I’ve been on a decluttering binge the past few weeks so right now my FAVORITE thing is my HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477 series, which has a kick-ass scanner. I’ve been scanning and recycling, scanning and recycling, scanning and recycling. It’s true what they say – decluttering your house does declutter your brain. Such a good feeling.
Coincidentally, one of my favorite illustrator/cartoonists posted this tonight…
Ran across these things recently…
1. This Website Where You Can Generate Your Own Song Lyric Hand Washing Posters – Wash Your Lyrics is the best way to make sure you wash your hands for that full 20 seconds. Google the lyrics to your favorite song, paste them into the text box on the website, hit the “generate” button, and either print your poster or save it as a graphic file.
My dentist has it in a small frame right above the sink in her office loo. I tape mine onto the mirror in my bathroom because I switch it a lot.
2. This Lion Who Lived in the Milwaukee Public Library – The building that is now the Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library was built in 1895, but back then then it didn’t just house the library. The building was designed to be a shared facility that housed both the Milwaukee Public Library and the Milwaukee Public Museum.
The staffs from both the library and the museum often worked together and in 1928, a group from both the library and the museum made a cultural trip to Africa and to bring items back for the museum.
While there a local Maasai tribe gifted the group a rescued lion cub named Simba (Swahili for lion.) The group traveled with the lion cub and became attached to him so at the end of their trip they had him shipped home.
He lived for a while in the library/museum – even roaming free on occasion – until he got a such a bad tooth abscess that it required a veterinarian. At that point he was moved to the Milwaukee Zoo. Simba lived until he was 14 years old, which is not bad considering the lifespan for a lion in the wild is 10 to 15 years. (Still, animals are always better off in their natural habitats than zoos.)
3. This Dolly Party Cake Mix – I can’t tell you the last time I made a cake from a mix but I damn well will be buying some of this!
Unfortunately, they are already SOLD OUT but you can sign up here to be notified when they are back in stock. “Duncan Hines says the cake mixes and frostings will hit grocery stores and mass retailers starting in March and sell for about $2 each.”
[Found via Tom and Lorenzo – they are my gurus]
4. This Tweet that’s Simply Oozing with Sarcasm – who doesn’t love good satire?
The responses are equally as good – this one caught my eye for obvious reasons…
5. This Chess Set Ring – By Joe Turner, 2015. Both ridiculous and astonishing at the same time. I mean, who thinks to do this? Fossil ivory and ebony chessboard set in a silver ring. The pieces are cast in silver and fit snugly into a leather case inside a hinged compartment.
6. This Autograph – I posted this on Facebook but I’m putting it on here for those who aren’t my FB friend or who don’t look at FB anymore.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Louie Anderson. I have been a fan for years. But actually, I really became more aware of him / a huge fan after he wrote his book ‘Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child.’ It’s about growing up the child of an abusive alcoholic father. The book is excellent. Neither of my parents were alcoholics or physically abusive but I still connected with the book.
Louie passed away ten days ago. He was only 68 years old. It felt like losing a friend I haven’t seen in a while. You know, the ones you feel guilty you haven’t tried calling or texting or emailing. That’s what it felt like.
I met Louie Anderson at a library conference. It was around 1990. He was signing copies of his book “Dear Dad” so I bought a copy and stood in line. When I finally got to the front of the line he looked at my name tag (it said Jennie) and asked if my name was pronounced “Jenny” or “Jeanie”. I told him it was “Jenny” and then told him the story of my name .
I explained that it had at one time been J-E-N-N-Y but that in 3rd grade I looked up Jenny in the dictionary and it said, “female jackass” so I promptly changed the spelling to J-E-N-N-I-E. I also told him that my Mom refused to accept the new spelling, despite this discovery, and always spelled it with a “y.” She’d say, “I gave birth to you, I can spell it whatever way I want.” He must have enjoyed this story because he signed my book with a very sweet message and he signed the promotional card for the event like this:
I had it framed and it has been hanging on my wall for, jeez, over 30 years. Pardon about the funky blemish on his photo – I couldn’t avoid the glare from the glass of the photo.
7. This Embroidered Tablecloth – Her other tablecloths are equally gorgeous and pretty much all sold out, despite being fantastically expensive.
1. This Video of Angela Lansbury & Carol Channing – it is a performance recorded back in 2001, when Lansbury was 76 years old and Channing was 80, at a benefit for the Actors Fund of America. The event was called ‘Tap Your Troubles Away with Jerry Herman.’ Jerry Herman was the wizard behind the musicals Mame, La Cage aux Folles and Hello, Dolly. I ADORE these two old girls!!!
2. This Interview with Ruby Bridges by Trevor Noah – Trevor Noah, in my opinion, is the best interviewer on television (sorry Stephen Colbert, you’re a close second though! Plus you’re the most talented. And Seth Meyers, you’re the funniest so don’t worry, you’re still number one in my heart. And, of course, we mustn’t forget John Oliver, who is in a class by himself.)
3. This Sea Shanty sung by the Fisherman’s Friends – who doesn’t love a good sea shanty?
More importantly, who doesn’t love a good movie about a group of fisherman who become famous singing sea shanties? Cuz the guys above, the Fisherman’s Friends, there is a movie about them and it’s on Netflix now. Here’s the trailer. You HAVE to see it. It’s marvelous. It makes me long to go back to Cornwall (one of my favorites places in the world.) My great-grandparents were Cornish (as were all their relatives before them) so I think my attachment to Cornwall is due to that – I feel at home when I’m there.
4. This Tutorial on How to Position Pillows for Better Sleep – it’s meant for elderly people, to help reduce joint pain, but frankly as a menopausal broad, I have plenty of that already. And I’m sure that people of all ages should learn how to sleep properly, with better alignment. I bought a buckwheat pillow after watching this and it’s AWESOME.
I also purchased a wedge pillow and for the past two days I slept EIGHT HOURS straight. I have breathing issues but I’ve had two sleep studies done and I don’t have sleep apnea. Instead it turns out I have a deviated septum and other nose problems that make me end up waking up completely congested. But sleeping slightly elevated it is really helping with my breathing. It turns out that elevated sleeping is better for people with all sorts of sleep issues.
5. This Friendship between Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald – I came across this story via Drunk History (see video below) and it is wonderful. Those of us who know about Marilyn’s life (which is pretty much everyone over forty I suspect) know that it wasn’t easy. During a time when women like Marilyn were sexualized and victimized and there was little to no recourse, Monroe tried to find ways to protect herself. Trying to change her image into an actress with the trifecta of being able to act, dance, and sing (as well as being taken more seriously as an actress) was one method of protection.
Supposedly her singing instructor introduced her to the music of Ella Fitzgerald. Marilyn was so taken with Ella’s voice that she called up the manager at the famous Mocambo Nightclub in Hollywood and told him that if he had Ella perform that she would sit in the front row every night. Supposedly Fitzgerald had been trying to get a gig there for some time but was turned down. There have been memes circulating about the incident saying the Mocambo wouldn’t let Fitzgerald sing because she was black and Monroe helped her get a gig and the two women became great admirers of one another, or they were so alike, or they celebrated Monroe’s and Fitzgerald’s friendship. Sadly the fact checkers, who sometimes are way too literal (which drives me nuts) have been saying – okay, here’s the TRUE STORY or the “truth” behind this meme.
They say – it isn’t accurate to say that Ella Fitzgerald wasn’t allowed to sing at the Mocambo because she was black. They’ll point out that black performers like Eartha Kitt, Dorothy Dandridge, Herb Jeffries and Joyce Bryant. Big whoop. Ella sang at the Mocambo in 1955, it had been open since 1941.
But if that really isn’t the reason, or if it is only partly the reason, the real reason is actually worse and I’m not sure, are these fact-checkers and truth seekers implying it’s less problematic? Because the real reason is that Ella was “heavyset” that she wasn’t “sexy enough” that she was fat. It still had to do with the way she looked, whichever reason is true.
For those of you who enjoy Drunk History (one of the best ways to learn history) ….
6. This Exercise Bicycle from the Hendrick’s Gin people – a Hendrick’s High Wheel! It’s a REAL exercise bike, or as Bicycling magazine calls it, a “high-class, low-tech stationary bike.” Designed to look like a Victorian Penny-farthing, the bicycle is a Steampunk lover’s dream. Plus it has a holder that fits a bottle of Hendrick’s, so you can pedal for your cocktails! Would I be willing to fork over the $2500 for this? Maybe. But with there only being three available for sale, because I don’t have the space in my house, AND because I honestly question whether I would be able to climb up onto the seat, this lovely thing won’t be in my possession at any point in the future.
7. This View from the Cupola of the Space Station – can you even imagine??? And there are more photos here and here.
And here is a video:
Word of the Day
Kalsarikännit (pronounced cal-sar-y-cuhn-eet) – of course pre-pandemic kalsarikannit wasn’t such a regular thing.
I have been ranting a LOT about masks lately. I live in Wisconsin and on August 1st our Governor finally issued a mask mandate. When I read the headline in the newspaper it brought me so much joy I can’t even tell you. His action will be life-changing for me.
You see, I’m a at-risk person. I actually have multiple health issues that put me at-risk so I’d even say I’m a super-duper at-risk person. I’ve been isolating at home since March 11th and unlike most people who have been able to venture out a bit since around the end of May, I am still essentially sheltering at home. Other than weekly trips to pick up groceries, a few doctor appointments, and about the half dozen times I’ve gotten curbside pickup from restaurants instead of delivery, I haven’t been anywhere. According to my report from my insurance company (I have one of those little devices in my car) I am averaging less than 5 miles a week.
I did start having visitors in June, once the weather got nice enough to sit outside, but I can count the number of visits on one hand. I had one group of friends over that I hadn’t seen in over six months and between not seeing them for that long and just not seeing people in general I almost started to cry at one point.
Anyhoo, I realize it will take a little time for the effects of the mask mandate to settle in. The numbers won’t go down immediately and people obviously won’t all wear them willingly right away, but in time, hopefully in a month or two, I may actually be able to go into a store myself to shop or get my haircut or go over to friends’ homes, or have people come to my house, and not worry (as much) that it’s putting my life in jeopardy.
You see, it isn’t that I don’t trust my salon or my friends, I do. I know that they are doing everything they can to be safe, but they may unknowingly have interaction with someone who is not taking any precautions and that is what scares me. And really, even people who are completely careful have been known to catch the virus. The problem is, if I catch it, it’s pretty much a death sentence.
Sadly, the Wisconsin GOP, who control the legislature, decided they don’t like that the Governor has used the powers that he is authorized to use by law. The truth is, they don’t like that the Governor has any power at all and have done everything they can to take away any power and authority he has (even though he was elected Governor by a majority of the voters of this state, but I digress.) And now they want to repeal the mask mandate.
Trusting though that democracy is important and that I should make my opinion known and that if enough people did this that the WI GOP would actually listen, I wrote to my representative, Alberta Darling. I told her how extremely important it was that the mask mandate not be repealed. I told her what I said above, that the mask mandate will be life-changing for me, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Here is the reply I received from one of her aides…
Dear Ms. Stoltz,
Thank you for reaching out to Senator Darling’s office regarding the Governor’s recent statewide mask mandate. I will pass along your thoughts to Senator Darling.
First and foremost, Senator Darling believes that people in Wisconsin should continue to make smart decisions to protect themselves and those around them. She believes that everyone should practice social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when appropriate, and encourages businesses to follow WEDC guidelines to protect customers. Senator Darling supports the decisions of many local municipalities, restaurants, doctor’s offices, bars, gyms, and other businesses that already require individuals to wear masks and keep their distance while inside, as these decisions are best made at the local level instead of through a one-size-fits-all statewide mandate.
With that being said, Senator Darling takes issue with the process through which the mask mandate was implemented. She worries that a fresh emergency declaration is the beginning of an effort to keep students out of in-person classes this fall, which she has publicly expressed deep concerns with on many levels. As you are likely aware, many school districts in the area have been planning to begin session in-person this fall in conjunction with the recommendations of many scientists, experts and pediatricians.
Thank you again for reaching out. If you have any questions or further comments for me to pass along, please feel free to do so again.
I want you to notice that Senator Darling doesn’t have an issue with masks and that she is still encouraging people to wear them. But she (and her colleagues) are prepared to strike down the mask mandate because they fear it will lead to the Governor eventually adding a virtual school mandate, which he has publicly stated he will not.
(Side note, the Senator Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald has criticized the governor on changing his mind on issuing a stay-at-home order. This is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard. The fact that a political leader might need to change his mind on a health decision during a global pandemic and then get criticized for it is outrageous. Even more outrageous: that anything related to the pandemic is being made political in the first place.)
Of course the logical thing to do would be to wait to see if he actually does try to do a school mandate and then strike that down but no, they are going to let people suffer and die over their ideological zealotry and thirst for power. It terrible what people on a sinking ship that are desperately clawing at whatever they can are willing to do to try to survive. Sadly a lot of people will get hurt or die in their attempt to save themselves.
So, getting back to the original point of this blog – what is the missed opportunity. Well, for all these anti-mask people, who most likely were also anti-lockdown people and may very well have been carrying signs at those protests, well, you are giving up prime real estate for posting messages. I mean seriously, check out some of these masks.
Missed opportunity for getting ONE’S MESSAGE ACROSS. Here’s a few for the anti-maskers…
Or for those in support of masks and/or who want the world to be sane again there are masks like this:
For myself though, I see masks as an opportunity to ACCESSORIZE!!! There are some gorgeous masks out there…
OR, for those who have disposable income, why not buy the world’s most expensive mask that costs a mere $1.5 million…
And there is also the missed opportunity to show one’s INDIVIDUALITY…
By the way, since I’ve gone on so long about this topic (and because I am librarian after all) I might as well go all the way and provide some factual information.
Apparently some anti-mask geniuses have been making claims that they are exempt from wearing masks for health reasons. Sadly, people are even using fake “exemption” cards like the one below, which has been making its way ’round the internet. It cites the ADA and says they aren’t required to disclose their condition. How very convenient. But it is also complete crap.
FACT – more and more doctors have been getting the word out via various news outlets that there really are very few health concerns which prevent a person from wearing a mask. For most people it is simply a matter that it is uncomfortable or takes some getting used to.
They say if you find it difficult to breath in a mask, the solution may be to try a different style mask. Some suggest you practice wearing a mask for a little bit at a time at home, where you are comfortable and relaxed, and build up to where you can wear it for longer periods of time.
Here’s something from the Asthma.org.uk website that is excellent –
Do I have to wear a face covering if I have asthma?
Most people with asthma, even if it’s severe, can manage to wear a face mask for a short period of time, and shouldn’t worry if they need to wear one. Wearing a mask does not reduce a person’s oxygen supply or cause a build-up of carbon dioxide. You may have read stories that say that it can, but this isn’t true.
Some people with asthma tell us that face coverings can make breathing feel more difficult, which might be uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to try wearing a face covering at home, or on a short walk around the block first. It might not feel comfortable straight away, so give it a chance.
You can also experiment with different types of mask – some are easier to wear than others. Sometimes the feeling of wearing a face mask might take a bit of getting used to, but trying different types and starting with short periods of time can help you feel more comfortable.
There isn’t a blanket rule about face covering exemptions for everyone with asthma. But if you find it impossible to wear a face covering for health reasons, you don’t have to wear one. An example of this might be if a mask makes you too breathless.
I realize that this is specific to asthma, but it really could apply to anyone who finds it difficult to breath in a mask. Of all at-risk individuals, those with asthma would probably be the ones who have the most obvious breathing issues, so if they are being advised to wear masks, I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume most everyone should be wearing masks.
FACT– masks ARE effective, despite the politicians who keep to say they aren’t.
I had been thinking about how I hadn’t heard much about the reversal of the mask mandate for some time. It took me a while to write this blog post (I usually work on multiple things at the same time and also, it takes time to gather the info) so I started it about a week ago when the the WI GOP came out saying they were going to reverse the mandate come hell or high water. I thought that was curious.
It occurred to me it may be because they are waiting for today’s primary election to be over. You see the Governor had to call up over 900 National Guard to work as poll workers because that is how many the clerks across the state were short. There was some question about whether or not he would be able to do that if the WI GOP reversed the mask mandate because you see, the mandate wasn’t just a mask mandate, I believe it was also a Public Health Emergency which gave him the authority to do things like call up the National Guard for duties such as this. I wondered if they were simply waiting until the election was over to reverse the mask mandate and if that were the case that would be appalling. But it turns out, they appear not to have the votes to reverse it. OMG!
I thought I’d end with a few PSAs…
Here’s one by the State of Oregon. It was for the Fourth of July weekend but it’s relevant anytime.
Here’s a great campaign – Mask Up Milwaukee. Who do YOU MaskUp for?
Wearing a mask can be scary, not wearing one can be deadly.
This PSA from California – if this doesn’t make you want to wear a mask, you have a serious problem.
And the most powerful video of all of them I think, this PSA from the Czech Republic, a country with a population of over 10 million people but with less than 20,000 total cases and under 400 total deaths.
*Of course when listing a group of people, you can never say ALL scientists or ALL doctors or ALL business owners, but a good number of these groups support the mandate.
Last summer I went to several outdoor events that resulted in my having numerous mosquito bites, the majority of which were on my ankles – itchy!
The worst part was that Burt’s Bees discontinued the only product I’ve ever found that works on bug bites. Damn I miss this stuff… (I did find a different balm I’m going to try, fingers crossed.)
ANYHOO, each time this would happen. I’d call up the friends I was with the night before before and ask, “Man, I got eaten alive last night, did that happen to you too?” They would inevitably say the same thing – they got a couple of bites but nothing serious (some would actually say they didn’t get bitten at all.) I was perplexed. Why was I being targeted?
I started carrying along mosquito repellent whenever I knew we were going to be outdoors. Sadly though, often I would be someplace expecting to stay indoors (especially when it was horribly hot outside, I am, after all, a delicate flower) and we’d end up al fresco.
It was then that I started to wonder, is it possible that my weight had anything to do with my being bitten? After doing some research (cuz that’s what I do) I was distressed to discover the answer is yes. Well, it isn’t the sole reason the nasty little winged demons love me, but it’s one of them. Turns out that I’m a mosquito slut. (Right Mimi?) Pretty much everything I do attracts those damned skeeters.
I thought this was important information that should be shared, so here’s a comprehensive list of the things that I found which attract mosquitoes:
Night time– this actually depends upon the species and where you live but the majority of species in the US are most active at dusk.
Carbon Dioxide(this relates to the weight thing, and also applies to pregnant women). Mosquitoes can smell CO2. In fact, there is such a thing as CO2 traps, which simulate humans or animals breathing. It’s lures the mosquitoes in and then traps them, thus keeping them away from real humans and animals.
Drinking alcohol – alcohol raises the body temperature and makes a person sweat. Just a single beer can do it!
Sweat– it has something to do with lactic acid. If you want to know more read the article that I linked to on the word ‘sweat.’
Skin Bacteria– it turns out that the mini-vampires are particularly fond of the organisms that grow on the biggest organ of our bodies. And they particularly love stinky feet – P.U.
Movement – one of the first things that will get on their radar is movement – so if you are a fidgeter know that you are going to make yourself more noticeable from a distance.
Wearing dark clothing(black, blue or red) – mind you, wearing light colored clothing won’t repel mosquitoes but it’ll make it more difficult for them to find you. Also, wearing lighter colored clothing, at least in the daytime, will keep you cooler and as mentioned above, sweating is a lure.
Exposed skin – Of course the problem with this is that mosquitoes come out in the summer and people are just generally going to be exposing more skin – swimsuits, tank tops, shorts, sandals – it is natural for we humans to wear less in order to keep cool. But in doing so we are helping the mosquitoes out, particularly with the sandals, no socks and shorter pants thing. It turns out that skeeters have evolved over time. I mentioned above that they are attracted to Carbon Dioxide and as they hone in on their next target they know they can’t just go all Red Baron and fly straight at it. They’ll end up being toast. Instead, they have to be covert, Ninja-like, and attack so that people don’t know they were even there until after they are gone.
Obesity/pregnancy– people who are larger and women who are pregnant have a higher metabolic rate thus causing them to breathe harder, which means they will produce more carbon dioxide. Also, even though movement helps mosquitoes home in on a person, They also can be more still which makes it easier for the little buggers to get to them.
10 out of 11 (I have A+ blood so there’s one thing I have going for me.) Turns out I’m a wanton, shameless mosquito floozy. At least now I know what to do to make myself less appealing! (Note: needing to make oneself less appealing only applies to mosquitoes.)
Have a Happy and Safe Summer – Physically Distance – Wear a Mask
1. Hamilton Mask-Up! by the Holderness Family – Do you have Disney+? Did you get it just so you could watch the new Hamilton movie? I actually already had Disney+ (got it for The Mandalorian) so I watched Hamilton on the day it premiered, July 3rd*. SO GOOD! I was lucky enough to see Hamilton on stage. Went last year with a good friend. The theater experience itself was exciting and completely worth it but being able to see the original cast and notice the expressions on their faces and hear the words so clearly, it was equally exciting.
2. Mask Lanyards (or chain or cords or keepers or whatever you want to call them.) I saw one of these advertised in an article about mask accessories. Most everything in the article was crazy expensive but I thought the mask “chain” was cute and it was only $4.99. But I wasn’t sure about the clips so I browsed around until I found exactly what I wanted. There are a ZILLION options. I have already used this several times and I only got it last week. I think it will really come in handy going out to dinner (which I’m not doing yet.)
3. This video, Le Mythe Dior – the House of Dior dresses “creatures” from mythology. It’s mesmerizing.
4. This photo taken by the Hubble Telescope (you can see more photos at this article)
5. This new children’s book, ‘First Day Critter Jitters,’ illustrated by one of my favorite artists Liz Climo and written by Jory John – it really makes me wish I was still a children’s librarian so I could read this for storytime (when there wasn’t a global pandemic of course.)
[Bonus] The York Museum Trust’s twitter thread comparing Judi Dench to items in their collection (not quite as good as the thread comparing Angela Lansbury to teapots but pretty dang close)…
[Another Bonus] Gary Larson is BACK!!! Who isn’t a huge fan of Gary Larson’s cartoons? After a 25 year hiatus, Mr. Larson has gifted the world with three brand new cartoons and there is the possibility of more because he says that working in a new digital format has reinvigorated him, sparking his creativity. WHOO HOO! To see the new cartoons you’ll need to visit his website.
I’d like to thank my friend Ann for contributing the Dior and York Museum Trust items this week!
*I’m sure that Disney+ chose July 3rd to premiere ‘Hamilton’ simply because it was the Friday before Independence Day but there is something also very apt about the movie premiering on that date (or rather not on July 4th.) July 3rd is the day between the day we now celebrate as our Independence Day and the day that independence was formally declared and that John Adams said would call “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” It appears that we all celebrate our nation’s birthday on a date that was written on the back of the Declaration of Independence by an unknown person.
Despite conspiracy theories and movies, there isn’t a secret map or code on the back of the Declaration of Independence. There are words, however. An unknown person wrote “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776” on the back. It’s believed that was added as a label when the document was rolled up for storage.
Thomas Jefferson is often called the “author” of the Declaration of Independence, but he wasn’t the only person who contributed important ideas. Jefferson was a member of a five-person committee appointed by the Continental Congress to write the Declaration. The committee included Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776. In fact, independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776, a date that John Adams believed would be “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776.
This articlethat comparespeople who refuse to wear masks to men who refuse to wear condoms. It’s freaking brilliant. Here’s the beginning of the article:
Am I the only woman who finds a suspicious similarity between the excuses made by people who refuse to wear masks in public and men who refuse to put on a condom in the bedroom?
“I don’t like the way it feels!”
“I don’t like the way it looks.”
“I’m safe — trust me!”
Uh — no.
You’re not safe, dude. You’re just selfish.
2. ADRIAN MONK (and friends) is back! And I couldn’t be happier. Absolute perfection.
3. The Wes Anderson Guide to Surviving a Global Pandemic – the woman who put this together needs to be hired immediately by Mr. Anderson. (I wish there wasn’t the microphone issue – still, you can obviously overlook that one thing.)
4. ZOOM, and I don’t mean the video conferencing …. All my fellow GenXers will appreciate this fabulous New Yorker article about the best kid’s show from the 70s. If you’re like me every time you hear someone refer to a Zoom call you say to yourself “Come on and Zoom-Zoom-Zoom-a-Zoom…” And I am happy they did the reboot (1999 to 2005) but sadly it never captured the magic of the original show.
5. #ReadALetter campaign – Last month Benedict Cumberbatch announced the details of the campaign, asking for videos of people* reading letters, either ones they have written themselves or written by someone else. Below are two of my favorites so far.
*He clarified that if you’re camera shy, you may point your phone at something else while you read: the letter itself, the view from your window, your adorable dog.
I plan on giving this a try myself. I have a letter in mind that I would like to read.
A friend of mine gave me this Barbie a few years ago for my birthday. I recently moved her so she is sitting next to me in the living room, where I am spending the majority of my time. Seeing her every day is bringing me much joy so I thought I’d share her with you all today. This morning she’s reminding us to stay hydrated while isolating!
As of yesterday (March 24th) there were 17 states that had declared statewide Stay-at-Home orders. An additional 10 states had issued partial orders, meaning either cities or counties within the state had stay-at-home orders in place. Frankly, I think the entire country should be shut down – it would be the fastest/most efficient way to end this, but it’s difficult to overcome greed, gullibility, and ignorance.
Moving on. Since I retired in March of last year I basically had to adjust to a stay-at-home lifestyle. I can’t deny that I dealt with several months of depression. (I do plan on writing a blog post about this eventually,) but the circumstances aren’t exactly the same for me as for everyone else. For one thing, everyone else is going to go back to work eventually. Also, everyone is in the same boat and I believe there is something comforting about that. Obviously I was able to go out to buy things whenever I wanted to (and there wasn’t the fear of things possibly running out) and meet with friends in the days after my retirement, but there were days, sometimes several in a row, where I didn’t leave the house. Eventually though I figured out how to adjust (for the most part) so I thought I would share with you what I have found works for me.
1. Make your bed every morning – I was at a conference a few years ago and one of the people I met there told me a story about how his Grandma taught him, when he was a kid, that THE most important thing to starting off your day is to make your bed. He has been doing it ever since. So I religiously started making my bed after I returned from the conference and you know what, it DOES make a difference. (I admit, I used to only make it when I knew people were coming over. To be fair, I mostly did this because I would bound out in the morning and then forget about it.)
My friend Emily works at Peabody Interiors and did a fabulous video on how to make a beautiful bed:
2. Get your daily dose of nature – open up the windows in your house (or at least open them up a wee crack if it cold where you are) during the day, even if it is only for an hour or so- Getting fresh air into the house is IMPORTANT. Put on a sweater if you need to. Along the same lines, get outside – go for a walk (be sure to practice safe social distancing if you meet people along the way.)
Have your kids play out in the back yard. Make sure they understand that the neighbor kids can’t join them but maybe they can come up with a game that they can play where they each stay in their own yards. A scavenger hunt is always a good idea. There are loads of printable backyard scavenger hunts on the internet – find one you like and share it with your neighbors via text or email! Here is the printable .PDF of the one I created below.
3. Use up your fresh fruit and veg – if you bought a lot to stock up before isolation make yourself some big pots of soup or vegetables that you can freeze. Or if you don’t have room in your freezer – a) when was the last time you cleared out your freezer? and b) could you possibly share some with your neighbors? (Of course if you do share it with your neighbors do so safely. Leave it for them on their doorstep and let them know it is there by text or email.)
One of my favorite artists Liam O’Farrell drew this beautiful picture of a bowl of lentil soup he made from things he had sitting around that were about to turn.
4. Have kids at home? Kids already have classwork that they are supposed to be doing. I’m sure that it is quite a struggle to get them to do that. But outside of the classwork, keeping kids reading and doing creative things will keep their minds healthy. Hopefully you all have library cards. Many libraries provide a plethora of online resources and materials. For people in my home state of Wisconsin for example, there is the Wisconsin Digital Library which is accessible to every single citizen. There are online classes and databases and many Librarians are even doing online storytimes via Facebook. Check your local library website.
There are also lots and lots of fun crafts to do with household objects. You can search the internet for loads of ideas. A friend of mine recently started sharing posts from this woman on Facebook. I LOVE THEM. She hasn’t posted much prior to the last few days but what she has been posting is FABULOUS!
5. Just because you are at home all the time, don’t let your house build up into a mess. Keep up with your tidying (or as I think of it, Nancy Drewing.) Make sure counters and tables stay cleared off. Put things away that you aren’t using. Pretend that people may be stopping by at any moment even though you know they won’t be. Do it for yourself.
6. Get dressed in regular clothes and follow your usual hygiene regimen – In other words, don’t wear your jammies (or sweats) for days at a time and think you can go for a week without showering. This goes for brushing your teeth and flossing!
When I was a kid, I had to stay home from school for a few months once because of the mumps which was compounded by an infection of my lymph glands. The swelling of my neck was so bad my dad would have to help me in and out of bed because I couldn’t support my head; it was incredibly painful. I also had to be in daily traction to try to straighten my head. Anyway, after a week or so of being in my jammies and being miserable I was quite ripe. My Mom said I should take a shower – it would make me feel better. I resisted but she persisted. She helped me take one and sure enough, it did. And she helped me take many more over the weeks I was sick and each time, I felt better. Whenever I was sick at home after that she would say, “you should take a shower, it’ll make you feel better.” To this day I hear her saying that and I still do it. Isn’t it sad that we don’t realize how smart our Moms are until we’ve lived a good chunk of our lives (or until they are no longer here so we can tell them?)
Even better – crank up your beauty regimen. Since you aren’t able to go to the salon or spa, DYI baby!
7. Meditate – learning how to reduce stress is VITALLY important, not just now but really always. I started practicing guided meditations because my sleep is for shit. You know, the wake up around 3 in the morning thing that most menopausal broads experience. I created a playlist of a bunch of YouTube videos I use, here is the one I’m currently successful with.
Also, jigsaw puzzles can be a stress reducer and/or if done with your family they can be fun too and a way to escape technology for a bit.
Additionally, if you have any projects hanging over your head that you have been putting off, bite the bullet and get them done! Don’t let yourself think, I have weeks now. It will always be in the back of you mind nagging at you and you won’t truly be able to relax. Just do it! (This means, just because they pushed back the deadline for filing your taxes, you don’t necessarily need to hold off filling out the actual forms, or at least getting everything pulled together you need to fill out the forms.)
8. Challenge your brain – many of you may be working at home and also have your kids with you but don’t let your only other activity be watching Netflix. There are a lot of Universities currently offering free online classes as well as your local library (as I mentioned before.) I myself am taking the Yale University course the Science of Well-Being. Here is a list of 1,500 free online courses from top Universities put together by Open Culture.
Puzzles and games also can challenge your brain – crosswords are an excellent way to do this. So are other word games like Scrabble, Charades or Pictionary, games that make you think.
You can also try some armchair traveling. Here are several virtual tours to try from the safety of your own home:
Here is a list of several world attractions like the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Rome’s Colleseum and the Palace of Versailles that you can visit remotely
Here’s a list of National Parks you can visit virtually
Here’s a list of museums from around the world that offer virtual tours
9. Limit your intake of news and social media – as important and as much as you want to stay connected to the outside world, you need to make sure you don’t spend too much time inundating yourself with news about COVID-19, the economy, and the politics surrounding everything. For myself, I have set up my Facebook so that I only see notifications from certain people and FB pages and I only read those notices about 75% of the time. I have turned off notifications for most of my apps and unfollowed a bunch of people on Twitter. But despite doing this the algorithms still generate things and I find myself going down the rabbit hole, which is why I try to limit my actual screen time, at least on social media.
10. Support Small Businesses – as you know a lot of local businesses are going to be hit over the next month (and some are already struggling.) USA Today put together a website where you can buy gift cards to use A.C. (After Coronavirus.) If you can afford it yourself, even if it is only a $5 or 10 gift card, it will help. Remember, if we all buy them they will get a nice sum of money that will help them through this.
ALSO, don’t forget their employees – especially those who live off tips. People in the service industry like restaurants and salons are really feeling the pain. Most of them are trying to get onto unemployment (which has been extended right now) but some are having a difficult time getting through to the Unemployment Office. If you know your manicurist or hair stylist or massage therapist or the person who extends your lashes or the servers at your favorite restaurants well enough that you can Venmo or Paypal them a little cash for the tips you would be giving them if you were able to go to their establishment – DO IT. It can make a world of difference.
For those of you who remember Senor Wences, S’alright? I always loved him. If you don’t remember him, check out this incredible ventriloquist and enjoy!
March 26 – It’s called “Physical Distancing” – read an article this morning about how the WHO is recommending people stop using the term “social distancing” and instead say “physical distancing.” This is SO smart. We really do want to just keep our distance physically but still remain as socially connected as possible.
About a year ago a small group of my fellow retired library directors and I started meeting for lunch on a semi-regular basis. We set up a luncheon for this month which of course we rescheduled to next month. When our Governor issued a month long stay-at-home order we thought we might have to postpone indefinitely. Instead though, we chose to keep the date and have a virtual lunch date. I now have a Zoom account and we are going to see how this works.
Another friend of mine has been enjoying remote happy hours with her friends on Friday nights. That is actually impressive.
March 28th –
I forgot EXERCISE! I am lucky in that I was already doing my Pilates sessions remotely (via FaceTime) before this all hit so I have a lot of equipment at my house, but you don’t need to have a lot of stuff to exercise. Of course taking daily walks in one of the easiest things to do (though a friend of mine who lives in downtown Chicago said that on nice days there have been so many people outside she hasn’t been able to go out.) There are also tons of videos on YouTube for a variety of workouts. For myself, the most important thing is stretching, especially this particular stretch –
We’re all sitting around more than usual so muscles need to be stretched out. I do this heel drop a few times a day and I tell you, when I miss a day, I feel it!
I think I’ll stop here, my list has gone on long enough and I know that people are getting inundated with recommendations on what to do. Hopefully you’ll find a few things here that are helpful. The important thing to remember is we are all in this together. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Help each other – that is key! And…