Sunday, March 29, 2020

Puzzle Me This

This week I've been working on a puzzle. The first day or two,  I am always totally convinced that I have bought a defective puzzle with quite a few missing pieces. As I struggle, I mentally compose an angry letter of complaint to send to the manufacturer, together with a photo of the "completed" puzzle with missing pieces.

 This puzzle was supposed to be easy!  It has only 500 pieces. It is a "large-piece-format" puzzle, with pieces that are "easy to see and handle." But why are so many pieces missing???  This puzzle was not cheap, so there should be better quality control!

Several days pass and I begin to clam down.  Half the puzzle has been completed and all the "missing" pieces have been hunted down and put in place. But now comes the real test of my patience.  Have I told you that patience is not my long suit?  See all those Italian villas on the hillside?  "Large" though the pieces may be, making out the architectural details--itty-bitty shutters, miniature door ways, tiny plants, miniscule windows, barely-visible balcony furniture--is going to be a challenge. It may take me more than a week to conquer the hillside. I have time, plenty of time. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Messing Around in the Kitchen

Being elderly and at risk for having the coronavirus arrange for us to meet Mitzi, Wilbur, Joey, Arlo, Ramsey, Miss Kitty, Orville and Reuben on the Rainbow Bridge, we are not leaving the house to shop for groceries. Peapod, the delivery service of our local Giant supermarket, will deliver our order next Tuesday between 4 and 10 PM. We placed the order last Monday.

Meanwhile, I'm trying, really trying, not to waste food. So when I found an ancient zucchini moldering away in the vegetable drawer,  I sauteed it and added it to a medley of frozen corn, canned diced tomatoes, canned black beans, and cheese. I  topped my creation with seasoned bread crumbs, but just before I popped it into the oven, I was seized with doubt.

Was that really a zucchini or was it a cucumber?

I summoned Himself and asked his opinion.

"What are my choices?" he asked, guardedly.

"It's either a zucchini or a cucumber. I'm hoping it's a zucchini."

He sampled a piece of the vegetable in question, looking somewhat like a lizard savoring a bug. "I'd say it's a cucumber."

"Guess again!" I commanded sternly.

"But it could be a zucchini. Yeah, that's it. It's a zucchini," he conceded, wisely.

He could see I wasn't convinced.

"Whichever it is, it'll be good," he said. He meant it, too. He's not fussy.

But I am. I'm not happy that I went to all this trouble for an aging cucumber.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Keeping Busy

We're in the age group that's been told to stay home no matter what. This sounded like fun on Monday, but it's Wednesday and it's already getting old. 

The weather had been beautiful and the neighborhood is a riot of blooms, so we've gone on walks every day this week. I'm happy to say that, despite my recently diagnosed chronic lung disease,  I can still climb a rather steep hill without undue distress. The hill comes at the beginning of our 1.8 mile walk. Actually, my husband avoids the hill. He and Dilly-Dog meet me down at the corner. He's still recovering from knee-replacement surgery three months ago.  He has a tendency to overdo it, and so he's overdone the walking and bike riding recently and his knee has told him about it. So, for now, he's skipping the hill.

Yesterday we filled out the 2020 census form on line. It took less than 10 minutes. Our ever-nosy government originally tried to include a question on citizenship, but the courts wouldn't have it. Still, the form asked way too many questions to my way of thinking about various racial and national origins--especially Hispanic. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today's walk took us through a mile of pink or white blossoming trees and clusters of yellow forsythia and daffodils.

The occasional pink-blossoming tree is probably a flowering cherry. Or maybe a flowering plum. The ubiquitous white-blossoming trees arching their malevolent arms over the streets are the loathsome Bradford Pears. The arms are "malevolent" because the trees are brittle and fragile. The older they get, the more likely it is that one of their clunky branches could flatten you or your car. Windy weather brings down branches all over the neighborhood. They are a junk tree, a "Frankentree", according to my husband. They stink. Literally. Walk beneath them and you get an unpleasant whiff of something fishy. The county has recognized its error in the wholesale planting of this tree 50 years ago and is gradually cutting them all down.

Before the coronavirus made us all afraid, my husband and I used a "grabber" to pick up trash along our route. We started collecting just cans and bottles for the recycling bin, but after awhile, we began collecting trash--paper napkins, fast food containers, sales slips, etc--for the trash can as well. (I love the Spanish translation of the "trash only" phrase that's on the cans provided by the county:  "basura solamente." This is a phrase melodious for something malodorous, wouldn't you agree?)   Anyway, since the country is in crisis mode, we have stopped our two-person effort to keep Maryland beautiful. Like the coronavirus outbreak, the trash pileup will get worse before it gets better. Someday, when life returns to normal, perhaps we can restart our beautification project.  Hope springs eternal.

Friday, March 13, 2020


My husband is 80; I am 79. We are elderly and we both have an  "underlying condition" that makes us vulnerable to the coronavirus. What elderly person doesn't?  Mine is IPF, a chronic lung disease.  

We have decided to self-isolate for at least the next two weeks. How hard can this be? We are both introverts, although I must say my husband is becoming more like his gregarious dad these days--striking up conversations with strangers he encounters here and there. Still, being confined to the house should be a minor problem for both of us. We can still take walks around the neighborhood, we like to read, we have Netflix. He does an online Spanish lesson every day and I'm thinking of getting back to my on-line Algebra 1 course.

One thing I could do more is blog. I've gotten out of the habit.  The past year has been difficult, not only because I lost my claim to be a healthy geezerette but also because we have a couple of close family members who suffer from chronic anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, I let their problems--about which I can do nothing--take up too much room in my brain, leaving little energy for anything else. This is a bad habit. I need to blog more and fret less. 

Tomorrow there was to have been a memorial service at our church for two lovely ladies, former parishioners, who moved to Tennessee and whose ashes have now come back to us in a couple of small boxes. They were an 89-year-old British war bride and her daughter, who had Downs Syndrome and lived at home her whole life. She was either in her late 50's or early 60's. I would have learned her age tomorrow from the service bulletin, but the service will have to be rescheduled.  This past Thursday, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington closed all the churches for the next two weeks. 

Maryland schools have also been closed for a couple of weeks. Our younger daughter, who lives in Virginia, fully expects to have the kids home with her the next two weeks as well.