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Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Today, on this episode of Quarantine Adventures, I decided to clean out my kitchen cabinets. Since we began sheltering in place, I’ve been completely unmotivated to really do much around the house, especially since Marty and I have been online teaching full time. It’s completely exhausting and by the time I actually finish for the day, around 9 or 10:00, I don’t want to do anything else. Seriously, we have assignments and questions coming in 24-7 and it’s a lot more difficult to grade online work than it is on paper.

That’s also a reason I haven’t been writing much lately; I’m at the computer all day long and by the time I’m done working, I just don’t want to type anything else. We do take breaks during the day, but it feels like we’re constantly working and we can’t step away for long. Hence, there is not much going on in the way of deep-cleaning at our house, except for the linen closet I emptied out a few weeks ago.

BUT! This is Memorial Day weekend and although I have a billion more e-assignments to grade (just the thought of that makes me want to cry), I’m actually taking a couple of days away from online school. I’m not even looking at my email right now. After reading for a few hours this morning (Delicious!!!) I decided that we needed chocolate chip cookies. I mean, when do we not need chocolate chip cookies?

While rummaging for ingredients, I noticed that there were a lot of items that had been there for a while. And when I say a while, I mean a really long time, so I started going through them.

Oh, my goodness.

There was a lot to see there, folks.

Our cabinets go back ridiculously far. I know I’m short, but one would need 6-foot-long arms to easily reach the back of these cabinets. That means that as we go shopping and add more stuff, items that don’t get used get pushed all the way back and out of the sight line. It’s a really stupid design. There were a lot of things pushed to the back. Undeterred, I got out my trusty step stool and tried not to dislocate my shoulder.

Here are some examples of things I threw out today:

  • Two boxes of cornstarch, one expired in 2014, one in 2016.
  • Lasagna noodles, expired 2015.
  • Cherry Jell-O, expired May 2013 (at first glance, I thought it said 2003.)
  • Club crackers, expired 2018.
  • Lemon extract, expired 2014. (That one smelled up the whole kitchen when I poured it down the drain. Mostly lemony, but also icky.)
  • Instant coffee that was technically not expired but had consolidated into, well, a solid.
  • Arborio rice, expired 2016.

And the oldest thing I found today: A box of chamomile tea that expired in 2010.

We’ve been here since 2001, so all things considered, it wasn’t horrible, but still. As I was cleaning, episodes of Hoarders kept going through my mind. (Do you know how old this is???) I mean, at some point before 2010, I had obviously done this before.

It was very therapeutic. I LOVE purging and throwing things away, I love the way things look and feel after it’s done. I’m proud to say that every food item in my cupboard is, for the moment, unexpired and all of the emptied boxes/jars/cans are in the recycling bin.

Guys, this was a major achievement today. I feel accomplished. However, it may be another ten years before I do it again.

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Sometimes, a song just sparks a whole memory and the feels that come with it. Here’s one I’ll share with you.

I like to listen to music when I make dinner and tonight, “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin came on. I was instantly transported to the late 90s when I was working on Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village. There were a group of us young girls who were between 20-25 and a group of more mature women who were our mamas. We called all of them “Mama”, it was just that way then. We had a good thing going.

Anyway, one morning as we were getting ready for visitors, Mama Linda, a dear lovely person with children in high school at the time, just belted out, “Me and Bobby McGee”, beautifully. She stopped after the first verse, a little embarrassed, but we egged her on until she picked it back up again and finished out the song. We were blown away, this tiny lady perfectly channeling Janis while wearing an 1880s farm dress, her hair braided in a bun. It was amazing and I’ll never forget that day. By the way, those days were twenty years ago and I still call her Mama Linda.

These days, I’m grabbing onto whatever positive things that I can and holding them in my heart. Music comes from the soul and entwines with our memories for our life soundtrack. “Me and Bobby McGee” fits in nicely to mine. Tell me your story that comes from a song and a memory.

Much love to you all.

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Unless you’ve been meditating in the desert for weeks like Jared Leto, you know that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. How long will this last? No one knows, but we can make it better by doing what is recommended: staying away from people as much as possible and washing our hands. It seems trivial to some, but my dear friend in Italy has seen just how bad this is. She and her family are fine, thank God, but so many are not. There are hundreds of deaths every day in places where there used to be such joy. I watch video from Rome, Florence, and Venice and remember how full of life those cities were when I visited just five years ago. The streets are empty, the obituaries are many. This is serious business, folks.

I don’t think I really have to explain the term “social distancing” since the entire world is doing it. If you’re not right now, you should be so we can get rid of this stupid virus and hug people again. I don’t know about you, but I miss hugging my friends. I hug Marty, obviously, but he does not want to be hugged all the time. Hugging Youngest Child is like trying to hug a rock right right now and he makes funny noises when I do. It will be good to hug other people again. Someday.

Like everyone else, we’re trying to find things to fill all of the extra time at home. Of course, there are always things that should be done, but aren’t pleasant. I’m forcing myself to do some of that. Things like scrubbing the kitchen cabinets. Or individually dusting all of the books in a bookshelf and then moving the bookshelf to clean the years of dust bunnies behind and underneath. I know, I know, I’m enjoying myself way too much, but it has to be done. Sigh. Sidenote: I hate cleaning. I keep a (mostly) clean house because, well, I don’t want to live in a dirty house and I love it when the house is clean, but I actually hate the process. I used to think I was a domestic person, but I’ve come to realize that I’m not. My mantra is, “Someday, I will hire a maid.”

Youngest Child has also decided that we are going to work out this entire time and that my running and sit-ups aren’t enough, oh, no. In the spirit of Jillian Michaels, he has added push-ups to my routine, six sets of an increasing number every night with a minute rest in between each set. Last night, I made it to six sets of seven. I hurt now. Marty wryly watches me struggle from the couch as the six-foot-tall teenager says that it’s good for us, that we’re going to be “ripped” this summer. Tonight, I’ll be up to six sets of eight. I don’t like push-ups.

Marty and I are also teaching remotely from home, which has been an interesting experience. We have apps that we can use to help us assign work and the students are familiar with the apps, but getting all 100+ of them to go online and do the assigned work is some of the problem. Most are, and they’re doing a great job, but some have limited internet access, even though the school lent out laptops to those who needed one. There are also others who are choosing to not do anything. We are grading their assignments, but at this point, the grades don’t count. The behavior management part of this has been FABULOUS, though. I haven’t written anyone up of kicked them out of my class in a week, although I did turn off a kid’s camera on Zoom yesterday for flipping everyone off. I was not shocked at who did the flipping off, either. It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes in the coming weeks.

There is no theatre right now. That’s something I’m super sad about, as are many people that I know. My cast and I were at least able to perform one weekend of The Glass Menagerie with wonderful reviews before we got shut down and there’s still a possibility that we could have one more performance to record, with no audience, and a cast photo once things settle down. Other theatres around here didn’t even get to open their March shows at all. Many are postponed until at least May or are cancelled outright. And that really, really sucks. I don’t want to get too deeply into that because I’m still having a hard time dealing with it. I know that there are many others in the same boat, but that doesn’t make it any easier. In the meantime, I’m still going over my lines every day, just in case.

With no theatre, I’m trying to focus back on writing, which is a good thing. I’m very close to finishing my sequel to Traveler (which is, by the way, available on Amazon. Hint hint.) and I have have a couple of other projects going as well.

I’m also focusing more on meditation. I’m very much in a learning frame of mind with metaphysical things and this has been a great time to explore, really be quiet, and let it happen. More on that later.

There’s time to read for fun again. I have a long way to go before I catch up to where Marty is, but I’ll try. I have about five books that I’m reading simultaneously at the moment.

Oh! I’m also planning my garden. I’m making a Shakespeare garden, kind of a big deal, with plants that Shakespeare references in his works. There will be a lot of new landscaping and I ordered a bunch of seeds that should be here any time now. I’ll post before and after pictures when things actually begin growing. Marty is scared.

So, what are you doing during this time? Drop a message in the comments or give this post a like. I’d love to hear from you. Reading comments gives me an excuse to not clean the basement.

Stay safe, everyone.

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It’s a cold, snowy day here in Michigan. Schools are closed because the roads are treacherously icy, so I had the luxury of sleeping in, although I do have fifty author projects from 7th graders on Google Docs to grade. There are fifty more projects waiting for me back at school, but that’s for another day. I’m feeling nostalgic right now.

On days like this, I say a prayer for those who work outside. I didn’t always get “snow days” off, but I’ll take them. I remember what it was like to work outside: in the cold, the snow, ice storms, pouring rain, tornado warnings, scorching hot heat waves. I did that for several years in my twenties and early thirties. I loved working with the farm animals, especially the horses, and people who take care of animals don’t get snow days, or heat days, or any other weather days. Animals need to be fed, watered, their stalls cleaned out every day, no exceptions, and I took pride in being “tough enough” to do it, although there were some pretty miserable days. Those days taught me a lot about work ethic and about myself. I had some pretty awesome mentors who were incredibly patient with me.

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Doing winter chores, whether at the farm or the carriage barn, was always an adventure. I remember my bangs freezing in a solid block from the breath vapor rising out of the woolen scarf wound around my face when the temperature was -5°. I was terrified that they would just break off with a snap. That was also the winter I got a giant lump on my forehead from slipping on the icy platform and hitting my head on the frozen metal water pump we were trying to turn on, fingers and toes uncooperative and numb. Eyes and noses would run in a constant stream from the cold. If any of the cows were being milked at the time, we would fight over who got to do it because that meant putting your hands on something warm for a little while, although it sometimes meant getting hit in the head with a frozen manure tail. On those brutal days, it would take more than an hour for the shivering to stop once we got inside, even with several cups of coffee.

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There were the spring and summer mornings when the tornado sirens would begin to go off, angry black clouds swirling around in the sky, the animals getting panicky. I was still terrified of tornadoes then, and I tried, unsuccessfully, to not let it show. Afternoons when it poured rain, the mud/manure mixture squelched up into our boots, through our stockings, weighing down the hems of the skirts and petticoats or the overalls we wore with sludge. The stains would never quite come out. One spring, the cellar of the farmhouse flooded and I sank almost to my knees in the dirt floor. My work laundry was always done separately from everything else and often had to be rinsed out first.

There were god-awful summer days when the actual temperature would be over 100°, our long sleeves and random pieces of hay glued to us, sweat trickling down every crevice, and people would complain that we weren’t offering carriage rides. My face, forearms, and hands would be a deep tan, but the rest of me was a pasty white.

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Spring lambs

All of these things were great adventures, and I could go on and on for days about all of it. Working in those conditions could be rough, but we bonded with each other over it all and made for some fabulous memories. I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for the world, and it makes me appreciate days like this much more.

I miss it, working outside, but I’ve developed Renaud’s Syndrome and I can’t work in the cold for long anymore. My heart goes out to those who are working outside on days like this: mail carriers, construction workers, first responders, and the ones who work with outdoor animals to make sure they’re as comfortable as they can be in this weather. They all have their own war stories to tell, I’m sure.

Thanks for reading mine.

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We all have weird stuff that we hate to do. For example, I hate packing lunches. I always have and it doesn’t matter if it’s my own or for someone else, even for my kids. Seriously, I loathe it.

I also hate opening a new bottle of wine, although I thoroughly enjoy the result.

These make no sense, both of these activities take only a few minutes, but I really dread doing them.

Other weird dislikes? Driving, talking on the phone, making dinner decisions, planning lessons, and grading papers. Well, maybe the last two aren’t too difficult to understand…

So, what’s your weird dislike? Spill it here, preferably, or on Facebook and Twitter. I want to know that I’m not crazy all alone!

Spill it!

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