Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I finished yet another project

I finished the sweater I have been knitting for Courtney.  There are a lot of loose ends (threads) that I need to weave in and then it will be ready to go to Oregon.

Limbo is something like what life is right now.  Corona-virus lock-down?  Quarantine?  Staying in or masking up.

I get up, come downstairs, start coffee maker.  Let out the dog.  Turn up the house heat.  Turn off the front porch light.  Let the dog out.  Let the dog in.  Sit down with a cup of coffee and a little yogurt cup.  Turn on the TV and then watch TV.  I do check email and usually Facebook.  That's about it.

Some days, not often enough, we take Buddy out for a walk.  Or days like today we take him for a ride car.

Today after I did all the usual things, I went back to bed and slept another couple of house.  I took a shower , got dressed and came downstairs a bit more rested than usual.  So often we stay in our pajamas until afternoon.  That's the way it is right now.

This evening Nick was in the basement and he brought up some envelopes to go through.  It's all stuff from his parents.  There are two pictures on Nick and me taken on the day Nick graduated from law school in 1975.  Nick's father developed the pictures in his dark room, so the exposure on them is different. 

Oh yeah, I got my first Social Security payment today!   Woo hoo!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Are we on lockdown?

I keep hearing it is *so many* days in lock down / quarantine.     We missed Easter and Passover and now Ramadan.  I don't observe any of those holy days anyway, but they are days when, traditionally, families and friends get together for a meal and a nice visit.

There is a new forum called Zoom that a lot of folks are using to have face and voice contact without physical contact.

Our dinner group did Zoom once. My sister celebrated Easter with family in Virginia, Maryland, Norway and Thailand.  All at the same time.  I have done a few Zoom La Leche League meetings.  It is weird and amazing at the same time.
Zoom La Leche League meeting

It is after 1:00 in the afternoon and Nick and I are both still in our pajamas.    It's hard to keep track of the day of the week much less the time.  If not for dark at night and light in the day we would be totally confused.  Much like when we lived in Tromso.

I watch TV.  Lots of TV.  Nick watches TV in his study.  I watch TV in the family room.  The other day as we sat down to dinner (in front of the TV) I remarked that we had not been in the same room together all day.  Yup.  It's fine.

Time and age are two reoccurring themes here.  Nick says he is old now.  I guess if he's old, I must be too.  I certainly don't have the physicality I had 20 years ago.  Neither does he.  He gets charlie horses and gout attacks.  My knees hurt.  We have trouble climbing the stairs.    I keep telling myself that if I just lose 100 lb I will be better.  Which is true.  It's so hard.  Especially when you are pretty much confined  to the house.     Of course I have not been confined for the last 20+ years and somehow the fat and I found each other!

I have been knitting a lot.  I have knitted three scarves.  My sister and I subscribed to a yarn "club"   Every few weeks you get the yarn and pattern for some squares that will ultimately get assembled into afghan blankets.  Her's  is crochet and mine is knit.  I have completed the first three squares and just received the next three.   I have to wonder if anyone ever really finishes these projects?   I am reasonably sure that I will.

I am also working on a sweater for Courtney.  It is a beautiful blue.   It's almost finished.  I send Courtney pictures of my progress.     It looks like the pattern, but not exactly in my eyes.  We'll see.

This is a hank of yarn

I got a yarn winder so I could turn the hanks of yarn into balls of yarn, like this.

 I wrote about the binders I have filled with old letters to and from our overseas posts.  It's fun to read my memories of the babies and kids.  Their developmental growth from starting to smile to reading and growing up.

Yesterday  I dug through a box of spiral notebooks.  My journals.   Some of the writing is from before we were married.  Most of it is after.  I mention friends by name.  Some of whom I remember as clear as can be.    One I have even reconnected  with.  My friend Sandy, who had an abortion.  I drove her to the abortion clinic.  She was sad and scared.  She was not sure if it was the right thing to do or not.  I don't know how far along she was, but the clinic said that this was her last chance if she wanted to go through with it.  She did.    While I was waiting for Sandy, I had a pregnancy test there.  I was trying to get pregnant, but I wasn't (pregnant that is).  Sandy came home with me and slept in my bedroom for a while until she felt able to get up and go home.     I wonder where she is.  I try to look her up online but have not been able to find her.

We were so young.  I was younger than her.   Yet I felt so grown up.  Being married at 18, I was still a child.  But, I had taken on a lot of responsibility even before then.   Not sure if I would have done much differently.

The one thing that I wish I had done differently was try harder in school.  In my notebooks are notes form my classes.  And assignments written down.  I don't remember knowing so much.  I did so poorly.  My mind was on too many things at once and school was the thing that suffered the most.

I guess a part of getting older  is missing your old self.  Mourning for what you were and what you could have done differently.

I wish I had finished college and gone on to medical school.  I would be retiring or retired by now.  But I wouldn't have been able to be a full time mother.  It turns out, I have learned that for me at least, being a mom was more important that being a doctor.

I think that all of my "kids" are amazing people.   I cannot believe that we all lived in the same house together all at the same time.   It was so crazy and busy and noisy.  I know that I did neat and fun things with and for the kids.  I also got crazy angry at times and for that I am so sorry.

I need to eat lunch.  I'm hungry.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

where's my energy?

Here I sit, thinking about all the things I could do.   I got all excited about the possibility of making masks to share and help people prevent or at least slow down the corona virus.  I cut some fabric.  I set up the ironing board and fabric and scissors and made sure that the bobbin on my sewing machine was full.   I printed out several patterns for masks.   I made one mask.   Nick uses it.  I didn't find it easy to figure out the pattern and instructions.    I like patterns that have clear and precise instructions.   I don't do frustration well.      I saw another pattern that looked easier than the first one.  I made that one for myself.  I use it some, but mostly I don't go anywhere.

I mentioned to one of my kids that I could make one for him.  And then I didn't and he, who inherited my impatience, got upset that he didn't have a mask,   We bought some from a compounding pharmacy and I mailed one to him.  I hope it helps.

I think about exercising, moving my body.  Every so often, Nick and I take a walk with Buddy (the dog).  Not every day though. 

Some days I stay in my pajamas all day.  Getting up and going to bed without showering or changing.  That doesn't really happen that often.  

We'll be okay.  I get it.  I understand why we need to stay home and mainly isolated. 

I am not really sure how different our lives are now compared to pre-virus.   But I do miss just being able to browse around Target, or wherever.
The sweater I am knitting for Courtney is coming along and the act of knitting feels productive.

No trips for a while.  No flying to Portland.  No cruise to Alaska.  No new knee surgery.

First world problems.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Central Casting? It's Easter? Quarantine behavior

Too many subjects to write about.  So I'll star with the first one first!

I have been thinking about our aging bodies.  Mine and my husband's.   We make more noise when we get up.  Getting up from the floor is almost impossible.   I don't have any real lone term goals.  As they say "don't buy any green bananas"

The last time I saw my dad, before he went into a nursing home with dementia, was probably the summer of 1996.  I flew from Perth, Western Australia to Virginia for my daughter's high school graduation.   I stopped on Oregon for a few days on the way.  My dad, step mother, sister and brother-in-law, as well as the resident Oregon relatives were all there.

My dad must have been 80 or 81.   I remember watching him walk.  We were going  into a restaurant to eat, and my dad was somewhat bent over an he was shuffling his feet.  He looked just like what I would think of a someone cast in the position of "old man".  It was so strange to me seeing my dad like that.  My dad was often a scary guy, but he was strong.  He walked miles every day.  he stood up straight.  Yet here he was, old.   It almost seemed comical, like he was only playing a role. But it was also one of those moments when you realize a shift if the universe.   The changes that you know intellectually happen to everyone as they age.  But the reality of seeing it in someone you love gives you a jolt.

And now, here we are.  Stiff joints.   I have one artificial knee and plan on getting another one.  Nick's legs bother him.  He gets charlie horses.   We make noises when we move about.  The eternal clock is catching up to use.   As with seeing my dad as an old man, in it's not a big surprise.  But it is too.


Easter thoughts.  I remember when I was around 10, my father took me (I am not sure if my siblings went) to Easter Sunrise Service at Walter Reed in Washington.  It must have been the early days of the Vietnam war.  We stood on the grass near a big pond, waiting for the sun to rise.  There were men on stretchers who were patients at Walter Reed, who had been brought outside for the service too.    Not much else I can remember.  I do know that I wore white gloves, a frilly dress and a hat. 

Fast forward to 1981.  The year Morgan was born.  I was living with my in-laws because Courtney and I had come back to the States for the birth.   Ronald Reagan had just been inaugurated, the American's who had been held hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran had been released.  The cherry tree in my in-laws front yard has pink blooms all over it.

My mother in law and Courtney and I colored Easter eggs and Grandma Sherwood would go outdoors and hide the eggs for Courtney to find.  They played the egg hiding game for a long time.

And I distinctly remember the pink petals of the cherry tree blowing in the wind, looking like a pink snow storm!

My brother had me and the kids over to color Easter eggs at his place too.   I don't remember, but I might very well have gone to my sister's house with the kids too!

During the years I watched and cared for my grand nieces, we did a lot of dying of Easter eggs.  It's just what you do when you have kids in the house!

Jessica with her colored egg
Sarah and Jessica coloring Easter eggs 2008


Quarantine behavior.  We have been in the staying in place mode for about a month now.  I spend way too much time on Facebook- although that isn't new.  But I find that many of us on Facebook are experiencing the same or similar things.  It's hard to keep track of what day of the week it is.  Or the date.   Or even the time of day.

It has been pretty common for Nick and I to stay in our pajamas until sometime in the afternoon.  We are all thrown off.  Most days I take a shower, but not every day- which I should.

This morning I got up around 6:30 am to let the dog out.  I thought about staying up, but decided to go back to bed.  I slept until around 9:00 am.  When I got up, I showered and got dressed before coming downstairs for coffee and breakfast.  Nick did too.  And once we were having our coffee, he asked "why are we up and dressed so early?"

I printed out some page sized "Easter eggs" to color and put into the windows.  That's so the neighborhood kids can have a safe egg hunt. 

My shelter in place clothes!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

I think it's Saturday

The last time I was out and about with my sister was Wednesday March 11th I think.  She went with me to a pre-op appointment for the knee replacement surgery that was scheduled for March 17th.  

I was planning to attend a lactation conference  in Philadelphia, riding with my friend Maureen.  I decided not to go, and took some things over to Maureen's house for her to take with her.  She contacted me the next day to tell me that she had not gone either.  Her 28 year old son called her and tole her to stay home.  We would have been there Thursday through Sunday, March 12th through 15th.

And so I have been in quarantine since then.  Nick does the shopping.   I stay home.  I know that we went somewhere since the quarantine started, but I cannot remember where.  Occasionally we go for  a ride in the car and we take walks to keep from becoming total shut ins.

We have food.  We have toilet paper, which seems to be a big concern with a lot of people.  Maybe I'll feel different if we start to run low.  We have shelter.  We have each other.

People joke on Facebook (my link to the world) that it's impossible to keep track of what day it is.  It does seem that way.  It's true.  Even though Nick and I are living in retirement, there were activities to help keep track of what day it is.   Right now it is Saturday, almost 5:00 pm, and I am still in my nightgown.   I don't know why actually.

I worry about all of my kids.  I am in contact with one pretty much every day.  The others from time to time.   They will all be alright.  It's just a strange time.

I started working on a pullover sweater that I am making for Courtney.  I have more letters to file away into binders.   I have made 2 masks now and feel like I should be making more.

Buddy the dog is pretty much fine.  He is used to having us around most of the time.  So we all meld pretty well together.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

April 9, 1950- June 15, 2001

Today is my brother's birthday.  He would be 70.   He died when he was 51.  He was four years older than me.  When he died I was 47.   When I turned 51 it just felt so wrong.  And now I am almost 66.  I got so many years more than he did.

My brother was a good guy.  He had so many struggles in his life that it is especially sad that he didn't get a chance to get everything turned around.   He was working on it.  He had been sober for a little over a year when he died.   He was living with my mom and was really trying to save money and get back on his feet.

I resented my brother some. It seemed wrong that he was depending on my mom for a place to live and she cooked for him sometimes.  My mom was disabled and I thought that she was the one who needed to be taken care of.

I came to realize after my brother died that his presence in my mom's life was a real gift.  She felt useful and needed.  They got to spend time alone together and really come to know each other in ways that are often hard for adult children and parents.

And now they are both gone.

Blond siblings, baby me and big brother Dale 1955

Proud father bringing Molly home from the hospital 1987

Dale and Mommy.  Rolling Thunder in DC

Monday, April 6, 2020


Zoom is a new phenomenon, at least to me.  It is a program that allows meetings that are face to face in real time through the internet.

For two weeks now I have joined in a Zoom La Leche League meeting.   Yesterday Nick and I joined a Zoom meeting with members of our church/ dinner group.  It was really nice to stay connected with the people that we would normally be sitting and eating and talking with.  Also, it encouraged Nick and I to shower and get dressed.

It is so easy to stay in pajamas all day when there is so little structure to the day.  And for me that means not having  a shower.  Occasionally I think that is is good to take a mental health, pajamas all day kind of day.  But this seems to be the new normal.

Folks are joking about what day it is.  And honestly it is hard to keep track of the day and date.

An awful lot of my friends report having trouble falling asleep.  Getting to bed and to sleep at 2, 4 and 5 am and sleeping much of their day away.    Again,, under normal conditions, we would call this depression.  And maybe it is.  Maybe it's a "who cares" attitude.  Social distancing, the behavior that we strive for keeps us away from people. 

The world (my world anyway) seems so quiet.  There is so little traffic on the roads.  The neighborhood kids are not outside running around.  We have become a community of shut ins.

Now it is suggested that everyone wear masks.  I put a picture of my mask on the blog the other day .   I want to make more masks but just can;t seem to get going.

One of the things we have talked about (Nick and I that is) is how, even though we miss our parents, we are glad, for lack of a better word,glad they don't have to experience this pandemic.  We wouldn't be able to see them in person and it would be hard for all of us.

The real people, doctors and scientists are trying to drive home how serious this corona-virus is.  The president is acting in his usual buffoonery.  He is a fool, a narcissist, and a very dangerous person.

That's my ramble for this morning.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

day something

I can't remember when we actually started our quarantine at home.  I think that the last time I saw anyone was around 4 weeks ago when Austin and Chance came to move Austin's things out of the house.  No hugging was allowed.  The boys kept their distance as much as possible.

Masks seem to be the thing right now.  I am going crazy because I know that I am good at sewing.  I have multiple sewing machines and there's no excuse for me to not make masks now that we are supposed to wear them when we go out.  I have made one mask and attempted to make another one.  The pattern/ concept is super simple.  It's just that I have some sort of block that makes me find it too difficult.  Maybe tomorrow?

I will post some pictures here of my mask and the fabric that I have all ready to go.

I thing that I have done is to organize and put into binders a big bunch of letters.  These are the letters that we received from family while we served on our first overseas tour.  The dates are from 1976-78.  These do not even include all of the letters that I sent, or the letters from friends.    And it only covers two years!

And that's all I can write tonight.  (except to say that I just looked at a previous post here and see that I have already written a bit about the letters and binders.  It's okay.