4 June 2020

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. — Dalai Lama

Had a day of work training, all virtual, today. It’s been a long week and yesterday I allowed as I had hit the Wednesday wall. I was sure that others had too although I had no way of knowing what proportion their mix of work-anxiety to world-anxiety was. I couldn’t really tell what mine was.

Today was better work-wise, for me anyway. I found some hooks to use that gave me some grip of what is to come. Others sounded frantic and I thought – look at you MB, you’ve gotten over that Wednesday wall and found Thursday.

At the end of the day we had just an open talk session, unexpected but going on all over my company. People shared, offered support, cried. We talked about self-care and being aware of our needs and the needs of others but that idea that in order to help others we need to put our own oxygen mask on first. Be strong for ourselves so we can be strong and make things happen in the world.

I thought back over my long years at Apple and of times when my co-workers gave me unexpected but appreciated support and times when I stepped in to help someone else. Because, that’s what you do, right? You care about people and how they’re treated by the world and you try to do the right thing for them. I’ve told customers to leave. I’ve told customers – you’re sick, too sick to be worried about buying a new computer right this minute. Go home and feel better and come back. I’ve told kids – stop whacking your little sibling, because that’s not nice. Like I mean STOP it. Or, those are inappropriate comments and I’ll ask you to stop. OK, you don’t want to stop, I’m saying we’re done and you can leave.

So I pondered these things while listening. And I realized here I am, about to start in a new area of work, feeling very anxious and the world’s not helping me out. In 2001, my hire date for my new job was September 4 and my training was pushed back because our store wasn’t quite on schedule. The training started September 17.

I remember walking in and being so unenthusiastic about the whole thing. I remember thinking – just don’t quit. You need a job. You’ve been unemployed for a long time and you need this job. Don’t walk out. Everyone was so cheery and excited and I couldn’t make it happen. I remember how anxious I was because I really had no idea what the moment to moment reality of this new job would be. We all got through it, and it turns out that’s pretty much a daily thing, more often than not.

There’s been a lot of cheeriness this week but nothing over the top. I think most people have been worn down by the months of covid-19 and being home and moving from one crisis to another. We’ve spent a week together trying to learn virtual things in this new virtual world.

I’m sure it won’t be the last time of overlapping anxieties but let’s work to make the world good, as best we can, where ever we can going forward. Be kind folks, be kind.

All of my unedited cloud photos from today:

clouds 4 June 2020//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

4 June 2020

Today’s Best Thing – Maybe of the Whole Month

This might be the best thing I’ve done in months. Went out to the mailbox this morning as I do and there was a letter – from the IRS. Now, if you’re waiting for a refund, this isn’t exactly what you want to see in your mailbox. Walking back to the house I opened it. I knew, folks, what had to be done, and I did it.

I’m proud of it. I would and will do it again. And I’ll laugh now every few days over this.

Yes, I fed him to the worms, at the risk of corrupting or damaging my new worms in my composting bin, I ripped him up and buried him in there with all my other compostible bits.

Next time Jerk, don’t waste my tax dollars sending me your signature in re to something that’s already freaking happened.


Moisten and prepare your addition to the compost box:

Ensure the paper is adequately damp before shredding:

Prepare a place in the box and add in the new addition:

Cover and let the worms feast and do their thing:

Today’s Best Thing – Maybe of the Whole Month

NaPoWriMo – Day Seventeen (hold that thought)

Yes Seventeen… you know what that means? DING DING DING it’s Haiku Day!

We’ll be fine. Mostly.
Yes mid-April snow is fine.
I’m sure we’ll be fine.

Tax day came and went
without much pressure this year
Uh, what is today?

Been eating healthy.
Stocked up on beans and cabbage.
Craving a burger.

My shelves are well-stocked
I have emergency lights
Could you please call me?

Social Distancing
is a must these days for all
Hey, six feet back, bub!

Who is that masked man?
This is not a comic book,
just the grocery store.

Stay at home April
time to write many haiku
and eat some bonbons.

The cats look askance
You fed us, now go to work
please and thank you mom.

Some day we will laugh
at parts of this pandemic
but not all of it.

NaPoWriMo – Day Seventeen (hold that thought)

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

NaPoWriMo – Day 7

Early poem today

All the neighbors, the men,
have got an urge to prune.
Starts with some study —
careful study, and clippers,
pruners and chainsaws.
Bonsai topiary to its conclusion
nothing to impede the mower.
My next door neighbor is
exercising his right to prune
the bushes overhanging his fence.
freed limbs knocking against wood
he pulls the invasive grape
which no doubt gnaws him
in my careless disregard.
I listen to the determined tale
of man against nature and bush,
sitting against the car, brushes
and paints arrayed before me,
warm coffee, sun in my eyes
beholden to the spread of
daffodils and brown garden
hidden from the pruner,
organizing his world differently
while I do my poor best to
quickly capture mine on paper
as the light moves even faster
we each bend to the task at hand
on either side of his tall fence

NaPoWriMo – Day 7

NaPoWriMo – Day Four

Had a nice dinner with Mom. Beautiful sunset which I watched with a police car watching me. One other person stopped by for a few minutes to snap a few photos. I kept waiting to be told to ‘move along’ but I think the officer was probably watching what I was watching. Here, have a sonnet-ish thing. Sunset photos in the next post!

In My Pocketsies

Even though, it turns out I’m not going
anywhere today. Again. Staying home
because that’s the thing we’re all doing. Uh.
So, even though I’m staying home again.
I get up, do all the things, put on clothes.
comb my hair and then — this is the surprise:
I put things in my pockets like normal.
Well, normal is such a slippery word.
I thought about this today, my pockets,
more specifically the fact I carry
three pens with me, and a small notebook too.
Two in a pocket, one on my neckline,
I’m ready to snare whatever words are
trying to sneak by. Oh — I am ready!

NaPoWriMo – Day Four

NaPoWriMo Day Three

Thank You For These Groceries

I always cooked before, and
then I stopped. Mostly stopped.
I didn’t give up eating.
Nor were there no bags
of hopeful pasta, apples
and good sharp cheese.
In solitary pleasure
this week I’ve sliced and
diced and blanched,
washed and stirred.
I rise to make breakfast.
I sit down for dinner.
You ask: I stopped why?
The reason no longer matters
so I am taking it back,
bowls and spices and knives.
And today, with no one,
I ate, grateful for food and
time and reason to be grateful.
Glad my hands remember.
Thank you for these groceries.
Thank you for letting me
remember the pleasure
of cooking and eating.
Thank you for this food.
Amen.

Besides doing some cooking and dishwashing (and even a work meeting…), I went out and painted from my car today, in the rain, because… outside.

Finally, I went into my sewing room tonight, thinking maybe I should make a few face masks after all and I pulled a few fabrics, then gave up for the night in part because I had this creepy feeling that I was being watched…

NaPoWriMo Day Three

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

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Gettysburg Address