Boys Who Can Cook

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Today I’m grateful for sons who can cook.  And boy can they!  Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten have been from them. 

My mom was an okay cook, but mostly the basics, like meat and potatoes.  She could knock out a turkey or meatloaf, but we rarely had mashed potatoes because my dad didn’t like them.  You didn’t need a tooth in your head to eat a vegetable she cooked because they were always mush.  But her pies could have won awards.  In cooking it’s all about balance.

I consider myself a pretty decent cook.  I like a lot of different types of food, so that helps and while I’m able to follow a recipe, I’m also pretty confident to monitor and adjust them to suit my particular taste.  It’s fun.  It’s also a lot of work.  I KNOW how much work it is, so I really appreciate it when someone else makes a meal for me.  Especially an outstanding one.

We went to our youngest son’s house for dinner last night.  He said, “We’re having brisket, unless it doesn’t turn out.  Then we’ll order pizza!”  As if!  I’ve never seen him fail while cooking.  Indeed, his teenage daughter teased him mercilessly about the amount of internet research he did getting ready to smoke that brisket.  His wife said he could have written a dissertation on it.

He stayed up to put it on the smoker at midnight, low and slow, then did something else to it at three a.m. but I can’t remember what.  Then he was up at six worrying over it some more.  That’s a lot of commitment.  And boy was it worth it!  For me anyway, but I wasn’t the one fretting over it.

It slow cooked, came off the smoker, got wrapped in foil and tucked in for a nap in the cooler to keep it hot, then went back on the smoker in the foil, came off I don’t know how much later, got wrapped in a couple of towels and went in for another nap.  I needed a nap just hearing about the process.

We had our Anniversary dinner at Joseph Ambler Inn, one of the best restaurants around.   This was better!!!   Much better!  Not only was the brisket the best I’ve ever had, but with the amazing sides his wife made, it was the best meal I’ve had in a long, long time. 

It total comfort food!  Hearty and rich Mac ‘n cheese, an incredible cauliflower-pumpkin-gruyere cheese casserole, and roasted veggies were all yummy.  But that brisket?  Oh my!  Perfection!  And even though it was laced with spices and flavor, which I love. . .Himself liked it, too.  Miracle of miracles.

So right here, right now, I declare that my sons are better cooks than I am!  Even better than I ever was and because they have no fear about experimenting, I’m happy to pass that mantle on to them. 

I’ll say it over and over again so that they continue to cook!  I’m hoping they’ll feed us in our twilight years, which, apparently are here!  And I’ll be holding a warm fuzzy in my heart over that amazing brisket for a long time.  Really good food is like that, especially when it’s made by a son.  BING!  Heartprint!

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Nursery Rhymes

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Today I am grateful for nursery rhymes.  Yeah, some of them are pretty gruesome.  I know most of them by heart, just like I do the lyrics from most Broadway Shows, at least the older ones. They pop into my head and often out of my mouth before I can rein them in.  That’s not always a good thing.

Think of the “Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe”.  She “gave them some broth, without any bread, then whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed.”  Nice going with the corporal punishment. Old bitch!

There is even disaster in Rock-a-Bye, Baby.  “The cradle will fall. . .and down will come baby, cradle and all.”  What?  That’s just brutal. 

Just like poor Humpty Dumpty who crashes to the ground and “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.”  So sad.  What did they do, make a gigantic omelet out of him?  Rough going Humpty.

In “Ding Dong Bell”, little Johnny Green tries to drown the cat, but it’s saved by big Johnny Stout.   Animal abuse! 

“Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater” had a wife that he shoved in a pumpkin shell.  That’s entrapment and spousal abuse big time.

“Deedle Deedle Dumpling” only lost a shoe, but kept his stockings.  Good for him, I guess. 

“This Little Pig” has been traveling the pinched toes of babies forever, so I guess he’s okay, too.  But how about the ridiculousness of a cow jumping over a moon and a dish running away with a spoon?

Yeah, they run through my head on a daily basis, but really affected me one day when Himself and I decided to take a late walk and I recited, allowed, in the park,  “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean.  And so betwixt them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.”  Damned nursery rhymes!

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Friends who Sacrifice

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Today I am grateful for friends who sacrifice.  Yeah, I’m not talking about live friends here, shoving me out of harm’s way and getting hit by the bus meant for me.  I’m talking about my latest little kitchen friend, who was given to me by my oldest granddaughter at the request of her father who knows I bond with potatoes who grow “hair”.  Didja get all of that?

Sweetie Spud was a big girl.  She was funky and sassy and sported purple-root hair, which in my book makes her my friend.  One of these days. . .I’m going purple.  I drew on her face, then tried to add color.  Didn’t work.  The next spud that qualifies is getting colored Sharpies from the git-go. 

I let her sit on the counter for weeks, until I needed a side for my latest experimental dish, chicken stuffed with basil, tomato and mozzarella.  Sweetie Spud was my oven roasted surprised.  Wow!  She was good!  So was the chicken, although I’m going to have to be way more careful to get that chicken boob cut evenly, because the bottom of one did not get done.

First I scraped off her skin, then I sliced Sweetie Spud in quarter inch pieces, threw some olive oil on a cookie sheet, rolled her up and down, massaging the oil into her and sprinkled her with garlic powder.  Sounds like a funky spa treatment. 

Roasted perfectly, Sweetie Spud was a great friend to sacrifice herself to become a side for the chicken boobs.  And no bus was involved!

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More Thrift Store Bags

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Today I am grateful for more thrift store stuff.  Yesterday I packed up ten more bags of old clothing to take to the thrift store.  Wow!  I’d love to say I feel great, but this time I’m a little sad.  Why?

Because these were not just items of clothing, they were memories.  Here’s my short list.

  • A black lace dress I made and wore to “Resisting Gravity” which my friend David Page wrote as a fund raiser for Indian Creek Foundation and I helped produce.  Opera singer William Warfield (MGM “Showboat” star – “Ol’ Man River”) sang my friends original song, “I’m Coming Home”.  I’ll never forget wearing that dress.
  • A flowing green dress that perfectly matched my eyes and I wore to the Rainbow Room in New York City during a visit trying to get a book published and securing an agent.  Was I really young enough to dance all night?  Yes.  I’ll never forget wearing that dress.
  • A bright red dress that I had made in Jakarta, Indonesia, copied from the aforementioned green dress.  Indonesian tailors can literally make anything.  I wore this dress to my friend Tati’s, daughter’s wedding.  Amazing experience!  Tati has been gone for years, but I am still friends with Yo and Vera, the bride and groom, who now have three grown sons, and Tati’s other kids, too.  I’ll never forget wearing that dress.
  • An aqua gown that I designed and had made in Jakarta and wore to the St. Andrews Ball, where I ate my first haggis and endured bagpipes marching all over the place.  I’ll never forget wearing that dress.
  • A black dress I wore to the Marine Ball in Jakarta, which reminded me how it felt to see the Marine Color Guard present arms, while living so far from home.  I’ll never forget wearing that dress.
  • A zipper blouse with a great stand up color that was the perfect clothing for an actress head shot.  I still have a few of those head shots, but not many.  And now no blouse.  I’ll never forget wearing that blouse.

There were the usual slacks that don’t fit, tops that I hated after I bought them, scratchy things, annoying things, things that made me question my sanity and crap I totally forgot I even had.  Probably just like your closets or storage bins.

Cleaning out all of this stuff, some of which I’ve been lugging around for over 25 years, is a very good thing.  It’s smart.  It’s efficient.  It’s necessary.  But oh man, I had no idea how ten more bags of thrift store stuff could tear at my heart!  Getting rid of the clothing won’t erase the memories.  BING!  Heartprint!

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Morning Humor

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Today I am grateful for morning humor.  I swear if you were at our house in the mornings you would think you were on the set of a 60’s TV sitcom.

First we have the conversation about the temperature in the house.  Himself never knows how hot or cold he is until he looks at what it says on the thermostat.  If it’s at 69 he wants to crank heat up to 900 because he’s freezing to death.  Sometimes just to not have to listen to it I turn it on before he gets up, but only a few degrees because when the sun blasts in the front it gets pretty warm.

Then there’s the bumper-car-like scramble for bathrooms.  We have two on the main floor and I swear sometimes they are not enough.  We crash into each other because each of us wants to get to the one with the crossword puzzles before the other.  Maybe we should cut back on the fiber.  TMI?  Oh well.

If I’ve cut a fresh melon, ie/one that I left on the kitchen table to ripen for five days, I’ll often put a few pieces in a little dish for him.  This is torture.  I swear.

“Is this melon for me,” he asks, obviously brilliant because it’s standing on the placemat where he eats breakfast.  When I say it is. . .every time. . .he says, “I’m not sure I can eat all of this.”  Three pieces, four tops.  Literally.  But it is healthy food and he is healthy food resistant.  He eats it.  Or throws it out.  I’m sure sometimes he’s doing a sleight-of-hand trick when he says, “Good melon,” as he’s dumping it down the garbage disposal.

The ritual he has with his breakfast could challenge quality control standards at NASA.  Go out to get the newspaper.  Read the headlines.  Swear about Trump.  Put tea bag in cup, water in microwave, two slices of bread in the toaster.  Don’t push the bread down until the water has boiled and been poured.  Wait 4.4 minutes for it to brew.  Take the tea bag out.  Push the toast down.  Add 200 packets of sweetener to the tea.  Get the milk out of the fridge and leave the door open.  Turn on the water and let it run so you can rinse the spoon in ten minutes.  Pour the milk in the tea.   Put the milk back and finally shut the fridge door.  Stir the tea.  Butter the now popped up toast.  Take it all to the table.  Eat and read the sports.  When the toast is gone heat the sweet roll, coffee cake, whatever, for 20 seconds.  Take it to the table and eat it before it cools off.  Swear about the Eagles, Phillies, Fliers, Packers, Brewers or any and all coaches and refs.

Sometimes just to rattle his cage I’ll go in the kitchen for something during this process.  If I’m feeling peckish I might start dicing stuff for a soup.  It drives him absolutely insane, but hey, what is marriage about if you can’t send your mate over the edge sometimes?  God forbid I should be in the way when that toast pops up!  He can take me down. . .yes me. . . in a heartbeat to get that butter on at warp speed before the toast cools.

Then there are the conversations.  This morning I told him that at 5:30 in the morning I had cancelled my arrangements to go to water aerobics, because I wanted someone else to be able to use the space.  He nodded.  He hates getting wet even in the shower so no way does he care about any of this so I don’t even know why I brought it up.  Just mean spirited, I guess. Then I told him I reserved for tomorrow so we’ll see if I go or cancel that one, too.  He nodded.  

Himself: So, we’re going tomorrow?

Me:  What are you talking about?

Himself: We’re going tomorrow, then.

Me:  Going where?

Himself:  I don’t know, but that’s what you said.

Me: I never said WE were going anywhere.

Himself:  Then what did I hear?

Me:  I have no clue!

Look, he does the dishes most evenings unless there is too much and he needs my cramming skills; he hangs up his cloths every time, which is more than I do; and this morning he even made the bed.  I guess I should be grateful for a little morning humor! 

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Nobodies

Monday, October 5, 2020

Today I am grateful for nobodies.  I am a nobody.  No one out side of my circle of friends and acquaintances has a clue who I am.  That’s okay.  My fragile ego can take it.  Until I’m famous and then I’ll adjust. 

Being a nobody leaves most of us at a grave disadvantage when it comes to our health and well-being.  Nobodies who struggle with addiction issues, or mental health, or poverty don’t fare as well as we nobodies who have less struggles.  But we’re all nobodies.

As a nobody I can’t get a Covid-19 test if I feel I need one.  I have to present symptoms, call my doctor, find out where to go, be analyzed and questioned and then maybe I can drive by a CVS, shove a swab up my own nose, drop it in the box and wait two weeks for the results.  Or more. Maybe. 

Because I’m a nobody, those in power in my government make it very clear every day how unimportant I am.  I am an unnecessary individual.  I am an annoying statistic, who causes the trend of deaths to rise and TV ratings to plunge.  I am a nobody who doesn’t influence the stock market.  I am dispensable.

My world is full of nobodies.  Proud nobodies who do the right thing.  They work, pay taxes, take care of families, educate their children, take care of aging parents and contribute positively to society.   They work every single day in jobs too numerous to list.  They are deemed essential even if they are taking out the trash, because they are essential.  But they are still nobodies.  Who cares if we lose a few hundred thousand nobodies?  Nobodies are invisible to our current government. 

Responsible nobodies wear masks.  They socially distance.  They wash hands.  They notice a swollen gland that causes a very minor sore throat, which is probably allergic in nature, yet decide to not go out into crowds for a few days, like me. . .today. . . just to wait and see.  To be sure no fever develops.  To be sure that THIS nobody is being responsible.  To keep others safe.

Because when a nobody gets sick the world doesn’t rally around them.  Ask the families of 208,000 people in our country alone, who died in obscurity while this horrible pandemic rages through our world.  Nobodies don’t have access to helicopters to squire them off to top rate hospitals where they can have twenty doctors hover over them. Many of our hospitals are again becoming overwhelmed.  Essential personnel are exhausted from working double and triple shifts.  Twenty doctor’s?  Hah!  We’re lucky if we see one! 

Most Covid-19 meds aren’t even approved yet, for us nobodies, but some people can get the latest and greatest, cutting edge treatment and medications. We have to shut up and wait.  And we will wait. . . because even we nobodies recognize the importance of vaccines, medical studies and science.

Nobodies don’t have access to daily testing just because they are walking through the door of a big white house.  Nobodies don’t get tested five days in a row like I just learned Rudy Giuliani was.  And he’s getting tested again today.

Nobodies have to haul their sick selves out of bed, drive to testing locations (if there even are any) and wait in line for hours and hours and hours to get tested.  Because they are not in the government.  Because they are not sports figures.  Because they are nobody.

Most of us in this world are nobodies.  I’m a nobody.  Probably you are a nobody.  But if you learn anything this day, please learn these two things.  Every nobody is a somebody to someone.  And every eligible nobody has a voice when they vote.  Be safe.

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Social Distancing Reunions

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Today I am grateful for social distancing reunions.  We had the sad and also joyful experience of attending the memorial service of my friend of 35 years, Sylvia, yesterday.  Wow.  I guess it’s true that growing old means a lot of permanent goodbyes.  If you’re lucky.

Because guests, although only thirty, were coming from other states, Himself and I were nervous about the social distancing aspect.  Geeze, who am I?  I used to be the first one to throw myself in the middle of crowds of people, hug everyone and wax poetic for hours and hours.  I miss that so much.  More than I can even clearly express.

Now I’m the cautious one in the periphery, watching everyone, stepping back when someone comes too close, reminding people to pull their masks up over their noses.  Now I’m the one who puts her hands straight in front of her to stop people from coming in for a hug.  I don’t shake hands or even do the stupid elbow touch, which feels about the same emotionally as kissing a rock.

Yesterday I noticed that Himself was getting too close to someone, leaning in because it was difficult for him to hear and with masks, he can’t read lips.  I grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back.  He looked at me like I was being rude, then realized what he had been doing and thanked me.

We have to monitor not only ourselves, but also each other, or we will never get on the other side of this Covid-19 thing.  It’s exhausting.  It’s tedious.  It’s necessary.

For me learning how to be even remotely social in the socially distancing times of Covid-19 is like trying to learn a new language with a foreign alphabet.  Everything looks different.  Nothing makes any sense.  I don’t know where to put the characters and just when I think I’m figuring it out I find out I was wrong to even think that way.  I’m discombobulated.

It’s stressful.  As much as we would have loved to hang around and chat all day with people at the lunch after the service, outside, under a tent, we didn’t stay very long.  I’ve noticed that sometimes people throw all precautions out the window just because they are outside.  They sit too close and seldom wear masks.   It’s better to be outside, but still not great.  Especially with people from all over the country.  It’s exhausting to be perpetually on guard.

My two sons were there and hooked up with their old friend and our former neighbor, but there were no hugs or handshakes.  It didn’t matter. Even through masks and distancing, the friendship was still there, front and center. 

Listening to them share stories and laugh and tease each other in mask-muffled voices, made me realize that that’s just the way life is in these times of social distancing reunions.  Cautious, stressful, exhausting and also wonderful.

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Getting Rid of Crap

Monday, September 28, 2020

Today I am grateful for getting rid of crap.  I notice a tiny tear in one of our sheets, which are old.  So, I did what I do these days and got on line to Kohls and ordered new ones that cost next to nothing, what with discounts.

Then I looked in a bin under the bed.  Sheets.  Why are they there?  What’s wrong with them?  Ah, I remember, they didn’t have strong enough elastic all around the bottom fitted sheet and wouldn’t stay on the bed.  Every morning Himself woke up with the fitted around his head, like he was wearing a hooded baby towel.  Out they go!

Then I opened a drawer and found more sheets and pillowcases.  Some that fit the pillows we use now, some pillows I haven’t used in eight years.  But what’s wrong with these sheets?  I opened them up on the bed and ran my hand across the fitted sheet.  Balls.  Hundreds of tiny, twisted up, fabric balls!  Since I am the Princess in the Princess and the Pea, there is no way I could tolerate them for one minute.  Out they go!

I got to wondering how much of the same I had upstairs in our “storage”, aka, throw-all-the-crap-in-here room.  Turns out I had three more bags of various bedding, some of which I bought in Jakarta, Indonesia, over 20 years ago.  They are for the spare bed, except the spare bed is queen sized and the sheets are king.  Out they go!

Christmas sheets with similar balls and piling on the bottom sheet.  Out!  Assorted pillow cases from who knows what sheets!  Out!  What about the green ones that seem okay to look at until I touch them, I’m curious.  They are soft and almost flannel.  I’m a radiator and I don’t need flannel, or anything that will make it difficult for me to slide around to get cooler.  Out they go!

A black lace, formal dress I last wore 25 years ago; a red lingerie set that I totally forgot I had and haven’t worn in 200 years; old pillows; a bag of office crap; slacks with a very tight calf that piss me off every time I wear them and are the exact color of Peppa Pig, so I don’t wear them; and four boxes of “skinny” clothes from six years ago when I packed them up to “get into again” someday.  Hah!  If it didn’t happen by now, I’m gonna want new styles when if and when it ever does!  Out!  Out!  Out!

I even found a dress, still in the dry-cleaning package that looked like it would fit, so I tried it on.  Nice dress.  Still fit.  No zipper!  Hot!  Irritating!  I almost had to yell for Himself to call the fire department and have them run over with the jaws-of-life to get me out of the damned thing.  Nice dress or not, if it irritated me just trying it on, and caused flop-sweats to crawl out of, then I don’t need it.  I’m all about NOT being irritated!  Out it goes!  Out!  Out!  Out!

I’m still wearing the poundage results from some of the pity party,

Covid-chips/cookies/cake incidents which began last February and I’m having a difficult time stopping, but getting rid of all of this crap makes me feel blissfully unburdened.  I actually think I might feel svelte!  Nah!

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The Great British Baking Show

They really did turn out just like the picture!
Please ignore the greasy thumbprint. It’s how I mark all of my recipes.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Today I am grateful for The Great British Baking Show.  Buttah, buttah, buttah!  I’ve gained weight just watching it.  Jam, lemon curd, croissant and buttah, buttah, buttah!   Chocolate, fondant, yeasty rye bread, Danish pastries and buttah, buttah, buttah!

Look, I’m aware that it’s been almost a week since I’ve written a blog, but believe me, I was doing something very useful. . .and necessary for my mental health.  I binge watched “episodes” on Netflix.  Before you go putting it in your Q, be aware that the humor in it is a bit raw and sexual.  Ok, very much so.  If that is not your thing, then don’t watch it, because it will probably offend you.

But if you’re a total scamp, like me, who likes a bit of sassiness, as long as no one is getting hurt because I hate violent shows, then take a look at this series.  But don’t watch one or two and ditch it.  Get past the third episode (25-minute shows) before you decide to go on or stop.  I’m watching it again with Himself because he would defer to anything besides the news and is enjoying it.

You won’t have that problem with The Great British Baking Show, which is my newest drug of choice.  If you’re a little off-whack like me, you’ll love it from the start.  I’m watching season six, but didn’t watch any other seasons, except maybe one a long time ago with my sister when I was at her house.  Now I’m addicted.  Himself is even a little into it, but don’t tell the guys cuz he’s afraid they’ll take away his man card.

First off, the hosts are a hoot.  An attractive silver-fox guy and a colorful woman are the judges.  She wears different color glasses depending on her funky outfit.  I can relate.  Then there’s a goth-guy who is as quirky as a circus performer on steroid cocktails and a gay, slightly seasoned woman who cracks me up.  These characters had me before the first thing went in the oven.

The contestants are even better.  Men, women, younger, older, gay, straight, weird, shee-shee, trendy and physically challenged. . .this show has them all.  We’ve pared it down to the last four so the bakes are getting more difficult. 

Instead of hearing the screaming noise of politicians and broadcasters, like election, supreme court take-overs, the upcoming debates, mail-in-ballots, the Covid nightmare numbers, the great mask arguement, social distancing and lies, lies, lies, I’m hearing about cream and mirror glaze and buttah, buttah, buttah.  Works for me!

I’m going to have to look a few terms up that you might know, but I don’t, like, craquelin, choux (no clue on either) and religieuse (some kind of nun pastry). 

I know what a ganache is but I’ve never made it.  My daughter in law is a great baker and she’s done it, so maybe some day she’ll give me lessons.

I’m absolutely certain that I gained 20 pounds from just watching four shows.  That’s five pounds a show and now I have a huge problem aside from the one I’m sitting on.  Unlike watching an exercise video, where I can stay in my chair throughout the entire thing and not feel compelled to get up, move or even breathe heavy. . .when I watch a baking show. . .I want to bake! 

Lots!  Everything.  Not the stuff they are making because I know when I’m out of my league.  No way could I stand in that kitchen for a five-hour bake.  They’d find me somewhere on the grounds, sprawled out on a chaise lounge, Googling the local bakery!  Then I saw a recipe in last week’s Sunday Inquirer that not only sounded good, but I knew I had all of the ingredients in the house to make it.  Win-win.

So, this morning, between challenges, I roasted some pecans, gathered ingredients and threw together muffins.  Oh boy.  And I still have pie left from the last bake.  I love making this stuff, but I can’t eat all of it and honestly don’t even want to.  Plus Himself is picky even about sweets.  He wouldn’t touch a muffin if he knew it had anything healthy in it, like oatmeal or protein drink. 

But what to do with the eleven muffins (I ate one cuz I have to make sure they are not poison) and two-thirds of a Dutch apple pie?  I texted my son!  He and the little one were stopping by for a few minutes and left with an entire box full of the baked booty.

More winning.  The motherland has produced The British Baking Show and it is killing me. . .and rescuing me.  God save the Queen!  And please pass the buttah, buttah, buttah!

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Stay the Course

Social distancing black man and woman character wearing medical mask maintain to prevent from virus

Monday, September 21, 2020

Today I am grateful for staying the course.  There is a lot going on these days and I’m not talking about the political debacle, which I’m not going to get into.  I promise.  If you follow me you know how I feel anyway and I don’t need to beat that topic to death.  Again.  I’m talk about staying the Covid-19 course.  Because I’m a little worried.

As the months march on I realize, probably like many you, that I have covid fatigue.  I’m pretty sick of wearing a mask, but I do.  I’m fed up with ordering groceries on line to minimize the time spent in the store, but I do.  I want to hug every human I know and some I don’t know, but I don’t hug them.  I do very unsatisfying air hugs.  Not hugging is probably the most difficult part for me.

These days it seems the world is spinning out of control.  I feel like I’m on a warp speed roller coaster, and I’m begging someone to stop it and let me off, but the operator has left for the day so I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be, moving too fast, being jerked around, going nowhere and dropping fast.

Gyms, movies, restaurants, stores, churches and some schools have opened up, some with less occupancy but all with mask and six-foot distancing requirements.  That’s great. . .provided people comply.  The risk in trying go back to what “normal” looked like before is that many of us, myself included are slipping into an “everything is normal” like it used to be mindset.  And that can be dangerous.

We have lowered the numbers of cases in my state because we took precautions.  Now we have to guard against getting lax with our resolve or I’m convinced our numbers will fly right back up again.  I’d rather be extra careful for a long time, than have everything shut down again because we got impatient and stopped being as careful.

I am as guilty as the next guy.  I admit it.  The Y pool is now open and I’m thrilled.  We all wear masks as we wait for the doors to open, but one day I sidled right up to someone, elbow-to-elbow because she was talking to me and I couldn’t hear her through the mask.  Wrong!  She should have told me to back off, but she was polite and let me stand there.  She should have put me in my place.  Please don’t be too polite.  Be safe!

When we gather our pool toys, many people take their masks off first and then get the noodles and buoys.  That clumps all of us around the equipment within a foot of each other, without face coverings.  Too close!  We need to be more mindful.  If we just stood back and waited until people moved away, we could maintain a six-foot distance.  We’re forgetting.

In the pool, we’re fine, but it’s the same when we get out of the pool and put things away.  We jumble together, letting our guard down.  And that’s not smart.  We need to be smarter.

It was also suggested that we use the now open locker rooms, so that we’re not dripping all over the common floor walking out wet.  I went through the locker room to see what it was like and not one person getting dressed was wearing a mask.  Not one!  Nor were they distancing at least six-feet because it’s impossible in such a small space.  Not good.  We need to do better.

I now bring two towels so I can dry and soak up my suit with one, then wrap the other around me in hopes I won’t drip on the hallway floor.   But they might have to put matts on the floor.  I also bought a long, warm robe to use when it gets colder, because I’m not using the locker room after a class of 20 people unless everyone wears a mask.  Even then it’s almost impossible to distance. 

People should put a mask on before they come out of the shower stalls and keep it on while they dry and dress.  But they’re not.  Maybe covid fatigue is getting to them, too.  But Covid-19 is still here and isn’t going away soon.  We have to try harder to be aware. 

Most establishments, including my YMCA are going above and beyond, not only to stay open, but to keep us safe.  They are doing a wonderful job!  It is a pain-in-the-neck for them, I’m sure.  I really appreciate their efforts because I missed water aerobics almost as much as hugs.

Restaurants are at a third or half capacity and struggling.  Our favorite bakery has a two-person limit for their small store, so there is a line out front with those waiting for one to come out so another can go in.  It’s smart.  It’s necessary, at least for a while.

My own sister told me her church has distance requirements, yet they fly out the window during after-church social events.  No masks, no distancing.  Come on!  We’re all in this together. 

But all of these establishments can only do so much.  We have to do our bit, too.  We have to call each other out when we see someone who is not complying.  I hate that.  It’s confrontational, even if done with humor.  It’s awkward.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s necessary.  We all slip.  I caught myself entering a store one day and was mortified I had forgotten my mask in the car.  No one said anything, but they should have. I went back for it anyway.

I wear my mask for you.  Please wear yours for me.  I stay six-feet away for you.  Please do the same for me.  Because while I’m not sick, I don’t know who I might have come in contact with who is.  And I don’t know where they have been and who they might have been in contact with, either.  It goes on and on.  Is it a major pain-in-the-ass?  For sure. 

But we have to remain vigilant.  We could be in this for another year or more.  It is dangerous to give in to covid fatigue and jeopardize our collective well-being.  We’ve had almost 200,000 deaths from this scourge.  Please don’t get lax in your safety precautions, now.  It isn’t easy.  But I will stay the course, wear a mask and keep my distance. . . for you!   And hope you will do the same for me.   Be safe.

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