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It has been over 30 years since first we came to this bit of Camelot in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There was nothing here but we camped out on the land and dreamed of the perfect house to shelter us right into old age.

A Home for Living

All on one level with an attached two car garage we have given thanks many times for the cover during rain or sleet or snow. It is a modest house designed by Bill, that has bent with the years to accommodate many changes. In the beginning my mother came to live with us for several years, then Bill’s sister moved to the area and spent every weekend here. My brother and Sister-in-law and kids came too, and long time friends returned and returned. Our son came early on, married, and then grandchildren arrived, and we had dogs and horses and a garden and we grew along with the landscape and we changed too along with the house that accommodated and sheltered us all.

There are rooms with a view, mostly of the Blue Ridge Mountains which really do look blue sometimes. Other rooms look out upon our green green world and what I call the Forest Primeval.

Bedrooms have their own thermostats for individual heat control in case we lose power. But there is a big wood stove which heats the house so efficiently that I sometimes have to open windows in the middle of a blizzard.

Even though I always see this home as almost perfect, we began some upgrades in 2018. A big change was the addition of a “Whole House Generator.” It is still hard to imagine we no longer need candles. Oddly enough I still have a major stash of jarred candles “just in case.” But the generator keeps working its magic and we haven’t had to use a candle yet (except to add romance of course).

In addition to the magical generator, we upgraded the kitchen with a quartz countertop that feels cool and looks so cool that I think I am working in a brand new place. I love the view of the mountains from the kitchen too.

Kitchen Before – Outdated Cabinets and Formica Countertop
Kitchen After – Counter is actually a Dove Grey

Nope, we do not wish to sell the house! And this is not a pre-prepared advertisement. I have simply run out of adventurous things to blog about, and my self imposed isolation means you get a little tour of Camelot. Also, between you and me, I am practising using the new WordPress block editor format. What do you think?

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Starting my day during Covid-19 has its challenges.

Oh, I still rise each morning with a singular goal.  Get dressed. 

This is a short way of saying, “Pajamas may be comfy, but you MUST maintain an element of dignity.”

Even if no one but the UPS man comes to the door, one must be ready.

And so, I gather up an outfit that mostly matches and then head to the bathroom mirror to wash up and “put on my face” as people used to say in earlier years about pancake makeup and polaroid cameras.

I do smooth on a light foundation to fill in roadmap crinkly areas and then  add a bit of blush (to highlight the cheekbones that used to be there) and of course some mascara to bring out the few sparse lashes still clinging to life.  Then there is the final finishing touch – lipstick! 

But Oooops!   I keep forgetting.  The actual finishing touch nowadays is the mask! 

I keep forgetting the mask that covers up:

cheekbones with an added blush of sun,

and lips of coral gloss and glow.

And now each morning I ask myself, “Why?”

  • Why do I continue to make up a face that will be 95% covered by a mask?
  • Who will know me that way anyway?  I have barely left home for 4 months now.
  • Can friends really recognize each other for grocery store chats?

I could just leave my mask on at all times and no one would ever know there are unlipsticked lips underneath.

  • And who would know if the old unmadeup hag under there is smiling or grimacing or sticking out her tongue?

The only sign of emotion might be in the eyes.

I could make up eyes and brows to look surprised all the time or even happy.

But underneath the mask I might be making all sorts of negative grimaces.

Well, “You get my drift,” as they used to say in one of my earlier eras.

Pandemic discoveries I have learned, are about life and living.

And my sage words of wisdom for you today is what I have learned about masking during Covid-19. 

In the end it is not the mask that counts but the person underneath.

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pexels-photo-3952231.jpeg

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I am one of those people with invisible veins.  I hate getting blood tests!  They leave me slightly nauseous, sometimes black and blue.

This leads me to my most recent blood letting encounter during the time of Covid-19.

First off, the sweet girl who first made my doctor’s appointment, said she would fax the blood test order to the lab.  In about a week I was mentally and emotionally sort of ready but had a funny feeling that nothing had been faxed, so I called to check.

Sure enough.  It had not been done.  But the next sweet girl who spotted the mistake said she would fax the order over immediately.  I took her at her word.

O.K.  I was again sort of ready.  It was early Friday morning and I had fasted for 12 hours, drove to the lab and then stood outside in the fresh air with mask on.  A sweet girl asked a series of questions regarding any possible virus exposure, then put a little squirt of hand sanitizer in my hand and said, “Sign in at the desk” and then sit in any chair with orange tape (the chairs were 6 feet apart to honor social distancing).  There were only one or two chairs left because the place was packed.

I was greatly impressed by all the protective measures, that is until following orders, I went to the desk to sign in.  There was a pencil on a string that loomed larger and larger in my imagination.

Who exactly had touched that pencil?

Where had their hands been until they reached the sign-in point?

Yes, I was given hand sanitizer but was it enough to make me sterile?

If I touched that pencil would I die?

Was it worth it?

I mean, to die following orders?

You can tell, I am a follower of orders AND a worrier.

But I did sign in using that contaminated, pestilence covered pencil!

And I made a note of the date to count off the days til I would come down with the virus!

But the story continues.

I waited and waited and waited.  I waited an hour.  And while I waited a young woman came to the door and was answering all the probing questions.  “Have you been around anyone who tested positive for the coronavirus?”  Her answer was, “Yes.”   (!!!!!!)

At that point, I left.  That was Friday.

On Monday I returned and the lab was again packed so I turned around and went to the doctor’s office to tell them I could not get a blood test in preparation for the appointment.  They changed the appointment to give me more time.

On the third try, I fasted from 10PM to 10AM and went to the lab again. This time I was the only person there!

The problem was they did not have an order from my doctor!  So, the second sweet girl forgot to fax the order over too.  This was beginning to literally be a comedy of errors!

Fortunately my blood-letter lady called the doctor’s office and they faxed it over while we sat and chatted.  Thankfully, I was the only patient in the place. And my blood-letter was an expert and got what she needed on the first try.

Now let’s hope the blood test shows everything normal and that I will not have to get another test for 6 months or a year.  And mostly, let’s hope I am mistaken about the Pandemic Laden Pencil used for sign-in at the lab!

 

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neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

I like to say I am growing old instead of already old.  It gives me a better feel for how to feel when the most vulnerable population to the Covid-19 virus is touted as 60+ or 80+ or somewhere inbetween.

In any case, there always seem to be new rules about coping with this virus.  I know you are dying to hear them…. forgive the pun.  The world is coping but there are consistently more confusing theories about how the virus is spread and regulations regulating how we should lead our lives in the midst of what I call Viral Confusion.

For instance:

When I was a kid, you did not go to a doctor unless you were sick – maybe even really sick.  That seems to be the case now too.

2020 Pandemic Rules

Do not go to a doctor unless you feel sick.  And even then, call first to see if he/she will let you in.  Will this eventually even lead to doctors making house calls again?  When our son developed a very high fever, panic set in and we called the doctor who came to our house in 20 minutes, but by that time, the fever was gone.  And I don’t think the doc even charged for the visit!

Ah for the good old days.

Do not go to a dentist unless you have a bad toothache.   Dentists are just now reopening in my neck of the woods and I think they can be called for more mundance things like cleaning.  Check to be sure where you live.

But in the good old days, Mom would give me a clove to suck on or an ice cube – anything but the dentist – to cope with pain.  She was deathly afraid of dentists but finally when I was 14 and had a bad toothache, she made an appointment.  The dentist found one cavity for every year I had lived and I spent the next 14 weeks getting cavities filled (minus Novocaine!).  In those days you raised your hand if the pain was too bad.

Did I say I was growing old or already old?  Is pre-Novocaine ancient or what?

Ah for the good old days.

The new scary deadly virus has made me re-evaluate the wonders of staying home.  But what about positive changes?  Take clearer water.  They say you can see the fish in Venice canals now. I would love to take a gondola ride again but this time in clear water.

And now that there is more testing going on, some say if you are blood type O, you have a better chance of not catching the virus or maybe even surviving it.  Maybe I can go out sans mask and celebrate shoulder to shoulder in a crowd since I am in the O category.

Or if your ring finger is shorter or longer than the rest, you may or may not be in trouble re the virus.  I keep forgetting to size my ring finger.

And how about the urge to flush the toilet without putting the lid down?  Do you know how volatile the spray can be as you flush?!

Screaming spreads more virus than talking.  Talking may be the New Nasty Culprit that spreads the damned thing.

Disinfecting every surface on earth is no longer advised but don’t stop washing your hands.  You may have touched something evil.

All this speculation makes me wonder what people did in the real good old days of The Plague and Cholera.  The more I hear or read, the more I ponder this pandemic and all its pros and cons.

Stay Safe is the new Farewell, especially in our emerging “New Normal.”

Stay Safe my friends.

Stay Safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know. It has been weeks and weeks since I connected with blogging friends. But I ask you, “Of what possible interest could I have been whilst riding out an isolation mandate?”

Staying at home with spouse, Bill, sounded like a snap since we have always loved to talk to each other. The news, politics, our family and graddaughters, the weather, our plans for the grounds, things to be done in the house. Oh, a never ending list for good conversation.

Only time went on – and on. Two months have gone by. We both need haircuts and we both crave sunshine and purpose. And Alas! We may be running out of conversation.

I am still coping with BigFoot (an ailing left ankle now progressed to the knee and stabbing hip pains in the opposite hip). This makes it easy to sit more than move and Bill does most of the moving.

I still cook.

I still sanitize home surfaces.

And I still take care of the laundry.

I may be boring but the need to expand conversation has taken over.

You, my wonderful blogging friends, will now be subjected to my introspection and innermost thoughts.

Wait! Do not run in the direction of Re-Starting the Economy.

Wait! I still have things to say.

 

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Mack Grad 2 w Cork

Corky and Mack

My son is here visiting after the great graduation celebration.  It is always wonderful to see him because he lives so far away in California.

This visit is extra special  though –  1) because of the graduation, and 2) because we saw all three grandgirls, 3) because Corky extended his stay and we can catch up on his life, and 4) because he is so darned helpful.

All in the space of a few days:

  • He moved umbrellas  and heavy pots to get us ready for summer.
  • He added a music app to our computers and phones.
  • He helped his Dad with technical things in the car.
  • He found us a highly recommended Handy Man.
  • He solved the problem of stink bugs in the tractor gas tank. (How did they get in there anyway?)
  • He installed dark blinds in the guest bedroom so guests can sleep longer now.
  • And more.

He is our pride and joy anyway, but this visit has to be marked down as special and this is our way of saying “Thank you son.  We love you.”

 

 

 

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Foggy Barn 2

Little Elsa, the rescue dog, has been with us for five months.  And even with wide open spaces and acres where she can run, we have been walking her on a leash.  It was our fear since we did not know her background, that she would run away or disappear into the woods and be hurt or lost.  We love her now too much to risk losing her to a taste for freedom.

But we have had dogs here before.  Two Golden Retrievers (Peaches and Carrie), Rudy (a misunderstood Pit Bull) and Rozie, our other mixed breed love, who all lived to old age. None of them ever required leash control on home ground since we have ample space right here for long country walks and little traffic to worry about.

One day Bill and I knew it was time to finally set Elsa free to stretch her legs and run with the wind.  Removing Elsa’s leash was a terrifying move for all three of us.

Elsa could not believe her luck when the door opened and there was nothing holding her back.

And out she went – running and running and sniffing and sniffing.  Oh no!  Will she love freedom too much to return?

Out of sight she went with us

calling and calling

and so worried for her safety.

And suddenly,

THERE SHE WAS!

And suddenly

she tore off again, running and running and free!

And THERE SHE WAS

walking in sight of us without a leash!

And again, running and running

and exploring the world.

And finally she was walking with us

and met us at our door.

Home!

All three of our hearts are swelling with pride and love.  We have all seen and felt the utter joy of freedom in the shape of a little rescue dog who has probably never felt it before.

 

 

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Elsa 3-25-19

I know it!  I just know it!

She has cookies in her pocket.

Maybe if I stare into her eyes she will get my message.

I can tell it’s working.

This is my most pathetic big eyed stare.

Uh Oh!  She’s getting irritated.

I think I am connecting but

she thinks I want to go out.

O.K.  I will humor her and go, but

I don’t really need to.

Ahhhh.  A cookie!

I think I will try the staring thing again.

 

 

 

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Sunrise Blue Ridge

 

In a moment like this

I think there is no finer place to be

than in my own back yard

viewing

the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

 

 

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blue ridge jan snow 1

I never tire of the views from this little house in rural Virginia.

And even now, after so many years and so many pictures, there are still moments when I feel compelled once again to try to capture the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Blue Ridge is sometimes shrouded in mist or covered in snow, or blue against the sky, or blanketed in fog, and always stunning.

The snow was clearing a few days ago here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

And it was one of those days when I simply had to get one more picture.  

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