The Things We Do These Days

As the pandemic has changed our lives significantly, we are finding new ways to get through the days. For instance, the Crankee Yankee hasn’t cooked in a long time. But these days he has made his delicious stew, which we haven’t had in years. I still make tomato sauce, and hopefully today will be the last time I do it until next year.

We are watching shows we used to like, and have found that they are a good way to forget (if only for a few hours) about the pandemic. The Crankee Yankee and his train friends now have meetings on line; something new for the group. But this way they can stay in touch.

I still feed the “outdoorsies.” Most of them are stray cats (maybe they have homes; but they haven’t told me yet) and I don’t mind feeding them. In the very early mornings, it’s not unusual to see one or two skunks (who politely do not spray), the odd raccoon, and of course, cats.

Slowly but surely, I am going through things upstairs, such as boxes of Christmas ornaments, winter clothes, paintings and pictures, and things from my parents’ house. I often wonder how the things we inherited (plus our own stuff) will eventually end up in the future homes of our granddaughters.

All of this is a good way to stop worrying about the pandemic; we have lots to do and that will have to suffice until the pandemic finally packs up its nasty little bag and buggers off for good. Even though things are a bit strange now, it seems that we are all growing closer to each other, and perhaps valuing each other more.

I hope so.

Another Pond Walk

As much as I love the fall, I will miss the pond walks when winter comes. So I try to take a walk around the pond while I still can. These days the ducks no longer paddle in the water, the huge turtle that lives in the pond hasn’t been seen for quite a while, and the blue herons are few and far between.

For some reason, someone has put up signs with arrows along the path around the pond, which struck me funny because it’s pretty obvious that you walk the trail around the pond, signs or no signs. Go figure.

There is something quiet and peaceful about a walk around the pond. Although the rambler roses have gone by, as well as the wild flowers that make the walk so beautiful. The milkweed fluff has long gone. The seeds in the milkweed have flown and will find new places to grow. The nests of the birds who raised their young in the late spring are empty.

The pond creatures are probably ready to dig down into the mud at the bottom of the pond to sleep until spring comes. The wildlife around the pond know when it’s time to get ready for winter. Depending on what amount of snow we will get, it may not be possible to visit the pond during the cold weather.

That said, I am going to do any many pond walks as I can before winter comes. As always this time of year, I think about what I will miss when snow comes. In the past, I have struggled through deep snow around the pond; not much fun, but a good workout.

As I walked around the pond and got to the end of it, I happened to look down into the reeds, and behold and lo; there was a blue heron. He (or she) was standing stock-still, no doubt waiting for lunch to come swimming by. I walked away as quietly as I could, and wished for the heron to get a good lunch.

And as always after a walk around the pond, I felt peace. In our world today, that’s a pretty good way to feel happy for a change. When the world is too much *late and soon, I go to William Wordworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us:”

“The world is too much with us; *late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.”

Oh, Technology!

I finally understand how my parents felt about technology. My mother would brag to her friends that she didn’t need a computer; she had me to look up things for her. Her friends might have thought that just calling me to look something up was still using technology, but of course, Mom being Mom just poo-pooed that.

She would call me a few times a week to look up this, that or the other thing. Then she would tell her friends that I was her ‘technology.’ To be honest, I got a kick out of her calling me to look things up. It was her way of being in the know without having to deal with technology herself. It still makes me laugh when I think about it.

The funny is that I still don’t always know how to work everything on my computer; it’s a ‘guess and by golly’ deal with me. When we went to visit our granddaughters last week, Ava (the oldest) showed me her laptop from her school. Since the girls aren’t exactly going to school, they are given laptops and do their studying at home.

It didn’t take long before I realized that Ava already knows far more about her computer than I know about mine. Honestly, the kids today that grow up with technology are amazing. I can’t wait to see how they make their way in the world knowing all they know at their tender ages.

Ava, being the kind person she is, accepts my inability to learn more about technology. So she asked for my email address, and since I actually DO know how to run that, we are good to go and can stay in touch. What’s amazing to me (and humbles me greatly) is that clever and kind young girl actually enjoys being with me.

At this time of my life, I am both glad and grateful that my granddaughters put up with me being the fuddy-duddy on technology that I am.

Being Rude Over the Phone

I don’t know about you, but I am seriously tired of political phone calls. I’ve gotten to the point where I just hang up on them. Rude, I know, but I feel that they are rude to call day and night. I’m finding that the older I get, the less patience I have, which just proves that the older you get, the crankier you get.

Yes, I understand that these folks are trying to make a living, but it irritates me to no end when they call in the late evening. The Crankee Yankee keeps a “*minion” button near the phone, When one of those annoying calls come, he presses the button and all you hear is crazy laughter and screeching. Savage amusement…

I find that the older I get, the less patience I have with time wasters. And as we have a presidential election coming up, everyone’s phones are ringing day and night. What irritates me the most is when I am asked who I will vote for in the presidential election. My point of view on this: who I vote for is my business only. Sadly, I have seen too many people lose friends over politics.

I really started out in life as a nice person. I have tried to be kind and understanding, and I have often given people the benefit of the doubt. That said, there comes a time when it is ok to say that you don’t talk politics, and you do not need a reason to do so. If people want to yell and scream at each other about politics, go for it. Just leave me out of it.

*From Me Wiki: The Minions are small, yellow, cylindrical creatures, who have one or two eyes. They are the signature characters of the Despicable Me series.

No Means NO; Period, The END

I wrote this years ago, and I STILL maintain that “No” means NO!
 

I don’t necessarily mean “no” as in “no, I’m uncomfortable with you driving to your home for drinks and ‘entertainment.’” ‘NO’ is useful when someone tries to coerce you into doing something you just don’t want to do.

 

Case in point: when Mrs. Nosey Pants from the Garden Club Steering committee begs you to post flyers all over town for their upcoming event, you feel like a jerk if you don’t do it. Of course, you have a full-time job, your kids are still at home, you volunteer once a week at the local shelter, and you have three dogs. You simply to do not have the time or energy to take on one more thing.

The people like Mrs Nosey Pants are experts in winkling you out some of your valuable time—they know just how to tug on your heartstrings. Before you know it, you’ve been roped into taking on yet one more thing. People like this know how to get at your soft underbelly, and they always do it with a smile. They walk away, satisfied that there is now one LESS thing that THEY have to do, and happy that they successfully suckered you in to do it.

Most of us really don’t like to say ‘no,’ especially for a good cause. So we keep taking on the one more thing until we finally realize that we are tired to the bone and have zero time for ourselves.

The trap that many of us fall into is that, down deep, we don’t really believe that we deserve time for ourselves. We yearn for an hour-long hot soak in the tub with a glass of wine, a great book, and a shovel full of really expensive bath salts….but no, your son needs help with his book review, your twin girls need help with their science project, and all three dogs are whining to get out for a long walk.

We start to feel guilty each time we take a moment for ourselves, if only to just breathe. But here’s the thing; you are a walking pitcher of water, and when you pour all that water out, there’s none left for you. 

If a friend told you that she is so tired each day from all her responsibilities that she feels dead on her feet, and the last time she had time for a cup of coffee was three days ago. What would you tell her?

You’d tell her to let some things go for her own peace of mind and health. You would tell her what a dear friend she is, and that she is so much more than her responsibilities. In fact, those responsibilities would feel a lot lighter if she had a bit of time for herself.

You would tell her to take that precious half hour to put her feet up, watch a bit of TV or read a poem, or just close her eyes for five minutes. You would tell her that she is worth it; that she matters and that you care deeply for her.

Now: go look into the mirror and tell yourself those same things. 

Fall and Why We Love It

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are turning red and gold, and the sky is brilliantly blue. The last of our tomatoes are bright red and I have made several pots of spaghetti sauce with them. This time of year the sun feels good, and we spend most of the morning sitting in our chairs on the porch with our coffees, watching the world go by. Even our indoor cats seem to like watching out of the windows for the changing seasons.

And then there is that special scent of fall in the air. Of course we know that winter follows fall, but we still enjoy that fall weather. When I lived in Texas, I missed the New England fall. In Texas it was all the same; hot and hotter all year round. But you get used to it; it’s one of those “bloom where you’re planted” things.

Fall is the time when we start changing our closets with winter clothes, and we bag up the summer ones for next year. Those who love to ski haul their skis and boots out of the back of the closet; ready to go down the snowy hills.

Fall is such a cozy time; it brings us back to our childhood. We start remembering how things were when we were kids; going back to school, getting our costumes ready for Halloween, and dreaming about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is a wonderful time of year. Of course winter will come as it always does, but for the time being, there’s no snow, but there are lots of colorful leaves. Enjoy it all before winter sets in!

Halloweens Past

The pandemic has changed our lives (and our habits). Wearing masks and washing our hands have become just another part of our lives. It has become so usual to see everyone in masks that we don’t even think about it anymore. These days it just is what it is. When I think of the coming holidays (and yes; I feel that Halloween is definitely a holiday too), I wonder how we will celebrate them.

Speaking of Halloween, it’s sad to hear that kids will not be able to trick or treat door-to-door or car-to-car, along with Halloween parties, carnivals and haunted houses. I get it; we all have to be careful. But I do feel sad for the kiddos.

Thinking back when we were kids in our costumes, hopefully holding out our candy bags to be filled, it was a simple time. Masks were for Halloween fun, and at many of the homes we were given homemade cookies and cupcakes. I’m pretty sure that folks aren’t doing that this year; it’s a pity. In some ways the corona virus is a pretty scary Halloweenish thing in itself.

Like everything else these days, everything is changing. Hopefully we will get back to normal some day soon. But for now, we will have to make the best of it by doing the right things and being careful. Even though these are difficult times we can still be grateful for all the good things in our lives. There will be a time when we look back on this time and say “we made it through!”

 

 

Simple Things

Ever wonder what it would be like to be so rich that you could have every single thing you ever wanted? I’ll be honest; sometimes I wonder how my life would be like if I were *filthy rich. I’d be afraid that I would go crazy buying everything and any thing I ever wanted.

But wouldn’t you think that that would get dull sooner or later? I mean how many fabulous shoes can you wear? How much gorgeous jewelry can you drape yourself with? How many cars do you really need? Don’t you think you’d get weary about having each and every thing you ever wanted?

Sometimes it’s the simple things that turn out to be the best things. Years ago I wanted a leather jacket so badly it hurt. When I had enough money to buy one, I picked out a gorgeous maroon one that fitted me perfectly. I wore it every day, weather permitting. I remember thinking that I would wear that jacket every day for the rest of my life.

I no longer have it because I got bored of it. In fact, I gave it away to a cousin who adored it. I don’t miss it, either, and I love thinking about how happy it made my cousin to have it. Turns out that it usually is the simple things (rather than the expensive ones) that matters most.

Simple things can turn out to be the most beloved things. Go figure.

*The term “filthy rich” reminds me of a show I saw years ago. It was about a family who was extremely wealthy; everyone had whatever they wanted and spared no expense. But bad times came, and they lost all their money. When the family was picking up the pieces of their new lives without money, the youngest girl said, “we were filthy rich; now we’re just filthy!”