Sheltering in Place – Day 58

Home confinement. Time to smell the flowers. Time to clean out the medicine cabinet. Time to assess my life. Well, never mind that. That’ sounds way too grand. Time to assess my pajamas.  Hmmm. Maybe I need to face a few things. Just how long are you going to keep those puppies, anyway, no matter how attached to them you are? The nineties are gone. Face it. Also, Isn’t a good indication of too much-expected longevity when the label becomes so frayed it can no longer be read? Besides, before they faded to an off-yellow, weren’t they red and green checked? Do you really want to continue pinning them at the waist now that the elastic band is gone? In short, should you get hit by a bus wearing those pajamas, just how embarrassed would your cat be? Ellie does have her standards. So biting the bullet, I have decided it’s time for them to go. Maybe a few other things, as well. No, not hubby. I am really used to him. Besides, if I ever need a new one, I can send away for one. I do have Amazon Prime. A new hubby delivered in less than thirty-six hours and no shipping cost. But I like the one I have. For the moment. But back to my jammies. Maybe it would be a good idea to send away for a new pair. That pin keeps jabbing into me in the middle of the night.  

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Sheltering in Place – Day 57

Shoes. I am all for them. Keeps the feet safe, comfortable, and warm. But sexy shoes like the ones to my left? Well, let’s talk. I’ve never been able to wear those spiffy, 6″ stilettos with thin straps over the toes seen in magazines. Even in my youth.  I actually don’t understand how the human foot can stay atop them. I’ve tried,  believe me. Even when I was much younger, I would totter in them trying to ignore the pain in my back and calf muscles, not to mention my toes. And when I fell off them, I usually would take at least two innocent passersby with me. This could be because I have what I have come to understand in later life are called  Italian peasant feet. Our feet are made for stomping. We don’t even need boots. So get lost, Nancy Sinatra.   Yes, her boots may stomp all over you but ours were made for stomping grapes. Seriously. Strong, broad feet with fat toes. They were perfect for a bathtub full of grapes. I remember my Uncle Dominic used to have a bathtub in his backyard. At harvest time, he would fill the bathtub with ripe grapes from his small vineyard, rip off his shoes, and jump in. Somebody would sing the Tarentella or something like that and he was off and away. Soon my Aunt Rose would join him. I couldn’t wait to jump in. But being a kid I had to wait until my feet grew into the grape-stomping size. They did, but by then Uncle Dominic and Aunt Rose were long gone. I missed my chance. One of these days, I hope to find a bathtub full of grapes and hop in. It’s in the genes.

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Sheltering in Place – Day 56

When I was a child, I remember seeing photos, magazines, and movies starring the beautiful film star and competitive swimmer, Esther Williams. At the time, I guess somewhere inside my nine-year-old head, I knew she was gorgeous, with long legs and sexy bathing suits, but when you’re a kid, you don’t look at things the way the rest of the world does. Besides, I was practically a junior Esther Williams, minus the gorgeous, long legs and sexy bathing suit. Born and raised in southern Florida, I spent my youth in water of one form or another. Ocean, pool, creek, river, it didn’t matter, I was there. I also competed in local swim meets until I discovered rock and roll at age twelve. Until that time, my life was spent in one bathing suit or another, practically year-round. In fact, when we go through family albums, most of us knew what year it was by what swimsuit I was wearing. But back to E.W. What impressed me about our glamorous mermaid wasn’t all the fancy dives and breaststrokes but how she could pop up out of the water with a sparkling smile and eyes wide open. I mean, how, how, how? Have you ever tried opening your eyes coming out of either chlorine or saltwater, not to mention wearing a smile? I could never do it and man, I have tried. My eyes would sting, get bloodshot, and blink like crazy. I would wind up grimacing and looking more like a character out of a Max Sennett’s comedy rather than a glamorous film star. And forget smiling. Smile and your mouth fills with water. Okay, at the time I was a nine-year-old missing a few teeth, but I still can’t do it, complete choppers and all. Then there was Esther’s hair.…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 55

Today was Mother’s Day. I don’t’ have any children, so I’m not a mother. But I had a mother, and she was a swell one. She wasn’t perfect, but as moms go, she had a lot going for her. She was a single mother long before it was acceptable to be one. As a matter of fact, most if not all of the safety nets our society created for a single mom didn’t exist then. Also, finding derelict fathers for child support was a lot tougher. It wasn’t just a case of going underground. All a man really had to do was go to the next county or state and he might not be found for years. Lastly, there was a real stigma in being divorced. Being a proud woman, she made her way by herself so she didn’t have to listen to a lot of judgment calls. Or owe anybody anything.  It wasn’t easy, but she raised two kids, really, truly on her own. As a writer, I decided to compare her to some of pieces of literature because she certainly had a lot of traits people write books about. She was self-reliant and knew the virtue of it. If Virginia Woolf hadn’t written A Room of One’s Own, my mother could have. She didn’t for one moment think she didn’t have the right to make her own way. It’s a form of independence many people strive for and never attain. She was a poor man’s Auntie Mame. Patrick Dennis would have adored her instantly. She had color, flair, compassion, wit, and drama, all done in Rhinestones instead of diamonds. But she sparkled just as grandly. The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! I included this because if my mother had written a book,…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 54

Hubby has started calling me his Decontaminatrix. This is because I am always trying to decontaminate anything that comes into the house, us when we leave the house, us when we return to the house, and the surrounding world in general. Today hubby had his first gig since the shelter-in-place mandate took place. He was to perform in the garden of a small private home that houses 8 elderly people. He decided to try it, as there would be 6-foot distancing between them, him, me, and masks would be worn by all. When we got there I did my best to sanitize everything in the garden, even a nearby tree. Armed with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol Spray, and hand sanitizer, I tried to create the perfect, germ-free environment. Hubby sang for one hour, played the piano, and entertained the elders and staff alike. All the while he made sure no one came near him and he didn’t touch anything but his equipment. I stayed by my sanitized and distant tree, watching discreetly. If anyone, even a centenarian got too close to hubby or me, I was going to blast him or her in the face with the Lysol Spray. And make no mistake, I would have done it. Because I am serious about this, baby. I am Decontaminatrix. However, everyone behaved themselves, were grateful for his singing, piano playing, and good humor. After his hour’s show, they all retreated into their small home and we packed up the equipment with me wiping down everything twice. It was exhausting. But it was nice, for one brief hour, to have some form of normalcy, if only a touch of it.  

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Sheltering in Place – Day 53

On May 8, 75 years ago today, World War II was virtually over, particularly in Europe. I want to salute those who went before us, those who suffered and sacrificed their lives during that awful time. To all of those who served, whether on the front lines or at home, we thank you. Below is part of an email hubby’s friend sent out commemorating the day’s importance, shown in the songs of the time. He has graciously allowed me to pass it on. It was a time largely bereft of happy memories, but the music of the time was a comforting factor…to both the troops fighting the war and to their loved ones at home. During the Nazi rule, radio ownership in Germany rose from 4 to 16 million households. By 1940, 80% of American households owned a radio and, although the radio could be used to boost American morale, the American government censored radio channels in fear that enemy agents could send coded messages masked as song requests. [The BBC’s Radio Londres was operated by the Free French and actually broadcast appeals to the French to rise up, as well as instructions coded as “personal messages” to the French Resistance.] Many World War I songs had centered on propaganda, morale, and patriotism; those in World War II focused more on romance, sentimentalism and strength. Songs that were overly patriotic or militaristic were often rejected by the public. [Wikipedia] Here are just a few of the songs and artists of the day: “Bugle Call Rag”, written by Jack Pettis, Billy Meyers and Elmer Schoebel, it was first recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1922 as “Bugle Call Blues”.   The tune was popularized as a standard in renditions by Benny Goodman [playing it here in 1936], and Glenn Miller. Duke Ellington, The Chocolate…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 52

Today our electric grill arrived in the mail. I was very excited. Hubby was, too. Then we opened the box. As we began to unpack it, we saw there were about a million bazillion pieces and many of them itty-bitty, teeny-tiny. OMG. I mean, you can’t send it to me pre-assembled? Who do you think I am, Elon Musk? But I had done my writing for the day, hubby his music, and there we were. We couldn’t go anywhere, anyway. It was not what you’d call an easy-peasy project. All this stuff with screwdrivers and small pieces you sit on or fall under the table or you can’t find right away, and when you DO find them, they won’t go into the hole! It can be unnerving. For instance, we put something onto something and attached 3 of bolts E to join them together, as directed in diagram 3. Then we moved on to another piece of something or other that connected to a thingie with Bolts F. We finished this masterpiece, whatever it was, and were mightily pleased with ourselves. See? A musician and a writer CAN put something together. But we were too smug. It was wrong. It was back to front, doncha know. There was no way the lid or whatever that stupid thing is that keeps the smoke from escaping the grill would go on. We had to take the entire thing apart and start all over again. Curses rang out, Ellie ran under the bed, and we actually had to have a time out. Or lunch. A BLT on toast. But we are not shirkers. We persevered. After two solid hours, we finally put together something that looked like a grill! Filled with a sense of achievement, I decided to go online and see if…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 51

I am a mere shell of my former self. Seriously. I don’t mean weight-wise. I still remain the block-buster gal we all know. I mean as a person. Among other things, I can’t sleep. I seem to be wide awake until 2 am and get up around 7. Then I zonk out between 5 and 7 pm only to repeat this ghastly routine the next day. I miss phone calls, online meetings, and playing with the cat. My cat, Ellie, has a narrow window of awakeness. It’s usually between 5 and 7 pm. These days, other than putting down her cereal bowl and cleaning out her litter pan, I have little interaction with her. Not that she’s complaining. She even sent a letter of inquiry to the governor of California asking when she will get some alone time in this house. She awaits a personal reply or phone call. Naturally, Newsom would have to call her sometime between 5 and 7 pm. Ellie calls Governor Gavin Newsom “Gav,” as she claims he is a personal friend.  I don’t believe it for a minute. She’s not his type. Back to my lack of sleep. Hubby is fine with my vampire insomnia-like state. After all, we are together 24/7, so any time he gets to himself without me popping into his office for a quick hug or to remind him the pots go on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher, thank you very much, he’s happy. On the subject of loading the dishwasher, I fail to understand why a college graduate and an all-around smart guy cannot grasp that putting metal pots next to glasses is not a good thing. Okay, it’s possible I’m becoming squirrely. Talking to the cat. Waiting for Gavin Newsom to phone. Focusing on how one loads the…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 50

Today we had an adventure! And how my adventures have changed recently. A little more than two months ago, I was doing things like cruising through the Panama Canal and watching the engineering feat of locks up close and personal. Then we visited the rain forests of Costa Rica. I even saw a sloth! Or the guides told me I did. What I really saw was a dark blob way up in a palm tree. But if they said it was a sloth, it was a sloth. After all, they live there. They should know. It’s up there somewhere. That darkish blob to the left. Or right. I forget. But the world has changed. Two months later found me back in San Jose knee-deep in a pandemic, housebound like the rest of the world. But today was different. We got up at the crack of dawn and masked, gloved, and panting at the leash, drove to our local Target for Senior Hour Shopping. We actually arrived early and I stood in line – practicing safe distancing, of course -and waited for the store to open. Meanwhile, hubby drove to a nearby gas station and filled up the car with gas. Then hubby joined me in line and the doors opened at 8 am. Only 10 of us were let into the store at a time. We were in the first group, too.  Excitement abounded! The whole store practically to ourselves! But would they have anything? Yes, yes! What treasures we found! Beyond my wildest dreams. A large bottle of hand sanitizer (only one to a customer). A 3-container set of Clorox Disinfectant Wipes. Kitty litter that cost only 12 bucks a bag. Dawn Power Wash.  Steak, pork loin, and even dried beans got thrown into the shopping cart. I was…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 49

Yes, we have no bananas. Finally! That’s because I put them all to good use. No, not as a doorstopper or even a pair of earrings, Carmen Miranda style. A few days ago I wrote about receiving groceries via a shopper who misunderstood the number of bananas I wanted. Too many, too many! I had to be inventive. First, there was the banana daiquiri. Not exactly a dismal failure but not so yummy. Never make the mistake of putting too much banana in your banana daiquiri. What you really need is rum. Never skimp on the rum. Foolhardy. Second, I made chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. My mom used to make these when I was a kid. Back in southern Florida, she would go into the backyard and pick them off the tree. I got mine from a shopper. But they taste the same. Well, no they don’t. The smaller bananas that grow wild in Florida have a more intense flavor and there is something about going outside and picking your own banana off your own banana tree that makes it all the tastier. Truly. But where was I? Oh, yes. Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. All you do is cut the bananas in half, pierce them through the center with a popsicle stick or chopstick, roll them in melted chocolate, and pop them in the freezer. I halved the bananas, which made double the chocolate-covered bananas. If you look closely, you can see one went missing immediately. That’s because hubby snitched one when I wasn’t looking. He is fast! Then this morning I took the 3 remaining bananas which were blackening nicely, thank you, and made banana-walnut bread. It was fairly easy, all told. Of course, it weighs a ton. Between the nuts and the 3 bananas, this is one hefty loaf. Actually,…

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