Happiness is a Low Bar

The NYT ran an article on how people are feeling guilty about not using the shelter-in-place time to do constructive things, and then Kate talked about the same thing, and I realized that I, too, have been feeling guilty about accomplishing nothing. Then I realized that of all the dumb things I’ve learned about myself during this virus, the dumbest is that I always set my expectations so high that they can’t be achieved. Here’s a good example: I’m in the middle of a life-altering, world-altering pandemic in which nothing is as it was and with clear knowledge that I know nothing of what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next day, next year, and I’m kicking myself and feeling worthless because I didn’t scrub my lawn furniture.

Okay, that’s not actually true. I scrubbed two cushions, one for under my butt and the other for behind my back. I did the minimum so I can sit out in the sun and watch the dogs rediscover the side yard every day. I have another eleven cushions to scrub, not counting the ones on the loungers, and I’ve only had two weeks of this to do it, which means if I’d scrubbed one a day I could have done the loungers by now . . .

I think it’s important to set the bar low. Lani used to say, “A low bar benefits everybody” and never was that more true than now. It’s time to embrace the two-cushion goal. Did I get out of bed today? Yes, eventually. SCORE! While we’re being excellent to each other, let’s be excellent to ourselves.

What made you happy this week (especially now that the bar is on the floor)?

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74 thoughts on “Happiness is a Low Bar

  1. I did an online dance today with 22 people. I knew most of them and it was good to see them and kind-of dance with them. And my garden was sunny and full of exuberant growth, and I had a good book, and we watched animations of round animals on youtube and howled with laughter, and an old friend got in touch.

    I’m totally freaked about the big things but the small things are pretty darn good, really.

  2. I read a really interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (I think, don’t quote me on that) about how this is long haul situation and essentially it’s okay to take your time to be with your thoughts now. Productivity may come out of this but it’s something that comes after processing, not before. And if this isn’t a productive time for someone, well, we’re human beings not human “doings.” Every human life has intrinsic value whether or not the widgets get made that day. Mental and emotional health first, then widgets.

    I had a zoom happy hour with some friends. It was short and choppy, but it was good to see their faces.

    Running has been feeling good lately with the nice weather.

    We put up a hammock on our front porch so we can be outside but still socially distant. It’s been helpful for both kids and grownups.

  3. I did less than I expected. And then I realised that I was in a pandemic induced depressive episode. I’m slowly coming out of it. But I’m giving myself time to process the anxiety and grief.

    Thank Goodness for my yoga course. Even though I’m a bit behind, it’s giving me routine.

    And of all the dance classes on Instagram, I’m enjoying ballet with @Chunner, Chun Wai Chan from Houston ballet. He has April Thompson playing piano live. Monday to Friday. Whenever I can’t do a dance step, I do yoga instead! Highly recommended.

    1. You’re not behind! You’re in exactly the right place. Obvs it’s the course that’s fast.

    2. I’m glad you’re coming out of it, Sure Thing! It was a bit worrying when you disappeared. Take care of yourself, please.

  4. I stared at the worn out grout between my kitchen counter tiles today and wondered for the millionth time why I don’t clean it out and apply fresh.

    Thank you for making me feel better about not doing it. I’ve decided that I don’t need a pandemic — I need my husband to take a trip so I can do the repair.

    And thank you to the Argher who posted the “no sew face mask” link. I’ve made my bandita mask and heard from a bunch of friends who are using an amusing array of face wear: a ski mask, a napkin (an attempt: she nearly suffocated), a scarf, and a homesewn fancy one with shoelaces instead of rubber bands,HEPA vacuum bag as liner, and the closure for a bag of coffee to keep the nose section tight.

  5. The day before we came into lockdown, I got a bunch of jars to make beetroot relish. Ha ha ha ha ha. That was 12 days ago.

    My kids are fed, happy, and they haven’t fought their way into a trip to A&E yet, so we’re winning.

    Arts and crafts made me happy this week. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-dfJJsJvJc/ We bought these stencils in Samoa and they’d been languishing in a cupboard for years. We had fun with them. Also, spot the vintage dot matrix printer paper.

    I am concerned about the virus, the economy, the effect of lockdown on people who have less, and guilty about that fact that really, my biggest problems are keeping the kids off their ipads and getting fat from too much baking (I’m on-purpose not thinking about the stability or not of my work). Not sure what to do about that though.

  6. Knowing what to do and being able to do it are two different things.

    Highlights this week finished sewing an elephant, it’s small, but I started it in 2014, so do feel pretty good about it.

    I also read Cotillion yesterday, I haven’t been able to concentrate lately, but I finished it, so now it joins my pile of comfort reads

  7. I’m feeling a lot happier for getting out of the house after self-isolating for a week. Went for a good walk out into the fields, and then rediscovered my allotment, which needs a lot of digging, laying out, path-making, planting and sowing right now. Plus there are several new plot-holders to chat to, and pass on the fruits of my experience, especially what not to do. It’s great to take exercise with other people around, even at a distance.

    I don’t have any extra time, so am envious of those who do. I suspect work may get really thin on the ground, but I daresay none of the government schemes will apply to me. So I’m trying to stay focused on the now; will find solutions if I need to.

    Looking forward to lots of gardening in the sun this week.

  8. The man cave is clean, except for some cobwebs that aren’t bothering me. The laundry is done and folded and put away. My only other goals involve reading books, and I’m working on that. Breathe in; breathe out.

    I’m a little scared. I should probably be a lot scared. One of the inmates at one of the prisons that my boiler plant serves has tested positive. They’re scrambling to deal with it, but it’s a prison. Social distancing is automatic, confined to cells, but… how did it get in? How long ago? How many have it besides the one? Staff? They didn’t make face masks mandatory until last week.

    I will be sufficiently productive if I continue to breathe in and out.

  9. Our son did the grocery shopping for us yesterday and came back home with Tales of the Supermarket. One especially about the guy wearing a bandana with the ties in front of his face. He thought too late to take a photo. He next went to the bookstore and was left peering in through the window. He wanted so bad to go into the store. The shop was open but customers would have to call ahead or shop online and they would bring it out to you. I thought briefly about the library using that system but tossed that idea, its just too scary. Way too many patrons. E-books are such a boon.

  10. I’m planning to do absolutely nothing in May. Right now, though, I have edits on one book (2nd garlic farm mystery) due the 13th, the first garlic farm mystery comes out on the 21st, and the manuscript for the third one is due May 1st. Plus a sick cat that needs meds and attention. Plus I’m making masks to keep myself distracted from the news.

    So this month is going to be productive, whether I want it to be or not. Next month I’m going to collapse (in a good way).

  11. We survived the first week of husband’s retirement. He has been doing a lot of laundry. Poor him. lol.

    We spent yesterday working in the yard. We cut down a lot of pine and cedar seedlings that have been invading the yard. It was good to be out in the sun and to feel productive. I started working from home with little notice so it has been one IT glitch after another as we are trying to do things remotely.

  12. I guess I had a first date, quarantine style? I started messaging a guy on a dating ap before we realized how long social distancing was going to last. And yesterday he said “call me, here’s my number” so I did and we talked for 2 hours. It was actually really fun to have something new and unexpected in my day.

  13. Biggest happy was being gifted with all the unclaimed apples from the food bank drop off at my senior park. Going to bake up a pile of apple cakes/breads/muffins and offer them around as I take my walks.
    Second biggest happy is all the yarn, craft supplies, etc I’ve lugged around lo these many decades. Went thru it and now have many projects to work on. Will be ready for Christmas nice and early.
    Also happy for how easy FB video chats is. Been doing that a lot with friends and relatives, something I prolly never would have discovered if it weren’t for being stuck at home. It’s great to see each other and laugh together.

  14. Well, I actually am getting a lot done. Work is getting done. I’m still doing the Arne and Carlos knitalong even though I am a wee bit behind this week (still finishing this week’s last panel). Am getting a lot of blogging and journalling done. I did online karaoke last night. Gonna do that Shakespeare play again in a few hours-we’re redoing Act 1 because it didn’t record and also act 2. I only have two lines in the first section, but what the hell.

    Distraction is my best friend, what can I say. Also I live alone and have no live beings around the house, so keep that in mind.

    We had a reading of the homegrown (written by people in my theater company, we would have been doing it this spring) Robin Hood show on Tuesday, so I got to see the crush over group Zoom. He looked good. He was doing a brilliant read of Prince John, but when he had an especially sexist line, I flipped him off and he cracked up.

    I continue to still angst on and on and on about whether or not to text him privately. It wasn’t exactly something we did a whole lot before this (just occasionally) and he wasn’t feeling super chatty when I was trying at the beginning of this, and I just feel all kinds of weird trying. I know he’s interested but terrible at initiating (and has said so), so it most likely has to be on me. And it’s not like I mind initiating per se, but we have it hammered into our heads OVER AND OVER AND OVER that it always has to be the man initiating and if we don’t always have the man initiate, it’s like you chopped off his balls or whatever, it means he’s not interested, you are fucking up the whole situation if a woman makes a move, blah blah blah. And I just keep thinking, maybe he wants me to go away and not bother? Maybe there’s no point in trying to get closer if I can’t see him for 18 months (jesus fucking christ, 18 months) and it would just make things harder?

    I don’t know, y’all. I am baffled at the idea of quarantine dating because it just seems like it would make everything harder and of all the times in the world to not date, this would be the time not to. (Not that the crush is ready for that either, mind you.) So I just don’t know.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch “PISCES YOUR SOULMATE IS REALLY IN THEIR HEAD ABOUT YOU!” Pick-A-Card on YouTube, because uh….it’s true.

    1. Are you sure he’s interested or is he just stringing you along because he likes the attention? I used to hang out with someone like that and long story short, it was a waste of time because even if we had got into a relationship I would have been dragging him the whole way, forever. Feel free to ignore me, I haven’t been paying complete attention when you brought this guy up before but if someone is into you it isn’t usually such a struggle to be together – unless you’re in a romance book and the writer needs to keep you apart for plot reasons 😉

    2. I think at some point, you have to step back and see if he steps forward. The power balance in a relationship has to be negotiated, I think, and you’re doing all the work. Maybe he thinks you’re a great friend. Maybe he just likes the admiration you have for him. The only way to know is to ask him, but if that’s off the table, step back and see if he steps forward, and if he doesn’t, cut him loose and try to survive the apocalypse without the added stress of him playing footsie with your feelings. You deserve better.

  15. Thank you for this post. I am fortunate to have a full-time job and am working from home. However, the days have been very long (10-12 hours) and beyond walking my dog, I’m not getting much else done. I saw a FB post that said (paraphrasing) if anyone who didn’t use this time (Coronavirus) to learn a new skill, lacked discipline. This was not helpful and added to my already elevated stress. My low bar involved FT with a close friend, walking along the river with DH and dog, and ordering seeds to plant my vegetable garden. The Farmer’s Almanac has a garden planner (free trial for 7 days) so I’m going out to measure my garden and start planning what goes where.

    https://gardenplanner.almanac.com/gardenplanner/gardenplanner.html#

    1. Well, you know, that judgemental comment was directed at people who’ve been lais off, not those of us still working full time (more than full time in your case!).

    2. I saw that too, what asshat designed that meme, I wondered. One probably without kids to start with.

    3. Take it easy on yourself if you can. I’m lucky. At my work they’ve made it very clear that we are to stick to normal hours and not be tempted to do more because we’re working from home. Also that they expect productivity to go down because people are stressed and have other responsibilities at the moment.

  16. I sat for 20 minutes today watching the three neighbours’ dogs running around the green.

    Dog 1: On heat. Dog 2 is obsessed by her. Dog 1 is not interested.

    Strategy of dog 1 is to run around as much as possible so dog 2 can’t come near her. But when dog 1 has to have a break, she turns and goes face to face with dog 2. You know she is telling him: you are not my type and this is not going to happen. But they are good friends, so they do run together.

    Dog 2: is not that bright. Dog 2 does not understand the message dog 1 is sending and continues to try and interact. Dog 2 has only one thing on his mind. But Dog 2 definitely failed his biology exam. You don’t mount from the side! When he does try the correct position, Dog 1 decides it’s time to run again. There is no danger of pups.

    Dog 3: Just wants to run around with his two best friends. But Dog 2 does not want him along. Dog 2 keeps putting himself between Dog1 and 3 and must be sending a message to Dog 3 because he runs off by himself. Dog 3 makes a few more attempts to join the two friends but always ends up running off on his own.

    Dog 3 got my sympathy. Dog 1 got my respect. Dog2 has gone home to have a cold shower.

    Watching these dogs made me smile.

      1. In the Galapagos, we watched a 120+ year old land tortoise hanging out with a not-that-much-younger gal. Mind you, not only do these guys have time, they also have two penises. What more could you ask for?

        Much more. This guy was intent on mounting her on her head side. If she got mad enough, he could be twice crippled by the encounter.

        I guess there’s a reason they live so long . . . actually, no one knows how long a Galapagos tortoise can live. They were first recorded in the mid to late 1800s, and haven’t had the opportunity to die natural deaths.

  17. I did get up this morning and do tedious editing necessary for the non-profit to apply for continuing education for teleconferenced rather than live training workshops. It took three times longer than I thought it would (as it always does). The dining room floor still looks like I should have swept it last week (I should have) but I did make chili for DH yesterday, and (slightly boring) muffins for myself, so I am declaring that the important things are getting done. I am rewarding myself with three days of argh posts and marmalade on my muffin, so all good here.

    Sending good wishes to all for whatever good cheer and/or productivity is possible.

  18. I haven’t been very creative. I _have_ been on Duolingo, because it has “gamified” learning for me. I’m still processing. I was going to go back to school this summer, and now I’m questioning that.
    The idea that Jill Q pointed out – that we need to process before we can produce – really clarifies this for me. I am feeling more settled, mostly. So, small forays into the yard, a methodical attempt at German (the prepositions are killing me) and a load of laundry have been wins. 🙂

    1. Julie, if it’s any consolation…after 40+ years of German, with the last 20 it being my work and home language, the prepositions still kill me! Partly it’s cases, partly it’s the 85-15 principle: you can memorize rules, which work 85% of the time, but the 15% that are “just because” cause you 85% of the headaches.

      🤪

    2. Have you ever read “The Awful German Language” by Mark Twain? I read it in high school when I was taking Latin and I laughed so hard I cried. It might be a welcome break for you.

  19. I’m happy more people in BC have recovered from the virus including my neighbour’s sister and brother in law, (he was hospitalized, 89), than the total number infected. Sadly a worker in the grocery store I go to, has been diagnosed. I’ve gone to another store for over a week not knowing of the worker.

    Have a low bar too. Everything I see which needs doing is overwhelming. So…picking basics and work to do. Anything else is a plus. Today will be recycling and the detritus in the garage.

    Dear friend who retired to Progreso, Mexico send a photo of her new house colour and new husband to be, another Canadian. Very handsome man. She is very happy. She asked me a year ago to preside over the ceremony if she gets married. I’m not registered to marry people. Will still have to have a jp for the paperwork. Or she may have changed her mind. Will have to ask if still in their plans.

    1. I’m not familiar with the laws in those jurisdictions, but can you register online to marry people legally, without a need for a JP? Admitting my total cluelessness since the situation has never arisen for me.

    2. DH is a Universal Life Minister, and did his niece’s wedding in Nova Scotia. There, he had to be appointed a JP for 24 hours (The Chief Justice of the NS Court swore him in and asked him very nicely not to void any parking tickets or doing anything else with his 24 hours worth of power!). Don’t know whether BC has that option, but it’s a possibility to look into….

          1. Thanks I will do that. Appreciate your help. Easy to do.

            Looked at the Universal Life Minister website too. I will go the easy route for one day.

  20. I thought registration was a matter of a half hour online and a small fee? Now curious. Time for my google-fu!

  21. This week, I finally hung a bunch of art on my newly painted walls, and what a difference it made. Feels like home again, instead of a box with a lot of stuff in it. Still more putting away to do – as soon as I finish this, I’m going to move 3k boxed cds into our back house (they’re going to be sold to a local record store, but events have conspired to delay that, obviously). In the meantime, I want them out of the dining room so I can put that room back together and get the dining table out of the living room.

    Baby steps. My motto these days.

  22. Although this week has been hard for me emotionally, a few very nice things have happened.

    My nephew and his wife have a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Judging by the pictures they sent, both parents are already totally besotted with her. It was very good to see, because unless I win the lottery, I probably will never meet this child.

    One day this week I received 3 pieces of personal mail! One was from my favorite niece who has been working her tail off trying to help health agencies figure out how to cope with the Corona virus. Although she is no longer travelling, all the grants she administers are in health care so they are scrambling like crazy to try to adapt.
    The second is from a friend who writes notes periodically, just to say hello and the third was a bit of an inspiration.
    At the end of January, a friend from Minneapolis and I went to dinner. He said, “you really ought to do something for Jean (a mutual friend) because she has trouble in the dark months of the year. ” I started sending postcards to her and her partner. They responded with a snarky button and we’ve been sort of corresponding since. This week’s installment was a 2 page letter from Scott(the partner) and a button that says, “Sarcasm Burns Calories”. It really cheered me up but I’m at a loss to know how to reply. I have a button that says “Sarcasm is the only defense against the dark forces of logic and reason”, but I’m too selfish to take it off my jacket and give it away. And since it is 1-2 years old, I have no idea where to get another one.
    They also sent me some postcard stamps that I will use to send postcards to everyone I know to try to offset social distancing. Thanks to the old free postcard racks, I have lots to chose from.
    The best part about this is that prior to this we only exchanged birthday cards and now we have begun to re-establish a friendship. And I don’t think the other people who get cards will complain, either.

    1. Aunt Snack, I’m not a crafts type, but I would take a photo of the button, print the pic, then stick it on the front of a note or something like that. Someone who knows more about crafts might glue a magnet on the back. I think it’s a great button, and I think you shouldn’t, and don’t need to, give the original away.

      1. That’s a great idea, but I’m not that ambitious. I think I’ll just choose one of the snarky greeting cards I own(I collect those, too) and describe the button in the enclosed note. And if I am very, very lucky, my friend Dave will still have a business when this is all over and he will be able to order new buttons for the rest of us to buy.

  23. As soon as the lock down went into effect a started to notice a whole bunch of new craft-related ads on my face-book feed that really tempted me (Laser-cut clock-work trains and some really beautiful paint by numbers), but alas, I am still working full time, now doing three meals a day in tandem with husband and hadn’t finished organizing my taxes yet.

    Taxes are now prepped, but now we have the wearing masks suggest. I am fortunate that I have a WHOLE LOT of mask-appropriate woven heavy cotton-batique printed fabric that I have collected from Tanzania over the years, so it looks as if I need to dig out the sewing machine and make some masks (which will go over some unused Home Depot dust masks that we just discovered in the basement) before I order that really pretty paint-by-numbers kit.

    In other news, looks like keeping our senior grocery shopping down to every two weeks will be do-able as the Farm up the road has VERY good whole-fat milk and fresh eggs and no one is at the farm stand except the attendant mid-week.

    We enjoyed a zoom- “coffee-hour” with members of our church after streaming the Palm-Sunday service.

    We are trying to support our favorite local non-chain restaurants by ordering curb-side take out from a different one every week.

    And my daughter made me smile: Because she had an Amazon toilet paper subscription (cheaper that way) she had an ABUNDANT supply of TP before the hoarding started. She also had extra disinfectant wipes from last year when her daughter was two and TOUCHING ALL THE THINGS. She put some packs of TP and extra packs of wipes out on her front porch with a note a thanks to the delivery folks and telling them to feel free to take some if they need them.

  24. Some days are better than others. I am productive, I do nothing. I try not to worry about it so much.

    It is nice to finish something that has been laying around forever. It’s stress releasing. Marie Kondo would be proud.

  25. I read that article; made me feel better about just doing what I usually do.

    I will have to make some masks this week. I’ve been wearing the no-sew one to walk my dog but I’ll need something that stays in place better to go to the grocery store.

    I had planned to give away a lot of fabric/sewing stuff. My sister was supposed to take it but never did. I went through it all today for mask-making fabric and found a nice amount of elestic. That made me very happy. I’ve got about 4 different ‘patterns’ to experiment with.

    Still making granny squares but am almost at the point where I’ll have to stop and start putting them all together.

    My local farm has been selling Easter flowers and onion sets, etc on an honor system basis. I will have to stop there as well as the grocery store.

    And more daffodils are blooming and also some primroses!

  26. I am working full time, coming to the end of my contracted time. Hope to find out if they want me to stay on, or can use me somewhere else in the company, that would more than great.
    Since I’m not making music, and forget my ukulele, can’t say I’ve been very creative, aside from the Song of the Day I send out to my choir and some friends.
    Had a great 7-way conversation with old friends in Washington State, Connecticut, Maine, Germany, and Austria. Haven’t seen each other together for years, but our bond as voice students and performers has lasted a long time, and we vowed to do it again in a couple of weeks.
    The unglamorous stick bits of my clematis are appearing, it took my 6 years for the thing to take a real hold, I dug it up and moved it when I sold my house. Each year is a victory!

  27. This morning when I stepped outside it was cold and sunny and the seagulls were flying high overhead, calling out to each other as they set off for their fishing grounds. It stopped me in my tracks. Sheer happiness.

  28. I’m both aggravated at myself and laughing at myself just now.

    Mask making was my plan for the day. Simple enough, right? Well between the plethora of instructions/patterns/video and being the Queen of Overthinking All Things, much of the day has been chasing my own tail. The house looks like the craft store threw up on it.

    The dogs are looking tired. “Why is she moving around? She is supposed to stare at the glowing screen all day while we sleep.” Which they are doing right now.

    Stay safe folks. And be grateful your lives do not depend on my masks.

  29. I got a blog post up Something I really haven’t had the inclination to do. I reread Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series because she suits me right now. I finished watching Self Made on Netflix – the only tv I saw this week. I did four jigsaw puzzles. My son and his family came over to help with the Disney ones.
    What makes me very happy is chocolate, walks and avoiding all the news. The world is so beautiful right now. I talked to my sister and brother in law in Texas. James is 79 and delivering Meals On Wheels. We don’t, any of us, spend much time worrying about the virus and death. If we go, so be it. I am not going to waste time being afraid. Yes, I wear a mask and gloves (doggie poop bags)on my infrequent trips to the store. And I smile at anyone I see in the distance on my walk. Sending joy to all of you.

  30. I got to go outside for the first time in two weeks and it was wonderful. I haven’t done any of the practical steps towards getting a new job, in part because it turns out I’m covered by a government subsidy meant to keep stood down workers connected with their companies. So technically still employed? But also partly because I’m too busy coping with the trauma. And that’s allowed right now. I mulched the broad beans. That’s enough for today.

  31. My son, who is an introvert and really happy to stay in the house all pandemic, spent two hours talking with a friend he made in Kindergarten—they are now 23. Much happiness to see they are still so close. It’s funny how they knew so young that they would be good friends.

    I ordered a nice cotton quilt batik fabric for mask making from our local fabric store thus supporting a local business. And now I will make masks for us, my daughter in london, my mom, my brothers family of six ( with two medical providers so anything I can do to keep them safe outside their jobs makes me feel better), ….

    My daughter’s pediatrician who used to treat her asthma (she is now 28 and in London) agreed she should have an inhaler and prescribed one for her that we will mail to her—she hasn’t needed treatment for years and has no one who has diagnosed or treated her asthma there and she quite reasonably wanted to leave the NHS to focus on sick people, and anyway i don’t know if she would have been diagnosed as needing it—but it might make her more comfortable if she gets coronavirus.

    My husband made pizza and I was pizza delivery person to our food friends next door (dead drop of course).

    I’m about 2/3 of the way done with weeding the front garden and it looks really springlike—violets, Johnny jump ups, narcissus, daffodils, the first tulips, and the giant snowdrops are hanging in there. I’m so glad I spent so many falls planting bulbs. Particularly because when our governor ordered us to stay at home, it meant my garden store closed and my whole plan for plant deliveries fell apart. Until then I had been happily saying “ this isn’t really a change for us”. I went online and ordered from three different vendors but who knows if they will get shut down.

  32. Another thing that makes me happy is that my cell phone carrier has given everybody unlimited minutes for the month of April. I had a very long chat with my friend Harriet and it was heaven.

  33. Thought I would put up some crown molding. I realized that the very low spatial intelligence score I received in middle school was deserved. I did clean out my pantry. We could live for a long time on Oreos and peanut butter. And pickle relish.

  34. Well. I started off all organizy and then when I realized this was a long haul I started slooooowwwwingggg down. My fantasy was that I would
    Marie Mondo my way thru spring cleaning. The spring cleaning I’ve never gotten done til fall of hopefully the same year. My friends want to FaceTime Me but I look like hell. I’ve also been cranky and short tempered and easily annoyed. I don’t want to be and I don’t have any clear reason. So I stay In My space (bed) reading or watching movies. I do keep up with the kitchen. I like it to be clean. What I don’t get is why people in this house use so many small plates or big dishes for a sandwich. Or set the table with two knives when serving chicken. Or don’t clean as they go. Or think they are helping by filling the sink to soak. I also putter in my garden and I really don’t need non gardeners making ‘helpful’ suggestions. I mean, really??? Anyhoo, I am resolving to shake off the bitchery this week. When I read About Jo, Jenny’s mom – the line about being nice to everyone except family – LOL – that is so me right now! Why is it that we are sometimes so nice to strangers and give them the benefit of the doubt. but not those we love so dearly? I am my own piece of work, sad to say.

    1. I’d like to know that if you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher why can’t family members put their dishes and utensils in it instead of the sink? That goes into the things I will not start an argument over.

  35. My son and three of his mates all have Ford F-150 trucks and managed to move my stuff into the unit my daughter had built for me at her house. We decided to proceed even though it’s shelter in place, wear a mask in public, etc., I feel safer here than in that eighty plus apartment building with elevators and doorknobs into garage, not to mention all of the people.
    Anyway, I’m unpacked, settled in, and managed to get a few loads of stuff to a Goodwill before they shut their doors. So much work accomplished.
    The place is tiny but comfy and it feels good to have gotten rid of an accumulation of so-called treasures. (I did this when I moved back to L.A. almost four years ago, so where did it all come from?)

    1. Happy for you, Robena.

      Starting to get rid of so called treasures, there will be quite a pile to disinfect as there may be new rules in place at charity shops when this is over.

      Stay well.

  36. Thank you Jenny. I needed this. I’m still going in to work. My spouse is doing the work from home with the kids. The house is still a pit from hell. The laundry is full of clean clothes but still in baskets and piled on the table. We’ve got a 4 bedroom ranch that’s about 1200 square feet. There’s nowhere for me to work from home.

  37. I am accomplishing way less than I think I should, especially with the writing. Less, even, than when I was going out to work four days a week at the day job. Some of that is undoubtedly stress from the situation, and having a long-term house guest (hiding out here while her boyfriend continues his work as a store stocker, because she has serious immune issues), and a massive fibro flare. Most of it is just my brain refusing to focus. Oh wait, that might be connected to those other things. But I have a May 1 deadline for the cozy, so I persevere.

    My happy yesterday was a Zoom chat with much of my extended family, including my parents, sister, and niece in San Diego, an aunt in Stockton, an uncle in Boston, and my cousin who is in the Foreign Service, and is stationed with his wife and teen kids in Tel Aviv at the moment. Apparently Israel hopped on this thing rapidly and aggressively, and they’re not even allowed to go outside to exercise, although they can still go to the store. My family rarely gets together even during the good times, so it was especially happy-making to see everyone’s faces and hear that they were all doing okay. (Also, I was kind of proud of myself for making it happen, because I started an email chain weeks ago for updates and people realized they–gasp–actually liked keeping in touch. Oy.)

  38. Saturday was Paul’s birthday so that was a happy in and of itself. I made him an angel food cake and his favourite supper. He made a bowl for my aunt and I made her a pillow case and one for her friend who lives in the other house in her yard. I finished my mom’s nightgowns and yesterday we went for a long drive and delivered them. My aunt has kidney problems so I was extra careful to not go anywhere near her, I left her parcel on her step and ran away.

    My day-to-day routine hasn’t really changed, it’s just that work is a bit slower to come in so I’ve taken some small crafts down to the office that I can work on in bits and pieces and put aside when I need to. I’ve also been listening to audiobooks and that helps pass the down time.

  39. My happy for today is the engineering company my oldest daughter works for has put all their design engineers (daughter is such) that aren’t working for clients on projects to help the current crisis. Half of them are working on designing ventilators and the other half Respirators. Daughter #1 is working on respirators and is working on a design using vacuum cleaner bags. (She sent me a pattern so I could make myself one.) Vacuum cleaner bag fabric isn’t quite as good as the Melt blown fabric used in medical masks, but it’s way, way better than just fabric. Now I’m going to make fabric masks with vacuum cleaner bag fabric inserts. The fabric can be washed and the other can be reused or thrown away.

    My other Happy is that I’ve started to record my last book. The actress that did the first three books lost her recording equipment and hasn’t been available – even now that she has time – and I just never did anything about that. So now that I have time I decided to record it myself and put in on my website for free. It’s not “professional” or anything, but I’m enjoying myself.

  40. So far, I am meeting the low bar for happiness. Since March 13 I’ve been off our property three times. Once for a tango lesson, once to go buy bird food, and once to take a check to deposit at the ATM.

    Other than that, I am experiencing an uncanny analogue of last year’s unemployment. Only this round of ‘alone almost all day and sitting at the computer’ involves my actual job, which means I get paid, which is a very good thing. Fair to say it makes me happy that I’m getting paid.

    Because of work I don’t actually have much more in the way of Free Daylight to myself, so I have not made big promises to anybody about the state of my yard. There is so much weeding to be done. It simply doesn’t seem very important. If it’s rainy or blustery I’m staying inside (our neighborhood gets a lot of gusty wind).

    Productivity continues in the writing zone, however. Published L.A. Stories novel #9 this weekend.

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