Pandemic Photo Journal, April 19-25, 2020

I am trying a weekly photo journal of my life during this stay-at-home pandemic. The idea is to post on Sundays and include one photo for each day of the week with some text. I may not limit myself to one photo because I have a hard time with rules like that. It seems a perfectly logical thing to do on a family history blog. This is certainly an historic time.

Sunday, 4/19/2020

* Church community gathered on ZOOM, then listened to sermon podcast. Pastor started a new sermon series – “A Strong Spirit in Troubled Times: The Practices that Sustain Us.” (This will be referenced for Monday.)
* Prepared for ESL Book Club.
* Listened to a livestream of my brother-in-law giving the sermon for his church from his home. I think they are without a minister right now. He did a good job!
* Finished puzzle #3.

Monday, 4/20/2020

* Good Book Club – Chrysanthemum. 
* A friend who lives alone has been setting herself a lovely table setting each day, often referencing the meaning of the items. I looked at my really messy table with not an ounce of intention to make something nice and posted a picture yesterday, asking if I was “nailing it.” The sermon yesterday referenced an old testament scripture. The Israelites were in a bad situation and could no longer practice their religion as usual. In the story, God gives them the message to take whatever they would have sacrificed and sell it for money. Then buy whatever they wanted with it – even strong drink – and celebrate. The takeaway from the sermon being that celebration is a practice that can sustain us during hard times. (My best attempt at a summary without listening again.) So … I pushed the pile of stuff to the other end of the table, got out placemats that haven’t been used for years and needed pressing, the plates and even a mug that match, napkins that were close enough because the matching ones must be in the laundry, and prepared a meal with a “vintage” tortellini that has been in the freezer since 2017. Celebration. Nailing it.

* Altered the route for my walk and found fun things.

* UMW Circle met on ZOOM just to catch up.

Tuesday, 4/21/2020

* Lots of reading today for book discussion of several chapters of The Water Dancer
* Crocheted a mask for a garden statue in the front yard.

Wednesday, 4/22/2020

* Saw my oncologist today. Everything looks good. Don’t see him again for four months.
* The oncology office is so different these days. I really feel sorry for patients in treatment right now because they can not have anyone accompany them. It can be scary and depressing. I had such good friends come with me and help the time pass quickly when I was in treatment.
* Tried a new crock-pot recipe, but put it on to cook too late, so had frozen convenience meal.
* Nice after-dinner walk.

Thursday, 4/23/2020

* Bad start to the day. Dogs wanted out at 6:00 – still dark. Ran behind the garage and went crazy because some kind of animal was back there. One dog yelped as if in pain. Husband’s yells to get in the house not heeded. Woke up the neighbors. Big dog has small scratch on his nose.
* ESL Class was good.
* Worked a little on masks.
* Walk in the neighborhood at dusk provided glimpses into windows of homes neat and orderly, nicely decorated, with tables adorned modestly with candles and lovely centerpieces.  I chuckled to myself, trying to think of any flat surface in my home not decorated by random this and that, piles, papers, and projects. 😂 No pics from today’s walk.

Friday, 4/24/2020

* Daughter was planning to drive here from Kansas City, but decided to wait until tomorrow.
* Really hot day, so walked in the morning. Walked down the street where we used to live and took a picture of our old house. Wrote about it.

* Decided to do more “yarn bombing” of our house since I enjoy the chalk art and signs and Christmas lights I see on my walks – although fewer and farther between than I would like. My street has hardly anything fun at all. I made myself a crochet garden I could see from a window while I was sick, so I’m going to recycle those items to be seen from the street. The small gate area that faces the street doesn’t give me as much room as the fence I decorated for myself when I was sick, but I think I can fit the other flowers here. Got a free form tulip up. Too hot to do any more.

Saturday, 4/25/2020

* Matty was busy before waking us up.

* Curbside vet visit for Dreamboat.
* Weeded front bed.
* The yellow and white flower was super faded, so I brightened it up with a bit of burnt orange. My yellow butterfly did not survive, so I need to add another one or something else, but got this much done.

Many of these butterflies on rotting loquats

This week’s veggie box
* Changed my route for walking again and ran into my former next door neighbor.
* Have a rash. Why?
* Daughter made it here safely. Yay!

Safety first! Enjoy your day!



Hope Sings Eternal

My walk today reconnected me with my first next-door neighbor while living in our current house.

I walked down a street I haven’t walked in quite a while and when I turned onto the street, I hoped I remembered where I would come out, as it had been a busy day and I was already tired. The street has Circle in the name, and although it is not really a circle, it does curve around. As I was rounding one of those curves, I could hear a woman playing the guitar and singing “Rockin’ Robin.” I wondered if she had an audience or was just singing outside for her own pleasure and whoever walked by. I heard her ask if anyone could whistle, to fill in the background, and heard her doing the tweetily tweetily tweet ,tweetily tweetily tweet … and something about this seemed really familiar. As I got closer, I saw the woman sitting in a front yard, singing and playing. There were four other people – physically distancing – in the yard. In the middle, a small table holding disinfecting wipes and a blender of some icy beverage. I thought it might be my former neighbor, but I wasn’t close enough to be sure. She seemed the right frame and hair – and the confident singing and asking for participation. It sure seemed like it might be her. But I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to interrupt and I just walked on by.

I turned onto an adjoining street and when it ended at an intersection, I chose a street that I thought would get me headed back toward my house by the shortest route and, by happy surprise, it was the “circle” street, which also took me back by the house with the singing woman. This time I heard her say, “I’m having trouble hearing you,” – likely to someone distancing the furthest from her. And then I knew it was Hope because Hope has some hearing loss. This time, I walked to her side of the street and asked, “Hope?” Of course, she hadn’t seen me in years and I had on my big-brimmed sun hat and sunglasses, so she didn’t recognize me until I told her who I was.

When it was announced that the part of the neighborhood where we live was going to be built out, Martin trekked over here to stake out a lot for us. We decided to pass on the first one he liked because it was going to have the power lines for this area right behind it. So he came again (no roads yet – just stakes marking lots) and picked out the lot where we eventually built this house. We found a house plan in a magazine we liked and contacted a builder whose houses we liked (not the first one I wrote about yesterday). His architect changed it up some and we were set. The builder acquired the lot next door and built a spec house along side ours. Whatever crew finished something on our house, would then do the same next door. Our foundation. That foundation. Our plumbing. That plumbing. Our framing. That house’s framing.

Martin and I were the first to move onto our street. Not long after, Hope and her husband bought the house next door. Hope is a music therapist and her life and livelihood revolve around music. Hope was always trying to get neighbors involved in activities together. She organized Christmas caroling and other kinds of sing-a-longs. And she has the kind of enthusiasm that can convince reluctant others to join in. So when I heard that woman singing, although she doesn’t have a particularly unique voice, I just knew it must be her. It has been many years since we were neighbors. For a while she and her son lived in condos in the neighborhood and I had heard that she had remarried – but had forgotten or didn’t know that she was still in the neighborhood.

We took a few minutes to catch up – a couple of my kids babysat her son, so there were kids to talk about. She offered to make more margaritas, but I declined. (I couldn’t stay too long because we were expecting Christina to arrive soon! She did! Yay!) Hope asked if I still had “teas.” No. I used to host a back-to-school brunch the 2nd day of school every year. She said she has her teapot and china tea cup and wants to come for tea “when this is all over.” I asked if I could take her picture and she offered up a margarita for the shot.

Next time – tea.

And now enjoy “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Took a walk down our old street this morning. This was our house. The owner added a front deck and changed the garage doors and the landscaping is a little different, but otherwise it looks the same. Many good memories were made here – all three kids were born while we lived in this house.

The builder had quite few lots in the neighborhood, but was building larger houses than what we needed. We liked the houses he built, so we contacted him. We said we were interested in building a house similar to one a few doors away, built by another builder. He told us to go have him build us a house then!

We still preferred his work, so he told us to look for something square and with few hallways, as this would keep the cost down to something we could afford and would fit with his usual construction. We found a house plan in a magazine more in line with what we wanted. He made a couple of small changes and we were off! He used the plan a couple more times in the neighborhood with a change in the roofline.

As I remember, he and his wife had 6 kids – 5 girls and finally the desperately-wanted boy so he could name his business “… and Son.” I wonder if his son went into the business or if he even wanted to? He was about two at the time.

The builder’s wife selected all of the wallpaper and tile and so on in his spec houses. We didn’t care for her choices, so I was glad that we were involved from the beginning and could make our own selections – although I had many dreams involving wallpaper patterns.

The builder was finishing up a new house for his family of eight at the time he started ours. He laughed and told us, “Your house would fit in my attic!”

Several of the houses on the street look much the same. Quite a few have changed out windows and doors. One is nearly gutted to add on a second floor. No one was at work on it. Perhaps a delay because of the corona virus pandemic.

I often think I would like to downsize back to this house, but my husband doesn’t seem to agree, remembering the mid-80s bathrooms and kitchen. But who knows? Maybe they have been updated.