The times they are a-changin’…

midweek musings…

While the windows in our apartment were a huge part of its original appeal, I now appreciate them even more.  Currently in our sixth week of quarantine, the view of the world all around reminds me that while I may have limited access for now, I am still part of it.  I can see flowers blooming and trees turning green.  Pennsylvania has extended the shelter in place date to May 8. Though I am eager to be out and about, I will continue to hunker down, wear a mask when I do go out, and listen to Dr. Fauci.

It helps that Mr. Smith and I connect with our sons a couple of times a week via a group call.  The grandkids pop in and out, but this is mostly for the adults.  Last night we were able to wish Elliot a happy birthday, and since we couldn’t join them for fancy dinner or a slice of his delicious homemade chocolate birthday cake, I bought a slice for Mr. Smith and me to share.

Happy, happy birthday, Elliot!!!

My house is clean and organized, I continue with my morning exercise routine, and still have plenty of time for some at home beauty treatments.  If the product information on my twice weekly facial masks is accurate, I will be looking ten years younger when this is all over!

Like many women, I am at the point where my hair is starting to become an issue.  I am sorely missing my colorist and stylist.  In an effort to not go all Edward Scissorhands on my hair, I am keeping my hands busy working on some Christmas ornaments for my grandchildren.

For many years, Mr. Smith’s mother made Christmas ornaments for her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren.  Last year with her health failing, she was aware she might not survive 2019.  She had ornaments all completed and wrapped, ready to be mailed out.  She did not survive the year, but her great-grandchildren all received an ornament.  I decided I would take up the tradition for my grandkids and am having fun working on these.

It is a stressful time for all of us, wondering what the future holds.  Things will never be the same again with regard to crowds, travel, dining out.  We may even hesitate when hugging our loved ones.  When I am feeling particularly overwhelmed, I think about the women in my life I have loved and respected and how they persevered.  During the depression my Aunt Ruby hitchhiked from Illinois to Texas with her husband and toddler son to try and find work.  For years as a single mom, my mother often worked two jobs to feed her five kids.  And my sister found the courage to make brave choices in her life from crossing the U.S. with four kids in a van to attend law school in her late thirties to later crossing an ocean to experience the challenge of a new culture and language in her sixties.  You can learn more about her philosophy on life in the upcoming Sunday blog post where she will be the featured Amazing Woman.  

C’est la vie.

Here we are, alive, and you and I have to make it what we can. Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders

midweek musings…

I have not found a handwritten letter in my mailbox yet this week, but I did find a wonderful email in my computer inbox.  My sister-in-law Jane wrote to tell me she was taking advantage of some of the free viewing being offered during the COVID 19 quarantine.  She watched a series of lectures from The Great Courses.  Though I have received many mailings from The Great Courses, I have never taken the time to investigate what they have to offer.  After perusing their extensive catalog, Jane chose the series “Black Death” and watched 24 half-hour lectures on the horrific plague that struck down a huge swath of population in the middle ages.  At this moment in history, it certainly seems eerily prophetic.  

In one of the last lectures, the speaker recommended the book Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.  The book was inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England.  In 1666, the plague was carried to the isolated village via a bolt of cloth.  The villagers quarantined themselves for a year with no one leaving the village and no one entering.  Surrounding villages left food and supplies at the border. Two-thirds of the inhabitants died. Though their sacrifice saved the surrounding towns, those who did survive found no reason to celebrate.  The story sounded familiar to Jane and she was pretty sure I had recommended the book to her many years ago and her memory was correct.  I read Year of Wonders many, many years ago with my old book group, The Book Babes.

Jane researched the author and found Ms. Brooks has written five novels and three non-fiction books including Foreign Correspondence about growing up in Australia, having childhood pen pals all over the globe and her adult quest to find them.  So interesting that a lecture course on Black Death led to a book on pen pals, something near and dear to Jane’s heart. I have added it to my reading list.

Mr. Smith and I have been stuck in a rut of watching too much TV.  I did branch out to see Stanley Tucci making a Negroni and Ina Garten crafting a massive cosmopolitan.  But Jane’s example has convinced me I could take it up a level.  

Therefore, this Friday, Mr. Smith and I are going to delve into the creative, generous offerings of The Frick Collection.  At 5:00 p.m. we will tune into Cocktails with a Curator.  This beautiful museum on East 71st Street in New York City may be closed, but we will bring our own beverage and participate in their virtual event.  We are quarantined and making of it what we can.

C’est la vie.