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Pandemic Fashion

Pandemic Fashion

 

Pandemic Living has caused me to commit more than my usual number of fashion crimes. I apologize in advance….

 

Exhibit A

 

 

Exhibit B

 

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

pandemic 3

As a public service and to cleanse your palate so you can sleep tonight, I present this amazing little creature, found during my dog walk yesterday:

Turtle 1 Duplicate

Turtle 2 copy

 

Mom Bread

Mom Bread

I do derive a sort of primitive satisfaction through providing food for my family, and I have ample opportunities at present to do so.

Early in the shut in, I was unable to find any decent bread and decided to make my own. I started with honey wheat. The product was leaden, underproved, and raw in the middle. Paul Hollywood would have gagged. No, Paul Hollywood would not have let it pass his lips.

My kids loved it.

Eyeing my few remaining yeast packets and not finding any in the store–though a one-pound bag was available through Amazon if only I could wait a month–I decided to create a yeast starter. I figured this could be my forever yeast source and went on to attempt herb bread and then a repeat of the honey wheat loaves.

During each rise, the dough needed multiple hours to heft its glutinous flab to a semi-upright position despite my cheerleading. Picture Toad in Arnold Lobel’s story “The Garden,” and you will have it about right.

These loaves were likewise leaden and underproved but had at least become fully cooked. I didn’t know that starter is meant to be used in addition to dry yeast.

No matter. My kids loved them.

Bread had begun to repopulate the shelves of my local Safeway but by now my children (22 and 25!) were requesting “Mom Bread.” I found myself both puzzled and flattered.

So. I’ve continued my pandemic baking.

I decided to actually READ the bread instructions. An angel dropped a one-pound bag of yeast on my door step. After several months of use, I have somehow discovered that I have a Proof setting on my new oven. Thanks to the convergence of these fortuitous happenings, I have just produced something called bread.

Real bread!

This post courtesy of my 4:30 telehealth client who didn’t show up and didn’t respond to my call or email.

 

 

Angel Soft® v. Scott 1000®

Angel Soft® v. Scott 1000®

Scott 1000® Bathroom Tissue is the official toilet paper of my 2020 Pandemic.

You will know I have finally lost it if I actually hit “publish.”

Oops. Too late.

If I ever endure another pandemic or get stuck on a desert island, I hope to get stranded with a big pack of Scott 1000®.

My current household of four adults went through one Scott 12 pack in a month. Then we were on to the 9 pack of Angel Soft®. “9 MEGA = 36 REGULAR ROLLS*” the package proclaims!

At our current rate of consumption, we will be through 9 MEGA ROLLS in 9 measly days.

We had groceries delivered today via instacart. I absolutely do realize the enormous privilege it is to have someone risk their well being to do my dirty work. I gave the shopper a GIGANTIC tip and a home-sewn face mask to show my appreciation. Jon was a very polite and responsive shopper, and he made good replacements. But after he had gone, I realized we had been charged for toilet paper which had not been delivered.

I’m not terribly worried at this point. I had been pretty hard on Henry for not recycling that big stack of newspapers but now I am reconsidering my stance.

What toilet paper would you choose as the 2020 Pandemic Champion?

(I have not been paid to mention this product. I am merely odd and my filter has broken.)

“*based on number of sheets in Angel Soft® Regular Roll”

Photo: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=611402

We, the Moles

We, the Moles

We, the moles of dank basement offices, provide therapy to you while you sit in your minivans, lie in your beds, or perch on the commode. We choose the basement to better protect your privacy.

We project a sense of calm and stability as we help you manage your anxiety and untangle knots. But we may or may not be wearing the same outfit we have worn for the last five days. Like you, we may be stressed, disoriented, and smelly.

Maybe “mole” is not the right word to describe us. Moles are solitary creatures. We, however, burrow through cinder block, dirt, distance, and time to hold and encourage our peers, robbing our depleted stores to deposit teaspoons full of encouragement and listening into the reserves of our fellows. We voluntarily unburden one another of the lint, splinters, and gooey boogers our minds have accumulated during the week’s work, hoping to assure that we all have a good night’s rest.

We will wake up tomorrow and do it all again.

We are not special. We are just like you. We are all in this together.

Photo credit: Didier Descouens – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23203253

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Fences

Good Fences

I grew up hearing “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Good headphones are the good fences of this pandemic. At least in my home.

We are four adults, two dogs, and a cat trying to work, attend school, Netflix, and socialize within these four walls. I think we are doing a creditable job.

Can we use this pandemic to invent something called Fence Parties? On one of our next sunny days,  I want to see if our neighbors will set up a picnic on their side of the chain link fence where we can see them from our picnic on the other side. What do you think?

This reflection was generously paid for by client X, who was unable to find a way to reconnect after her phone died five minutes into her video therapy session. I thank you for my lovely respite during one of the busiest days of my week.

And now to hit “publish.” I will not be damned by my overthinking tendencies today.

Tulip image by © Cody Logan / Wikimedia Commons / “Tulips by clpo13”, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1723143

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

Hello.

How are you?

I am writing to you from the toilet.

I’m lying.

Or am I?

You’d never know.

This is how we behave in a pandemic. Everything goes.

I’ve provided video therapy with a cat’s butt in my face while wearing a nice green blouse, navy blue pajama bottoms with sparkly stars, self-knitted striped rainbow socks, and green paisley clogs. I’ve made a sourdough starter and begun to bake bread. I’ve performed songs from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang over Marco Polo using the “helium” voice and sourced coveted face mask elastic from a worn out fitted sheet, king sized. My youngest daughter is making bank sewing face masks at the kitchen table.

It has taken a pandemic to bring me back to this blog. My muse had left me, and I had become overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of your blogs.

I don’t know if I’ll be back here tomorrow or the next day. I might be busy going crazy. I don’t know if you’ll read this. You might be busy doing the same.

I don’t know anything. Except that God is still good. And in the midst of horror, beauty and joy are still to be found. In abundance.

I hope you are all safe and well.

P.S. In case you’re curious, this is what I’ve been up to since dropped off the face of the earth: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/cmburesh .

sourdough starter photo credit: By arash ghanizadeh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47349654

 

 

 

Finding (the Other) Donald

Finding (the Other) Donald

October 6, 2016

I took some days off work to spend time with visiting family members. I hoped the time away would ignite a writing spark and allow a few hours to fan it. My brother Will was in from Los Angeles, and our oldest daughter Lindy had come from Maui for the week. My sister Gwen joined the three of us, and we headed–literally–for the hills. That is, we piled into my Subaru with the family dog and hit the road for Mom’s small house in rural West Virginia.

Oh, we had fun, all right. All the glorious, obnoxious, jostling sibling interplay you might expect, served with some serious and dear conversation on the side. Lindy more than held her own. It is not for me to judge whether my husband and our other daughters felt more blessed than deprived in having been unavailable to join us.

Lee family gaiety is of the raucous variety, you see. My family is intense and somewhat chaotic. We are more firecracker than briquette. Our words and personalities tumble over one another with an energy which makes the air crackle. After two or three days, we have each either been smothered in the ample family bosom or we are waving sticks of dynamite in one others’ faces and daring each other to light a match.

Even so, we are a loyal clan. Our family dysfunction is such that we can bait one another well beyond the limits of civility but woe, woe, to the unwary outsider who gives offense to one in our ranks.

Theatrics and egos aside, I can count on my sibs to defend and care for me. This certainty among us has been hard won, and it is precious to me. It is from this maddening and glorious cocoon of family togetherness, this place of teeth gnashing and warm embraces, which I will tell you about finding Donald, a man who was not so lucky.

You could say I stumbled over him.

I discovered him last Saturday. He was sitting on the floor just inside the locked double doors of the church where I see my counseling clients. A spectre of the man he had once been, he was peeking at me from beneath an information table. I’d guess his weight at no more than five pounds.

DIW sits in hallway near door.jpg

Donald’s appearance spoke of haste, neglect, and a lack of dignity. Dead over six years, he still inhabited the cheapest of temporary urns–a black plastic cube. An edge of the clear plastic bag holding his charred remains poked out from under the lid. Shrouded in a gray plastic Dollar Tree bag, Donald sat on the cold linoleum and waited.

I waited too. Surely some reasonable explanation existed for my finding him thus.

I popped my head outside the door of my office between clients, hoping to discover he had been claimed.

Once, the church secretary came upstairs to rearrange the letters on the board above the information table. I said nothing and waited to see what would happen. Yolanda slid Donald further under the table. I confess, I cannot testify with certainty that she looked into the open bag at her feet before pushing him out of her way and against the wall. I confess, I cannot testify with certainty that she used her foot.

On Sunday, worshipers came and went, each passing within a few feet of Donald. Did they not wonder about the unexpected deposit in the empty hallway?

Days passed and nobody came for him. On the fourth day, Donald and I headed down to the church office to sort things out. Disaster was narrowly averted when Donald’s heft caused the sharp corners of his box to pierce the flimsy gray bag. I caught him before he fell and exploded in the stairwell.

The pastor and the secretary looked surprised to see Donald. Operating on the assumption that he or a family member had once attended the church, they conducted a little research. This is what they learned: Nothing. Donald had no discernible connection to the church at all. The staff scratched their heads and began researching the proper disposal of human remains.

I had had a cancellation, so I decided to do a little sleuthing of my own.

I was curious about Donald–Donald I. W., to be exact. From the label attached to his little box, I knew when he had come into the world and when he had left it. I even knew the date and location he had been placed in the furnace. I felt somehow embarrassed to know these intimate facts.

D.I.W. Urn Photo

This is what I concluded: Donald had lived with family 1.7 miles from the church. He has surviving family members in the area, including an older brother, now 70, still living in said family home. Either his relations are terribly poor or they don’t give a rat’s ass what becomes of him. Someone had sneaked into the building and abandoned Donald just as one would an unwanted infant.

When I consider Donald’s humiliation, I am overcome with gratitude for the generosity and only slightly deformed goodness which is growing up within and between me and my kin.

Maybe I should not be quite so hard on Donald’s family. They probably deserve some credit for choosing a church over a dumpster.

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