Monday, April 27, 2020

Nowhere To Go

*Day 42.  Stardate April 27, 2020.  We are still quarantined.  With everything I need to sustain myself, I am bereft of human companionship.  I speak to screens and talk on phones, text and email, yet there is no substitute for a hug or kiss...a warm embrace.  My neighbors wave and cheer me, they watch over me with a tenderness that often brings me to tears.  *A small nod to my hubby who loved all things science fiction. It's kind of like how all the Star Trek episodes started.

These two months, last year, were my dearest's last.  The smell of the air, the angle of the sun, memories popping up in our photos and facebook.  It all makes the already difficult, so much harder to bear.

The numbers of the victims of the virus are staggering.  The stories of loss fill the news.
The reality of all the families that have lost a loved one, hits our hearts so deeply.

Mike and Amanda did my shopping, and we visited through a closed storm door.  All I wanted was to hug them both. My kids, my granddaughters... We are all missing each other so very much.

 I got busy with the garden.  Cleaned the birdbath, weeded the lavender bed. Planted some hollyhocks, fingers crossed.  I even roughed up the many bare spots in the front lawn and planted grass seed we bought two years ago.  Again, here's hoping something grows.

Look at that clear blue sky.

The bittersweet is budding, but I am thinking, climbing roses.  Right now I am cautiously bending and lifting.  My back is better and I want to keep it that way.  I do get overzealous and forget my advanced age.  Young at heart, old in back.

It was such a beautiful day.   Thinking of other sunny Spring Sundays.  Hanging on the deck with my best guy.  Every Spring for 25 years I'd come in from the garden and thank Tyke for buying us this house. It was and still is a haven, and a comfort to me. 

A good year for Queen Anne's Lace.  I have to remind the lawn guys that this is a weed I love.

I have more moss than grass out front, but once the hosta fill out, it looks perfectly woodsy.
With the Honey Locusts in the parkway and the Maple in the front yard, it is a cool oasis in the summer. 

Coming in from my walk I spotted the heart shadow on the lampshade. 

It's hard to see but I made a chicken wire heart.  Doesn't everyone have a roll of chicken wire hanging around?  I used a couple of wire coat hangers to make the shape and covered it with the chicken wire.  I wired a small string of lights to the edge.  This idea was  copied from an author, Fifi O Neil.
I just put it there to get it off the table.  I've always had a thing for hearts.

"Home is where you go when you've nowhere to go."
-Bette Davis

I hope this finds you and your family healthy, hanging on for each other.  If you are hunkered down with someone, hold them close.  If you are alone, we are all truly in this together, even though the space between us may be far, our hearts are close.
Take care my friends.

"We will get through this."
-Tyke Willoughby

Find something beautiful in today.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 20, 2020

Nothing is fair or good alone...

 It's thirty three days in solitude.  The days pass.  I have kept my routine simple.  I haven't purged a closet or cabinet, in fact I've made bigger messes.  Looking for stuff, always looking through stuff but somehow never setting things right.  Lack of gumption.   I celebrate my little victories.  Getting up and showering.  Making breakfast.  Clearing the sink.  Taking out the garbage.

Spring is fickle in Chicagoland. One day Winter, the next day Spring.

Sturdy shoots of hosta.  Persistent.  I could learn a few things from the hardy hosta.

I'm not in the mood to learn.  It's tough to concentrate.

My amazing son Jon asked if I would make him a few masks. I got busy and then kept going.

 Using what I have, making more for family and friends.

The saving grace for me this week was the yard.  Pick up sticks, pick up more sticks.  Rake up the oak leaves.  We don't have an oak tree on my block.  I've yet to clean out the birdbath, but I did clean out the fountain where the birds depend on water.  I'm sure I would make a few Robins very happy if I get out there today.  There is no one happier in the bath then a Robin in springtime.

Tiny little signs of life on miniature rose bushes I was gifted last year.

 Over in the Meadow...

In a nest in the tree
Lived an old Mother bird
and her little birdies three...

That song reminds me of Penny when she was very little. Grandpa found a Scholastic DVD with several children's songs.  One was Over in the Meadow.  Beautifully illustrated, so sweet. Now I need to find it for the little ones!

I love to see the light shine through the glass.

"All are needed by each one:
Nothing is fair or good alone."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Still standing.  So lonely.  Missing my sweet guy.  
Missing our life together.  Loving my tremendous kids, 
my baby grands who keep me sane.
Grateful for all who are risking everything to help. 

When we can hug again, watch out.
Thank you for stopping by and for your kindness.
Please take care and be safe.

Find something beautiful in today.
Love, Penny

Monday, April 13, 2020

Let Your Mind Be Quiet

 There are some traditions that easily define a holiday or season.  Planting wheat grass has become one small thing that brings me and my family joy.

 There isn't a child or adult that won't stroke the grass, and feel the cool and sturdy blades.
This year, it was only me and my memories.  Still it brought me joy and one small custom I shared with the kids through photos and text messages.

 I woke up on Holy Saturday, not to fill my basket with food or make one of the many casseroles
the family would look forward to at our brunch on Easter Sunday.  Instead I showered and dressed and left the house just as the sun came up to get some groceries.

I am anxious going out,  I wonder how many of us will suffer with symptoms of Agoraphobia, when the world opens up again and we are free to go.  I was careful, the store had just about everything I needed.  I was wearing a mask and gloves.  People kept to themselves and we lined up with plenty of room between us.  It was not comfortable.  It was not leisurely.  It was get it and get out. 

 On the way out I grabbed a couple of bunches of tulips.  Pink for me,* thanks honey. Yellow for a friend.
 It was the most normal thing I did.

 I sewed for the girls some pillowcases.  Found this P.S. I Love You fabric at the thrift some months back.  The pillow case is a Laura Ashley sheet.

I also sewed several masks at the request of son Jonathan.

 I put the masks in an envelope with tons of stamps, just to avoid having to go into the post office.

 Shhh, these are for Kris.  A vintage sheet with bunches of daisies. 

Friday night my friends Sue and Ron had a at home concert. (All these shows were virtual.) It was fun chatting with friends as Sue and Ron played and sang beach songs.  Texting with friends sure has been sweet, and these concerts have been amazing.  A artist I really like Ari Hest had a from home show introducing his new album.  It's been on all weekend at home. (available at iTunes called Against the Sky)  Then on Saturday a old friend of both Tyke and I had a basement concert.  Tim Hart, aka Ace just blew me away with his guitar playing and voice.  He sang so many great and diverse songs.  Check him out on youtube Tim Hart Music Chicago. 

 I did make myself a dutch oven loaf of bread.  It didn't raise much, old yeast I think, but still delicious.

The garden is springing back to life.

 Never knew that name of these cheerful little blooms that cover my lawn in the spring. 

This is how much that grass grew from Saturday to Sunday!

 Elizabeth sent my brother over with a few gifts for Easter.  These sweet little birds in a wire nest.

One day sure made a difference in the tulip department too.

These days are a minefield of memories.  Tyke insisted last year that we go on with our celebration brunch with the whole family, even though he was just one day out of the hospital with complications. Never in my mind did I once think that it would be the last celebration for my dearest. The next two months were a blur.  I feel like Forest Gump, "That's all I can say about that."
What came after Easter and all that Tyke endured is etched on my soul.  But, what it taught me, how it changed me, is why I am able to get through this isolation now.

"Let your mind be quiet, realizing the beauty of the world.
and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.. 

All that you have within you, all that your heart desires,
 all that your nature so specially fits you for--that or the counterpart of it
was embedded in the great Whole for you. It will surely come to you.
Yet equally surely
 not one moment before its appointed time will it come.  
All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands will make no difference.

Therefore do not begin that game at all."

-Edward Carpenter

Take care my friends,  Know your kindness means so much to me.
"We will get through this."
Find something beautiful in today.
Love, Penny   

Monday, April 6, 2020

Another Day at Home

We are well. Family strong.  Rounds of FaceTimes and calls.  Deliveries of well wishes from so many. A neighbor called yesterday, noticing I had not walked in a couple of days.  My back, though much better, is still keeping me close to home.  A online concert featuring forever friends brought many pals together.  They arranged a Zoom conference call that I was so happy to attend.

These friends are so very special to me.  Sue and Laury, Sue and Ron and Dot and Kevin.  We've been friends for over 50 years. Notice they are all couples, and now without my love, I was afraid of how I would react to us being virtually together again.  I wanted to do something fun so I made a virtual brunch.  Baked muffins, poured my carton of orange juice into a pitcher.  I garnished my wine glasses with a orange slice and put out the closest thing I have to champagne.  Just something silly to lighten my mood and hopefully my friends would like the joke.

 It wasn't necessary since we fell into our friendly banter.  We talked of grandchildren, jobs and hobbies.  We talked for over two hours.  

So happy to see everyone doing their best to stay safe, scolding those that are impatient, planning to meet at another mini concert later this week.  Funny thing, I sent a text and photo after our call to Sue and Sue, saying that they didn't eat a thing.  Sue K. never saw the table, missed when I showed it in the beginning of the call!  It was fun and silly, but I do turn 16 again when I am with these special friends. Tyke came up when my friend remarked that they were surprised that I got on the call without help.  Cosmic high five sweetie!  You taught me well. 

Missed Tyke howling at the Moon for me.

 I looked at the clear night sky from my window, and looked up the times when the International Space Station might be passing.  Lucky me at 8:19 I was out watching.  It is a amazing sight, one that never fails to thrill.  I was able to lean on my car and get a steady photo of the moon.  
How beautiful is that?

 If you enlarge this pic, look between the tree limbs, and that little glimmer of light is the ISS!

Sunrise this morning.  I woke up to a call from Jon on his way to work and then a FaceTime with his girls who were doing their first virtual physical therapy at home today.  Mike had a virtual appointment with his doctor and got the medication he needs in this allergy season.  Visits with friends, Penny playing games with her cousins in another state. Thank goodness for technology.

I feel a connection to all of those families who have lost loved ones to this virus.  Until your life is turned upside down and inside out by the loss of a loved one,  nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead.  Today, no one has the answers, but we must stay close.  Together as families, friends, neighbors and especially to those who are in need.  It's such a helpless feeling, but I am encouraged by the outpouring of kindness.  The news is mostly off at home, music helps so much.  I am doing a little Easter preparation, just for myself.  I started my wheat grass today, the muffins went to Mikey and Amanda with some for the freezer.  It will hurt to be alone, but I would do anything to keep my family safe, and they in turn to keep this old girl kickin.  

Let fate do her worst,
there are relics of joy,
which she cannot destroy,
That come in the nighttime
of sorrow and care
And bring back the features
that joy used to wear.

Long, long be my heart
with such memories filled,
Let the vase in which roses
have once been distilled;
You may break, you may shatter
the vase if you will
But the scent of the roses
will hang around still.

-Thomas Moore

"We will get through this."

-Tyke Willoughby

Thank you for your friendship, be well dear ones.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny