Saturday, March 28, 2020


My pretty pic starter, as always.  I decided to try out this trendy succulent garden thing and to be honest, in four weeks my plants have doubled in size.  Home Depot is really going all out with sales on houseplants with spring and summer coming.  I think I have my daughters motivated in having a few little victims of their own.  One of my favorite IPhone apps is Picture This.  Perfect for identifying plants, weeds, trees, what have you.  Download the app, it's free unless you want add ons.  Briefly, you can take a snapshot of said plant, weed, etc., and it will identify it for you along with added pics of it and some background info.  I LOVE it.  I thought I had poison ivy at the lake last summer.  Thanks to this app I found that I had random English ivy which I pulled out pronto.  I learned the names of all these little succulents as well as how to care for them.  How cool is that?

Of course, there is a pandemic going on.  I have all the same feelings as you.  Our state is on a stay-at-home order.  All non-essential businesses are closed except grocery stores, pharmacies, medical clinics, etc.  Chicago is one of the 'hotspots, which means we have a huge number of cases, deaths, and the numbers are rising.  The news is ominous and I've always been a news fanatic.  I'm getting better in staying away but still staying informed.  

Poppy is not facing anything different as I am a stay-at-home dog mom on a full time basis.  Some pets are overjoyed that their humans are home all day.  Layla sleeps, but Poppy is in full antics mode.  She loves to snatch my clothes out of my hamper, it must be my familiar "scent"!  She doesn't chew anything up, just leaves it all strewn about.  Here she is color coordinating herself with one of my bras. πŸ˜‚

Our fam keeps it going through text threads.  They are all funny and uplifting, lots of pics of the kids.  And we FaceTime.  We did selfies one day, so here was my mood.  Does anyone put on makeup anymore?  Or get out of pajamas?  So many small changes from everyday life.  Should we have the cleaning girl come?  Sounds a little like an oxymoron as far as germs.  Hair salons are closed, hence my disgusting roots and grown-out cut. I actually cleaned up a little and put on some makeup (lest I forget how) the other day to go out in the backyard to clean up doggie doo-doo.  I try. 

 I've taken Poppy for walks and she's getting super good on a leash.  It's amazing to see people out on nice days, just taking walks or walking their dogs (and staying very far apart).  Last Sunday it was raining like hell but still warmish, and people were out with umbrellas, laughing and having a very obvious joyful time of it.  

And I have these jarring thoughts once in awhile.  We need to replace flooring in our family room--I've got to make some calls.  Oops, no one coming in my house.  I have blinds on order from Home Depot.  Where are they?  Welp, doesn't matter, they aren't coming in my house to install.  Okay, we wanted to have a new backyard fence done in the spring.  No prob, it's outside work.  No, have to look at styles and material, fill out forms,, no one coming in my house.  

It's all small stuff actually.  

I made a quick trip to a small grocery store last week just before our mandated shelter.  Of course I have the freedom to go, yet I know better with my lung problems. I was defiant and really wanted certain things.  I wore a hat, buttoned my coat to the neck, and wore fingerless gloves.  I almost hyperventilated trying not to breathe.  I saw one person with a mask on, just one.  And there were people doing big shopping-full carts, and laughing and smiling and chatting like it was an everyday thing (and yes, Chicago is like that normally).  Not sure about that logic, but it was before the order to stay home.

My kids have been really firm about The Husband and I not leaving the house.  Both Emily and Abby have picked up items we need from the grocery store.  I try not to burden them with things I know I'm out of, like brown sugar or yogurt.  Maybe that's a sign of what's to come when I'm really an elderly lady, not wanting to put anyone out, being dependent.  It truly frightens me.  I did find a few stores that deliver.  Tonight I ordered online with a store I generally shop at.  I was actually looking for a delivery time tomorrow afternoon.  I received a text fifteen minutes later that they were on the way.  I texted back that my preference had been tomorrow.  The reply was that they fill and deliver orders in 1 hour.  And then there it was on my porch.

Fruits and veggies that can be kept out of the fridge and actually stay fresher this way, can be so, so pretty.  I'm more inclined to use them when I have the visual.  I keep onions, shallots, garlic, and potatoes in bowls and baskets on another counter.  Looking for what to refrigerate or keep at room temp?  Have a peek at this link.

I climb into bed most nights about 9-10:00 p.m.  I read a bit, check out the news, Facebook, and Instagram.  It's all probably "stimulating", but when the words get blurry and my eyes are closing, I turn off the light and I'm out.  I have more books than I can read.  This is the stack on my nightstand.  Yes, I'm aware it's a lot of fluff, but I get caught up in books that are humorous and that's nice.  Next on my list are mysteries and thrillers, self-help books have always been interesting to me, and I try bestsellers often.  I usually have two books going at once, sometimes I want the drama, other times I want something light.  What are you reading?  I'll get back to you on that.

So, besides reading, I'm cooking.  I'm still not on board with taking and sharing hideous photos of my dishes.  Perhaps I can share recipes without the pics?  I'm also on a cleaning kick, I feel germy all the time.  The smell of Clorox is enticing.  I wash my hands after opening the mail.  It's a neurotic thing for a lot of us.  I read a funny, but pretty on the mark line somewhere...Another productive day: 8 hours of watching TV and 4 hours of thinking I have coronavirus.  

I leave you with a few questions related to this pandemic,  please feel free to weigh in:

I'm staying sane at home by...
The biggest change in my day to day life is...
I'm stocking up on these foods and items...
We are under these restrictions/mandates...
I'm reading...
Hobbies that keep my hands busy...
I get outdoors and do...

If you have anything else to add or ask, feel free.

Sending love and good wishes to all of you, along with prayers that you and yours stay healthy, safe, and well.  Prayers going out to our whole worldπŸ™

Jane x

Friday, March 13, 2020


Hello friends!  Just me.  I'm going to have a lot of randomness in this post.  If I can find the time to write, all I can manage is the usual drivel about my mundane life.  So--I read a book about the late Princess Diana ages ago, written by her personal butler.  When she was driven up to the gates of Buckingham Palace after the divorce (but still her home), the security would ask by microphone, "Who is this?"  She would giggle and say, "Just me."  I would love to have seen how her life  progressed.  So sad we lost her when she was so young.

So anyway, its me,  Your long lost me.  I haven't been living under a rock but have been terribly busy, I just seem to do everything in bits and pieces.  So FYI, I edited my photos in mid January, uploaded them in early February, and started writing my post last week, at least the title.  Enough.  I'm a sloth.  

I love to start my posts with a purdy picture.  Above is a real bona fide hedgehog,  I met him at a birthday party for my grandson, Brooks, and granddaughter, Elsie, both whom share the same date.  My son, Jeff, and my daughter in law, Deirdre, arranged to have The Amazon Lady visit with a myriad of wild animals.  Not pictured is a chinchilla, a barn owl, an anteater, and a huge yellow snake (the species I don't remember).  

I thought the hedgehog was related to the opossum, and although they look alike, they aren't.  They are super cute but contact with their sharp quills, which carry a bacteria that can make you ill,  gives me no idea why people have them as pets. 

Here is Abby just loving a sloth.  A long time ago I called her a sloth in the spirit of how she lacked all sense of housekeeping and making things tidy.  She asked what a sloth was and I was at a loss for words.  It was a saying, but neither of us knew anything about sloths.  So we Googled it.  Maybe these were unflattering pictures but they looked pretty nasty.  Fast forward to this past Christmas, I was in Barnes & Noble and found a sloth calendar, some note pads, cards...seems someone thought the little grub was cute and made it popular.  So I gifted her with the calendar and notecards.  She didn't see the humor in these gifts once unwrapped and left them under my coffee table.  Lo and behold, when we met this sloth, we both had a change of heart.  They sort of look alike-seriously.  She should have hung upside down.  Adorable.

We welcomed Lucy June in November, this is a picture of me with the little cutie on Christmas Eve.  Look at that dress!  She and Madelyn were dressed the same.  You might remember my little fall on the back porch steps just prior to Christmas ( I'm absolutely fine), and  
you can see I'm lacking makeup on my left eye.  Through the miracle of photo editing, Emily was able to erase the wicked black eye.  Actually, it was a pretty shade of purple and I did matching eyeshadow on the right eye.  We had so many holiday parties, I had to adjust my makeup accordingly.  πŸ™„

Jumping ahead, we had our annual sledding weekend at the lake in mid January.  Alas, there was zip snow at the park that we go to.  We had had a ton of snow just days before, but the temps dropped, the rain came, and it was gone.  I wish it had happened sooner; when I arrived my driveway was blocked in with hardened snow and ice that the plow had created.  I felt like a climber in the Alps trying to get my bags, dogs, and provisions up to the house.  I parked on the road for several days, pioneer that I am.  These are our four eldest grandkids on our beach.  From left: Patsy, Elsie, Madelyn, and Brooks.  And not pictured is Baby Lucy, and another grandson, who arrived three days after Christmas, Bobby Sheahan, Brooks' little brother.  He's absolutely adorable.  I hope to post pics soon.  Anyway, we ended up going to a little ski resort for lunch.  We've aways wrapped up the sledding there.  After a great time, the kiddos were able to play in the snow, making angels and running around.  The snow here is machine-made, in addition to the 'real stuff'.  This does not imply fake snow, it involves a process using ice crystals and a whole lot of science to create genuine snow when we are without snow (which is rare in Michigan).  Lots of skiing and snowboarding.  My sons took lessons here when they were quite small.

When it comes to snow, kids need little incentive and often forego the necessities, like missing mittens on Madelyn here.  No worries, we keep a good eye on the kidlets. Once dinner was over (I made BBQ chicken wings and Emily made pulled pork in the crockpot), moms and dads put all of their children in one guest room, sharing beds.  Genius, except both my sons slept on couches, and Abby crashed on an inflatable bed in my room.  Most stayed up late playing poker...not me.  I like board games, lame card games like Crazy 8's, and I'm pretty darn good at chess!  No one cared for that.

The troops packed up and left Sunday and I planned to stay awhile as I hadn't been up since November.  I cleaned, washed linens, cleaned more, had visits with my next door neighbor, and pretty much just sat looking out at the semi-frozen lake.  When its frozen we have watched ice skaters, ice fishermen, and snowmobiles.  At one time, long ago, there were truck races!  I can't remember if we froze last year, I know we had a lot of spring rain.  I started coming up in late April and it felt like it would never stop.  We've had a mild winter and the Almanac predicts an early spring.  Anyway, I came back to Chicago a little earlier than planned!

Since coming home, everyday brings something new.  I'm still working with my doctor in getting a new drug approved for my lungs which is an injectable.  Insurance doesn't want to pay because it's experimental.  I know we all have healthcare issues so I'm not going to make a big fuss here.  I have to have a pulmonary function test Friday and maybe this will convince them my problem is for real. I've also been seeing an optometrist for recurring corneal ulcers, and recently chipped a molar, in my sleep!  Three weeks later I had a lovely crown for about as much money as a down payment on a house.  Oh my gosh, I sound like I'm ninety!

I've been  going to yoga, well not so regularly.  In fact I thought maybe it wasn't worth the expense as other than a few poses where I found my balance off, I was never sore or anything.  Then I started to notice how much stronger I felt around my core, how I was standing and sitting straight involuntarily.  I go to the studio with my sister in law and after we have coffee so it really is a nice way to get out of the house early on cold mornings.  

I haven't been walking Poppy much, it's cold, sometimes too cold for me (πŸ™„). She's an eighteen pound dynamo and full of zest.  She did get her certification for six weeks of puppy training--  Yaaaaaaay!  The only thing she learned is that she loves all dogs.  I really had a ball going and getting to know all of the other dogs and owners.  It didn't go unnoticed that the trainer used Poppy a lot as an example of what you don't want your dog to do when on a leash, sitting, or lying down.  When we were learning how to control our dogs on a leash, I was chosen to demonstrate the way I walk Poppy.  The trainer asked, "So why are you letting your dog go all over the place rather than teaching her to stay at your side?"  I was at a loss for words for a moment, "Because I want Poppy to have fun! I want her to sniff flowers and fire hydrants, spot squirrels and wag at people!'  I think I may have stopped Mr. M in his tracks, " want that, too..."  So for the rest of that class I tried to keep Poppy on a short leash next to my side.  This involved slipping her little treats from my pocket every few steps.  

Look who is growing so fast!  Three months now and Lucy is looking more and more like her mama.  I think she's a really calm baby.  She's usually sleeping every time I see her or have her here.   That's okay because Madelyn is a whirlwind-- it seems like she just turned five instead of three.  She has incredible language and coordination skills. I pointed out to her one day that Layla had a new collar.  She replied, "Yes, I noticed that when I came in." And by the way, she can count to Spanish. Yup, three years old. She learned all of this from her grandma. ❤️.  Ha!

Spring Vegetable Jumble with Lemon-Tarragon Butter

I have been doing a whole lot of cooking as I tend to do during the long, slow winter months.  I wish I had kept track of a few dishes, maybe had taken a few pictures, but I'm the first to admit that my pics do not flatter the food in any way.  So instead of one of my own recipes, I'm posting one from Food52, one of my favorite websites for all things cooking and food.  This recipe is on my list for a comfort style Sunday dinner that has a bit of spring feel to it.  If you make it--let me know.  And follow this'll love it!

I'm signing off now.  I've been putting this post together for about three weeks.  I have a lot of irons in the fire and there are so many things I want to share.  I posted on Instagram today for the first time in over two weeks, and that's a cinch compared to blogging.  And my apologies for not visiting your blogs.  As much as I wanted to keep up, I felt that you would see my comment and stop by here where there has been nothing for what seems like forever. 

 I hope you've enjoyed catching up.  I plan to write about my bathroom redo which is a New York minute from being finished.  I'm so proud of bringing all of my ideas and plans to fruition, of course using a whole list of professional plumbers, electricians, and painters.  Not very DIY but my son commissioned many of his workers at no cost.  My family room project is well underway and I'll save that to share later also.

Lastly, I hope and pray we make it through this pandemic around the world as quickly as possible until it is under control.  Be stringent and smart.  Many prayers going out to all of you.