Fun stuff

Exciting mail day! My sister sent a postcard from OR where she was visiting her daughter Alana who just started law school in Eugene, friend Paul sent a hello, and Miles’ grandmother Evelyn sent a note to thank us for coming to her 90th birthday celebration. Also, I have my Instagram linked to a company called Chatbooks and they automatically make me a photo book every time it gets to 60 pix (which doesn’t take me long 🤣🤣). I use them to make a birthday book for each of the grandkids every year as well. Last year I became part of their “100 Club,”‘ for those who’ve made at least 100 books, and they just sent out packages of swag to club members. How fun! Ok, even though it makes me a walking advertisement for them, I’m still happy. 🤣

About a month ago, a woman in my Buy Nothing group asked if anyone had any used bicycles to donate to Afghan refugee men who were arriving in Dallas and needed transportation to their new jobs. Some of our group members donated bikes and I posted a request on my personal Facebook page asking for used bikes or donations to buy new ones. Of course I have the best family and friends in the world and received enough donations to buy three brand new bikes. Wow, who knew bikes were so expensive any more?? But I did not want to get cheapos that wouldn’t last. We delivered the first two to Refugee Services before we went on our NJ road trip and I totally forgot to take a photo. This week I was able to purchase the third and Rich and I were asked to take it directly to the man receiving it. He, his wife and small children were among the last refugees out as Kabul was falling. He was very nice and had a great smile! We saw one of his babies behind him in the entryway but he did not really seem to want to chit chat so we didn’t stay. You know I wanted to take a pic but because of confidentiality and safety reasons I did not. 🙂

Currently…

It’s pretty quiet around our house after our very busy summer. Too hot to walk so I started doing laps in the pool again. Not as interesting and no pix to share! Thanks for the fun cards and letters, Linda, Martin & Alex, Susan, Donna, and Paul. I joined a nonfiction book club and these are the most recent books, both very interesting! Made a photo book of our awesome Chicago trip. And some of my pandemic knitting. 😊 Plus some thoughts.

Friends and Family Make Life Sweet

The coronavirus drones on; we have been staying home for months and months now, wearing masks when we go out, being careful. We don’t want to get ill and we certainly don’t want to get anyone else ill. My daughter Bonnie and her three kids all got the virus in Amarillo, thankfully it was a mild version and they are okay after quarantining for two weeks. Surprisingly, her husband did not get it. We have heard many stories of extended family members, friends and acquaintances having varying levels of sickness, unfortunately I have several friends who have lost parents recently. It’s all so sad that wearing a mask has become a political statement and that people still claim that the virus is a hoax and the numbers are exaggerated. Here in Dallas, we are seeing growing numbers once again, as is the whole state of TX.

I’ve always enjoyed “snail mail” but it’s even nicer since we are stuck at home much of the time. Emails and texts are instant and I mostly keep up with people that way–it’s great. But there’s something very intimate about receiving a handwritten message that gives me a little glimpse into someone’s life on a particular day at a particular time when they sat down to communicate. Every day I wait for the mailman and excitedly check our box. You can imagine how thrilled I am at Christmas time when we tend to hear from more people than usual. 🙂 ‘Tis the season!

Here are a few things we’ve received in the last month or so. Cards, notes, a little jar of paper stars, several new masks, including kitty cats, flowers, RBG and a “social workers are essential” (thanks for that one, Susan!), my mom sent Rich a new cookbook she read about, and she likes to send me news articles she knows I’ll like, my new hoodie from my favorite radio station in Alaska, KUCB, with a note from my former boss, my Christmas cards came in so I am working my way through those. Many thanks to all of our loved ones for keeping us in their thoughts and hearts. It means a lot!

October, Please Be Kind to Us

Went by the White Rock Center of Hope for my friend Bettina’s birthday (she’s the one on the phone). It was good to see Gabriele and Dianne as well. The whole system has changed due to Covid–no clients in the building at all and everything is done by phone. It’s probably more efficient, but less personal. I am thinking about going back soon because it seems pretty safe….hopefully. I miss volunteering there and hanging out with my friends.

We picked up our first Comeback Creek Farm box of the fall season. The lettuce and kale were so delicious! I am not sure how we will use up all that squash but Rich will probably find a way. More highlighting of voter flyers, cards in the mail from family and friends as well as a new hoodie from Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence, I started on my 500 tiny piece Springsteen puzzle from Sarah and it’s gonna take me awhile!

I’m glad to be out walking again!

Vote Him Out

We’re into the home stretch for the election and it’s getting a bit fever pitched here in my part of town, home of the Funky East Dallas Democrats. These people are SUPER organized and I love them for it. The days of me wanting a leadership role are long gone (even though sometimes I think I know better and have an urge to take over…but not for long). I am happy as a worker bee and others can have the glory and the headaches! Lately I have had a little assembly line of my own and have highlighted thousands of voter info flyers with the names of each precinct’s candidates. The flyers come in stacks of 50 and I will have you know that I can highlight one stack in 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Rich helped me finish some the other night and we had a little race after he said he didn’t believe I could do them that quickly. Well, lo and behold, he was even faster than I was. I can’t hold it against him, even though we are both pretty competitive about some things. I’m just glad he helped me get them done.

I’ve enjoyed more mail from family and friends (seriously, the mail makes my day and I am always a little disappointed when nothing “fun” arrives). Went to the store and the pumpkins are out so I guess that means autumn is here. And I started knitting a baby hat for a friend. It’s going well so far, but I am a little worried about finishing the top. Fingers crossed!

Power Washing…and Mail

We are not the best homeowners in the world. After living in company housing in Alaska for many years (and being spoiled), we are somewhat inept at keeping up with our own repairs and yard work and all the chores that come with owning a home. We have been talking for a long time about how nasty our back fence had become and thought we would rent a power washer to take care of it, then figure out if it needed to be re-stained or what. Of course, time kept going by and we never got around to cleaning it. I would be swimming in the pool and looking at the fence and thinking I just needed to get a bucket of soapy water and take care of it, but of course I did not. Last week I told Rich I was going to ask if anyone in my Buy Nothing group had a power washer we could borrow. Sure enough, one of our members did. So we made arrangements to pick it up and kept it for a couple of days. We both worked on the fence and oh, my gosh, what a difference it made! Rich also cleaned out our trash dumpster and recycle dumpster, cleaned the concrete in front of our porch, the porch steps, some outside windows, the car, and no telling what else. He kinda fell in love with the power washer and now he wants to buy one for us since he still has more things he wants to do! This goes against the whole philosophy of the Buy Nothing Project. 🙂

We’ve had lots more fun mail lately, one of my favorite things! Daughter Sarah sent me a Springsteen puzzle to while away my quarantine time–love it! My friend Lauri found an old card at her mom’s house that had the Bush family on it, then she took the time to cut out pictures of Trump and his parents and tape them over the Bush’s faces. Pretty funny. Another friend’s mom is becoming one of my best pen pals and sent the card with the monkeys on it. My sister added me to a Facebook group that sends cards and postcards to one another so I received my first one from a woman in Wisconsin. I ordered some more tea from Rakkasan and got in another one of our Instagram photo books. We also, for some reason, got a refund check from the health insurance company we had over a year ago. Nice little surprise (not pictured).

Fun Stuff and the Rest of the Grandkids Go Back to School

Bonnie and David’s kids had school postponed till September 1. They were excited to finally go back, despite masks and precautions. Here’s hoping they have a great year and the virus doesn’t run rampant! The parents are also back to full time in-person teaching. I am anxiously awaiting news about how that’s going. Bonnie said she’d catch me up this weekend because she literally had no time all week. I imagine it is hectic!

Meanwhile Sarah said her kids’ school has already had three cases of the virus but is not shutting down (yet). Then her kids all had sore throats and Elle had body aches so they were tested for covid and strep. Jack (whom she said complained the least) has strep and the other two are “fine,” but are staying home from school till Tuesday out of caution. I think this is how the forseeable future is going to look.

Meanwhile, we had a fun Zoom call with our friends we met on an Australian cruise several years back. We have stayed in touch with them and have visited the three couples in the pic a few times in various locations. We’ve been getting lots of mail lately, which I love! My friend Tammy sent me the “Nasty Woman” pennant and the postcard from Maupin, OR, my niece Brooke sent a thank you note (we sent her a wedding gift and then she had to postpone due to the virus, but she has had a lovely attitude!), and I got a card from a friend I’ve known since 5th grade in Germany. We usually only communicate at Christmas but she was on my recent postcard list so I was happy to hear back from her! Keeping in touch with people has really helped me deal with the restrictions of the times. I’m still knitting the same scarf but making progress! We ordered more masks since ours were getting a bit bedraggled. And I had to snap a pic of the yard sign I saw while running errands one evening.

Multitasking on the theme: Postal Service

Wrote postcards to voters

Enjoyed cards from friends

Got some new cool stamps through the mail (why does it seem funny to get stamps through the mail?)

Watched Postmaster General DeJoy bumble his way through a Congressional hearing

We’re still in a pandemic, though the President and the Republican party act like it doesn’t exist. As of today in Dallas County, we’ve had a total of 72,884 cases and 926 deaths. Statewide in Texas, totals are 625,000 cases and 12,459 dead. US totals are at 5.29 million cases and 181,000 deaths. We are still advised to wear masks when out in public, social distance, not to eat in indoor restaurant spaces, not to gather in crowds, not to attend large events, and so on. Yet Trump had thousands of people on the White House lawn without masks and in close proximity, just pretending that there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Meanwhile, Trump donor, millionaire, and person who doesn’t know the cost of a postcard stamp (I can tell you it’s 35 cents because I am sending out lots of postcards these days), the Postmaster General is taking machines out of service, hauling off mailboxes, and slowing down mail delivery. Personally, I accuse him of backing Trump in his efforts to interfere with the election but go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist.

I vacillate between thinking there is no way that Trump could get reelected and being totally scared that he will. I can’t take four more years of it.