Thursday, November 19, 2020

Joy in times of pandemic

 We are close to the end of 2020, one of the most difficult years many of us have ever experienced.  Do you look to see what others are doing to make the best of the situation--of the physical distancing, isolation, mask wearing, worry?  

I do.  I like seeing what others are doing to keep things on an even keel.  Many efforts are similar, but each is unique.  Articles and blogs give suggestions, comparisons, and inspiration.  Some people are cooking or baking, experimenting with new recipes.  Others have found time for activities they had little time for in the past. People are reading more.  Binge-watching on Netflix is no longer a guilty pleasure, but a way to keep minds occupied.  We do what we can.  

Creative people look deeper into their chosen interest, practice more, experiment more.    Active people look for ways to stay active when gyms are closed and when being with other people simply doesn't feel safe.  Thank goodness for Youtube videos on practically everything from art to baking to exercise to science.

I search for art and dance, science and ecology, and new ideas in education.  I'm happy when I find another article that advocates cursive and writing by hand, discover a new poem that speaks to me, find a new connection to a book I'm reading.

Bloggers suggest books, movies, funny memes that they find compelling or amusing.  They share what helps them through the days and months.

Here are some dancing videos, I've enjoyed lately: ballet videos, the Lindy Hop Irish Step Dancing, or the Jerusalema Challenge at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery.  

Somewhere, I found this TEDtalk about Where Joy Hides.  

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One thing I loved about the video were the pictures of things that spark joy.  Do you find pictures online or at Pinterest that somehow make your heart sing?  

Snug and warm


Helen Phipps' blog that makes me smile.  I've never commented, and I should change that since her photos provide a sense of beauty and comfort that I appreciate.  Quilts always signify comfort for me.

Art and Sand also combines gorgeous flowers with a sense of homeliness, that quality that means a sense of cozy cheerfulness. 

(Will my home ever look like these--or my photos ever be as beautifully arranged?  No, not going to happen, but I still take pleasure from my visits to these blogs.)

Fall Photos

Animal Photography

What keeps you on an even keel, helps with the need to physically distance from friends and family, or just makes you smile when you need it?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Superstitions and Other Stuff

Making the Halloween postcards was fun, and seventeen Halloween postcards went out from Carondelet Court, along with a couple of Halloween envelopes.  November ushered in a pause in postcards and a need to write more actual letters.

Sitting down to write a letter creates a different atmosphere from a phone call, text, or email.  Often, I'm writing letters in my head about what is going in the world and in the home, what I'm thinking about and what I'm reading.  Then, when sitting down to actually write a letter those mental conversations evaporate--suddenly my mind is a blank.  

Yesterday, my first line on a letter commented about the date, Friday the 13th, which made me think about superstitions, rituals, amulets, and talismans.  I'm not superstitious, but am curious about them and actually practice a few:  "Bless you" after someone sneezes, crossing my fingers, etc.   Doesn't matter if you have any faith in them, some are just comforting and courteous.  Sports figures often have some funny or complicated rituals for good luck.  

My first cup of coffee each morning doesn't count as a ritual, although it is a daily practice.  It is a habit, rather than what constitutes a ritual in my mind, because it doesn't have a particular purpose.  If I sat in silence and thought about something, perhaps prepared mentally for the day, then it might become less of a habit and more of a ritual.  But no, the coffee accompanies  daily tasks and digressions like checking to see if the cats have eaten last night's food or sitting at the computer and pushing cats from my lap if they won't play nice.

Maybe I'll make an effort to change some of my habits and create rituals instead, lending importance to simple things.  

Reading about the rituals that writers, artists, dancers, and sports figures intrigues me.  How do you feel about superstitions?  Do you have any?  Or any rituals that you practice?  

 Time seems to be standing still and yet moving too fast.  

Last Week's Mail


Outgoing Mail


Some of the books I've enjoyed lately:  The Preserve by Ariel S. Winter, Their Frozen Graves by Ruhi Choudhary, Gone Too Far by Debra Webb, Children of the Valley by Castle Freeman, and The Eagle Catcher by Margaret Coel.  I mentioned News of the World by Paulette Jiles last week (loved!).  

What have you read lately?  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Assorted Thoughts

 Oh my gosh, the costumes posted on A Mighty Girl--from suffragettes, to RBG, to Katherine Johnson with her NASA badge, to Marie Curie, to 4 sisters in A League of Their Own, to Magical Mister Mistoffelees from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and more!  

Garden Dilemma:  The high yesterday was 82 degrees.  Garden still waiting for a frost that will make it easier for me to uproot and cut back (because it pains me to cut short any bloom time) and get in some winter plants.  My plans to clear out and replant are always on my to do list,  and then the still growing and blooming plants defeat me.  The first hard frost will give me permission, but until's a waiting game.  And yes, we are well into November.  

Walking out this morning felt a little like being in a mist machine, the damp was so entrenched in the air.   

Usually, I've preferred the 4 red maples during leaf change season, but this year the gold in this one gets my vote.

I do still love the reds, however.

Catastrophe Averted:
  Last night, we couldn't find Stinker.  House search ensued, peeking under beds and into favorite hiding places, before I realized the door to my little attic room wasn't completely shut.  I went up and looked for her, but no luck.  After all areas had been accounted for, I trudged back up the stairs, opened the door, and out she shot like a furry little cannonball.  She's a strange one, this little tuxedo cat.  About 1/3 of the size of her brother, she's always been more aloof, more secretive.  

Election:  While hoping for a concession and a peaceful transition, there doesn't seem to be a chance of that.  So...I'm keeping this message from E.B. White in mind:  "Hang on to your that.  Hang on to your hope.  And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."  I love this quote, it is applicable to so many circumstances.

I like books about the West and have 
several favorite authors, but recently I read one of my favorite books for the year.  Sam mentioned that News of the World by Paulette Jiles remained on his list of favorites.  Now, I know why and as soon as I finished, I recommended it to my daughter, asked Suzie if she'd read it (of course, she had), and found that another friend claimed it as a favorite book.  Where was I?  All this time, and I think I'd been confusing it with The Shipping News (which I also loved).  Being late to the party doesn't mean the party wasn't an unadulterated success--because it was excellent!  "Klepping honts, Kep-dun,"  as ten-year-old Johanna would say as she masters the language.

Watching:  The Graham Norton Show clips.  They make me laugh, and we all need more laughter.

Incoming Mail


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Almost Halloween!

Stinker finds the little quiltlet comfortable.

I made Drop Dead Fred several years ago.

I didn't make a single Halloween creature this year.  Spooky.
Last year, I made quite a few things, including the frame and black cat, but this year...nada.

This year, I only pulled out a few decorations.
Much less to put away.


Books/Reading:  An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch.  "Another great entry in the Charles Lenox historical mystery series.  In addition to the mystery plot, I learned the origin of the word "shrapnel" and the phrase "heard it through the grapevine."  Lt. Henry Shrapnel invented an artillery shell that fragmented in 1803 and the Grapevine Tavern in N.Y. was a place where Union officers and Confederate spies mingled during the Civil War.  Thus, the source of news, information, gossip, and rumors was through the Grapevine." (from my review, scheduled for closer to publication on my other blog)

An interesting article:  My Aunt's favorite penpal--Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Beth Seidel. 

 Incoming Mail

from Iliana

Her handmade card inside :)

from Hester,
an oversized postcard with the 
most delicious bats! 


to B.E. who is in quarantine

Oct. 29, National Cat Day

Sunday, October 25, 2020

 I thought the Monarchs were gone, that they had made their way to South Texas or all the way to Mexico.  Then every day for the last few days, more passed through. :)

The skeleton doesn't always find a convenient place, but this year he did.  

They spend most of their time sleeping.

I love letters written by old friends, blog friends,  and family.  I also enjoy historical letters and epistolary novels.  I especially love young people who write letters.  When I saw this article, my admiration for these young girls 
and their correspondence provided an extra zest to my day.  
What creativity and commitment.  :) 


Incoming Mail 
here at Bayou Poste

from Hester  

 World Postcard Day and Halloween postcard:)

from Melody


to Max

to Mila

to Bryce Eleanor

to Zoe

to Carla

to Carol Ann

to Hannah

letter to Patty