change the sheets or read a book or shave my legs. Or not.

 

 

Wednesday Wanderings on Earth Day

Loved this walk today.

Additionally, Sarah’s kids FaceTimed us to show off their new baby chicks. They were super cute (the chicks and the kids)! Apparently they bought babies who will have to grow up before they become laying hens and I am not sure how long that takes. 🙂  Beck was proud that he has the only black chick whom he named Scarlett. Go figure. 🙂  Elle and Jack have yellow chicks named Winnie and Fuzzy, respectively. The kids are very excited and hopefully their enthusiasm will continue.

Hard to believe it’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I remember the original Earth Day when I was in high school in NJ and we were given permission to be late to school  if we wanted to walk and pick up trash instead of riding the bus. 🙂  We then had some teach-ins at school about environmental issues. I don’t think we have done very well in 50 years and still have such a crisis on our hands. Perhaps during this quarantine time, we can reflect on what changes we can make to protect our Mother Earth before it’s too late.