The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: south carolina (Page 1 of 3)

My Target Treats are out of Quarantine

The official closing down of ‘non-essential’ services and stores is in a confused, motley disarray here in South Carolina. There is no real rhyme or reason as to what is considered essential or non-essential – case in point, until last week hair salons were still open and truth be told, hubby has seen several still open while doing drives to check on parking lot volume of customers in area grocery stores. Kind of a no-brainer that maintaining social distancing and performing haircuts with gloves and mask for both hairstylist and customer isn’t an easy way to stay open and provide services, much less provide a safe environment. But hey, what do I know?
And let’s not even get into the phrasing of our governor’s official COVID-19 orders* submitted just last week: “Stay at Home. Stay at Work.” When asked by a reporter what that meant exactly, he replied that if you’re at home, stay there and if you’re at work, stay there…say what? Oh and in continuing to clarify, he added that whatever was open before is open now and whatever was closed before is closed now.
That, dear readers, is Governor McMaster’s version of a ‘shelter-in-place’ order while not exactly being a ‘shelter-in-place’ order. Welcome to South Carolina…
Anyway, back in March, certain retail & grocery stores began announcing special COVID-19 shopping hours for Seniors and people with special health needs. We’ve incorporated our immediate buying around those times as much as possible with extra trips to the grocery store as needed during low volume times.
In addition, I now make a point of visiting our local Target Store during their special Senior Hours: Wednesday from 8AM-9AM each week because

  1. The specially designated hours are user-friendly
  2. The brick & mortar store offers up a sense of leisurely ‘window’ shopping for ‘non-essential’ items while in a relatively protected environment

In other words, I go there for a fun outing during this period of self-isolating while showing off my stylish homemade face mask at one and the same time. 🙂
This week, I scored a pair of Sketchers that were sorely needed. I tend to use up my running/athletic shoes until they no longer can stand up to my demanding version of wear and tear, and my current pair were way beyond ‘making do’.
As I passed by the shoe section, I noticed boxes of women’s athletic shoes scattered along a sparsely filled shelf. With nary a try-on bench in sight (they have been removed in an effort to minimize virus transmission), I plopped down on the floor. Surrounded by shoes of varying sizes and styles I promptly focused on the matter at hand.
Happy with my score, I then ventured over to the book/media section and browsed. Amazon states on their website an inability to guarantee a timely, if ever, delivery of a non-essential item such as a book to read during isolation, so I decided to find something of interest. Oh, I know, there are lots of offerings via the library’s on-line books, but my eyes are getting way overloaded with screen viewing these days and besides, I really do relish the feel of a book in my hands while hunkering down in isolation.
Lucky me, I scored another find – a book I’ve been wanting to read, but never got around to until now (you guys all know the drill on that!) – Becoming by Michelle Obama. At 30% off cover price, I also got a small discount for the immediate gratification of bringing my copy home same day of purchase!
When I returned home from my magnificent morning outing, I placed both purchases in the quarantine corner of the kitchen floor to await release in a few days.
Today both items were released from quarantine. I laced up those new Sketchers for my daily walk this morning and Ms Obama’s book is ready to be opened this evening for my before-bedtime reading.
Yes, it’s the small things in life during coronavirus that help us to make it through each day.
* A 12 page document that lists the details of the actual order starting on page 6

Pandemic Potpourri #2

“I don’t know about you guys, but I could do with getting lost in trivialities. Making small talk with strangers, while waiting for my coffee to be made, about inconsequential things. Nothing of importance that mean everything.”       Andy Murray

As mentioned in Pandemic Potpourri #1 herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality.
In other words, this space is reserved for escaping Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!

Paul Hollywood’s authentic Hot Cross Buns

Paul Hollywood's Hot Cross Buns

Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns


I saw a Great British Baking Show ‘masterclass’ rerun on PBS last week where this was a featured bake. It inspired me to bake up a batch for this coming Easter Morning. Seemed reasonable as I always have Bread Flour in stock. I use it for my own special breads as opposed to regular All-Purpose flour and know there truly is a difference in baking results for specific items. When I checked on my personal supply, turned out our cupboard was bare, so I had to go out into the cold cruel COVID world of grocery stores in search of a 5 lb bag. Guess what? The grocery shelves are also bare of any type of flour whatsoever.  So I’m debating whether or not to try this new-to-me recipe with the regular flour I have on hand…still undecided – what do you think?
Oh and BTW: Paul’s from Liverpool, folks! yeah, yeah, yeah

~~~

In the previous Pandemic Potpourri Post I featured a photo of a colorful array of newly planted Gerbera Daisies on our front porch. That very Friday evening I jotted this down – sans margarita!

On the front porch – gorgeous afternoon – the cool/dry lull before the ‘storm’ of a normal SC Spring/Summer filled with heat and humidity.

What is adding to my delight are the heavenly scents of BBQ* chicken wafting in & out with irregular intervals that tease and entice. Looking over to my right – a few feet away from my – ahem – feet are the bring-a-smile-to-my-heart newly planted Gerbera Daisies. They’re settling nicely into a fav Italian Lemon Tree clay pot with the tree stumps collected from our Family mountain property in CO and Breck** behind and beside this bit of joyful color.

TWL’s (my hubby) BBQ is filling the neighborhood with smells of soulful food. Our appetites continue to need quenching regardless of this virus that is eating away life as we know it – scattering collaterally damaged humans as its tally & proof of power over us as vulnerable.

Because Green Gunk*** Allergy Season is in full swing, I am struggling with fatigue and other allergy related malaise in the afternoon especially. A price I willingly pay for enjoying these few otherwise perfect days outside before the SC Spring/Summer (seasonal weather) ‘Storm’ and expansion of the COVID-19 ‘Storm’ continues to ravage this Earth and its peoples.

In conclusion, please enjoy “The Sound of a Pandemic” parody by Shirley Serban – shared and brought to my attention by bloggers Jennie and By Hook Or By Hook:

 *Apologies to our Southern neighbors, but we call it BBQ, not ‘grilling’.
**Breck = local term for Breckenridge, CO
***Green Gunk Season = my term for the SC seasonal thick coating of pine pollen that engulfs and smothers anything outside from mid-March to around mid-April

Pandemic Potpourri #1

“I don’t know about you guys, but I could do with getting lost in trivialities. Making small talk with strangers, while waiting for my coffee to be made, about inconsequential things. Nothing of importance that mean everything.”   Andy Murray

Thanks for the inspiration, Andy and welcome all to the first of my new series Pandemic Potpourri. Herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality.
In other words, this space is reserved for escaping Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!

Sign newly planted in the grass across the street from where we live:

Margarita's Curbside SignI’ve been dying to do some baking lately – and took advantage of a straggling cooler day to bake up a batch of my “Laura’s Lovelies” *.  I really wanted to share these with the neighbors, but honestly, if anyone gave us something homemade, would I trust their level of COVID Cleanliness enough to eat them? So, hubby and I ate some of them ate too many of them before I froze the remainder of the batch in packets of 3…guess who gets the second helping?

Cookies and Clorox

Cookies and CloroxOn our side of the street (across from that Margarita Curbside Sign) there is a fresh produce stand that also sells Christmas trees starting November 10th each year and then bedding plants starting the end of March. Their new stock of Gerbera Daisies caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist…

Gerbera Daisies newly planted on our front porch:Gerbera Daisies on Front Porch

Wishing all of us a great weekend!

 *Thusly named by Amy-next-door, during a ‘circle’ block party in the old neighborhood ~ Lafayette, CO circa 1988

Friendly Faces, Random Ramblings

Friendly faced buttons

Friendly Faces


How’s this for a cutie patootie picture – friendly faces – to greet you during the reading of my latest post?
Don’t know if anyone else noticed, but the little girl in the video featured in the previous post wore some fun glasses…and don’t ya know, but they reminded me of my ‘new’ glasses.
Say what? Do tell, Laura. (Oh, my goodness, those friendly faces also speak…)
Last October, I went to the eye doctor for a new prescription as it’d been almost 4 years since I’d had my eyes examined. While the frames were still functional, I decided to splurge on a new pair and use the almost 15-year-old ones as spares.
You’re nothing if not frugal, lady.
New Glasses

My new purple-y glasses, October 2019


Too true. But to continue…
Almost immediately my gaze fell upon a purple-y pair that weren’t in-your-face purple, but just the right combo of color, design and shape to give a ‘natural face lift’ to this just turned 65-year-old visage.
Shhhh! Now you gone and done it, everyone knows your age.
i-am-what-i-am-and-thats-all-that-i-am Popeye Quote

…and as Popeye says…


“Piffle!” (as Ma used to say)
And: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” (as Popeye says)
Okay, we get it, you feel comfortable in your own skin (no matter its state of sag or wrinkle)…can we just move on?
Sure, but for being ‘friendly faces’ you guys do exude a certain air of edginess. Just sayin’…
Scroll up to early November and that’s when I became obsessed with obtaining my “MERRY COFFEE” special edition free cup from Starbucks (even though I can’t stand their coffee!).
Morning Pages 11/7/2019

Morning Pages 11/7/2019

(Morning Pages transcription)
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
~5:45 AM eastern time
11/07/19

I set myself a goal for this morning and achieved it! Starbucks’ limited offer on a special free Red Cup marking the start of their holiday seasonal menu – The cups go fast & soooo – I decided to get there at store opening – Maybe even be 1st in line!

Well.

There was no line…but I got in at opening & was 1st customer of the day @ 5:03:01 AM! HA!
Walked out with a hot choco, cuppa java & lemon pound cake (for TWL) and My Red Cup!

Purple-y glasses, red cups, lemon yellow pound cake…is there a point to all of this?

You betchya, baby faces!

Merry Coffee cup on Christmas Day 2019

Me, my new glasses and my Merry Coffee Cup on the porch, Christmas Day 2019

Hurricane Dorian, continued – South Carolina installment

Note: Marty of snakesinthegrass posted a 4-day diary of experiences toughing it out in his St. Augustine, FL home as Hurricane Dorian passed. I decided to continue where he and Dorian left off…overlapping on Wednesday’s entry.

For context, Florence, SC is an evacuation city – a destination for those temporarily displaced during a hurricane. Only 60 miles inland from Myrtle Beach, we also feel the effects of weather encountered along the Atlantic coast, sometimes more acutely and in the form of water-storm surges that can last for days after the actual hurricane has passed.

 Wednesday, September 4th:
After yesterday’s gorgeously sunny, though highly humid day, I woke up to a more ‘beginning to look like a storm may be coming’ type of morning.
Just kind of waiting – not wanting the storm at all – but wanting it to pass, to be done with, come what may.
So much depends upon spontaneous trajectory changes during the course of a hurricane. All it takes is a deviance of a few miles in one direction or another to determine the level of devastation it leaves in its wake. Dorian already has a destructive track record so this isn’t something to be taken lightly.
South Carolina’s mandatory evacuation of Charleston and coastal communities has been in effect since Monday with accompanying highway lane reversals and will end this afternoon.
Here in FloTown, it amazes me how polite everyone is, no panicked motorists or freaked out customers in Walmart getting supplies. Just everyone doing what needs to be done. Oh, there are shopping carts piled high with packs of bottled water, cartons of saltines, jars of peanut butter and such, but the crowds move along in an orderly and even convivial manner.
Dorian is expected to arrive in Myrtle Beach sometime tomorrow, with the beginnings of the increased rainfall and wind starting around 7AM.
Thursday, September 5, 2019:
Dorian is on its way – albeit slower than expected – we’re as ready as we know how…including trusting the Lord in all that will come to pass.
This will be the first time for us to experience a hurricane from start to finish.
Last year’s Florence occurred while we were back in Colorado getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell and then finalizing that sale.  We delayed our drive back to South Carolina due to the extent of time needed for local and statewide clean up after the hurricane.
Then there’s Matthew. In 2016, towards the end of my Summer of Dad, I was in Colorado awaiting hubby to drive out and join me after Dad passed away and for the funeral. Hurricane Matthew began bearing down on Florence earlier than projected causing hubby to scramble in the middle of the night to leave ASAP – well before his scheduled time. He literally drove through a hurricane to come to me in my time of need.
Joaquin in 2015 and Irma in 2017 we were also out of town.
In all instances, we came back to food gone bad in the refrigerator and blinking clocks – both of which were easily dealt with and remedied. In all instances, our little rental was still standing, surrounded by those huge long needled pine trees native to this area, unscathed and without a trace of flooding.
In all instances, we were immensely grateful to find things pretty much the same as when we left. In all instances, we never took it for granted we’d have anything to come back to…
Friday, September 6, 2019:
Dorian came through our section of South Carolina – Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand area – on the bestcase scenario path. Totally unexpected change in intensity, and totally welcome for those of us here. Dorian arrived then flew the coup without leaving much in the way of a mess. Yes, there is damage, but everyone knows we got off easy. And none of us around here takes that for granted.
Wilmington, North Carolina took a huge hit for the second year in a row. The Outer Banks are ravaged.
This is the height of hurricane season. There are Dorian buddies queuing up all along the Atlantic – any one of them a potential surreal powerhouse destructo-machine.
Lord have mercy – enable the helpers to help. Please comfort the Survivors in the wake of their loss and give them hope and strength to reconstruct their lives.

Fun Friday Banana Box Update

Okay, I’m psyched.
I scored 5 – yes 5 – banana boxes a few days ago. And guess where I got ‘em? That’s right, the very same Food Lion that gave me the song and dance about turning them in for ‘credit’.
Fine. I kinda thought that customer service lady just didn’t want to bother with me the customer asking for banana boxes…
That was then…as for now…
A few days ago, I noticed a friendly looking produce person busily arranging lettuces. So, I went up and asked for a few of the boxes she had just emptied. “Oh sure, these are nice ones and haven’t been broken down yet. How many do you want?”
Of course her eagerness to comply with my request fueled my resolve to inquire about those darn banana boxes.
“Wow, thanks these are great.” I was warming up for the zinger.
“Oh, and hey, are there any banana boxes in the back?”
Friendly produce person’s eyes lit up as she raised her pointer finger for me to wait right there. She disappeared behind those odd plastic-y hanging drapery things that are commonly used to separate the back storage area from the rest of the grocery store.
After a few minutes, she returned in triumph with 5 – yes 5 – banana boxes and offered to help me take them back to my car.
What a score!

The State of Our American Backyard

from cnn: (comments in italics are mine)

“A beloved Northern California festival (Gilroy grows great garlic and is a small town for goodness’ sake), a neighborhood Walmart in Mississippi (who doesn’t go to Walmart?), another Walmart near the US-Mexico border (Cielo Vista Retail/Mall is a major shopping area that even Las Cruceans go to…) and a popular entertainment district (summer evening activities in the heart of the city…should be safe). All four were the scenes of shootings in the last week — events that together left at least 34 people dead and more than 50 wounded.

A week bookended by violence has left residents shaken, frustrated and grieving.”

“A weekend bookended by violence…”

That phrase, that sentence keeps resounding loud and clear in my mind along with the images of the people and places known and unknown to me.
We lived in the Bay area during the 1980s often joking about Gilroy because of the garlic in the way most large metropolises talk about small towns. Hubby is from Las Cruces, NM where we’ve lived at different times in our married life and where the connections with El Paso and Juarez are more profound & active than with Las Cruces’ New Mexican cities to the north. In fact Cielo Vista Mall was the place to go from all around to shop for clothes. And as for the other two places – who doesn’t go to Walmart or enjoy a summer’s evening out?
Who doesn’t go to school or church, temple or mosque for that matter?
Everyday Americans doing everyday things.
Then the loudest voice among ‘experts’ chiding us everyday Americans for not carrying weapons in order to protect ourselves while going out and about doing our everyday activities…(ref. Larry Ward responses to Amna Nawaz interview questions on PBS Newshour)
Lord have mercy.
20 years ago our kiddos sat in their respective classrooms in Boulder County schools (the eldest in high school) during the shock-surprise of Columbine just 34 miles away from us.
Not directly in the line of fire – but definitely in my backyard.
Our backyard. Our American Backyard.
This cannot be our new normal.
Lord have mercy.

st francis quote

from St. Francis of Assisi, prayer

Yes, we have no banana (boxes)

Just got back from an aggressive search for free packing boxes from a variety of grocery (and non-grocery) stores. Grabbed a few that were offered, but quite frankly the pickin’s are slim.
It’s time to ramp up the packing from passive to serious, while still maintaining a sense of functionality around the growing stacks of boxes in this 1000 square foot rental we currently call home.
I’ve been buying a few cardboard boxes here and there for ‘specials’ and then a few of those ubiquitous plastic bins for clothes and other items needing more protection during the moving process. But I’ll be darned if I’ll buy boxes for books, DVDs, CDs, office stuff, eating utensils or other such miscellany.
I’m no neophyte when it comes to packing and moving. In fact, my latest efforts were utilized over a period of two years of settling Dad’s estate and getting that house* ready to sell.
So, call me nonplussed when I learned banana boxes (my favorite freebie box of choice) are no longer available for use to the general public.
Say what? I mean, I had no problems getting them right up to the end of selling Ma & Dad’s house last year.
What’s the deal?
According to the customer service lady at Food Lion, all banana boxes are now returned to the banana distribution company for credit. Fine. Good idea. Better than tearing them down and sending them off to some non-existent recycling center (personal soap box…not for now).
But strange to encounter such forward thinking here** in a place where it is very difficult to recycle basic items like aluminum cans, glass, plastic and paper. Oh, we have a bin where we’re to place all recyclables in together for weekly curbside pick-up. But after several tries, our street here in FloTown doesn’t seem to have the clout of other neighborhoods around town.
Let’s just say, I’ve seen the regular garbage guys simply dump the recycle bin contents into the regular garbage truck…not just our carefully selected to-be-recycled items, but our neighbors’ bins as well.
Needless to say (yes, Camden Writers, I am using this phrase intentionally) I no longer fool with the extra effort involved with sorting and cleaning items for the recycle bin.
I mention this because it added to the nonplussed-ness I felt with the stellar actions of the Food Lion to deal with disposal/recycling of their banana boxes.
I know this is a sort of dorky blog post, but I think of it as a public service to my fellow future packers and movers. Alerting you to the fact that “Yes, we have no  banana boxes” and the need to scrounge out other freebie boxes.
Oh and yes, we are moving…been in the works for awhile – but that’s a story for another time, a ‘public service’ notification for another blog post!
~~
*  in Lakewood, CO
** in Florence, SC

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