Blog Entries, retirement, Writing

A Day in The Life of a COVID Stay-At-Home Female

Photo by Christian Lambert on Unsplash
  • 8:05 Up and at-em. Slowly. My body is stuck and I feel like I am moving through glue. Arthritis is to blame.
  • 8:20 Finally made it to the bathroom.
  • 8:45 Finished repairing the damage sleep caused. Stepped on the scales and gained a pound over the weekend. I am either eating too many chips or I am pregnant.
  • 9:00 Dressed and made bed. See Mom? I didn’t get on the internet just to make you cry.
  • 9:10 Breakfast gathered and brought into the office. No coffee today, because I drink decaf when I do drink coffee and not drinking coffee at all seems to be no problem. Besides, I don’t have irritating co-workers to deal with and no meetings in the breakroom that turn into marathon gab-fests.
  • 10:30 Read the daily Bible text, Breakfast completed, perused Facebook, wrote a blog entry, checked email, checked to-do list, looked online for baby girl names.
  • 10:35 Started working. The thing is, I work at home, doing a job that is sometimes boring and definitely tedious. But, I am saving my house. I call apartments all across the US, checking on apartment availability and pricing and then that info gets sent to the guys who hired me so they can set rates for the “daily pricing” system. Basically, apartments now charge as much as the market will bear, so no breaks on apartment rent.
  • 12:30 Lunch break. Left-over fish fillet made into a sandwich with cheese and tartar sauce. Better than a McDonald’s fillet of fish.
  • 1:30 Watched a guy on YouTube walking around Yokohama, Japan while I ate my lunch.
  • 4:05 Finished working for the day. Highlights from working: Lady: I need your home address and your birthdate before I can provide any information. Me: I am simply looking for pricing and availability. I am not filling out a lease at this time. Why do you need my home address and my birthday? Lady: We need it to make sure you are honest. Me: I will look elsewhere.
  • 4:08 Thinking about the lady I encountered. How will knowing my address and birthdate prove I am honest? I am baffled.
  • 4:09 Turned on the TV.
  • 5:45 Put my trash can out be the street for pick-up tomorrow. Watched an episode of Meet the Meerkats on Discovery+. And another. And another.
  • 6:00 Ate cereal for dinner because I didn’t want my leftovers and was too lazy to cook.
  • 6:45 Napped in my chair after dinner.
  • 8:15 1 hour and 15 minutes of meeting with Friends on Zoom. One of my favorite things to do during the week.
  • 9:15 Watched an episode of The Zoo. Animal shows are safe to watch. I am not old enough to watch anything that is rated “R.”
  • 9:30 Got ready for bed. I used to just get into the bed, now I have to get ready for bed. I am older, now.
  • 10:00 Read a book until I fell asleep.
  • 10:01 Rudely awakened when I dropped the book on my face.
  • 11:30 Read some more until I felt sleepy, again.
  • 11:31 Put the book on the nightstand so I wouldn’t drop it on my face, again.

If you read all of that, I congratulate you. You have a great deal of perseverance and stamina.

Blog Entries, Writing

A Pet Peeve

I am pretty chilled out about most things. It is a perk of getting older, I think. Like water on a duck’s back. But, it seems when something starts to bother me, a non-stop rant may ensue…

Let me start at the beginning. There is a company who sends me emails several times a day. These are completely unsolicited and unwanted. I do not read them and I do not want to read them. (I am not going to name the company in this blog because I refuse to give them any free advertising.) I have unsubscribed from these emails, on average, twice a week for the last month. I always get the message “You have been unsubscribed. Please allow ten business days to process your request.”

TEN? TEN DAYS? TEN DAYS NOT INCLUDING WEEKENDS? Oh, for crying out loud. Any reputable company can unsubscribe you from their email list immediately. As in right that second. As in you-will-never-receive-another-email-from-them

This company I am writing about not only did not unsubscribe me at my request, they INCREASED the number of emails they are sending me by a factor of four.

  • Sidebar: You see, you have to open the email to unsubscribe and that flags their account, telling them I opened the email and therefore I MUST be interested in their product and/or service.

I assume the thinking is, if they send enough emails to me, I will finally be intimidated into buying their product or service and I will finally stop receiving their emails. I am not a fool Unnamed company. I know if I buy your product and/or service, I will NEVER get rid of your emails.

I sent them to Google and reported them as spam. Maybe that will work. Likely, I will get another increase in the number of emails I receive from these people.

The funny thing is, I don’t even know how I got on their list to begin with. Probably, my email address was sold to them by someone else. If I ever find out who that is, I will report them to Google, too.

Blog Entries, Essay, Uncategorized, Writing

Anger Management and STRONG Advice to Landlords

This post is not about crocheting or writing. This one is about anger, as the title suggests. So much to deal with, these days. But, let me start at the beginning.

Anyone who follows this blog knows my brother died last June. In order to keep my finances in order without having to sell most of what I own, I decided to get a roommate who could pay me a small amount of rent monthly. I made a very bad mistake when I didn’t charge a deposit. I thought I was being nice. I thought I was doing my future tenant a favor. I tried to be a fair and reasonable landlady. What a mistake!

I found a woman in her fifties who needed a place to rent, so we agreed on a sum I gave the the grand tour of the house and she said she liked it. She signed the lease, agreeing to pay me month to month. Then, she moved in. Within a week, this woman started complaining about the temperature in the house. My house is 126 years old which means it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, even with HVAC installed. She complained about several things she thought was wrong with my house: No insulation, builder’s grade carpet in the bedroom, only two electrical outlets (she forgot to count the one in the bathroom) and the water from the water heater was too cold, the internet was slow, she had to park on the street, and on and on ad nauseum.

I replaced the water heater because it was old and a ticking timebomb, anyway. I patiently explained the cost of insulating a old home and the cost of re-wiring and old home. She demanded lower rent. So, we renegotiated and I lowered the rent by $100 a month. In retrospect, I should have told her to get lost right then.

Accusation

Then, she began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day. I told her I did not go into her room because I had no reason to go into her room. She installed a security camera and pointed it toward the door to the bedroom. This was apparently done the day she moved in, however, I didn’t know there was a camera in her room for a couple of months. She was bragging on a rug she bought for the floor and I spotted the camera when I went into her room (with her present) to admire it. I thought my head would explode, but I held my peace. Another big error on my part.

She began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day.

The next time she accused me of going into her room, I suggested she look at her camera footage and she would know I didn’t go in there. That became my new mantra. “Look at your camera footage before you accuse me.”

Escalation

By this time, winter was approaching and she began to complain about the room being too cold, the water being too cold, me going into her room and me listening to her phone conversations. As for the last complaint, I went into my bedroom, which is upstairs and right over her bedroom, to change my clothes after dropping food down the front of my shirt. She came up the stairs and demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

She demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations.

“I was on the phone and you went into your room to just hung out and listen to me,” she explained in her whining, complaining voice. What an incredible ego she had. Really? There couldn’t have possibly been another reason I went into my bedroom? She is too old to be an entitled millennial, but that is what she acted like.

I asked her through clenched teeth, “Is your TV on right now?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Stand in my bedroom and tell me what you hear.” I could not hear her TV in my room, nor could I hear her when she was talking on her phone in her room. She didn’t respond. She gave me a bitch-I-wish-you-would-drop-dead look and left. While she was heading down the stairs, I told her that I refused to sit in a closet and never come out just because she moved in.

She had her mail changed to a post office box because she thought I was reading her mail. She continually complained about me going into her room. She still complained about me listening to her phone conversations. She complained that it was my fault that HER Firestick stopped working because of my wonky internet. (I have no problem with it, whatsoever.)

As a side note, I didn’t promise 5-star accommodations. I distinctly remember promising a bed and a bathroom, kitchen and laundry privileges.

She nearly ruined my washer with using too much fabric softener and when I asked her to not use it again, she did anyway. It took me two days to clean out my washer after she left because the inside of it was covered in a sticky blue sludge that smelled just like her fabric softener. And I was allergic to it. when I did my laundry, inevitably, it coated my clothes. I had places that itched that I really didn’t want to scratch in public. I told her this. She didn’t care.

And then, the day before she left, she once again accused me of going into her room. My patience snapped and I suggested (loudly) that she check her camera footage. I suggested she stop making the accusation because if she asked me five months from now, I would tell her the same thing. “I did not go into her room!” I told her that if I HAD to do into her room for some reason, like the house was on fire, I would text her to let her know. I told her I never wanted to hear that accusation, again. She said, “All I want is peace.” I replied, “Then, stop your paranoid accusations and figure out, once and for all time, that I don’t care what is in your room and I have no burning desire to hang out in there when you are not home. I have a life and none of it includes looking around your bedroom.” My tirade was skillfully sprinkled with a few foul words and much longer than I included in this post.

She moved out the next day.

And after she left, I knew why she didn’t want me in her room and was so freaking paranoid about it. She robbed me blind. She must have had a pile of my things in a corner and she was afraid I would see them. The list of things she stole from me is as follows and in no way complete: sheets for the bed she slept on, 2 brand new pillows, the pulls from the ceiling fan, the light bulbs out of the ceiling fan, the bathroom set of cup, toothbrush holder and soap dish, a walking cane, a blanket I crocheted for her that she was supposed to pay for, another blanket I let her borrow, a 25 gallon plastic tote I let her borrow, a hammer, several screwdrivers, a cordless drill, kitchen utensils, an umbrella, and the key to the front door.

She robbed me blind.

Then she told one of my neighbors, who asked her why she was moving, that I kept going into her room when she wasn’t home and she had camera footage to prove it. That statement made her a liar as well as a thief, because there is no camera footage of me going into her bedroom because I never did.

And I don’t want to even discuss how nasty the bedroom and bathroom was right after she moved.

The Lessons I Learned

  • I will not invite someone I don’t know to live in my house, again.
  • And if I ever decide that someone can move into my spare room, they will give me a hefty deposit that I will NOT return until about 30 days after they have left and I have had time to assess anything stolen from me.
  • I will immediately evict anyone who starts to complain about my house.
  • I will not renegotiate the rent once it is agreed upon.
  • I will add $150 non-refundable key deposit and change the lock the same day a new tenant moves out.
  • I will not try to be a “nice” landlady, again.
Blog Entries, Writing

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Today is raining… well sprinkling. It has been doing so for the past 24 hours and everything looks drenched and as tired of the rain as I am. Birds are sulking, plants are dripping, water pours from the eaves of my house. Dreary.


Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

But, watching the rain makes me think about all the things that I can create. It rejuvenates my brain as if the rain is washing away all the cobwebs and clouds I carry around inside. I feel like singing.

New ideas pop into my head: Make summer gloves and summer fingerless gloves. Make unique crocheted items and sell the patterns… not just the items. When I say unique, I mean one-of-a-kind pieces. Free form crochet. Interesting color combinations and designs.

I am not a crocheter who can sit and just crank out hat after hat to attempt to sell. I get bored with repetition. So, I making sketches of items in my little black book that I may or may not crochet eventually. The fun for me is in the planning.

Blog Entries, Writing

Design and Creativity

I was curious about where in the brain creativity is created. I looked over several articles dealing with creativity and design and the conclusions were nebulous.

An article in The Guardian from December 28, 2015 stated:

Even in the wilderness that is human thinking, creative ideas seem to be deliberately designed to defy empirical inquiry. There is something elusive, perhaps even mystical, about them – visits from the muse or lightbulbs come to mind.


Where does ‘creativity’ happen in your brain?
Arne Dietrich

A test was developed to measure creativity, like thinking up alternative uses for a common object like a garden hose, for example. Theoretically, the least thought of solution was supposed to be the most creative.

Hmmmm. Really? Does that mean if I figured out a way to use a garden hose as monster truck tire and 18 other people did, too, that I am less creative? Even if I never consulted with those other 18 individuals? Even if I came up with an ingenious solution all on my own?

Einstein (allegedly) said that the measure of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. And isn’t imagination where creativity starts?

Blog Entries

Domination of Tasks

I am task oriented. What I mean is, I assign myself tasks and then spend the day attempting to complete them. I always have a mental check list in my brain and sometimes, I even transfer that check list to a piece of paper.

Today, for example:

  1. Make coffee and toast. Clean up the midnight snack debris while the water boils and the toast browns.
  2. Get a load of laundry started
  3. Send out a couple of email blasts, check email both business and personal and respond where necessary
  4. Read a couple of chapters in Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria — the novel the PBS Series is based upon.
  5. Start working on my summer crochet projects, which mean crocheting with thread again. My thread order FINALLY came in yesterday, so I am eager to get started on a pair of Bridal Gloves and Steampunk Gears.
  6. Hang laundry up on my little portable clothes dryer as my electric clothes dryer is kaput and my resident dryer repairman doesn’t seem interested in repairing the clothes dryer. It is his dryer, and even though I offered to pay for new parts, he hasn’t even diagnosed the problem, officially, which is likely just the selector switch.
  7. Create a blog entry.
  8. And so forth…

I could have added in, make the bed, brush the teeth, hang up yesterday’s clothes that have been casually thrown across the bedroom chair, eating lunch, ad nauseum, but I will spare you those tiny details.


Photo by STIL on Unsplash

The point to all of this is, my day is a series of tasks and by making a mental (or physical) list, I can get a lot accomplished. I have spent my life making mental lists. I seem to have the most fun when creating a list.

Does that make me organized?

No, emphatically! I am scattered and without focus. The only thing I truly focus on is list-making. Not necessarily list-following.

Such is life.

Blog Entries, crochet, Essay

7 Surprising Crochet Health Benefits

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness.

Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts. 

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress! 

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Not Quite a Resolution

Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET

Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.

A Corner of My Desk. A Large Part of My LIfe

This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.

KEEPING A DIARY

No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?

READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY

This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.

Blog Entries, Essay

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was worried about so many things that I cannot even remember, now. That is, not until I got the email from FutureMe.

FutureMe is an email servcie, where you can send an email to yourself, or anyone else, at some point in the future-a day, a week, a year, longer. I used to think it was a cool idea, but now, it is a reminder of what I did not accomplish.

I didn’t:
*Lose a bunch of weight
*Read the Bible every day
*Pray every day
*Get my finances on a better track
*Exercise regularly

Maybe, I don’t have to accomplish anything at this stage of my life. Maybe, my life is good enough right now. Maybe, some of those goals are unrealistic. Truth is, I am pretty satisfied with the way things are. The major change I would make is lowering my stress level, which is, I am very sad to say, sky high. There is a single person responsible for that. Or rather I should say that the person I stress about is not going to change what he is doing and in reality, I am responsible for my own level of stress.

So why do I worry about him so much? He has no one else to worry about him. Not really. I worry that he will die and I certainly don’t want that. I worry that he will not get better from his sickness that has been going on for nearly 3 months and he refuses to go to a doctor. Why? Because he says that anyone on earth can look at his medical records and there is a “libatard” (the term he stole from someone else for a liberal retard)–likely the janitor at the doctor’s office–that will take that information and use it against him to have him declared a menace to society and they will take away his right to buy a gun or own a knife.

I say, “That is the craziest thing I have heard in my life…”

“Just you wait and see! It will happen,” says he, interrupting.

I respond, “Like it or not, you are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither am I. We are both merely drops in the ocean of nearly 8 billion people. No one is going to look at your medical records to see if you went to the doctor to cure nausea.”

“That kind of thinking will get you in trouble with it all goes down. Stick your head in the sand like everyone else.” He walks away to end the discussion.

I went on vacation to see new faces and to talk to new people and to get a fresh presepctive. I took the problem with me. It seems as if all I could talk about was him, my brother. I realized that I cannot hide from stress. So, a new year and a new resolution: REDUCE STRESS

Blog Entries, Road of Change, Writing

Excuses, Excuses

Okay.  So here’s what’s been going on in my life that has rendered me unable to post another chapter of my novel…

First, I sneezed a couple of times uh… caught a summer cold  uh… came down with pneumonia and then spent a couple of days, no weeks, months under the weather…

Okay, here is the real story:  An airplane fell from the sky and crashed through my office window completely destroying my laptop, my tablet, my phone, my empty journals, all my pens, a typewriter and lots of light bulbs.  Oddly enough.  *notices no one is believing that story, either. *

Fine.  You win!

I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!  ARE YOU HAPPY, NOW?  ARE YOU HAPPY YOU MADE ME SAY IT?  (Dramatically illustrated by the typewriter with a blank sheet of paper and a notebook with pristine white pages in the photo below

elijah-o-donell-760367-unsplash
Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

It’s just that outside is so beautiful with the bright sunshine, the pretty flowers, the brilliant green grass, the summer breezes.  Who wants to write, expressing the darker innermost thoughts of a couple in the midst of a tragedy in their marriage when the sky is so blue?  Who wants to dwell on such deep negative thoughts and ideas (even though I know how the story ends) when the house finches and chickadees are clustered around the bird feeder, feasting on the seeds I gave them?  How can the world be horrible when the tomatoes are changing from bright green to bright red even as I write?

I will wait for a rain storm or an earthquake in a faraway place or the darkness that come right before the dawn to write another chapter in my novel: The Road of Change.

In the meantime, patience, dear readers.