December 2020

I’ve been home for a little over nine months now. You would think something would have come of that time and stuff has, just maybe not the stuff you might imagine. I’ve painted. I’ve taken photos. I’ve written. I’ve read. I’ve learned to interact to others via a plethora of online platforms.

I had gone to a lecture at the Clark and felt like I had a headache. Didn’t much enjoy the presentation, drove home and went to bed. Was sick with mildly flu-like symptoms and was more than glad to stay in bed napping for quite a number of days, long enough that for the first time in my working history I had to go to a doctor for a note in order to return to work. By then it was clear that something was going on. I had no way of knowing if I’d had the flu (yes, I’d gotten the shot), bronchitis, or whatever this new virus was. But I went to the doctor and he had nothing to offer because now, two weeks later, I was well. I seized the moment to get a test for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases which came back negative.

I got the note and sent it in and then my workplace was shut down.

So began my time at home. I stayed home a little longer, just to be sure about whatever it was I had early in March. Then work evolved and food shopping turned to delivery and pick up and life went on. I officially started doing real work-from-home stuff in early June. In September I signed up officially to do that for six months. And then another round of scheduling fuzziness ended my research into different retirement scenarios and my last working day was October 28. After that I was on “vacation” for a little over a month and now I am officially retired.

Last night I erased the computer I’d been sent to work on and packaged it up. I cleared out a little drawer that held a stack of post it notes – tallies of each day’s work. Yes our work was trackable online – so many interactions over the course of the day and all, but for me, it was a pleasure to tick each chat and perhaps note what the question was. I think the largest number of ticks was 46 or 48. Some days, due to outages or events were much lower. Thirty plus was the norm. I laughed as I quickly flipped through the stack looking at all the slashes. Each a person, for a few minutes or longer.

Now, as I have since March, I can take a few minutes to look around each morning as I go out to offer my coffee grounds to the garden or get the mail. The things to see are many. I fill the bird feeders. I look at the sky. I don’t have a long daily commute to think about things or listen to audio books, although I’ve finished several long audio books since being home. My Prius was showing 112.2 “mpg” the other day because many of my travels are within the electric range of the car. I don’t stop in a store just to look around. I took a pass on the normal Thanksgiving because it seemed like the best thing to do.

Today is 42 days away from Inauguration Day and that is good, even though the fight goes on to turn our country towards what it was before 2016 and maybe towards what we would like it to be. The fight continues to keep people healthy. The stay at home thing continues. So I look around and see what the world has to offer each morning and go from there.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
— Joseph Chilton Pearce

December 2020

Where did June Go?

Mainly it went in a swirling of brain-drain as I trained and adjusted to doing a new thing while working from home. It has taken really three weeks to go from abject terror to only moments of wondering what-the-heck-am-I-doing, LOL. Toward the end of last week, which ends on Saturday, I had moments of – oh, I know what to do here! Or hearing someone else asking a question in our support chat and thinking, ‘isn’t that…?’ So slow but sure.

Working at home means no forty-five minute plus commute each way, but also means I make my own coffee and breakfast and lunch. And dinner. Sometimes I get to eat one or all of those sitting on the front steps. Sometimes I get to dash out afterwork because the sun is out and I can get a painting in and take photos of the evening coming on.

July brings with it World Watercolor Month so get ready for a more regular appearance of paintings here. After that – August Poetry Postcard Festival 2020 – although with the pandemic in play, some of us started early on that. I did a month’s worth of postcards during NaPoWriMo in April.

I feel the rhythm of my year changing and yet it’s the same. A few photos popped up in facebook of watercolors I’d done in 2016 and 2019 and it was interesting to see what was the same and what was different. Since being home I found a place in New Lebanon where there is a 360 degree view of the sky. Looking back years from now I’ll be reminded of the pandemic by many many panoramas of the sky and clouds and landscape.

Here are photos from today. Mostly clouds and landscape but a few plants and flowers and a couple mushrooms that snuck in at the end. Look close – some of the clouds were being visited by birds and other things!

29 June 2020 out and around.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Where did June Go?

NaPoWriMo – Day Thirteen

Well, to say the least, it was raining. And then it rained some more. And then Billy Collins did his live reading at 5:30 – Thank you Billy!

When the rain came down
making circles in circles
of the world already so wet
Out painting, grey isn’t
what I was there to do
so I broke out the tea
thinking this will pass.
It poured and I poured.
On my phone, a poet
reading. How amazing,
to sit in your car and
watch a favorite poet
read and talk about
his words. He was, in fact,
apologetically in Florida.
While he spoke I viewed
the fuzzy world past two
watercolor palettes and
laughed so I painted
them and him and went home.
It was a good day despite
the endless rain and news.
Another day of staying home
or at least alone, painting
and writing and finding
a scrap or two of laughter.

I can’t complain really, this morning it was so wet and windy that I stayed in and painted this.

Art to me, is seeing. I think you have got to use your eyes, as well as your emotion, and one without the other just doesn’t work. That’s my art. — Andrew Wyeth

NaPoWriMo – Day Thirteen

NaPoWriMo – Day 10

There were three poems, but this one was a little more ready to go. More in the continuing string of longer than normal poems! Someone on facebook asked what pickles were on our refrigerator shelves and a lively listing ensued. Later it was summed up as a great long and very informative conversation that had nothing to do with the news! I totally agreed. What a welcome diversion.

After I was sick at the beginning of March, I took an actual list and did a pantry shop, just before things got locked down. (When I’d started to feel well enough to stay out of bed for awhile, I had got it in my head to clean out the pantry and kitchen shelves, which I did, a little at a time and many trips to the trash can.) I was glad to have just freshened up all my go-to items, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get some groceries for pick up and some fruits and veg delivered!

In these days —
“these difficult times”
when grocery shopping has
taken on a whole new
sense of adventure,
we talk about our
childhood meals and
favorite candybars and
how our sourdough is doing
as though we are indeed
in “difficult times”
My pantry has all the
old standbys, spaghetti,
makings of sauce, baked beans,
soup, sandwiches, pickles, relish.
Tea, coffee beans, sugar.
A few bottles of adult
refreshment for evening
Raisins, a jar of oatmeal.
Doubtful I will starve
although the cats would
tell you otherwise.
They seem concerned.
I reassure them daily.

.

NaPoWriMo – Day 10

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Yes I was struck down by something last week. I’d gone off to a talk at the Clark (sorry guys) and driving home felt sort of punk. Chest feels rough, that weird head thing when you’re probably running a temp. This went into a dry cough and felt like it was going to a typical bronchitis thing. Napping? I’m suddenly good at it. Normally, for me, things start in the head and go down, ruining voice, mild cough, deep cough, and then better with cough that goes on for weeks. This was not that but stayed the same until yesterday when suddenly I started sneezing. I waited to take a claratin and then everything went back to how it had been. Weird interruption by allergies? slash shrug.

It felt plain weird to be home sick while the whole world is sort of freaking out about COVID-19. Call in with “I’m still sick, sorry” and wonder if they’re like “oh thank god she’s not coming in!” LOL. Maybe it was just the low fever talking.

I stayed home. I had recently grocery shopped, although not everything on my “emergency list” but I was good. (And I’d picked up eggs and bread so I worked on my “soft-boiling eggs by observing how quickly the shells dry” skills) But let me tell you friends, apart from having the mandatory symptomatic relief stuff (and checking to see that your digital thermometer actually works…hey the hand is 85% accurate!), here’s what really saves your butt in times like this.

Well, this. And not so much this when you’re trying to sleep and keep sticking out a foot to cool off, LOL.

THIS! This is my thermos. Everyday, just about, I make hot tea in it and bring it to work or out to paint or at least have it in the car. When I went to Wales I had a similar one which proved a great comfort when I’d get turned around (aka lost) and would pause to reflect on the landscape. This one has fallen down the stairs a few times, leaving it with some dings and some finger holds but it does a GREAT job of keeping things very hot.

So, when I’d make a cup of hot tea this week I’d make another in this. Awhile later I could have a second cup without getting up. This thermos is the best money I’ve spent on something in the past several years. It also has a pour-through stopper which works like a charm. It holds about twelve ounces which is a mugful, but you get 3-4 capfuls which is a nice way to drink hot tea whether you’re sick or not. If I’m out painting, it distracts me so things can dry.

This was one of the Salada tags this week. This box is all about smiles for some reason. So remember to keep your distance and let your smile tell the tale!

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Tea – From the Quote Box

From a packaged tea bag today:

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. — T’ien Yiheng

Seriously one of the best things about travel to both NZ and Wales is the excellent tea service. The following was found here.

In accordance with the Chinese practice of prescribing the proper moment and surrounding for enjoying a thing, Ch’asu, an excellent treatise on tea, reads thus:

Proper moments for drinking tea:
When one’s heart and hands are idle.
Tired after reading poetry.
When one’s thoughts are disturbed.
Listening to songs and ditties.
When a song is completed.
Shut up at one’s home on a holiday.
Playing the ch’in and looking over paintings.
Engaged in conversation deep at night.
Before a bright window and a clean desk.
With charming friends and slender concubines.
Returning from a visit with friends.
When the day is clear and the breeze is mild.
On a day of light showers.
In a painted boat near a small wooden bridge.
In a forest with tall bamboos.
In a pavilion overlooking lotus flowers on a summer day.
Having lighted incense in a small studio.
After a feast is over and the guests are gone.
When children are at school.
In a quiet secluded temple.
Near famous springs and quaint rocks.

Moments when one should stop drinking tea:
At work.
Watching a play.
Opening letters.
During big rain and snow.
At a long wine feast with a big party.
Going through documents.
On busy days.
Generally conditions contrary to those enumerated in the above section.

Things to be avoided:
Bad water.
Bad utensils.
Brass spoons.
Brass kettles.
Wooden pails (for water).
Wood for fuel (on account of smoke).
Soft charcoal.
Coarse servant.
Bad-tempered maid.
Unclean towels.
All varieties of incense and medicine.

Things and places to be kept away from:
Damp rooms.
Kitchens.
Noisy streets.
Crying infants.
Hotheaded persons.
Quarrelling servants.
Hot rooms.

Tea Tag FTW – in for the night

Mom and I are watching the weather, catching pokemon and came prepared to do some serious coloring

Fruitcake, Via Starbucks!

On behalf of all the faithful members and friends of the Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake, this founder took herself to the nearest Starbucks to partake of their holiday offering – Fruitcake Frappuccino!

In the official announcement, Starbucks says:

The new beverage is inspired by holiday fruitcake with its colorful candied fruits, nuts and spices. Starbucks version starts with a Hazelnut Crème Frappuccino® blended beverage with dried fruit added and spiced with cinnamon, topped with whipped cream and an ornate topping of caramel dots and a sprinkle of matcha.

But unlike a traditional fruitcake, Fruitcake Frappuccino won’t last forever.

Well done!

And in real life? It came with a cute knit cup cozy and was tasty enough. I thought it tasted more of vanilla than hazelnut but that’s ok too. Pretty tasty, even if it was just for “ugly sweater day” celebrating. Bring it back next year, Starbucks!

Sunday

Spending today getting that quilt ready to actually get quilted. Finish the pinning, protect the edges, wind up some bobbins etc.

And some other stuff I can’t really talk about quite yet. And maybe some writing.

Laundry. Definitely laundry and that’s halfway to being clothes again.

Coffee #2 and to the pinning I go.

For the Quote Box

Thanks go to @jamesvictore for this great quote (from his How to be Brave and Scared Shitless webinar):

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing. — Charles Bukowski

Here’s the view here right now – in a few I’ll be off to wrangle fabric. Click for the Flickr Album!

cats and gnomes//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js