Still here, still writing

One of my favorite activities these days is meeting twice a month with my writing group. Before COVID we met monthly at either of the two leader's houses. Since we stopped gathering in person and now use Zoom to get together we meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Meeting more often a a great way to keep in touch as well as write more. Our last meeting's prompt was: Shoes – symbol of life, a way of being I immediately connected because I was a true shoe person from the time I was a little girl. Here's my writing group piece: When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I used to walk to grade school with a girl named Phyllis. We would pretend we were grownups walking on tippy toes as if we were wearing high heeled shoes. We’d also carry a handbag to match. And after school we’d go to one of our houses and spend the rest of the afternoon drawing shoes. Very high heeled shoes in all colors and styles. Except that not a one of them was suitable for walking and runni … [Read more...]

COVID even strikes without a positive diagnosis

The following is another piece I wrote in my Zoom writing group meeting. The prompt was: "Who did I meet this year who surprised or delighted us? I decided to change the "who" to a "what" and this is what I came up with. Needless to say the recent death of my husband after his long stay in hospital and rehab care was on my mind. COVID was the huge surprise this year. After a slow and quiet beginning it came upon us like gangbusters – so much so that we didn’t know how to behave in its presence. First we were told wearing masks didn’t help. Later on masks were mandated. And though staying six feet from others was recommended it wasn’t enforced very much. How does one stay six feet apart at the grocery store or even on the street. Another rule was to wash our hands for twenty seconds many times a day. But how does one monitor that. We washed using the honor system I did stay inside especially when the numbers of victims and deaths started to rise and the science doctors – and no … [Read more...]

One step, one breath at a time

I attended my writing group via Zoom yesterday for the first time since my Bob died. Actually I hadn't attended while he was so sick in the hospital either. It was hard to show my pain publicly.  Even participating yesterday was a challenge, though I ended up writing something. Our prompt was to pick a child's toy, make it your title, and then write about it. Here's mine: Lionel Trains When my husband was a boy his father bought him and his brother a set of Lionel electric trains. They were popular in those days – the forties and fifties – before the miniature electric trains became the go-to train toys for little boys. He’d tell us that every Christmas his father would set them up on the floor of their apartment. Three engines, passenger cars, box cars, and of course the red caboose all moved along enough track to go around their living room. They also had railroad crossing gates, little benches, houses, trees and doll-like people to sit round and watch the trains go by. … [Read more...]

Socializing during the COVID-19 quarantine is fun

One of the things that I find encouraging even as we are in the COVID-19 quarantine at home mode, is that we’re reaching out socially more. We’re doing FaceTime and Zoom and contacting family and friends by text and telephone. In the last couple of weeks our dinner party group has been sending each other fun video clips and quotes that are keeping all our spirits up. And tomorrow night – the night our dinner party was to occur, we’re getting together on Zoom for happy hour. It will be great to see each and chat for an hour or so. Here's a fun one: Socializing more has been on my list for some time. I wrote about it in one of my new memoir’s chapters. Here is what I wrote: Another thing that is important to my mental well-being is to get more social. I need to make more lunch dates for me and dinner dates and for Bob and me. We need to get out more instead of plopping ourselves down in front of the television screen every night at six to watch two hours of news. And while we’re … [Read more...]

Quarantini, anyone?

I first heard of the quarantini from Jane Fonda a couple of days ago. She’s stuck at home just like the rest of us in California (the governor’s orders) and suggested we try one. Derek Brown, author of “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World” and owner of the Washington, DC, cocktail bar Columbia Room, says, “It’s the drink you make with what you’ve got in your cabinets or freezer, and is best enjoyed with whomever you’re cooped up with — or perhaps a neighbor in need.” And  if you do have the ingredients, here’s Brown’s recipe: A Quarantini that can be made with common at-home drink ingredients. 1½ to 2 ounces of a not-necessarily-sweet base spirit, like vodka or gin — or another of your choice ¾ ounce of citrus (such as lemon or lime juice), whose vitamin C is great for immunity ½ to ¾ ounce of simple syrup to sweeten things up. (Simple syrup, as its name suggests, is simple to make. Just boil equal parts sugar and water until they … [Read more...]