Pity Party Hardy

Here it is the last week in May, and I have been deeply entrenched in socially-distanced self pity. I am not proud of this, so I thought I would share it with those of you who read my blog. My life continues to be a strand of contradictions strung around my neck for all to see.

Monday was the first Memorial Day since Phil entered the land of those who are memorialized on Memorial Day. I went to the cemetery on Sunday, to beat the Monday crowds. I took flowers for Phil, and for my many relatives who also rest at Sunset Memorial Park. Unlike when I was confused by the lack of Memorial Day memorializers when I, always the rebel, celebrated Memorial Day on Labor Day back in September, there were flags at each Veteran’s grave, and masked people scattered through the park carrying flowers. I tried to talk to Phil, my Mom and Dad, and the many others, but couldn’t come up with much to say. My standard greeting became, “You are remembered.” It’s weak, but it’s all I had.

I did point out to Phil, that the roses near his spot in the park were blooming. Since our 43rd wedding anniversary was coming up, I also told him “Happy Anniversary.” Again, it was weak, but it was all I had. I came home and cried. I don’t even know why. Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was the perfect setting for a party of the self-pity variety: socially distanced.

I celebrated our anniversary by ordering a curb-side to-go steak dinner. I probably should have left it on the curb. The steak was so tough that I choked on it. I tried to wash it down with my anniversary-celebrating Margarita, but the Margarita made a quick reappearance via my nose. Before cleaning up the Margarita mess, I laughed and laughed. It was the perfect tribute to Phil and my marriage: lots of tough times and lots of laughter. So, I’m going to choose to remember times of laughter; times with friends and family; the good times. I’m going to choose to forget the Margarita coming out of my nose (it was not comfortable). Please join me in sending wishes for love and joy to your friends and family, because LIFE is good.

Roses are blooming all around Phil’s resting place.

It’s Hard to be Cool in a Pandemic

Frankly, I’ve never been cool. Not being cool has it’s advantages. I drive a 2001 Toyota Camry. Homeless people don’t even approach me at intersections to ask for money. When I was an early adolescent, my Mother bought me a book on how to be popular. She would have been well within her rights to have asked for her money back. I’m from New Mexico. It’s hot here much of the year. It may be that my lack of coolness is environmental. Of course that doesn’t explain why I was never “hot.”

As far as not being cool in a pandemic, there are the tragically serious things that move coolness to the back burner (that sounds like an oxymoron) such as lack of adequate funds to pay expenses, isolation and loneliness, illness and the accompanying drain on dignity; and then there is the pandemic-produced coolness sieve that is my life. Last night I finished making my 100th mask. I’ve given most away, but I’ve kept a few so that I can do my part in limiting virus spread. None of my homemade masks are beautiful, but I do try to coordinate the color of the mask I wear with whatever else I’m wearing. Today, I ran to the newly re-opened fabric store and forgot to take one of the masks that I’ve made. I had to wear my emergency mask which is a pre-fab mask that you would typically wear when working in the yard or while completing a mildly-toxic home improvement task. It’s not cool to go to the FABRIC store while wearing a pre-fab yard-work mask.

My homemade masks are fairly thick (the better to protect Little Red Riding Mask), so it’s difficult to hear me when I speak through them. While wearing my homemade masks I’m frequently asked embarrassing personal questions to which I must shout out the very not-cool answers. Happily, I am wearing a mask while shouting, because a couple of nights ago I heard on the news that virus-carrying particles travel further when a virus-infected person shouts. I don’t have the virus, but if I did, I would not want to spew virus-carrying particles because I had to shout in order to have my embarrassing personal information heard. I am also happy that I’m not readily recognizable, due to the mask covering two-thirds of my face, as I shout out embarrassing personal information.

I shop for a friend when I do my weekly shopping. When I pick up toilet paper for her and for myself, it looks like I’m a hoarder. I want to publicly state, here and now, HOARDING IS NOT COOL, so even when I’m not being not cool, I appear to be not cool, which I am, so I guess it’s okay.

I do not wear a mask while I’m driving. While driving, everyone can see just who the not cool person is who is driving the 2001 Toyota Camry.

Which of these masks is the least not cool?

Last Night Was Like a Fantasy Come True

Last night, I went to bed, read a few pages in my eBook, closed my eyes and went to sleep. I did not wake up once; neither to pee, nor to wonder why I awoke at 2 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. and then tossed and turned before again falling asleep at 5:55 a.m.. It was AMAZINGLY fantastic. Yes, like so many things in my life, my fantasies are not what they used to be.

As a child, I fantasized about eating penny candy and never again being required to pull weeds in the front yard. As a young adolescent, I fantasized about being popular and about David Cassidy (I think large breasts may have been in the story line too – on me, not on David Cassidy). As an older adolescent… we probably should not go there. My imagination was particularly active and without boundaries at that time in my life. As I neared retirement age, I fantasized about retiring. My fantasies vacillated between the “take this job and shove it” variety and the abundant fanfare and weeping accompanied by multiple declarations of “we’ll never get by without you” variety.

Facility Director, direct supervisor and me at November 2018 Retirement Celebration. They look pretty happy to see me go. (Photo courtesy of good friend Ronnie Shelby.)

Now I fantasize about easily falling asleep and then sleeping the night through – and a vaccine for COVID-19… and a United States with a reasonable, well-spoken president… and a literary world where over use of ellipsis is encouraged. What are my fantasies, and this world, coming to? For a moment, I considered speculating on what my grandkids fantasies would look like, but with two of them being teenage boys, and one a nearly teenage boy, I have decided not to go there. I’m pretty sure the ten-year-old boy’s fantasies involve explosions and extreme sports, and the seven-year-old girl’s are in pink with many princesses and balloons.

So, where does this leave me? Ahhh, to be young again… nope. Ahhh, to be working again… nope. Ahhh, to be asleep again… maybe. Ahhh, to live in a world where all have learned something about how to behave better after having survived a pandemic… that sounds good.

This Week Blew By

Friday already? I almost missed it. Here it is, 8 p.m. on Friday and not a word have I written (except the twenty-three preceding this). I’ve been busy. Jessie turned 35 – my baby! Wednesday she and grandkids Cody and Liadan celebrated here with me. It was a smaller gathering than we would typically have, but happily, the cake was full sized.

After the cake and ice cream, I shooed Jessie and the kids off, and returned to mask making – thirty to be made in response to a request precipitated by the governor’s mandate that all essential workers wear masks at work; however, ready-made masks are no where to be found. And, so I, super-mask-maker answered the call for help. I put on a mask (like all of those other super heroes), rushed off to Walmart to buy a 100% cotton sheet (fabric stores remain closed), elastic and seam binding (both typically available at Walmart). Sheets were available, but the shelves that should contain elastic and seam binding were as empty as the shelves that should contain ready-made masks.

I returned home, sheet in hand. While the sheet was in the wash, I scrounged through my shelves, that probably should be less encumbered with who-knows-what, in search of elastic and seam binding. I had plenty of elastic hair ties that many people have used for ear loops when making masks, but since these masks were to be worn by men, who often have big heads (feel free to interpret that literally or figuratively) I knew that I would have to use real elastic. I was able to find elastic and various colors of seam binding in sewing supplies that good-buddy-Shari’s family had given me after clearing out their family home before their mother, Norma, moved to an assisted-living facility. Thank you Norma, Shari and family! With a rainbow of seam binding, I realized conformity was no longer an option for the final mask product. Undeterred, I started cutting, folding, pressing and sewing thinking that I would finish up that night. At 1 a.m., I realized that quality, like conformity, was no longer an option, and I staggered to bed.

Thursday arrived bright and early. My appearance was neither bright, nor early. At around noon, I returned to mask making. At 11 p.m. I again surrendered. Today, my sewing machine and I, with no heroics, feebly finished the task. The masks are not beautiful. As I’ve said many times, I value function over form. I sure hope the finished masks are functional. I’m actively promoting a rumor that the uglier the mask, the more protection it provides.

The seam ripper is my friend.
Cinnamon is sick of the sound of the sewing machine.

May Day

I wonder why “May Day” is used as a call for help? When I was a little girl (a long, long time ago, in another century), we would make little baskets out of strips of paper, fill them with flowers from our yard, and take them to a neighbor on May 1st. In England, they have a “May Day” associated bank holiday: the first Monday in May. They have little children, crowned with flowers, dance around poles (this seems a little kinky to me – maybe it’s what inspired J.Lo and Shakira’s Superbowl half-time performance), and crown a May Queen. I know this, because I watch lots of British Television. May Day does not seem to be a big thing in the United States. We’re more into Cinco de Mayo here in New Mexico; probably because Cinco de Mayo celebrations include lots of Tequila. Tequila is very popular in the United States right now and it’s not even Cinco de Mayo yet. I won’t elaborate on the cause, because I promised myself that this week I would avoid talk of the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders.

Back to flowers. Speaking of which, there are flowers in my back yard. I’m spending a lot of time in my back yard right now. Cinnamon, the cat, encourages me to go “out back” with her. We then play a rousing game of “Keep the Cat From Jumping the Fence.” It’s her favorite game. She lures me into a false sense of peace, by lying quietly at my feet, and when she senses my muscles relaxing, she makes a mad dash for her favorite escape route of the day. It’s great exercise for both of us.

Fall before last, I planted some Iris bulbs. It’s been about six weeks since they resurfaced this year. Each will get a solitary bloom that will last one or two days. It’s a big build-up to a very quick show (again, like J. Lo and Shakira’s Superbowl half-time performance). I think it’s worth it (the flower – not the Superbowl half-time show). They’re very pretty (the flowers – not the Superbowl half-time show). After the bloom fades, you are supposed to leave the withered bloom in place so that the plant can absorb nutrients and energy from the once brilliant bloom. This reminds me of my life in retirement. I’m no longer really contributing, but I’m kept around in case I have something useful to offer later. Thank you! I have planted a garden, so maybe I’ll have vegetables to share

I used that wonderful tool, the internet, to look up the origins of the distress call: May Day. I had been thinking that maybe, it had originated when a bunch of children got tangled up and tied to the May Pole on May Day, and subsequently would scream out “May Day, May Day, May Day” in their nightmares, but I was wrong. According to the all-knowing “Wikipedia” it originated 1921 when senior radio officer, Frederick Stanley Mockford was asked to come up with an easily understood distress word. He came up with “Mayday” based on the French m’aider, which loosely translates as “help me.” Well there you go, another mystery solved thanks to the internet and the copious amount of time I have on my hands as a result of the not-to-be named virus that shares its name with a popular Mexican beer, which will be consumed in mass quantities on Cinco-de-Mayo. Everything is connected.