Saturday, March 28, 2020

Friday stuff (actually SATURDAY stuff)


I haven't done nearly as much reading as I'd have expected, especially with nowhere much to go with our "stay at home" orders.  Mostly, I've read the news (not always good for anyone's mental health these days) and social media (some humorous, some inspiring, some depressing).  The best part, though, is talking to others.  I do that now through phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, emails, and even Zoom as of yesterday when Donna Rae Jones walked me through my first ever video conversation.  She was at her own home, and I was in my apartment.  She hopes to set up a way to complete the sessions of gentle chair yoga she was teaching here in Crown's fitness center before everything got cancelled.


Jewish and Muslim paramedics pause to pray together.  Click here to read CNN's Thursday report, and be inspired that good people can work together to make this a better world in the midst of the pandemic.

Two Chattanooga surgeons have created locally sourced medical gowns to help with the supply shortage.  Consider these two hospitals in Chattanooga:
"Erlanger goes through 500 medical gowns a day and Parkridge, 300."
The gown is one piece, and you don’t have to touch anything to put it on. You literally just open your hands up, and then you put it over your head.  One of the doctors said, "This is what America’s about ... people teaming up together to fix the problem."  Many thanks to Dr. Lisa Smith, a pediatric surgeon at Erlanger for her prototype.


View from my window:  Two people walking on the other side of the street; he's on the sidewalk, she's in the street, the dog's on the grass between them.  Two people walking on our side of the street; he's in the middle of the sidewalk approaching the driveway to the apartments next door, she's coming toward him, he doesn't move over, so she curves ALL the way out into the street as they pass.

The doggie couple kept their distance all the way out of sight.  The man on our side continued his entitled way in the middle of the sidewalk all the way out of sight, while the young woman disappeared from my view as she neared the Crown Center.  Which of these people are you emulating?

em·u·late /ˈemyəˌlāt/ ~ verb ~ match or surpass (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.
Take the title of a movie and replace one word with Toilet Paper.  Go!  Here are mine to get you started:
  • Gone With the Toilet Paper
  • A Beautiful Toilet Paper
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Toilet Paper
  • You've Got Toilet Paper
  • On Golden Toilet Paper

Full circle now to my first sentence above:  "I haven't done nearly as much reading as I'd have expected."  So I'd better get back to reading.  And rather than journaling along with my two books by Michelle Obama (Becoming: A Guided Journal) and Jacqueline Winspear (What Would Maisie Do?), I seem to have been "journaling" day by day on my blog.

Update:  I started writing this post on Friday and didn't change the heading when I posted it.  My days have run together.  Oops!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday thoughts ~ at the end of the day


You’re in lockdown.  The only items you have to survive on are foods starting with the letters of your first name.  What is keeping you alive?
  • Bananas / Bologna / Broccoli / Bread
  • Olives / Onions / Oatmeal / Oreos
  • Nutty granola bars / Noodle soup
  • Navy beans / Nectarines / Nachos
  • Ice cream / Iceberg lettuce / Iced tea
  • Edam cheese / Eggnog / Eclairs
The rules don't say only ONE kind of food for each letter, so I stocked up for the long haul.  Donna put hers on Jean's Facebook post (thanks for the fun, Jean), and I see Donna and I have Navy beans in common:  Drinking water; Oranges; Nuts; Navy beans; Apricot preserves.  Now it's YOUR turn.  Go for it.


The sun was shining and the temperature reached 73°F, so I took Clawdia outside for a walk in the grass.  She visited Donna through the window, while I stayed six feet away (see the long leash?).

Continuing our stroll, Clawdia discovered the Crown Center bus, parked with the back of it over the grass where she was walking.  I drew the line (and the leash) when she wanted us to go under the bus.


While we were outside, a couple walking on the Greenway waved at me; it was Lauree and her husband Ron.  She told me that her mother Tiny is doing fine.  We saw several people while out and about, including Emma at the Crown Center greenhouse.  I chatted with Ginny in Tallahassee by using Facebook's private messages.  Connecting with folks far and near.

New questions

I've been thinking about the daily questions I found somewhere:
1. What am I grateful for today?
2. Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
3. What expectations of "normal" am I letting go of today?
4. How am I getting outside today?
5. How am I moving my body today?
Trying to answer each of those every day didn't really work, so I came up with my own list to choose from.  I'll use these as a reminder of possibilities and share one or more in my blog posts when I feel like it.  (So there!  LOL.)
1.  Something I'm grateful for
2.  Find something humorous
3.  Something that surprised me
4.  How I'm exercising or moving my body
5.  Activities I'm enjoying
6.  Who I connected with
7.  What I did NOT do, like cancelled stuff
8.  Today's word
9.  Whatever else is on my mind

That "toilet paper" humor at the top was funnier a week ago, but today I laughed when this photo made me think:  "Must be a blended family."


I'm grateful to the Crown Center.  When we are stuck in our apartments day after day, it's a kindness in this crisis that they deliver meals to us.  The food isn't boring, either.  Yesterday, I really enjoyed the Chicken Shawarma with rice, vegetables, and soup.  With one recent meal delivery, they included two word search puzzles, two coloring pages, and some pencils for coloring.  I got sky blue and deep brown; Donna got pink, orange, light green, and dark green.


I'll let you know when Donna Rae Jones goes live with her Gentle Chair Yoga.  In the meantime, we can visit SilverSneakers On-Demand for exercise videos.


"It's not about you; it's about everybody else."  Stay home, and stop the spread.  This chart is ancient, having been published three days ago, but it gives an idea of age groups of people hit by the coronavirus.

St. Louis County released this graphic to show the ages of our positive COVID-19 cases, updated March 23, 2020.  Since it's too tiny to read, here's what it shows in each age range:
  • 0-9 is 1
  • 10-19 is 2
  • 20-29 is 18
  • 30-39 is 12
  • 40-49 is 11
  • 50-59 is 27
  • 60-69 is 15
  • 70-79 is 2
  • 80-89 is 2
  • 90-99 is 0
As you can see, it is NOT just the elderly who are getting this virus.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Caring and Sharing

Checking in with friends

I called Ginnie, who was walking in her neighborhood, chatted a bit and said I'd call back later to talk.  When I did, we talked another 45 minutes.  It's been too long since we caught up.

Donna ordered a few things for me in her Instacart order, mostly cat food, but delivery isn't until Saturday.  Crown delivered meals for those of us signed up.  When Judy brought our meals, I spoke to my neighbor Galina, staying inside our apartments across the hall from each other.  Randi, working from home, called to ask if I would write a couple of sentences about our meal deliveries.

On my way out for a walk in the sun, I ran into Erin and her sister, who were going up to see their dad.  I left a voice message for Judy about a package downstairs for her twin sister Sue.  I texted Sharon, offering a Sudoku magazine with 76 puzzles in it.  Nope, so does anyone else do sudoku?  If you live close by, it can be yours.  I'm pretty sure there were others, a normal day ... or at least, a NEW-normal day.  Sheltering in place doesn't have to be boring.

Neighborhood caring

One upbeat comment on Nextdoor was very popular.  "Earlier today my daughter Zoya was feeding the birds over-ripe bananas.  I was going to throw those bananas [away], but she insisted that the birds would love it.  The birds really loved those bananas as they came in [a] bunch and ate it.  FYI, Birds also sent a 'Thank you note' for my daughter."

Another person offered an activity for children:  "Hi, neighborhood — I got an order of frozen food that came with a large block of dry ice.  I remember using dry ice in kid activities when my kids were young.  If anyone’s interested, let me know and I can leave it in its box on my front porch."

"How’s everyone doing?  Does anyone need anything?" — Dozens of people have commented on this one, including one who said, "This thread is simply awesome! — it’s community in action."  And most of those comments garnered many MORE responses in reply.

One woman asked how crowded the grocery stores are, and people jumped in.  I told her, "Try Instacart for deliveries, but know that my friend ordering today was told delivery will be on Saturday.  Don't wait until the last minute."

Exercising mentally and physically

I walked to the grocery store a block away, and lots of people were out on the greenway.  They were jogging, hiking, rollerblading, nodding hello as they passed far apart on the wide sidewalk.  One man was biking with an attached baby trailer flying a red pennant.  A child skipped ahead of her parents as they walked and talked much too slowly for her pent-up energy.  And I snapped this picture of a beautiful day in the neighborhood, with the sun shining, the wind blowing, temperatures reaching 61°F, and a single contrail in the sky (not in this photo).

Here's a do-at-home video for you, guided by my friend, the yoga instructor — Body Scan with Donna Rae Jones.
    Sharing book titles

    1.  My friend the bookmobile lady — that would be Donna — told me about this book.

    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, 2019, historical fiction (Kentucky)
    In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky, blue-skinned nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry, has just snuffed out her last courting candle, her last chance for 'respectability' and a marriage bed.

    The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.  Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program.  She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give those who have nothing a bookly respite.
    2.  One of my friends has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  Today, she recommended a great book that has helped her immensely.  I'm debating whether to get it for my Kindle or wait for my library to re-open to read it.  My mother, who lived with me for 25 years, developed Alzheimer's.  In other words, I've lived with it, dealt with it, am dismayed by what it does to people.

    The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline ~ by Dale Bredesen, 2017, cognitive decline
    In this paradigm shifting book, Dale Bredesen, MD, offers real hope to anyone looking to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer's Disease and cognitive decline.  Revealing that AD is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but three, this book outlines 36 metabolic factors (micronutrients, hormone levels, sleep) that can trigger "downsizing" in the brain.  The protocol shows us how to rebalance these factors using lifestyle modifications like taking B12, eliminating gluten, or improving oral hygiene.

    The results are impressive.  Of the first ten patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement within 3-6 months.  Since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more.  The End of Alzheimer’s brings new hope to patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers with a fascinating look inside the science and a complete step-by-step plan that fundamentally changes how we treat and even think about Alzheimer's Disease.
    3.  My friend Joy shared this last book on Facebook because the author has offered it for FREE to homeschoolers and others, months before it's even published:
    "Really exciting news folks,  Because families and teachers are struggling to find curriculum during the COVID-19 epidemic. Heyday Books, Emilie Lygren, and I have released the complete PDF of our new book How to Teach Nature Journaling for FREE.  The book will be available for sale in a few months.  Nature journaling can easily be done outside, maintaining social distancing, an ideal science activity for shelter in place.  Share the news.  Stay healthy my friends.  Visit for this and more resources."
    How to Teach Nature Journaling ~ by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren, foreword by Amy Tan, 2020, education
    A comprehensive guide to using nature journaling as a tool to engage young people with the outdoors, this teacher-friendly book combines curriculum plans, practical advice, and in-the-field experience so that educators of all stripes can bring journaling to their students or families.  Full-color illustrations and sample journal pages from notable naturalists and novices show how to put each lesson into practice.

    31 hands-on field activities to connect art, science, math, and critical thinking, while encouraging students and mentors alike to recognize and record the wonder and beauty in the natural world.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    New normal ~ going on a bear hunt

    People in my neighborhood have been taking their children on bear hunts.  The idea came from a children's book (below).  I found the author of the book acting and singing his way through the story on YouTube.  What fun!  I have found several different YouTube videos of it, or you can get a copy of the book.

    We're Going on a Bear Hunt ~ by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 1989, children's, 10/10
    "We're going on a bear hunt.  We're going to catch a big one.  Will you come too?"  For years, readers have been swishy swashing and splash sploshing through this award-winning favorite, as a brave family romps through sweeping land-scapes.  The version shown here features pop-ups, flaps to lift, tabs to pull, and sound effects.
    Now I want you to imagine going on a "bear hunt" where what we are hunting for is all the encouraging things people are posting for how we can use our "stay at home" time.  That's OUR bear hunt for today.  One "bear" I found:  Parkway United Church of Christ posted this poem on their website today.  Thanks, Parkway UCC.
    Don’t Quit

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    Contributed by Ellie Svenson

    When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
    When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
    When the funds are low, and the debts are high
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

    Life is strange with its twists and turns
    As every one of us sometimes learns
    And many a failure comes about
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Success is failure turned inside out—
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell just how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far;
    So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
    It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
    I had to memorize this poem when I was a child in school, so reading it put a smile on my face and put my memories in overdrive.  Here's another "bear" I found on my hunt for encouragement, a book whose title is perfect for our time:

    Finding a New Normal: Living Your Best Life with Chronic Illness ~ by Suzan L. Jackson, 2020, health
    Based on Sue’s almost 20 years living with chronic illnesses in her own family, writing her blog, writing articles on chronic illness, and leading multiple support groups, she provides support and practical advice you can use.  Whether you are in the early days of living with chronic illness or have been at it for years (or decades), there are always challenges in living a life framed by limitations and restrictions, where isolation is a common issue.

    This guide provides inspiration, advice on emotional coping, and guidance on living your best life with chronic illness from someone who’s been there.  Though it seems impossible at first, your life will eventually settle into a new normal, and while that life may be different than the one you had planned, it can still be a vibrant, fulfilling life based on strong relationships, a healthy emotional state, and finding joy in every day.  The emphasis in this book is on LIVING your life, not just enduring it.
    We are all "coping with isolation, anxiety, grief, living a separate life, and looking for small joys each day," Sue Jackson wrote on her blog, telling us her book is now out in paperback, as well as in an ebook.  Don't you love it that she emphasizes LIVING, not just enduring?  Some of her chapter titles sound perfect for our "new normal" in the time of coronavirus:
    • One Day at a Time
    • Finding Joy in Every Day
    • A Plan B Day
    • The Restorative Power of Nature
    • What Makes You Forget?
    • Reading Expands Your World
    • The Importance of Play
    • The Wide World of Online Learning
    Thanks, Sue.  We can use these suggestions NOW, to alleviate boredom and frustration when we'd rather be out and about.

    Okay, let's keep "bear" hunting.  I have one more inspiration for now.

    Rather than sitting around in a funk, we'd be better off doing some exercises.  Donna Rae Jones is working on a way to help us do just that.  I'll let you know when she'll be leading us live in the mindful movements of yoga.  She's sent me a connection so I can practice getting connected tomorrow.  In the meantime, check out her website.

    Our new normal is checking on each other:  yesterday and today, I've checked-in by phoning, emailing, texting, and Facebook with Donna, Donna Rae Jones, Dora, Mary, Sandy, Susan, Tiny, Rosie, Gail, some of my family members, and maybe others that don't come to mind right now.  Have you checked on your neighbors?  Your friends?  Your elderly family members?

    And last, but not least, the little black "bear" at my house.  Clawdia is doing her daily hibernation thing near me, as you can see in this photo.

    Two by two

    I've been decluttering (one good thing about being told to stay home), and I've found several books I've bought twice.  Have you ever done that?  For the first one, I can at least claim that the books LOOK so very different that I didn't recognize it.  The "extra" books have been going to my BFF Donna, if she wants them.  Yearnings was probably meant for her in the beginning, since I posted on this blog that I bought one "for a friend (one I already have, so we could study it together)"  Here are my duplicates (so far):

    The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew ~ by Alan Lightman, 2013, philosophy
    Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by recent discoveries in science.  He looks at the dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws.  Behind all of these considerations is the suggestion--at once haunting and exhilarating--that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.
    Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life ~ by Irwin Kula, 2006, religion
    Life can be messy and imperfect.  We're all looking for answers, yet the yearning for answers is no different now than it was in the times that gave rise to Moses, Buddha, and Jesus.  Far from being a burden, these yearnings can themselves become a path to blessing, prompting questions and insights, resulting in new ways of being and believing.  Merging ancient wisdom with contemporary insights, Kula shows how traditional practices can enrich our own search for meaning and invites us to embrace the messiness and complexities of our experience as humans in order to fully embrace the endless and glorious project of life.
    The Seekers: The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World ~ by Daniel J. Boorstin, 1998, cultural history
    Boorstin introduces us to some of the pioneering seekers whose faith and thought have for centuries led our search for meaning.  Moses sought truth in God above, while Sophocles looked to reason.  Thomas More and Machiavelli pursued truth through social change.  And in the modern age, Marx and Einstein found meaning in the sciences.  Boorstin follows the great seekers from the heroic age of prophets and philosophers to the present age of skepticism as they grapple with the great questions that have always challenged us.
    Theology of Hope ~ by Jürgen Moltmann, 1967 (English), theology
    Moltmann reinterprets eschatology as a central Christian Doctrine, seeing it as a starting point for a new understanding of God in history, of Christ and salvation, of the church and its mission. The old hope for the end of time becomes hope in the present reality, a hope opposed to the way things are.  (I bought a second copy because the original was falling apart, but I kept the original because it's the one I annotated when I read it in 1987.)
    Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why ~ by Bart D. Ehrman, 2015, theology
    Ehrman reveals that the King James edition of the Bible (1) was based on corrupted and inferior manuscripts that in many cases do not accurately represent the meaning of the original text, (2) the story of Jesus forgiving the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) doesn't belong in the Bible, and (3) scribal errors were so common in antiquity that the author of the Book of Revelation threatened damnation to anyone who adds to or takes away words from the text.  
    We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2014, religion
    Re-imagine what it means to live joyfully and responsibly in today's world as agents of God's justice,creativity, and peace.  These readings give an overview of the whole Bible and guide an individual or a group of friends through a year of rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth.   If you're seeking a fresh way to experience and practice your faith or if you feel out of place in traditional church circles, this book will inspire and activate you in your spiritual journey.
    Multiple copies, multiple times

    Hmm, I see that I've done this before, and some of the books are the same ones.  I guess I haven't been very prompt in giving away spares.

    Monday, March 23, 2020

    Monday morning

    I think we've all memorized these guidelines already, but I think I'll just leave them right here, anyway.  One of my friends said she didn't think her hands had ever been this clean.

    I'm a visual person, so maybe this will be helpful to others who think the way I do.