Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Ninth Day

It was approximately nine days ago when our county issued a “Declaration of Disaster” and issued a strong recommendation that we all STAY HOME; “We encourage --- residents to stay home except for essential needs, to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary healthcare or go to an essential job. It is okay to go outside for walks if you are not in a group. Stay at least six feet apart when leaving your home for essential activities.”

To be perfectly honest, my sweet husband is recuperating after surgery and it isn’t all that easy for him to get around right now anyway — all we did have planned (due to his surgery) was to only go out for doctor follow-up visits and to buy necessary perishable staples for the next few weeks. Our pantry and freezer are fairly well stocked, my hubs is a terrific shopper and always stocks up when he sees a good sale. The only grocery concern I really have is preparing for Passover and staying local which does not really give us much choice in the prescribed foods for our traditions.

Staying home these days didn’t really change much of what we had planned to do, but the concept that we SHOULD NOT be mingling with the outside world is a bit mind-boggling and restrictive. And the one big thing that is suffocating is not being able to have our family come visiting, especially our kids. Our daughter has helped to ease some of that particular loneliness with multiple videos she sends us and even a lengthy video chat while she walked our darling grand-pup (my cats don’t understand why we love the dog so much, lol). Our daughter-in-love calls by phone whenever she has a chance and sends texts often. Both our son and son-in-love tend to leave most of the communication to their gals, but we do receive messages from each time to time.

Basically if you have friends or family you miss seeing, think of how lucky we are with phones, emails, video chats, Facebook and so many other ways to connect remotely. Be sure to make use of them and share everyday things with those you care about. Don’t let anyone feel alone.

Being semi-forced to stay-at-home can actually be a blessing in disguise. We all lead such harried lives we never really have time to just sit back and relax. Play a board game with your family. Curl up for a Netflix movie with your spouse. Read a book and even if you don’t have one handy, order an e-book on your computer or smart phone, there’s even a whole bunch available for free. Organize all of your pictures and scan those important documents onto your computer for reference and record-keeping. If you have children at home, find some terrific YA books you can read together.

Talking of children, how many times have we joked about things we learned in school that we don’t think we have much use for these days? Well spend some of your at-home time teaching your children a few of those other skills like cooking, sewing, balancing checkbooks, gardening, working on the car, cleaning and (if you have younger children as well) childcare. Many teachers are helping by sending lesson plans via email or social media, but whether they do or not read some history books (or even watch the History channel on TV), play math games, host your own spelling bee. There are so many ways to make your “playing” very productive.

Maybe now is the time for YOU to pick up a few new skills, learn something that has always interested you, and simply bathe yourself in new knowledge. Many online workshops are being offered, find Writing workshops, Kabballah, foreign languages, Yoga, business practices, and even emergency preparation classes… and you can do it all from home at your own schedule and often for free or very little cost. If you’ve ever wanted to reinvent yourself this could very well be the time.

Maybe, just maybe, all of this forced free time could just be the thing we need to revitalize. Stay Heathy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Social Distancing

I’ve always enjoyed my solitude and often don’t venture from the house. I have my computer, reading, writing and the cats. Yes occasionally I like going out with my husband to dinner, the movies or other fun spots. My husband, on the other hand, likes to be on the move and not strapped to the house.

With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency all around us (thank G-d we are NOT sick), we are listening to the CDC warnings — “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” By Social Distancing and staying away from others we can all help to SLOW the transmission rate of this disease, and actually from all infectious diseases. You don’t have to be sick and there may be no active reports of illness in your immediate community, but this virus can spread through person-to-person contact. A has the illness, even though he doesn’t know it yet, when B comes into town A and B shake hands, B comes home and hugs his wife, B’s wife goes to the local supermarket and touches produce… you can see where I am going from there.

Folks have been catching viruses forever, so why is COVID-19 making headlines? The “simple cold” virus is normally mild and causes respiratory infections, sore throats, and headaches; MOST people get over colds quickly without complications. The most common strains of the influenza virus are more severe than a cold, are accompanied by fever and can result in pneumonia or sometimes death; the flu virus can be passed usually within the first five days of infection — AND there are flu vaccines, while there are some who cannot take a flu shot (Me, me, me!), inoculation and a shorter transmission time does cut down the occurrences.

COVID-19 is a newer strain of Coronavirus, one that does not have a vaccine (yet) and can cause all of the ailments of a severe flu including very high fever and, yes, death. All respiratory illnesses can be deadly for anyone with a compromised immune system. In most people, common cold symptoms usually peak within the first two to three days of infection, while the effects of Covid-19 appear two to 14 days after exposure. A person can come in contact with someone who has the infection and doesn’t know it and then that next person comes into contact with others and passes it along. Covid-19 is spreading much faster than the flu and there is still a lot to learn about the disease.

Some of the best recommendations to stay healthy include keeping a healthy distance (at least six feet) from others who may potentially be carrying the infection. Sneeze into your elbow or tissues, dispose of dirty tissues in a closed garbage can or flushed down the toilet. Wash your hands frequently, soap and water are wonderful germ killers. Don’t touch other people or THINGS and then put your hands to your face as you can carry the germs to your mouth, nose or eyes; it is unknown how long the Coronavirus can live on surfaces but it is estimated as long as nine hours on non-porous surfaces. Wipe down your phone, computer keyboard, steering wheel, etc. with a disinfectant. Carry an alcohol based hand-cleaner and use it after touching ATM machines, elevator buttons, public handrails and more.

Getting back to that lonely isolating social distancing, don’t give the Coronavirus, or other germs, another host by making yourself available to it. If we can break the chain we might be able to slow down the progression.

As for my husband and me spending so much at-home and alone time (together… with the cats), it’s a good thing we like each other.
To your health!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


I mean, they say you die twice.
One time when you stop breathing and a second time,
 a bit later on,
when somebody says your name for the last time

― Banksy

The older I grow, the more important it seems to me to know about my heritage, the generations that came and went before me. While it is important to me to know, it is more important that I leave a record of our past for the future generations. Maybe it is a way of not letting go of those loved ones I’ve already lost. Maybe passing on the stories of our heritage will keep my memory alive after I am gone.

I recently had a DNA test done and have actually been able to connect with a few more distant cousins (we really don’t use numbers, a cousin is a cousin). I’ve enjoyed hearing stories of the different branches of the family. Actually a little more than ten years ago a cousin came to my sister and me and said he was trying to put together a detailed family tree ~ he actually managed to track down a huge number of relatives even without these DNA kits so many are using today.

I’ve also been using a site that features old and varied newspapers and, wow, my own Mom had quite a social life in her hometown; I wish she was still around to talk with me about it. Using the internet and the many search sites (yes, some ARE free) has helped me find connections and learn stories of my family’s past. I learned that a number of my “great-aunts and great-uncles” never escaped the horrors of concentration camps and I am so sorry that many of their lives were cut so short that they didn’t get much chance to leave a legacy. I found out about a paternal great-aunt I never knew existed and am still trying to learn more about her.

In my quest to learn more about relatives and discussions with new-found cousins, I’ve come to believe very strongly in the “six degrees of separation” and have listened to stories about folks who were close friends of distant cousins, or even had connections to folks I already knew. I’ve learned about business ventures and accomplishments with my own family, and most importantly I’ve been able to share in the joys, and sometimes sorrows, that life brings. It is absolutely fantastic to share as family.

For now I have many of my notes and records in a computer file but I have hopes of actually printing a master book of all my ancestral and current family tree. The hardest part will be keeping the different branches separate, but separate only on paper. And I will include information about myself and my husband as well as our offspring and their spouses. And maybe one day a young child will be able to ask about me and I will kind of live on through these recorded stories.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Busy Bodies

There are some who (both figuratively and literally) never get up off their duffs and take responsibility or any action. So often these people are quick to blame others for either what didn’t get done at all or didn’t get done to their satisfaction.

Why does it seem that some folks manage to do only one job well… the avoidance of doing anything constructive? Whether it’s at home or the office, fingers are pointed at others while those same fingers are never kept busy. And when the job does get done BY SOMEONE ELSE, these individuals are often so quick to take credit if the job has been done well, and so often to lay blame when things didn’t go as planned.

Something else you notice about these people, the stories behind their excuses change depending on how many others they make their excuses to. And yet for all of their do-nothing-attitude, these are the very same folks who are very quick to tell others just how things are supposed to get done. Heaven forbid you should do the task at hand without consulting her/him for advice and even permission. But if you wait until they actually take the time to show you, your job never gets done.

If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
Benjamin Franklin

Sounds a bit like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Why is it that the busy person can “get the job done” when most others fail? One would think a busy person is too busy to add more tasks to be done. Why is it that the already busy person can manage to find the time that others never do?

One explanation might be that the busy person has developed management skills or he knows shortcuts. You can trust that a busy person won’t shy away from hard work. Knowing that someone can tackle the job you need done also lets you know that you can rely on that someone, and we naturally gravitate to the people we trust. It’s been suggested that most people who complain of being busy are simply giving themselves an excuse why they can’t get things done, after all if there is too much on your plate…

If you want to accomplish more, to get more things done and not have to wait for someone else to do those tasks for you, plan out your time. Keep a record of how long things take to do, know what can distract and sway you from your course. Schedule in any necessary down time such as stopping for lunch or even visiting the restroom. Work in front of a clock so you don’t lose track of time. Don’t get distracted by others around you. If necessary break your task down into increments that you tackle one at a time.

Make sure that your “busy time” is also productive time.