#8 Delete

One thing that I am sure you all noticed once this pandemic hit. The amazing amount of emails sitting in your in-box. Basically businesses sending a “How we are responding to COVID-19” message.

Started off slowly. I received an email from the following:

The Optometry Center in Texas where my daughter (now twenty-eight years old and hasn’t lived in Dallas since she was in ninth grade)once had an eye exam.

A mom group selling spirit wear. Also from the grand old state of Texas when my daughter was in Middle School.

Tempo Air. Again from our Dallas days. Those fellas were in high demand at our house and regularly scheduled.

Realtors from our Southern California years. Left there in 2012.

And then came the onslaught.

Megabus. Airlines. Parishes. Restaurants. Delivery services. Theaters. Groceries. Charities. Department of State. Blogs. Blood Banks. Social media sites. Tourist spots. Hotels. Inns. Travel sites. Local shops. Schools. Universities. Sports teams. Cultural groups. Gyms. Genealogy sites. Museums. Petition groups. Social justice causes. Voting information. Banks. Craft sites. Auction houses. Utilities. Book stores. Clubs.

Etcetera!

Not just me, right?

I’ve received correspondence from anyone (and everyone) I might have nodded at or greeted in the last fifteen years!

Honestly, why does the government even need an app to track our whereabouts? Here’s my email address. This is a contact tracing of my life. Just gonna leave it right there.

There is a positive side to this. Besides taking me on a trip down memory lane! It provided me with an opportunity to get organized. I unsubscribed from many of these lists and then deleted the mail. Took the time (a little bit each day) to bang these bad boys out, resulting in a much tidier in-box. Saving me time in the future.

Feeling better already!

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

#7 Release

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

Of course, you might be at home like me and the weekend looks alarmingly like Tuesday or Wednesday. I am sure, one day soon, the days will once again define our weeks in a real way.

In the meantime, release your inner artist! I know there are some who are reading this and thinking, “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.”

I’m not talking about whipping out supplies and painting a beautiful landscape.

It could be as simple as crayons and a coloring book. Painting a flower pot. Making stakes for an herb garden.

You will find moments of peace.

We chose rocks. I know my girls probably thought it was goofy at first. But they later said it was therapeutic.

First we painted some for a friend of ours who recently lost her husband. We made plant markers for the garden that he once tended with his little grandsons.

rocks1

Then I painted a bunch for my garden so I will actually remember what’s what!

rocks

I know that there won’t be any prizes for “Artist of the Year” awarded but it was a nice, calming way to pass a little time.

So, release your inner artist. Have a lovely Tuesday! Oops! Have a fabulous weekend!

Stay safe.

#6 Try

Hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there during this odd, bizarre and unprecedented time. I, for one, am still processing it all!

By now though, hopefully everyone has completed a puzzle, learned a new language, hopped on some type of ZOOM call or rearranged the pantry. And has established a new routine. Or is that just pie in the sky thinking?

We have no real routine. Our pantry has been rearranged about four times. At least. One day it looks like a neat 7/11 mini-grocery with its shiny offerings neatly aligned on the shelves. Another day it looks like a home invasion gone wrong. Very wrong.

Enough of that.

My #6 suggestion is to actually try something that has momentarily sparked your interest. You know the one. When you were thinking, “How cool! Best thing ever!” Only to forget about it two seconds later as you scroll down the screen.

Doesn’t have to be a big deal. Something simple.

Like when I shared (a while ago) my attempt at ripening an avocado in the oven. I have always had a love-hate relationship with them and was determined to beat the little non-native suckers into submission. Because I felt like Goldilocks every time I had one in my hand. Too hard. Too soft. Oops, I waited a minute and now it’s brown and rotten. When an article about bucking Mother Nature and hastening the aging process caught my eye I was so ready. Totally willing to manipulate the little green orb.

Didn’t work. Wrapped the avocado up, snug as a bug, with aluminum foil, baked it and eagerly waited for the results. Well, the fruit definitely softened but there was also a funky, metallic taste that came along with it. FAIL. Let’s chalk up that little experiment as a big no-go.

But here is a small success. I viewed this kitchen life hack in a video on more than one occasion. Always thought it looked great. And always forgot about it two seconds later. LOL. My friend, Stacy, recently posted it again so I thought, “Why not give it a try?”

This one is a winner. Great for spinach, parsley and mint with their long stems. Don’t forget-mojito season is just around the corner! This would work for anything with long, thin stems. Except for wine glasses.

Just push the stem through the small hole in the colander and grab the end. The stem pulls out easily, beheading in the process, with only the perfect leaves remaining in the colander.

Would using a knife be quicker? Sure. But this is a calming, easy chore. Even little kids can help in the kitchen without the possibility of an emergency room visit.

So the next time something new/interesting to try catches your eye jot yourself a little note. This will ensure you don’t forget! Then make it happen. Could be a dismal failure or a resounding success.

Either way, at least, you tried!

Stay safe and keep practicing safety measures!

#5 Sort

I am a natural-born sorter. Not on a daily basis, mind you. But on a regular basis I’ll go after something. Even if it is a small project. A jewelry box, pantry, papers, etc.

Could be socks. They get to loll on the dryer for only so long in our house. Because if one of those suckers doesn’t have a life long mate, like a swan, out it goes. My sock puppet making days have been gone for a very long time.

Pre-Corona Virus I was clearing out a bathroom cupboard. Had tons of nail polish bottles. Some mine. Loads belonged to my youngest daughter. Was like a bag of skittles with all the colors.

I couldn’t honestly tell you the last time I actually had nail polish on my fingers. Sure, I do have the occasional pedicure but that takes place at the salon. Can hardly bend over due to the spare tire and my non-yoga agility.

In the past when I cleared out the closet I’d grab each bottle and eyeball it. If they weren’t as dry as the Gobi Desert then I’d give each one a good shaking. With KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty” playing in my head. Shake, shake, shake. Then return them back to their designated space. All sorted.

But the last time I took it a step further. Sorting can be a slippery slope.

I thought, “Why would I keep all of these bottles if I wasn’t using them? In case I needed to stop a run in a pair of panty hose?”

Asked my daughter if she wanted hers. She did not. So I put them in a box of items to be donated.

Well, wasn’t it quite ironic that soon after that clear-out every nail salon in the country would soon be closed due to “YOU KNOW WHAT.”

Truth be told, virus or no virus, I was never going to use the polish. So there wasn’t any reason for me to keep it.

When this current lockdown began people took to their homes like they were preparing for a hurricane. Without having to lose power, of course. But still hoarded food and supplies. And whipped out the puzzles, board games, art projects, etc.

But like anything else that quickly gets old. Especially as the sheltering in place continues.

So #5 on the list is sort. Start small. You’ll have a distraction from the news, a sense of accomplishment and maybe feel more organized when home confinement is lifted.

This virus is teaching us all that there is a lot we don’t actually need.

My friend, Di, pulled out her coin jar. And sorted and counted until she had rolls in the amount of $238.00 USD.

coins

I recently sorted my buckets of sea glass. Went through them and the imperfect ones quickly got tossed in a pile. Dropped them right back into the bay for a future beachcomber to find.

Sorting possibilities are endless. Distract yourself. Create space.

Be safe.

#4 Share

When the youngest, Hannah, was home during the month-long winter break she had the forethought to bring her plants home. Didn’t want to leave them to die a slow painful death in the cold dormitory.

One was a philodendron. A very green and healthy plant. Was growing like crazy as philos are wont to do. I told her it needed a haircut. To spruce it up a bit. So I did.

Then I took the cuttings and plunked them into a glass vase filled with water.

The kid returned to her university with her newly shorn plants at the end of the holiday.

Meanwhile, the cuttings were thriving at their new homevase (just made that word up and keeping it) and shooting out little roots everywhere. All I ever had to do was top it off with a little water as needed.

This is what it looks like now.

philo

There are now probably five or six individual plants. From one plant.

My daughter is currently home with us. She left university the first week of March and arrived in Rhode Island to spend the short Spring break. Never imagining that she wouldn’t be right back at school in ten days. So her only accompaniment was a big basket filled with dirty clothes. Everything else, including her green little plants, remains locked up in her inaccessible dorm room.

Poor little plants. Also casualties in the pandemic war.

The good news is that when she does return to her university she will have five new plants. All from the original Mama.

This is something simple we can all do. Whether we live on a ranch or in a city apartment. Take a cutting from one of your plants. Then drop it in a glass jar or vase. When it roots share with a friend, neighbor or family member. Rinse and repeat.

It’s healthy for the indoor environment. Where many of us happen to be spending every minute at the moment. It’s super easy. Cheerful to look at while also spreading cheer.

Things will get better. Hang in there. Be safe.

#3 Laugh

I’m not going to lie. Staying in the house is tough. Again, I know I’m fortunate and totally aware of this. And if you are reading this then you probably also share that same good fortune.

But still can’t discount people’s feelings. We don’t have the normal things/events breaking up our days or weeks. Days are blurring into one another. Or every day seems like a Sunday. Except church-going folks don’t even have services to attend outside the home.

Our doorbell rang today and I was like a deer caught in the headlights. What was that noise? I recalled the familiar trilling from another lifetime but wasn’t quite sure what it meant. It had been that long.

It was the Fedex guy. Was just a “heads up” ring of the bell to let us know he left an envelope by the front door.

I missed trash day for the first time ever! Maybe in my life! And let’s just say the Recycling man saw me at my absolute very best. Not! Braless, pajamaed, makeup-free, harried, huffing and puffing up my long driveway with the huge blue bin in tow. With my index finger (universal signal for one minute needed)thrust in the air. At that moment I wanted the recycling picked up and vanity was not about to come into play. At all. Sort of like when you give birth and you are just so exposed. You just let go of any remaining dignity.

I stood there in all my glory and honestly said,”I don’t even know what day it is anymore!”

He laughed heartily. Then I did.

So here’s #3 on my “Getting Through the Stay-At-Home Directives.”

Laugh.

Find something funny. Maybe a television series. A book. A movie. A comedy special. Call an entertaining friend. We need to find some laughter during this bizarre time.

This Irish proverb doesn’t really apply to the current state of the world because laughter and a good night’s sleep won’t cure the virus. But both will definitely lessen our anxiety and lift the dark cloud surrounding it for a bit. And we desperately need that.

irishproverb

So keep on practicing safety measures in place. We will get through this!

#2 Learn

You know I love my library. You can find me (pre and post virus) in front of their community board perusing the tacked notices. Everything under the sun. Free blood pressure readings, classes, tax help, computer assistance, events, etc. This is where I discovered the writing course that I enrolled in last winter.

When I lived overseas I yearned for the library. Now that I am back stateside I don’t take it for granted. One of the first things I did was sign up for a card at my local library.

bookslibrary

It’s the only place in the world where you can go and sit indoors for hours without feeling like you have to buy something to eat or drink. In complete silence. All without spending a dime.

But that’s not all it offers. It has plenty of books, computer space and more.

Sadly but understandably all the libraries are currently closed. So, how can we still keep sharp and engaged? Check your library’s website. What are the virtual offerings? Many are now (due to the crisis) doing on-line story times for kids. As well as on-line book clubs.

There is also something cool that is offered free of charge at many libraries in North America. All you need is a library card. It’s called Lynda.com (now renamed Linkedin Learning) and offers 14,000 educational courses. I think that’s amazing. And I also think that there are probably a lot of folks taking the ZOOM, How to Organize Your Home Office and Learn to Budget courses.

As a side note. If you do not have a library card or live in North America I believe you can still sign up for a monthly fee. They are currently offering a free month. I’d say, if you are interested, then this is the month you’d want to try it.

So have a look at your library’s website. Wherever you are in the world. See what’s available remotely.

We will get through this together. Stay safe.