COPING WITH CORONA WITH A LITTLE GOLF AROUND THE HOUSE….”NOTHING IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE HUMAN SPIRIT”

I have heard so very many interesting stories of how people are killing time during self-isolation, but this story of the human spirit is one that really inspires me. One of my best friends from college has been self-isolating with her family for quite some time now in a cold New England town. At least one grown child moved back home, a humbling situation because he has been unable to work because his job in the restaurant industry has been halted because of Covid-19. This is a very difficult period in time for most people around the globe, but my best friend, the Grateful Goddess, and her husband, Golf Guy, have found a way to instill laughter in their family. Just about two months after Grateful Goddess unexpectedly and suddenly lost her grandmother that she was extremely close to, she has found the resolve to keep moving forward, embodying the spirit of the old adage that “if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” This family makes gallons and gallons of lemonade at a time. The sound of laughter, the warm feeling of love, and the excitement of joy fill their rooms as they make happy memories at this difficult time and any other.

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”

Wilma Rudolph

My friend, Grateful Goddess, has always been one of my most creative friends and one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. She’s always always there for me and for everyone else. I count her among my greatest blessings and have been honored to have her as my dear friend. She selflessly and joyfully gives and gives to those she loves. It’s no wonder that this matriarch of her family found a way to give some love and laughter to her family during these trying times. Her disposition is on the quiet side, but she has a playful gleam in her eyes when she is planning something fun, which is most often. She is known for having the most amazing parties with the most amazing games that she’s come up with to entertain her extended family and friends. I’m not exactly sure if she or her husband, Golf Guy, came up with a rousing game of mini golf INSIDE their New England home recently, but they all had lots of laughs as they played mini golf, moving from room to room within their home.

“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.”

Luc de Clapiers

Tee-off started with hole number one in the home office….this was serious business, as you can see from the face of concentration in the photo below.

Golf Guy is one of the coolest and calmest Dads around, always willing to lend a hand to his family in any way he can. Here he sets the rules for the game and offers support as well.


Hole number two was in the living room with Golf Guy keeping score meticulously, I’ll bet. He has an easy-going spirit, but I’m sure he was “in it to win it.”

Hole number three in the dining room with evidence of other fun activities, such as puzzles all around………..the competition escalates………..

I can just hear the laughter echoing off the walls for hole number four, which was also in the dining room but was a bit more challenging……by now, the whole family was also “in it to win it.”

Hole #4 – Teeing off in the family room, but the hole is in the kitchen, which is the adjacent room. Now this is getting REALLY challenging…………

Golf Guy is the picture of agility in mind and body as he makes the corner for hole number four in the kitchen………such concentration and determination……going for the win………

This is where it starts to get really crazy…………hole #5. Tee off is in on the front hall stairs, but the hole is in the mudroom! I am almost certain this was the brainchild of Grateful Goddess, shown below. I can see her now with the gleam in her eye, concentrating, but hearing a little restrained giggle escape her lips……she is intent on winning to be sure.

The golf ball makes the corner toward the mudroom…………the crowd was roaring…….I can hear the commentator now………….

FINALLY the golf ball lands in the mudroom, OVER the inverted waste basket with the cat making sure there are no cheaters. Can’t put ANYTHING past that cat!


Tee off for hole six off throws caution to the wind……..each golfer draws in a deep breath as the ball is hit from the TOP of the stairs into the basement below……..

Hole six in the basement is known as “The One With The Most Hazards”, the hole that separates the “men from the boys” and the girls from the women………


This hole in the basement requires the golf ball to travel through the carefully crafted red tunnel to…..

the final hole in the corner………….

Scores were tallied, breaths were held, giggles escaped from mouths………and….the…..winner…..is……………GRATEFUL GODDESS! A great day indoors in this safe haven, which is always filled with the welcoming scent of something wonderful cooking on the stove or in the oven. Pandemic or no pandemic, this incredible family finds a way to laugh and create happy memories and celebrates a full life together. Their spirit and joie-de-vivre shines through again and again and is an inspiration to all who know them.

Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence…..”

Bernard Beckett

“The darkest moments of our lives are not to be buried and forgotten, rather they are a meory to be called upon for inspiration to remind us of the unrelenting human spirit and our capacity to overcome the intolerable.”

Vince Lomardi

“Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.”

Charlie Grant

Forget about the pandemic for a while, even if it is a short while. Find a creative way to cope with corona and fill your home with laughter and love. Transcend whatever prevents you from having a little fun or whimsy in your day today to create joy.

Life is good; carpe diem, friends…………

“We are all capable of living lives characterized by great joy. Within each of us is an amazing human spirit that is strong enough to overcome pain and disappointment. And no matter what our current situation happens to be, or what beliefs we may currently harbor about ourselves, we can tap into that inner strength and wisdom and move forward to create more joy.”

Salle Merrill Redfield

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” every single time….
ID 190334 © Tmcnem | Dreamstime.com

*golf ball photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

COPING WITH COVID-19 WITH A CREAMY CONFECTION

Today, among the pandemic at hand, I still count my blessings. My daughter, “Teen Traveler,” decided she wanted to try something different to break up our Florida stay-at-home orders this past Sunday. “Teen Traveler” is only fourteen, yet she is what I have called an old soul from the moment she was born. She has always been my hundred-year-old woman in this teeny tiny body. I joke to myself that maybe she is even evidence of reincarnation. She is just beginning to enter the world of cooking but decided she wanted to make a several course dinner BY HERSELF because we haven’t been out to a nice restaurant in some time. She decided she would serve pretty simple food attractively in small portions. She is a real “go-getter” to be sure.

She spent a significant amount of time on Saturday planning her menu and thinking about items that could be prepared ahead of time. Of course, as “Graph Guy’s daughter,” she sorted her thoughts onto a spread sheet and list after list, breaking down the task at hand into manageable chunks.

She looked high and low for items around the house, mostly in the craft bin, that she could use as a table decoration, having no access to fresh flowers from a florist. She really wanted to celebrate the spring.

First came the appetizer. She decided she wanted “comfort food” for this pandemic. Nothing like a little tomato bisque soup and a grilled cheese sandwich to meet this goal. That’s my girl: goal set, goal met.

After the first appetizer, she served some sort of tomato stuffed with Mexican meat, beans, and cheese as her “salad” course, which was garnished with a dollop of sour cream and a cilantro leaf.

After the appetizer and salad came the main meal, which was mini Mexican burgers mixed with a blend of brown sugar, cumin, paprika, and chili pepper, attractively served with a pickle, cheese, lettuce, and a cherry tomato on an attractive skewer. “Mexican street corn” was the side dish she made and served in a hollowed out red pepper quarter. She made the burgers herself but “Graph Guy” grilled them for her.

She spent lots of time deciding which dishes to use to create the mood she wanted to create and placed the dishes around the kitchen the night before in the arrangement she liked.

Finally, the desserts were served. She decided she liked the idea of several mini desserts and baked mini red velvet cakes stuffed with a cream cheese frosting and served with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate. She even sprinkled confectioner’s sugar on the cake and plate as an additional garnish. The girl thinks of everything.

Living in Florida, she thought it would be fun to serve something citrus for the other desserts but wanted a different flavor than expected. She decided that lemon and lime might be fun. She made lime crumble with freshly squeezed limes that she squeezed, along with a blueberry lemon crumble. Her piece de resistance, however, was home-made lime sherbert. She had never made home made sherbert, so she needed our help under her leadership, however, to get the old ice cream maker going.

“Teen Traveler” decided that the presentation was as important as the food itself, evidently, and served the home made lime sherbert in a hollowed-out lime.

I can still remember how calmly she served us in the dining room, coming from behind a closed door to the kitchen each and every time. She walked confidently and calmly, making us think she had done this sort of thing her entire life. I will always remember the joy in her eyes when she presented us her savory samples and the creamy confections she had made.

There was joy in our hearts that day. There was joy from being her parents and joy from watching her experiencing her success before our very eyes. So very much for which to be grateful.

Coping with Covid-19 was that day centered around consuming the creamy confections and the meal that my daughter lovingly prepared for us. For the moment, for that sliver in time, all was well in the world, and I will always be grateful for that day that time stood still and there was joy in the moment. There was joy in ALL the moments that day, thanks to my daughter.

It has been said “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade “(Elbert Hubbard). The logical axiom that follows, then, is “If life gives you limes, make lime sherbert!”(Caye Smith)

Life is good. Enjoy the gifts of the day. Carpe diem, friends………

COPING WITH CORONA BY TURNING ON THE LIGHT

pergola lights photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

For many, self-isolation and stay-at-home orders are getting old. VERY old. We all long to get back on with our lives, going places we want to go to, seeing people we want to see. It is true that for our world, these are dark times while we wrestle with the pandemic. Just a reminder, though. Don’t forget to “turn on the light”. Be that bright spot on a dark day.

lightbulb photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Aldous Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

geometric light courtesy of Dreamtime.com

Life is good. Carpe diem, friends…………..

COPING WITH CORONA WITH A GOOD OLD FASHIONED BUBBLE BATH

Ancient Roman Bath, Bath, England

Being stuck inside the house during the recent stay-at-home orders, I have had the luxury of extra time. Time seems to have slowed down to a snail pace in contrast to our busy contemporary society. People coming, people going. Even the numbers of cars on the road have dwindled, and with many “essential” stores closing early, the town looks much like it did when I was a young girl. For the most part, most neighborhood stores were closed in the evenings when I was little until the “Big Box” stores opened. That changed a lot. The days of relaxing at home after dinner were replaced by errands, drive-through pharmacies, or take out orders some time after that in many homes. In those older days, many people used after dinner time for baths for both hygiene and relaxation.

I used to take a bubble bath at least weekly, in addition to my daily shower, until a few years ago. There was always something selfishly indulgent about carving out a half hour all to myself, letting myself enjoy the moment of solitude in the bath among scented bubble baths. Tonight I decided I would steal away some time to get back into the habit of the weekly bath. I remember when I was youn, putting my head underwater so that my ears were submerged for a period of time while my nose was above the water. Resting like this, I could close my eyes and actually hear the sound of my breathing and maybe even the sound of my heart among the solitude under water. If you are short like I am, you might still be able to submerge most of your body, except the tops of your kneees, under water. Sometimes I would take a book into the bathtub and rest it on my bath caddy that sat in front of me while I soaked. Sometimes I would take a cup of hot tea or a cool beverage as well.

A modern bath tub (photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com)

Tonight, I dipped into the warm tub after turning the lights on low with some candles around the room, on the counter and along the sides of the tub. I put on some relaxing classical music, and I soaked with my head under water, except my nose, for a period of time, enjoying those stolen moments all to myself. There is nothing like the peace I feel when I hear my breathing underwater, along with the sights of the calm candlelight and scented bubbles.

After my bath during which I allowed myself to think about nothing, absolutely nothing, I began to consider the history of baths in this country and how now they are considered almost obsolete. New homes are built mostly with tiled showers instead of bathtubs. There may be ONE bathtub in a home now, where there used to be bathtubs in every full bathroom. Such a pity.

When the Pilgrims arrived in America, according to History.com, they were not accustomed to bathing regularly. They thought that submerging their whole body in the water was somehow unhealthy and immodest. In fact, History.com suggests, ” “The idea of being clean wasn’t closely associated with water in the 17th century anywhere in the western world.” Bath houses became a place for the wealthy for medicinal cures or as a place socializing. Of course, in ancient times, the bath was important for socializing among people of all classes, and there is evidence of baths in the homes of the more affluent citizens of Ancient Rome.

While coping with self-isolation, why not dip into your own bathtub again for a few indulgent moments. Put on your favorite music, take a beverage or a book, maybe light some candles and reduce your stress with some time put aside just for you.

orchid flowers and candles for the tub (photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com)

“Splish splash, I was takin’ a bath ‘long about a Saturday night
A rub dub, just relaxing in the tub, thinkin’ everything was all right
Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor
I wrapped the towel around me and I opened the door
And then a splish splash, I jumped back in the bath…..”

-“Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin, 1958

I am grateful for the luxury of extra time that these stay at home orders have given me and plan to enjoy these extra hours while I can. Life is good; carpe diem, friends………..

COPING WITH CORONA WITH A CONTEST OF THE DAY

photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Many years ago one of my best friends who shares my same sense of humor and I decided we would challenge each other to a contest to use an archaic word in a conversation with someone else that day. The word was to be used in normal conversation without a laugh or smile, never letting on to the other participant in the conversation that we put each other up to that word. Now this is my friend who has been with me through so many times where we laughed so hard that we almost cried. One time I actually choked on my food in a restaurant for real. You know when you laugh so hard that your stomach actually hurts, and you almost can’t breathe? I know this feeling well and love it. There is something about laughter that is simply delightful. One word we used that day was “hijinks.” Another was “hoodwinked”. Try using THOSE words in a conversation with a straight face!

WebMd.com tells us that laughter increases blood flow, may reduce blood sugar levels, and may reduce stress to increase an immune system response. That all may be true, but a good ol’ fashioned belly laugh simply feels good, if nothing else.

Fast forward to today. I was just on the phone with one of my best friends, laughing about one thing or another as we normally do. Reaching out to my best friends daily while I am social-isolating during these stay-at-home orders makes me smile. Game ON! I told my friend about the word a day contest I had with my friend many years ago and it turns out this friend had as similar contest with her friend in SIXTH grade! Game ON! Tough competition. Maybe the first person who uses the word first the next day could win eating the first piece of pizza the next time we met. I love a good contest and have been DYING to win a contest that would allow me to eat the first piece of pizza. I will surely pick the BIGGEST piece with the MOST toppings. When else can I deliberately eschew the good manners that my Momma taught me?

Hmmmm………what word to pick? I remember telling my friend a while back that it fascinates me that there are many words in other languages that cannot be translated and that I remember reading that there was actually a word in another language that meant something like “the roof of my mouth is burning or on fire.” A GREAT word to win the first-slice-of-pizza contest to be sure. We agreed to that word:

“Pelinti”: word in Buli, the language of Ghana in West Africa. Pelinti means “moving food quickly around your mouth after you’ve belatedly discovered that it’s still piping hot,” according to syntacta.co.uk. Evidently pelinti happens to me EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY NIGHT while I eat pizza during our Friday pizza and a movie celebration in our home. I think I should have the hang of it by now, but no.

So….. go ahead and find a reason to laugh until your belly hurts. When was the last time you did that? It feels GREAT. And throw in a contest of the day to cope with Corona. You might be glad you did. Maybe YOU can win the first slice of pizza next time.

Life is good; carpe diem, friends……..

COPING WITH CORONA……GROWING A GARDEN

Aerogarden two weeks or so ago with romaine lettuce

There is something about starting a plant from a seed and watching it grow. The daily anticipation of wondering if the seed has germinated. Then the daily anticipation of wondering if the first leaf unfolds. Then the daily anticipation of wondering if the the first “true” leaves unfold.

While maintaining self-isolation, we decided to get back to our “roots” as gardeners, a hobby we have not tended to in quite some years. Growing up in the northeast, gardening was so much easier than here in Florida. There was the watchful waiting of looking for the very first crocus to bloom as a harbinger of spring. There is something magical about watching a flowering plant wake up, unfolding it’s bloom among snow on the ground.

When we moved to Florida several years back, it amazed me that the plants we grown indoors in pots were the landscape plants outside my house. Something wasn’t quite right about that, but something wasn’t quite right about gardening and putting my hands in soil while risking surprising a poisonous snake at the other end of my trowel.

I had given up gardening in the fourteen years I’ve been living in Florida, but when we recently started self-isolation and social distancing from the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided it would give us something to look forward to if we started a plant from seeds. Watching and waiting for the seed to germinate somehow soothes my soul. Surrounding myself with something growing while being stuck inside was just what I needed.

Would I grow a green plant or a flowering plant? Would I grow edible flowers? Would I grown some vegetable to sustain me in case the food supply chain became scarce. I sent away for seeds for my Aerogarden with excitement. I had decided upon romaine lettuce seed pods, knowing how delicious freshly harvested lettuce is. It is too hot this time of year to grow lettuce outside here in Florida, as it is a cold weather crop.

Two weeks ago, I set up my Aerogarden indoors and inserted the seed pods into the hydroponic growing machine along with the nutrients and water that they plant needs. It always amazes me when I see plants growing without soil and reminds me that we all can “bloom where we are planted” and can thrive with less than we THINK we need.

Each day, I look forward to checking on the status of my new plants and today I tried my first piece of lettuce from one of the plants. It was the freshest tasting lettuce I had ever eaten. Romaine lettuce from the market doesn’t really seem to have much of a flavor, but these dark lettuce leaves from my Aerogarden are tender and delicious.

Aerogarden today with bigger romaine lettuce plants

The need to grow something hit me all over again. Before the stay at home orders and shortly after planting my Aerogarden pods, I went to the garden center to purchase some herbs to grow in pots on my patio so I could be less likely to inadvertently bump into a not so friendly slithering friend. Walking by and touching the leaves of aromatic plants gives me joy. Maybe even bliss. It provides me with that in-the-moment magic that I adore. There is something about using my five senses when I am around plants that gives me that same feeling as when I see a flock of birds above my head while they change direction yet still maintain formation. There is beauty all around us that captivates my eyes and soul.

It is so easy to stop doing something you live for the time being for whatever reason. There are a million reasons why we USED to love something that we no longer do. The pandemic has given us the luxury of a little more time in our homes. Why not take up a hobby you used to love all over again to find some joy.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow…..”

-Audrey Hepburn

Find a way to believe in tomorrow, for it will be here sooner than you know. Life is good; carpe diem, friends……….