Stay Safe Home Mode

My Foodsaver  and my freezer are my god-sends. So much so, that I truly believe I could go another 3-4 week in Stay Safe mode.

Not quarantined, not anymore self-isolated than usual, it’s pretty much just business as usual for me, except for the shortened commute.

Working from home has taken some getting used to. I’ve always imagined that I’d love it, and I do. The thing is, I imagined it with better equipment.

Downsizing from two huge monitors at work to my tiny laptop has been a challenge. My mini mouse requires a lot more maneuvering. Although, I’m not sure why since I’m sliding over a smaller surface.

My micro set-up unfortunately lends itself to completing one task at a time. I’m more of the handle-it-right-now-if-possible type. Too many windows can be a bit too much for my 5-year oldie to handle and too many layers for me to keep track of.

HBlu’s noticed that opening and closing files to limit electronic desktop clutter requires a lot of clicking.

At least, that’s how I’m interpreting the increase in those huffy cat-sighs while he lounges in the office recliner. Honestly, though, he might be sighing in the lounger because I wouldn’t let him squeeze into that small spot reserved for my mouse and pad. I cleared off the whole other 2/3 of the desk for him. But, no. He must occupy that corner.

Anyway, the point is, still working full days.

Don’t have any more free-time than I had. My 10-minutes-on-a-slow-day roundtrip commute gives me 5 extra minutes in the morning.  Plus, another whopping 5 in late-afternoon.

Still, somehow, I’ve been managing to get up 30 minutes earlier than norm. I made in onto the treadmill 4 out of 5 days before work my first week. A trend I plan to keep up.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve cut down on unnecessary glamour. (wink, wink.) Mascara and lipstick-free isn’t as freeing as I imagined. Being truly comfortable, however, is.

I’ve uniformed into jeans and a t-shirt; a comfy sweater and no-shoes sock-footed feet. I do wear my trusty Fitbit to remind me that good leg circulation is just as important at home as it is in the office.

My super cool two-person office desk has been used more this month than all of last year. Face it, we all sofa and laptop when we can. But, real desk work requires, well… a desk.

Sturdy good-posture invoking chairs have been inspirational. Early morning pre-work workouts admittedly encouraged by the “Gee, shouldn’t these chairs be a little wider in the thighs?” question the slightly sore sides of my legs are asking. It’s really more about the shape and style of the chair, as opposed to, you know an actual ergonomic office chair.

The most repeated online advice for home-bound, self-protective or mandated work-at-home isolation has been to stick to your normal routine.

That’s good advice. Get up, get showered, get dressed, go to work.

My personal advice? Loud music will help you ignore the 4+ hours of springtime edging and weed-whacking, whine and buzz in your neighborhood.

Lessons on Working From Home:2020 03 31 working from home lesson 1 music jakorte2020 03 31 working from home lesson 2 jakorte

ps. recessing from my year of  memories. just seems now isn’t a good time to add to the sadness.

Syrup vs. Social Distance

 

Thud.

Not a sound I usually expect on Saturdays. Most of my front step thuds occur Thursday or Friday based on anti-social internet shopping. Tongue in cheek, of course.

Mostly for the sake of limited nighttime long winter lack of light, I signed up for conveniences. Groceries, cat needs, and art supplies are my top three delivery staples.

The unexpected arrival succeeded in shrinking a mileage gap of real social distance.

Ranked in order of cousin-closeness, distances in hours:

8.5 hours to PA.

10.25 hours to MN.

11 hours, 7 minutes to GA.

11 hours, 15 minutes to CT.

“Refrigerate after opening! Hope you enjoy the syrup. Made on my property.”

Adorned with an adorable dog, the enclosed card noted charitable support of Guiding Eyes for the Blind guide dog schools.

This sweetness came from Canadensis, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the closest of my all far-away cousins.

Bubble-wrapped and sealed to perfection, it took me less than a minute to excitedly break that bottle open.

Didn’t see the point of wasting time retrieving a spoon; sampled the first dollop from right from my left pointer finger.

My right pointer light-bulb searched Johnny Cakes. Hm.

Never had much luck with pancakes – always suspected the cause might be lack of a proper griddle. Probably more my impatient and usually irreverent cooking technique.

Considered time consuming, high effort waffles. I’d need to drag up the step-ladder from the basement to reach that high cabinet over the fridge where I keep this treasure hidden.

I followed a few of those endless links within links deep enough to discover fried corn meal mush, eventually arriving at old-school. Old-fashioned cornbread. Fell asleep that night anticipating the morning.

My night-before flagged recipe called for pre-heating the cast iron pan in the oven. The closest I could come without running out to World Market (where I habitually eye the irons) was my non-stick bundt pan.

Don’t laugh, y’all. It worked.

The syrup crawled into cuddling crevices, pooled and was pretty as well as being mighty tasty.

The gift smoothed over miles of distance with warm fuzzies and a fine example of turning the tables on social distance and social distancing.

(PS with MI on “Stay home, Stay safe” 3-week executive order, I’m not going to be driving out to the post office anytime soon. March birthday and monthly greetings cards for April are going to be late.)

Quote for the Week:2020 03 25 sweet surprises can so easily lessen true jakorte

Don’t Panic. But, …

 

There are days when *snorts* are needed.

The internet and all my friends seem to know this. We’re not  ‘not taking this seriously.’ We’re after comic relief and connection: witty, realistic – poking fun at ourselves and silently affirming “For now, I am OK.’

Tonight, I’m just distracted. Waiting to see how this all goes, along with everybody else.

I don’t know more; I don’t know less. I’m doing my best to learn what I can. Working for a healthcare organization has been informative. Watching a pandemic plan become reality is both terrifying and fascinating.

The last time I spent any time in public setting with strangers milling around was March 7th. Not that it means anything concrete, just feeling a little more on the positive side about staying negative.

As far as being alone, I’m ok with that.

I’ve been social distancing for years. That’s what introverts do. Especially, widowed ones. I joked the other night that I’ve been preparing for this for most of my life.

My comfort with the possibility of quarantine is unusual. I was sort of stunned reading an article that advised if you were alone – quarantined in any way – and unable to emotionally handle no human contact – online therapists are available for social distancing counsel by phone, video or chat.

What struck me about it, was that up until now, we’ve been told we are physically becoming a no-contact nation. The fact that folks are obtaining virtual ‘contact’ readily at an instant’s notice disturbed some. We’re available to each other 24/7 by phone, email, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so many newer options. Unless, you choose not to be, of course.

Except for that brief interlude with Jeff, spending time alone is norm. I was single for way longer than I was married, and am single once again. Just a fact that colors my view a little brighter. I won’t be blinded by the light of being alone in a temporary life of murky pastels that people are so afraid of.

There’s so much good happening online.

Metropolitan Opera, Zoos, Musicians, Actors (capitalized for a reason) are offering capital distraction; excellent capital. Good things – reading books, giving virtual tours, playing music for free when normally they’d be selling out venues. I’ve seen more photos of families playing games then… ever.

I’m trying not to breathe while using hand sanitizer – it makes me cough. I’ve eaten lunch with the same few people I have been for years – and yes, we sat at one table – and no, we were not 6 feet away. I stopped in someone’s office this morning, realized I was too close, and backed out with apology. The conversation continued a moment, but the lack of privacy with me standing in the hall, cut our interaction short.

So. That’s my longer than usual ramble., for now

As seen in video (not sure if it was FB or IG) I hope I’m quoting correctly or at least paraphrasing well.

“Don’t Panic. But don’t be an idiot, either.” Billie Eilish

Quote for the Week: 2020 03 17 what seems reasonable to you, may not jakorte

 

 

A View to Goodbye

The laughter was a much needed segway that softened what I needed to hear next.

In my attempt to stay on-path with Jeff’s wishes, I completely failed to recognize some somber facts. When Roger told me that he’d asked the funeral home to prepare Jeff because he wanted to see him, I was shocked.

How could it never have crossed my mind that his parent would want to see him one last time. Or that his sister was still waiting to see him. Or that his brother needed to say goodbye, as well as everyone else there.

It certainly wasn’t an intentional blockage of family or selfishness. I was honestly disconnected, from everything and everyone. Disengaged, I guess, until I found myself raising my hand.

Jeff’s father explained that I didn’t have to go in to see Jeff if I did not want to. That I could go into the room but not approach if I did not want to. Or I could, if I wanted to.

Roger held my hand and we stood in the back of the room, as others made their way upfront. I expected a casket. I don’t know why.

Instead, though, the man I thought I would never see again, lay on a well-disguised table. Jeff, tucked beneath a lovely quilt, looked just like himself, asleep.

We moved closer and stood in front of the few seats that had been assembled.

Jeff’s dad asked me softly if I wanted to say goodbye. I didn’t. I didn’t want to say goodbye and hadn’t expected I’d have to. If would have been much less painful to not.

But gently lead, I did. I touched Jeff’s shoulder, his brow, told him I loved him. I cradled his face, kissed his cheek and took the hardest walk of my life, away.

It may seem odd to explain it this way, but Roger’s arrangements were a most compassionate gift. I understand it was something he needed. I understand it wasn’t intended to serve only me.

So, while the image of Jeff, deceased in our bedroom, remains vivid, I also have that last time; peaceful, unexpected, important, comforting, real. All, that I didn’t know I needed.

Quote for the Week:

2020 03 10 There is no shame in self-focused grief jakorte

The Last Laugh

 

I’d been dully sitting there, only half-listening to the murmurs. It seemed most everything had been wrapped up, and I was wondering what the etiquette was for what came next.

Do we go to lunch? Do I go back to Adrian? Do I go somewhere else?

I couldn’t tell you what time it was or even who was sitting to my left.

But, I know who was on my right, and I can tell you exactly when the pandemonium began.

Jeff’s step-mother had been delayed waiting for a pre-scheduled plumbing appointment.

Among her first words, directed to Jeff’s father were, “Your sons!”

“My sons?” Roger baffled back.

“Yes, YOUR sons! The plumber found a girlie magazine when he went behind the wall, to get to the pipes.”

“Behind the wall?” Roger puzzled, pushing back a bit. “How do you know it was one of my sons?”

“Because,” Nevie reasoned, “none of my sons would ever do that!”

Roger looked across to Jeff’s brother. “Did you do that?” he asked.

By the time I processed what the discussion was about, rapid succession flustering moments were piling up.

“No,” he incredulously denied. “I didn’t do that!”

With fast-forward film speed, I’d run through a conversation Jeff and I had rather recently while watching ‘This Old House.’

It seemed they were always finding odd things behind walls. That time, it was a baby shoe.

“That’s so weird and kind of creepy, ” I’d commented. “I mean, how did a baby shoe get behind the wall?”

Acutely aware, I needed to interrupt. Quickly.

So, I called on my grade-school training and solidly raised my hand.

I had to wave it around a bit before I garnered some attention.

“I know,” I announced.

Up until then, I hadn’t spoken much, so, I cleared my throat and announced again to be sure everyone heard me.

“I know who did that.” The room quieted down.

“Jeff told me.” It got a little quieter.

“Jeff told me,” I repeated. “He told me… ‘If Dad and Nevie ever decide to remodel the bathroom, they’re gonna get a big surprise!”

It was Jeff.

For convenience, he’d explained, he’d hidden his late 70’s, misappropriated and highly inappropriate periodical in a conveniently narrow slot between the fixture and the wall.

“Then, one day,” he’d laughed, “It got sealed up!”

In the history of funeral planning, I doubt there’s ever been a session that ended quite like Jeff’s did.

Raucous laughter, table slapping, the shaking of many heads, and one fist aimed amusingly up at heaven.

“That Jeff…” Roger mused. “I guess, he got the last laugh, didn’t he?”

Quote for the Week:2020 03 03 keeping track of weird things heard in life jakorte

 

Button Bouquet

Button Bouquet

A joyful mixed-media collaboration between two crafters with ample access to buckets and baggies and boxes of shiny treasures.

Rescued bits of damaged jewelry, new and repurposed beads and buttons – metal, glass and plastic.

A temporary canvas – this image only existed long enough to photograph and fiddle with, but the bouquet is everlasting.

As is the friendship it was built on.

Available as a pillow, tote bag, travel mug.

Shop now at:  Knabbler @ Redbubble

_______________________________________

 

 

Uncommon

 

I was taken aback by the bizarre.

Did I want Jeff’s thumbprint on a gold charm? That felt sort of creepy.

Considering the size of his hands, it’d have been a heavy weight, whether it ended up on a necklace or bracelet, tucked into a jewelry box, or just something I just had to hold onto. Nor did I want a vial of ashes to wear around my neck.

When offered a photo-wrapped honor candle, my dull reply was, “I don’t really need anything.”

Roger protested. He earnestly wanted me to have something; a memorial to hold on to. Because it was so important to him, I agreed that a candle would be nice.

There’s a beautiful, golden-orange horizon sunset behind Jeff’s photo, reminding me of the days we spent in Florida before and after my father passed. I’ve only lit it once; for a number of reasons that are not easily explained and will only ever make sense to me.

It remains nestled in a decorative, golden-jacquard mini-trunk, along with sympathy cards, newspaper clippings, funeral pamphlets, and a laminated bookmark type obituary, also in blue.

Since then, I’ve seen more. … interesting … offerings. Ashes swirled in glass globe paperweights, baubles with secret compartments, rings and pendants and cremation ‘diamonds.’ Some quite beautiful, truly – just not for me.

I didn’t choose a decorative urn, but was told I could do that later when I picked up the ashes.

I won’t assign them ‘Jeff’s ashes’. They’re not his. They’re not him. They are only ashes. That’s all.

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 25 assign your feelings any name you want jakorte