April Apocalypse

March madness wasn’t about basketball this year.

March has been a truly bizarre month. Never in my lifetime—and I’m an oldie—have I seen an entire world thrown into such turmoil over a virus that shows no mercy. Many differences of opinion and strong emotions have surely muddied the waters, making it all the more difficult to deal with on a daily basis.

Hospitals, police and fire departments, grocery stores, gas stations and other “essential” businesses remain open. Schools, dine-in restaurants, and other “non-essential” businesses are closed or have been forced to operate creatively, promoting online learning, “no-contact” delivery and curb service. Online businesses, too, have felt the impact of these changes.

Social distancing brings us together, kinda.

With this part of our daily living shut down, families are staying home with their children and animals and talking to one another again. Though we’re still distanced from our neighbors and friends, many have turned to online meetings and video chats to stay in touch, or learned to adapt to the joys of working from home, for those who are able.

As a retired senior citizen, I am fortunate that I no longer go out to work. Along with Social Security, my store on Etsy.com gives me enough to buy groceries and other necessities throughout the month for myself and my son, with whom I live. His work is all online and by phone, so he has set up office at home and will remain here until the quarantine is lifted. I actually enjoy this arrangement, except the dogs and I have to keep quiet all day until 5 p.m., especially while he’s on the phone.

Empty shelves and cleaner butts.

Cooking has become a challenge, with panicked people stockpiling everything in sight, afraid they will run out. Others are hoarding specific items like water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels, and re-selling them at exorbitant prices akin to drugs or stolen valuables.

I typically buy groceries in one big shopping trip every month, with a few short trips in between for small items. I have plenty of meat, potatoes, and canned goods and essentials, so I am cooking as usual. I hope common sense returns to those who are in a hysterical panic. Personally, I turn over any fears to God and let him handle them for me. In the meantime, I stay as safe as possible and follow the rules and guidelines, hopeful this will soon be over. 

Enough already, let’s eat!

On a happier note, I would like to share a couple easy recipes to make for your family. Get creative with them—don’t be afraid to go nuts, so to speak.

Hawaiian Rice

1 lb bacon, cut in small pieces and fried crisp; 1 onion, chopped and added to bacon; peeled and then use peeler to cut strips into pan with crisp-fried; bacon1 large carrot, 1 zucchini squash, peeled and then use peeler to slice strips into bacon mixture; continue frying on medium/low till carrots and squash tender.  Meanwhile cook rice in a separate pan (20 minutes for fresh dry rice–I use 3/4 cup rice and 1 1/2 cups water). Combine the rice and bacon to make every bite more delicious.  Easy and nutritious.

Hamburger Chow Mein

Brown in frying pan 1 lb. lean ground beef, add 1 small onion, chopped, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts or can use cooked asian rice noodles—the kind we use for Ramen; 1 can cream of chicken, mushroom or chicken soup, adding 1/2 can water simmer, and soy sauce, salt and pepper and garlic to taste. Serve over rice and/or can of crispy chow mein noodles.

Family fun and thoughtful gifts.

Now that we have dinner out of the way, we need to find activities to keep us happy, stimulated, and together in this trying time. Plant a garden with the whole family. Make hearts out of paper or cardboard, then paint, attach a string or ribbon, and offer to drop them off at a neighbor who needs a little assistance. If you can sew, make face masks for neighbors, or donate them to a local hospital or grocery store. If you love animals, foster or adopt an animal from rescues that are facing possible closure or forced to euthanize unclaimed animals. If you crochet or knit, you can do special projects as well. If you talk to strangers online… or maybe you should stick to family and friends—Facebook counts!—you can host an online chat party; there are so many creative ways to make them fun and exciting.

More in store.

I have been crocheting a lot of Easter bunny peeps, chicks in egg shells, colored eggs and jelly beans to create Easter baskets to sell online in my store, along with custom aquarium kits featuring crochet fish, corals and seaweed; I also crochet fidget sleeves with lots of fun activities and sewn-on sensory items—a great form of therapy for people with dementia, Alzheimer’s or autism. I also crochet “chocolate” candies, and put them in candy paper cups in heart-shaped boxes. For the fall and winter seasons, I make a lot of lap robes and hats for the homeless or needy, and ideal for seniors in nursing homes. I keep very busy with all of my projects.

I sincerely everyone stays safe, and we can all get back to normal in this crazy mixed-up world in which we live. Meanwhile, I wish you all a very Happy Easter.

Lucky is popping in to wish the same for all of you and your families and fur babies.

See you next month!

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