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Recipe Day May 20, 2020 Mom’s Lasagna

Mom’s Lasagna

I learned to make my mom’s baked lasagna recipe decades ago, and have been making  it ever since. Of course, as with most of my recipes, I made some changes. More cheese? Of course. Italian sausage? Yes, please. No boiling of those noodles? You bet.

Throughout the years, I have made this lasagna as a dish to pass for get-togethers, a meal brought to bereaved families, and of course, my favorite meal that I would make for the family. Every single time, the lasagna receives rave reviews. (Were they just being nice? Maybe sometimes. But probably, not, because it is delicious and the best recipe ever and happens frequently enough.) Of course, my favorite part of the story is when they ask for the recipe and I tell people, thank you. It’s actually the recipe on back of the Prince tm Lasagna Noodles box.

No brag, just fact, but I recently  had a friend from Seattle ask for the recipe. I loved telling her it belongs to my mom, and the Prince pasta company.

Without further ado, (you know those long blog recipe posts, that start at kindergarten and end at yesterday? I’m trying not to do that.)

From Prince Lasagna box (my mom made this version)

**with my changes

Classic Baked Lasagna

  • 1 pound Italian bulk sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 8 oz. Prince  lasagna noodles- do not boil
  • 15 oz WHOLE milk ricotta
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese x 2 (1 cup total)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 jars of pasta sauce ( My favorites:  Paul Newman’s marinara or sockarooni) You can use your favorite sauce or make your own.
  • 1 package grated Italian cheese blend
  • 1 1/2 pounds of sliced mozzarella cheese

 

1.Preheat oven to 365 degrees

2.Brown and crumble sausage, drain, add to pasta sauce.

3.Mix ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, and pepper.

4.Spread a bit of olive oil on bottom of 13 x 9 baking pan

5.Spread 1/2 plus cup of sauce on bottom of pan.

6.Layer: Lasagna noodles- not cooked, Ricotta, Sauce andMozzarella. We have made these words into a song, so we never forget what order to layer our lasagna. Lasagna, ricotta, sauce and mozzarella. Ask any of my daughters, they should be able to sing it.

(BONUS: it’s so easy to spread the ricotta mixture on uncooked noodles)

Don’t be afraid to use plenty of sauce, as the noodles absorb their moisture.

  • Leave top layer with just sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for one hour.
  • Remove foil, add grated (or more sliced cheese) if you prefer on top, bake 15 min. or until cheese is melted. It never hurts to stab it with a knife to make sure noodles are tender.
  • Let stand 10 plus minutes so layers set up.

I think it is always better reheated the next day, although some will argue with that.

**I use Italian sausage, it adds the best flavor! I always prefer the whole milk version of cheeses, especially the ricotta.

 Lasagna Photo Credit: Prince Pasta

https://www.princepasta.com/en-us/recipes/22258/BakedLasagna.aspx

Enjoy! Hugs from me, and my mom (always in our hearts) and Prince tm Pasta company

LOVE YOU – MISS YOU

You know who you are.

 

Picnics

The sunset after the SISTER PICNIC was incredible.

How are you all doing? Are you wearing masks, and washing your hands, practicing the 6 feet social distance rule and avoiding large gatherings? Are you a believer in science and health news or are you a politically motivated Covid-19 denier and possible spreader of the virus?

I am wearing the masks. I am mostly staying home. I am washing and disinfecting. Certainly, I am avoiding large gatherings and travel.  

I find I am immensely grateful for summer and the warm weather season as we learn to find our way through the GLOBAL PANDEMIC. I have said many times, “we are all going to have to figure out how to navigate this.”  I hope you and yours are staying healthy as you do that.

I have an amount of risk factors, and I know I mentioned before that my roommate (aka husband) does too. If we get sick, we will be more at risk than younger, thinner, healthier people. We are also retired and able to “stay home,” where as many do not have that luxury. We don’t take that for granted and I know we are immeasurably lucky in that regard.

Which brings me to PICNICS.

We are loving our picnics. I am loving my PICNICS.

We have enjoyed several “deck” picnics. A few with our youngest daughter and her boyfriend, and another with our middle daughter when she came to visit.

It is the summer, and we can visit on the deck and eat at separate tables. When middle daughter came to visit, she even slept in a tent in our lovely backyard, mostly for fun, since she loves to camp. We do have a covid corona pandemic guest room that she could have slept in, although she chose not to sleep there. We just close the door when they leave and do not enter for several days. Yes, we know we are lucky in that regard too.

For Father’s Day? We celebrated. We had a picnic. Middle daughter and her boyfriend met us at a beautiful park and we ate and drank and chatted,  sitting in our camp chairs under a beautiful tree. It was a beautiful day in a pretty setting and we enjoyed our visit so much.

I miss seeing my sisters. Although they have socialized in various ways during the pandemic, I have not. So, we had a picnic. “Bring your own dinner, and camp chair,” I said. We met at a state park, sat under shady trees and talked for hours. When a storm came blowing in, we knew it was time to leave, although weather permitting, we would have stayed even longer. It was lovely.

I missed seeing my niece and great niece and have barely met my newborn great nephew. So… you guessed it. We had a picnic. We met at our local park. We each brought our own food, I brought my favorite camp chair. We shared the picnic pavilion with 2 separate groups at separate times but let me tell you. It was delightful. There was no touching, no contact, no little girl or baby boy holding, and that may have caused a few surreptitious tears. Still, a socially distant picnic is better than nothing and safer than our usual hugs and kisses and touching and holding. (We are that kind of family.)

I missed my friend. So, we had a picnic variation of a coffee meeting. We sat outside at a table, and were able to talk and catch up since we hadn’t see each other in months.

My calendar used to be full of appointments, dinners out at restaurants, parties with family, meeting friends, trips to the city and movies and museums, travel, and more. Now, its empty. But lucky for me, occasionally, a calendar square is filled with 6 letters: PICNIC.

Are you missing your friends and family? Have a picnic. Find a park, preferably one with picnic tables and perhaps a covered pavilion. Bring your own chair, insect repellent, food and drink. Bring disinfecting wipes if you have them and plenty of hand sanitizer. Put your phone down. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes. How wonderful is the simple act of connection in the beautiful outdoors surrounded by green trees and (hopefully) blue skies, and if you’re really lucky, maybe a river or lake.

There are many more PICNICS in my future. After all, summer has only just officially begun. There are a few birthdays, a girlfriend reunion, and some weekly get-togethers with family members. I’m going to preload my car with my PICNIC KIT. It holds water, insect repellant spray, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, a blanket, a jacket, and my favorite camp chair. I’ll be exploring county parks and state parks in certain drive radius of my home.

I rarely let my thoughts consider the future, with seasons  of bad weather and uncontrolled virus in this country. A world of us are working on our mindfulness and learning to live in the now. I have enough crying days. (https://notjusthorsingaround.com/2020/06/04/weep-with-me/)

Besides knowing that we each are going to have to learn to navigate our own way through this pandemic, I also say, that I don’t know how I’m going to do that. Am I being too cautious? Not cautious enough? When  I read the news and the statistics, it’s terrifying. And the number of people who won’t participate in simple mask wearing to be safe is even more frightening.

I see others who are more at ease with a greater assortment of get-togethers and activities. I don’t know how to act. Some people are in the world interacting day after day, many of them with no choice, and many are making their own choice.

Despite how young I may feel at times, I remind myself of my own risk factors and the more serious ones of my roommate. They call them comorbidities.

comorbidity [ˌkōmôrˈbidədē] NOUN

  • co-morbidity (noun)
  • the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions in a patient.
  • “age and comorbidity may be risk factors for poor outcome” · 

It appears I have plenty of time to figure this out. In the meantime, I am going to work on my kit and plan my next PICNIC. See you soon.

I love you. I miss you. You know who you are.

Black Lives Matter

SAY THEIR NAMES

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/ct-viz-george-floyd-protest-minneapolis-chicago-20200529-6qdxvz3id5cs7jozpmjrczx6ry-photogallery.html

I did not go. I wanted to go. I wanted to participate in the protest marches after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. There were plenty of opportunities that I did not take. In my defense, since 2016 I have protested and marched several times: The Women’s Marches, March for our Lives ( for commonsense gun reform,) and another Chicago march against the squatter in the White House. Though I did not protest for black lives, I am proud (and worried for their safety) that nieces and nephews marched for Black Lives Matter.

Now, I cannot let the historical importance of the BLM protests and marches across the United States and the world go unnoticed in my blog. The events that unfolded are impressive in their scope and scale, and they continue. It is long overdue.

Let me state unequivocally, I believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  I remember my shame and anger at current events as American citizens with different skin pigments fought for their equal rights. I remember my sadness at the way children were treated as they tried to integrate the schools in the south. I remember crying and not understanding when Martin Luther King was assassinated.  I was so young and very naïve. But I had a moral sense of what was right, and what I was hearing on our little television during newscasts was not right and not fair, and often not fathomable.

We lived in a rural town with an extremely low population of BIPOC (Black and Indigenous Persons/People of color.) Perhaps because I read so many books, I had a different perspective of justice and a less bigoted attitude. I knew racism was horribly wrong despite others’ mindsets and conversations I may have heard around me. I had trouble watching and reading about slavery and the civil war eras. It hurt my heart to hear about what black people experienced and lived through. I realize that sounds privileged. I cannot imagine living in the fear and stress of being black in today’s society. I understand that sounds privileged. But I need to believe that my heart is in the right place.

I know I have much work to do. I am a “privileged” white woman of the later years of the boomer generation. (I was born at the end of the baby boomer era and am never sure how the birth of a child over 10 years later fell into the post war “boomer” category.) I believe I will stand up when and if I see someone victimized by a racist.

Throughout these past years, as people of color were killed by police, I was sad and angry. I did not do anything with these emotions though. Of that, I am ashamed and sorry.

Feeling sadness and anger and disgust and shame at so many murders of black people by the police is not enough. I am hopeful for immense and huge systemic change in our country. The year is 2020 and we are DECADES behind where we should be. There has been volumes written about what is going on today. So much has been said more eloquently and better expressed, and more relevant than my puny words can ever communicate.

I will do what I can to be the person my brain AND my heart want me to be.  I hope you will join me.

For a link on what we can do to help:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2020/06/02/staying-apart-together-newsletter-what-we-can-do-now-stop-racism/3123468001/

Black Lives Matter

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

More helpful links for education and action:

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

SAY THEIR NAMES
https://www.npr.org/2020/06/02/868025780/code-switch-a-decade-of-watching-black-people-die

As a postscript to this blog: I may have written something that is not true to my intention of not being racist. I apologize. Black Lives Matter.

And GTFO with any All Lives or Blue Lives matter Bull Shit. I cannot say it any better than the protest sign this little girl carries.

I love you and miss you. You know who you are.

A Recipe That Mom Made

Chocolate Eclairs

*As Requested

I was the oldest of 5 daughters with one older brother and one younger one. Yes, there are seven kids. We were raised in a traditional household during the 60’s and 70’s and mom did all the cooking. She was a good cook, and I have often marveled at how she was able to feed 7 children on a carpenter’s wages. There were plenty of food rules of course. No seconds on the meat entree, unless you ate your vegetables and maybe had seconds of those too. No leaving the table until you cleared your plate. Thankfully, we always had a Labrador Retriever who was often very helpful with that rule.

Mom made many delicious meals, and she had a favorite recipe book: Betty Crocker. I don’t know how much my mom learned from her mom about cooking.  I do know that any cooking knowledge that I started with, I learned from my mom.

Pot roast, fried chicken, spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, LASAGNA, chop suey, meatloaf, tuna noodle casserole, broiled steaks, broiled halibut (then billed as poor man’s lobster) pineapple upside down cake. Later dishes included shrimp creole, Crab Louie salad, homemade fried fish and homemade French fries. These are just a few recipes I learned from Mom. These are the recipes I loved to eat. She also made liver and onions. I hated it then, I hate it now. That was always a hard sell at the dinner table.

There is not a jump to recipe link,  but now for the recipe for Mom’s Chocolate Eclairs. Of course, there was never enough. We could all gobble those sweet treats down so quickly.  You can bet your sweet bippy that Mom doubled this recipe to feed her family!

This is the recipe is from Betty.

Here ya’ go little sis, as requested.

Betty Crocker’s Cream Puff Recipe

*Change the shape for eclairs

INGREDIENTS

CREAM FILLING
⅓ cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
⅛ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla

PUFFS
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. butter
1 cup powdered sugar

PUFFS
Heat water and margarine <USE BUTTER> to a rolling boil in 2 ½-quart saucepan. Stir in flour; reduce heat. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at once; continue beating until smooth.

Shape each into finger about 4 ½ inches long and 1½ inches wide with spatula. Bake as directed; cool.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 400° or until puffed and golden brown. Cool away from draft. Cut off top one third of each half and pull out any filaments of soft dough. Fill puffs with cream filling. Replace tops frost with chocolate frosting. Refrigerate until serving time.


FILLING
Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Stir into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in margarine and vanilla; cool.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
Heat chocolate and butter in 1-quart saucepan over low heat until melted; remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and hot water. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Please note, when they “invented” boxed pudding, Mom would make the vanilla pudding and use that as a filling for the eclairs. It was even suggested by Betty herself to use the substitute. Of course, as years went by, there was peppermint filing, eggnog flavor filling, ice cream filling and chocolate filling and more. Nothing ever tasted as good as Mom and Betty’s original homemade filling.

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cream-puffs/f83fb235-2014-42c3-9676-c4848ed07f48

Bippy:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bippy

“Note: The line “You bet your (sweet) bippy!” was popularized in the American television show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, which ran from January 1968 to March 1973. George Schlatter, the executive producer of the show, said the following about the word: “Our shows are gone through quite thoroughly for taste. What upsets most of the critics are the jokes they don’t understand, and that’s more of an educational problem than a taste problem. We say things like ‘You bet your bippy!’ or ‘You bet your nurdle!’ I’m sure some people attach a dirty connotation to those words. We don’t even know what they mean; they’re just funny” (quoted in Joan Barthel, “Hilarious, Brash, Flat, Peppery, Repetitious, Topical and in Borderline Taste,” New York Times Magazine, 6 Oct. 1968). The hypothesis that the word was borrowed from Yiddish pipik/pupik “navel” has not been confirmed.”

I love you and miss you.

You know who you are.

Weep With Me

June 4, 2020

Today’s a Crying Day

I wake up and the truth sinks in

It will not go away.

You ask me how I am

I say

Today’s a crying day.

I finish reading daily news

Pain does not go away.

You ask me how I am

I say

Today’s a crying day.

The tears are slowly leaking out

I just wipe them away.

You ask, “are you okay?”

I say

Today’s a crying day.

No explanation needed

No need to get out of the way.

Ask me how I am

I’ll say

Today’s a crying day.

There is no need for comfort

Words are made of clay.

Don’t bother thinking what to say

Today’s a crying day.

This is a song: the words are here,

It’s what I’ve tried to say

the music, it is there to play.

Today’s a crying day.

Weep with me.

I love you and miss you.

You know who you are.

Mama B’s Combo Recipe QUARANTINE Cooking: Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Someone requested a recipe blog post and since we know how popular those are, here is mine.

Mama B’s Combo Recipe

Quarantine Cooking: Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

*Chunk of pork

*I used a 2 pound pork top loin boneless roast. I wish it had been bigger and a different cut of meat. I used a shopping service since I have not been inside a store since the second week of March. They substituted the best they knew how I guess. I am upset that they didn’t read my note and get the buy one get one offer, but that’s another story.

Then I made a rub with

1 TBSP paprika

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp packed brown sugar

Stir together the above ingredients, it’s quick and easy using a cereal bowl and a fork! Than rub it on the entire roast.

Place roast in crock pot, aka slow cooker.

Sprinkle on top:

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

Add 1 tsp chicken bouillon to ¾ cup water and pour in bottom of crock.

Cook on high for 2 hours and low for 4 hours, or use any variation of time that gives you shred-able cooked pork.

  • Finally, remove the meat from the pot
  • Save the saucy juice
  • Scrape off top heavily seasoned layer of fat
  • Shred meat with forks.
  • Return shredded pork to the pot
  • Add ½ cup of the saved juice, 1 cup of BBQ sauce, and ½ cup or more of water. Stir together and add more water or sauce for desired consistency.

We enjoyed it with coleslaw on a whole wheat bun. Some folk like to add the slaw to the sandwich, some prefer it on the side. Include a small side of BBQ baked beans (Bush’s Smokehouse Grillin’  beans are our favorite, second to homemade.)

If I do not eat all the kettle cooked potato chips, we will have those on the side too.

**This is what I call a “combo recipe.” I pull ideas from several different sources. While some of my COMBO recipes (unmeasured ingredients which are often just eye-balled) do not turn out, this recipe was voted a huge success.

Please use a larger roast, especially if you enjoy leftovers. This 2 pound roast made 6 generously portioned sandwiches.

  • QUICK
  • EASY
  • DELICIOUS

Always characteristics of my favorite recipes!

We love spices, especially these:

https://www.penzeys.com/

Also, those Grillin’ Beans:

https://bushbeans.com/en_US/products/grillin-beans

Our go-to bottled barbecue sauce:

https://www.sweetbabyrays.com/

I love you and miss you. You know who you are.

Adjust Your Expectations Week of May 4, 2020

Adjusting One’s Expectations

Years Running Down my Cheeks

#WYFM

I was talking recently about how someone needed to lower their expectations and I did not like the sound of that at all! It signaled negativity and seemed depressing. So, I decided to change it to “Adjust One’s Expectations.” That sounds much better to my ears. Don’t you agree? Regardless of whatever issue I was talking about, I realized that adjusting our expectations is something we all have been doing during the COVID-19 Corona Virus Pandemic.

(If we want to have more deep thoughts, we understand that our entire life is full, absolutely loaded with adjusted expectations. But we will limit the discussion to these current times.)

When I think about how rapidly life has changed, it is astonishing. Less than two months ago, we were all planning on living our typical lives in all their glory: work, play, events, entertainment, celebrations.

Now, every day is filled with ordinary moments interspersed with times of shattering horror. This is global, people. A Global Pandemic of death and illness. No, it is not just your house and a case of measles. It is not this year’s flu going around your county. Every country in the world is counting cases and deaths and recoveries and the resulting morbidity.

When the realization of the Global-ness of all these changes seeps into my consciousness, that is when I may find myself with Years Running Down my Cheeks. Not to be confused with the tears that are also there, but years of time: present, past and more importantly, the future. I can tell you that it is not a pretty sight.

Our family, as so many, is stacking up the milestones and virtual celebrations. We are missing the in person gatherings for graduations, birthdays, celebration of baby’s birth, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and family reunions. We are all of us adjusting our expectations. It is worldwide. That is the outrageous part. There are times that is comforting to know that we are not alone in the reality and emotion of our experiences. There are times when that just delineates the horror of our current reality.

“Zoom” parties, messenger phone calls, virtual FB fundraisers, car parades, socially distant outdoor picnics, we have done all that and will do many more. My daughter organized a Skype game-playing birthday party for my husband’s birthday. He loved it. My sister organized a gift-giving shower and welcome video for my niece’s newborn baby. It meant a lot. My daughter organized a virtual fundraiser for the nonprofit of which she is Executive Director. It was a huge success. A third daughter organized a Mother’s Day cocktail party via Zoom. It was so much fun. My sisters are organizing virtual celebrations for their graduates: high school/college, and PHD. Friends have had adorable car parades for little ones, and back of car picnics at the park so they can see their grandchildren. Successful, yes. Emotionally challenging, of course. I confess to tears of empathy for my family, and yours, as we and they work to make family celebrations something special. Adjusting our expectations.

We now share our photos of our masked faces. We still share more memes, which somehow are not so hilarious, but still appreciated.  

I am proud when I see those I know practice safe lifesaving health-saving measures. I am often upset at those who publicly and privately flaunt the safety measures, as if it’s all about them, not their families, not us, not the society of “others.”

Every day now, I wake up weary. I have only seconds before the truth of what is seeps into my consciousness. It gets harder to get out of bed, but I do. I am still so grateful for the millions of people that go to work, and do their part to keep us safe, and healthy and supplied with food and other necessities. The words “Thank you” will never be enough.

We can agree that everything is changed, but not everything is different. Think about it.

I love you and miss you. You know who you are. Please disregard the traces of years rolling down my cheeks.

Oh and

P.S. #WYFM Wear Your Fucking Mask!

Pandemic 2020 COVID-19 RANDOM THOUGHTS of RAGE

RAGE

Lice-infested beards on camo-wearing, gun toting ignorant Muscovies.

I am getting so tired of all the whining little Cayugas who complain about wearing a face mask as a form of PPE.

They better wear their masks to protect me and my family from their quacking slobbery spew or I will be getting arrested when I finally decide to shop in person.

A picture containing person, man, holding, wine

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The hypocrisy of these gun toting camo clad lice-infested beard wearing Pekins is beyond my understanding. How dare they protest protection measures during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC? How dare they whine and complain and accost police and healthcare workers?

Millions of people are staying inside and following the rules. Making sacrifices in their daily and now unusually eventless lives. They are doing their best to shorten, not prolong this pandemic in which, WORLDWIDE, thousands and thousands are sickened every single day and thousands die.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/animated-world-map

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data

A picture containing building, person, outdoor, sign

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Check it out, then tell me how wearing a mask and staying home if possible, infringes on your rights. Right after you tell that to the doctors and nurses and other health care workers who are fighting daily to save lives. And the (now considered) essential workers who report to work daily, to make your life easier.

We are allowed to be sad about cancelled family events, celebrations, cancelled college, school, and graduations. We are sorrow filled about not seeing our loved ones, not traveling, and not partying. We miss our restaurants, concerts, theater and shopping malls.

But I know people who are sad about the death of a loved one. Corona virus COVID-19 kills in more than one way. This is not the TWILIGHT ZONE HORROR SHOW. It only feels that way. This is the reality we wake up to every single day.

You may save a life by staying home if possible, wearing a mask in public places, so please do so.

And tell me, why does this have to be political?

I made a mistake and inadvertently read something said by the TWITIOT Pekin in the oval office. He has been granted a license by this same ignorant scum to provoke and defend the Nazi Mallards. This national nightmare has worked to destroy the United States since November of 2016.

While we hope, pray and wait for intelligent and caring people to help THE WORLD in this current crisis, we also hope and pray for an end to our nation’s shame that we face daily.

So, here they are. My random thoughts of rage (anger.)  Anger is a stage of grief.

We are, as members of the WORLD, suffering from all of grief’s stages during this pandemic. I am sure most of us are familiar with the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sometimes, 6 or 7 stages are talked about when guilt and disbelief are included. We have read a few of articles that speak to our grief during this pandemic.

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Stay home if you can. Wear a mask when you must. Give a damn.

PLEASE NOTE:

Finally, I sincerely apologize to all the ducks I have maligned in this post. Autocorrect was too boring. Profanity is not allowed.

I love you all. I miss you so much. You know who you are.

P.S. And then this happened in Illinois today:

Today’s Mood

Once upon a time

When we took the entire world for granted

We were privileged. Yes, we were spoiled. We had so much of everything. So many options and too many choices. Possibilities. We had them.

Think about the aisles in the grocery store if you do not believe me. Any grocery store, any aisle.

Think about the department store clothing shelves and racks of clothes and shoes and underwear.

Think about a tank full of gas, whatever the cost, and GPS. Where did you want to go?

Think about the train to Chicago, and the easy schedule you memorized, a train departing your local station nearly every hour.

Think about your excitement at arriving at your first destination, and planning your route to whatever exciting thing you had planned. Museums, theater, shopping, dining, river, and lake.

Think about the restaurants. Fast food, slow food, good food, independent restaurants, franchise restaurants. Think about the pub, the bar, the drinks, the chatter.

Think about decluttering your closet and cleaning your cabinets and bringing your unwanted unneeded, yet still good stuff to an open donation center.

Think about the trip you planned, the airline tickets you purchased, the hotel you booked. The money you set aside for food and fun.

Think about the art museum you love and visited so often you could find your favorite ancient horse sculpture even though you got lost trying to find a restroom.

Think about the movie you wanted to watch at the theater and the popcorn you called dinner (even though everyone knew that was a lie.)

Think about the parties and celebrations you held or participated in. The easy freedom you moved about, in your own special place, in your own extraordinary world.

Think about the hugs you gave and hugs you received. Think about the hands you shook and the cheeks you kissed.

Think about the items you touched without worry, without bleach wipes, without sanitizing, without gloves. So much touching. Thoughtless touching.

Think about how lucky you are

how spoiled you are

how privileged fortunate advantaged you are.

Are you now able to work at home? Millions are not. Are you now able to stay at home? Millions are not.

Were you able to do and experience the life described above?

Millions are not.

Do you have your health today? Does your family? Do your friends? Do you have a chance of getting it back if the answer is no? Do you have hope?

Millions do not.

This is how I think I should feel. What did I take for granted! So much.

But now,

I need a fresh supply of disinfecting wipes.

I need bleach that will disinfect instead of the splash-less bleach which is a cheating deceiver.

I need toilet paper.

I need to be able to walk into a store without fear and a face mask.

I need a face to face doctor visit, my teeth cleaned, and my dog’s dental surgery.

I need to see my friends and share a meal.

I need to see husband’s face across a restaurant table at our favorite pub.

I need to see my daughters in person, all of them.

I need to walk into a house full of family to celebrate anything and everything we missed.

I need, I want.

When and if we get that fearless freedom back, will we forget all too soon? Will we resume our fortunate lives unscathed except for memory? Will we disremember our anxiety and our worry and our loneliness and stress and fear? Will we be that fortunate?

Once upon a time, we took the world for granted. We were privileged. We were spoiled. We were lucky. We still are.

Millions are not.

And I still need and want what I took for granted.

I love you and miss you. You know who you are.