Laughter

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.

Walt Disney

Last night was the best night I have had since the start of the stay-at-home order. I have been trying to think of ways to connect to my grandkids, especially the two older who are six. We have been video chatting, but there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about with all of us being at home. So, I thought that maybe we could play a game of Pictionary via video.

The first one to try this out was my grandson, Parker, and his parents (my daughter and son-in-law). We set a time to Facetime after dinner, and the fun began almost immediately. Parker was armed with his paper and pencil; I was working with a small whiteboard and dry-erase marker.

It was so cute to see the top of Parker’s head as he diligently worked on his drawing and quietly whispered details to his mom; he wanted to get it “just right.” I, on the other hand was having difficulty manuevering my marker (that’s the excuse I am using) and getting my drawings to look like what I intended them to be.

The first outburst of laughter was at my expense, and it was well deserved. I tried to draw a minion, but the guesses from Parker and his mom, Angela, were a popsicle, a tongue depresser, and a thumb. I am glad that I was using an erasable marker, so there was no evidence of my drawing deficits.

Since Parker and I were having so much fun, Angela and Ryan had to get in on the action. First there was a giraffe and a flying squirrel, the Titanic, and a Death Star (I had no idea what that was). Then the game took a turn towards religion. Ang and Ryan were trying to out do each other. There was the Last Supper, The Resurrection, and a Pope’s fancy mitre (Ang has been reading Parker a book about the Vatican). The funniest of all was when Parker correctly identified his dad’s drawing of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I couldn’t believe he knew what it was.

Evidence of the game
Parker’s picture of Jesus.

We were on our call for just over an hour. The last drawing was a recreation of my husband asleep in his recliner. I was laughing so hard; I could hardly breathe.

Last night I learned that Walt Disney’s quote is true. Laughter is timeless; we can laugh through the stress of the times. Imagaination is ageless; Angela, Ryan, and I were having as much fun, if not more, than Parker. Dreams are forever. I am dreaming of the time when we can play games in person again, but until then the memory of last night will have me laughing for weeks. Maybe next time it will be charades.

Stay well.

Happy Little Things

I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.

Paula Cole

Today, my Target order arrived. In it were things that made me very happy – little things. Since I am two weeks past my last haircut appointment, my hair is getting a little unruly. I am not worry about it getting long (can’t get an appointment until at least May) but the in-between stage is challenging when you have a slight wave and cowlicks. Getting hairclips and headbands in my package today was so exciting!

On top of that, also in the box were new marker pens. I couldn’t wait to get them out of the package and start using them, but I forced myself to wait until my schoolwork was completed!

One thing I have learned over this past month is that nothing is certain or guaranteed. Life as we know it can change on a dime, and it has, and when things you have taken for granted are taken from you, you need to find joy in the little things. This is what we should have been doing all along. I hope we all learn that lesson and continue to find joy in life’s little moments and treasures.

On this the last day of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge, I am feeling sad that it is over. This community of writers and the challenge has given me a purpose for writing each day. During these unsettling times writing each day is something that has made me happy. I am committed to keep writing although I’m not sure if I continue the every day posts, but I will do my best.

Stay well.

A Recipe for Surviving Home Isolation

#SOL20
Day 30/31

A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, have to bring soul to the recipe.

Thomas Keller

Ingredients

  • One large pack of patience
  • Several pounds of prayer
  • About 7 hours of sleep
  • 20-30 minutes of movement
  • A bunch of virtual connecting
  • At least one self-care activity
  • A smidge of news viewing
  • A sprinkle of humor
  • A dash of flexiblity

First, take as much patience as you can possibly find and mix it gently with a large helping of prayer. Next, stir in about seven hours of sleep combined with 20-30 minutes of movement combined with a self-care activity. Add a bunch of virtual connecting with family and friends, and a smidge of news reports. Place it all in somewhat of a schedule, and let it rest over night.

Take a healthy dose of this mixture each morning until it fills your soul. Be sure to top it with a sprinkle of humor and a dash of flexiblity.

Repeat as necesssary.

Stay well.

Security Blanket

#SOL20
Day 29/31

When someone loves you, it’s like having a warm blanket all around your heart.

Helen Fielding

Although we have turned the heat off for the season, there a some times in the evening when the living room feels a little chilly, so I have taken out a couple of throw blankets just in case.

One night last week, my husband questioned why I was using my blanket as I sat in the recliner watching TV. He was certain that it was not cold enough for a blanket. I just gave him a stare. Then he went on to say that he thought that I wasn’t really cold, but that I was using my blanket for security. He made me think.

This is the blanket I have been using lately. As you can see it is definitely an autumn blanket. While autumn is my favorite season, I usually put those items away before Christmas. But this blanket is special. It was given to me by my kids and grandkids as part of a larger very well thought out gift for my 60th birthday.

These days I really miss seeing my kids and grandkids in person and being able to give them kisses and hugs. So I guess my husband was right (don’t tell him I admitted that!). I am wrapping myself up in the closest thing I have to those I am missing the most, and being reminded to give thanks and count my blessings even when it is difficult.

Stay well.

Safe at Home

#SOL20
Day 28/31

You will not be the same after weathering the storms of life; you will be stronger, wiser, and more alive than ever before!

Bryant McGill

It is a rainy day in Pennsylvania, and I found myself going through old magazines and cutting out words and phrases to use as writing prompts. As I spread the various magazine clippings on the coffee table, words started to pop out at me and take shape. I carefully arranged and rearranged them until their message took hold. I pasted them in my notebook, and the result is pictured below.

I am not “stuck” at home; I am “safe” at home.

Stay well.

A Bowl of Soup

#SOL20
Day 27/31

Worries go down better with soup.

Jewish Proverb

This morning I woke up to the aroma of seafood wafting through the house. My husband had gotten up early and went on a cooking spree before he went to work where he prepares food for other people to take home to their families. He made tuna salad for my lunch, and shrimp chowder and shrimp scampi for dinner. We would just have to boil the pasta at dinner time. Yes, I am a very lucky woman to have a husband who cooks for me daily, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the soup.

You see, today was kind of a blah day for me. It was catch-up day for my students, so I didn’t have as many emails or questions to respond to, so I had more time on my hands. Yet, I felt like I was just going around in circles. I went from one thing to another without getting anything done and ended up feeling a little defeated.

When Chuck came home around 5:30, I told him that I didn’t get anything done today, and he said. “That’s OK.” I realized that was our code words for me saying that I was feeling blah and him saying that will happen some days. So what does that have to do with soup?

I actually forgot about the soup Chuck had made this morning, and when he pulled it out of the fridge and heated it up, I was pleasantly surprised. He placed a bowl in front of me, and the blahs of the day started to evaporate like the steam rising from my soup.

As I sipped the savory broth, I felt warm inside – literally and figuratively. The simple act of eating soup, soup made from scratch with love, made me feel like yes, there can be a little normalcy during this chaotic time. Just for tonight I can rest in the warmth of homemade soup and the warmth of love.

Stay well.

Not Opening Today

#SOL20
Day 26/31

Baseball was, is, and always will be to me the best game in the world.

Babe Ruth

It usually one of my favorite days of the year, but today I am lamenting the postponement of Opening Day of Major League Baseball. My slice is an homage to “Casey at the Bat” with one little “borrowed” line.

The outlook isn’t brilliant for the Phllies nine today.
The players had to all stay home; no baseball could they play.
First basketball, then hockey stopped, now baseball’s done the same.
A sickly silence fell upon the lovers of the game.

No Joe Girardi, Bryce, or Rhys, no “Jetpack” Kingery
No cracking bats, no slapping gloves, no baseball game to see.
Citizen’s Bank Park is shuttered and now a testing site
For the nasty coronavirus that’s changing everything in its sight.

Opening Day will have to wait till later on this year.
A few more weeks or maybe months before we get to cheer.
But oh the cheers will be so loud on that terrific day
Cause that’s the day that we will know corona’s gone away.

So missing baseball is just a minor inconvenience in the scope of what is going on in the US and around the world right now, but it is definitely one of my favorite outlets. It always reminds me of when I was young and the Phillies home games were not televised (yes I know I am old). We would listen to the play-by-play on the radio and cheer as if we were at Connie Mack Stadium or early on at Veterans’ Stadium. Those were idyllic days.

I long for those days even more as we make our way through these uncharted waters, but I am hopeful that it won’ be long before I am hearing those two simple words – “Play ball.”

Stay well.

Life

#SOL20
Day 25/31

For many of us, life seems to be standing still. We are sheltering – in – place, working and learning from home, and missing our recreational outlets.

We have gone from being social beings whose calendars were probably overcrowded to people who are at home with nowhere to go. It is ironic that very often we complain about not having time to read, to cook, to watch a movie, and now we are home but too stressed out to relax. I haven’t been able to focus on reading my pleasure book myself.

Yet, life must go on, and it does. The seasons have changed, the flowers are starting to bloom, and babies are being born. People are still having their cancer treatments, shelves are still being stocked with whatever the truckers are able to deliver, and those who chose careers in medicine or public service are working the front lines to keep us safe.

When we come out on the other side of this pandemic, what I will try to remember is that although the world seemed to stop, life went on.

Stay well.

Seeing the World

#SOL20
Day 24/31

The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.

Barry Neil Kaufman

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a difficult time walking long distances, and I use the word “long” very loosely. On Sunday, I took a brief stroll around my cul-de-sac and the adjoining one. It was the first time I had been out of the house in over a week, and it made me determined to get out of the house every day.

Yesterday it rained, so when the sun came out today shining brightly, I knew an afternoon walk was on the agenda. I decided to challenge myself to walk longer than on I did on Sunday, and I got a little farther. Maybe by the time this quarintine is over, I will be sauntering around the whole neighborhood.

Today I want to share a few pictures I took on my little jaunt.

In the midst of branches and leaves left behind from fall and winter, the tiger lilies are making their appearance in front of my house. Soon their bright orange flowers will be greeting me each afternoon opened wide, and then close up to rest at night.
Daffodils are one of my favorite spring flowers.
These are blooming by my neighbor’s mailbox.
What a beautiful shade of blue.
Blue skies with big puffy clouds – is there anything prettier?
I think this is my favorite Yes, the tree limbs are bare, but notice the nests in the top left and middle right of the tree. Before long, the robins will be making their way back to fill those nests with fragile blue eggs and new life will soon begin again.

Tomorrow the forecast calls for rain again, so I may have to wait until Thursday for my next outdoor adventure, but I am hoping to go even a longer distance than today. I am going to be looking for more signs of hope and beauty, and peace. They are all around us if we only look.

Stay well.

Rainy Day Blues

#SOL20
Day 23/31

Today was the hardest day so far since I left school on March 12th. I don’t know if it was waking up to rainy day, or the realization that this really is the new normal. Last week I was searching for the right word for what I was feeling, and I finally figured out I was searching for the word paralyzed.

Maybe paralyzed isn’t quite the right word; at first I did feel a little paralyzed – like on a snow day when you just keep watching the news to see how many inches you could expect. But actually I was more in denial even though I had been following the spread of COVID-19. Working on getting out work to my students took up most of my time, and didn’t give me too much time for anything else.

This morning I woke up feeling sad – sad that this is my new normal. The day didn’t get better. Our governor declared a stay-at-home order for the next two weeks for my home county. I was staying at home anyway, but that is not the same as being ordered to stay home. Later, I got notified that I would have a 90 minute window to get into my classroom and pick up what I needed for an extended period at home. Going back into my classroom was sad, knowing that I had no idea when/if I will be back this year.

Things changed about an hour after I got home though. As I sat on the couch, I started to feel a little better. I decided that it’s okay to feel sad, to let myself shed a few tears. This is definitely a storm the likes of which we have never seen before, but I refuse to be paralyzed and wait for it to pass. I will keep dancing in the rain even though I don’t dance that well…lol.

Keep dancing and stay well.