March 2020 Recap

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What a difference a month can make!

I’m referring now mainly to the covid-19 epidemic that has finally reached Europe and North America, although here in our corner of Massachusetts the saying usually also applies to the weather and nature.

I’ll first address the former.

Please be aware that even if I continue to post about casual, light topics, I am acutely aware of the human tragedy associated with the situation. I am not lacking in compassion; on the contrary, I am protecting my risk group family and neighbors while actively taking care of my own mental health. (And worrying about family members who work in health care, but I have to keep a really tight lid on that in order not to panic.)

I turned Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy off until April 06, 2020, because both Husband and I are at elevated risk for severe illness and because Massachusetts Governor Baker issued a stay at home advisory. On April 07, after hearing from the authorities again, I will reassess the situation. This way I both follow the Massachusetts recommendations on physical distancing and protect myself and my customers from inadvertent exposure.

I’m very lucky to be able to do this, and I realize others may not be. Husband and I have, accordingly, spent a bit more than usual in our local food joints when getting takeout and placed mail orders online. (The latter I hesitate to do much, however, to reduce the risk to postal workers and other transportation employees.)

Speaking of risk groups, we have also checked that our elderly immunocompromised neighbor has people to check on him, but are keeping an eye out, too, just in case. (Everything is, thankfully, fine.)

I am noticing more stress than usual, but I wouldn’t really say I feel stressed out; that feels somehow too big a statement. At the same time, I’m having a really hard time working, so I’m allowing myself to hang out on social media more than usual and not beating myself over not being as productive as on a normal day.

Thankfully, observing physical distancing doesn’t stop us from socializing online or over the phone. Connecting with my family in Europe has helped so much; even us introverts are social animals. 🙂

Overall, March continued the mild weather we inherited from February. There was very little snow, mostly in the beginning. On the last week of the month, we were even treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season, a little ahead of the usual like so many other things this spring.

First Rose Leafbuds

Very typically of this winter and spring, too, and funnily just after posting on the blog about signs of spring, snow happened. We got about an inch, but it didn’t last beyond three days. Since then, just about all the leaves are about to come out, and the first flowers have!

First Coltsfoot 2020

First Tiny Wild Flowers

At the moment I’m concentrating on home projects, physical activity that allows me to keep a safe distance from others, planning, and activities that support my mental health. I’m especially heartened by how people are pulling together, organizing help, supporting each other, volunteering, donating. And, of course, by cute animal videos! Here’s one of my current favorites:

Harlequin Baby Bunnies Days 1-25 by Emma Grey on YouTube

Stay safe. ❤

P.S. Please, for the sake of everything that’s holy, treat others like you would like yourself to be treated – kindly. Including Asians!

Signs of Spring

After Hours, My Spaces

Apart from the ladybugs, which have come out early (and in droves!) this spring, there are other, earlier-than-normal signs that spring is on the way.

Ladybug Convention

Our roses are putting out their first leaf buds…

First Rose Leafbuds

…the bulb greens are peeking out from the ground…

Signs of Spring Bulb Greens

…plus, occasionally, we even see moths:

Signs of Spring Moth

And just yesterday afternoon we were treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season. Can’t deny that’s a sign of spring!

March 2019 Recap

Newsletters

Since finishing my tax paperwork early (yay!) I’ve spent a lot of March working on various prototypes.

For one, after searching for an 8-point star pattern in vain, I tried making one myself. Getting the proportions how I wanted while retaining the symmetry turned out to be more challenging than I thought.

8-Point Star5

While this particular project is still ongoing, I also started on a storage bag one. I’ve got one potentially usable detail down and am still working on the rest. In contrast to previous years when I was still doing battle with paperwork at this time, it’s been lovely to be able to sew!

Inspired by Nikki’s tutorial at Tikkido, I made two bookmarks as gifts: a unicorn and a lobster. The images I found with an online search. The unicorn’s tail is made from cotton yarn and floss, the lobster’s antennae from wool yarn.

DIY Bookmark Unicorn

DIY Bookmark Lobster in Book

I don’t own a laminating machine, so I used a couple of layers of clear packing tape.

March started with an odd stop in the progress of spring. February had seemed to bring us an early spring with fine weather, but then we got several dumps of snow in succession. The last big one came on March 10th, and seems indeed to have been the last one.

Hopefully Last Snowfall

Husband and I took a short spring break trip to southern Ohio to see friends. I loved how much further along spring was there!

Spring Flowers in S Ohio

Unfortunately, I also got sick during the trip and have spent ten days (and counting) nursing a very stubborn cold.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I hope that’ll be it for the rest of the year. At least it gave me the chance to read.

How was your March?

Hopefully Last Snowfall

My Spaces

This winter hasn’t been at all bad, weather- and snow-wise. Nevertheless, I notice myself yearning for warmer temperatures and especially AN END TO THE BLASTED SNOW:

Hopefully Last Snowfall

The view above is from yesterday. It started snowing in the morning and continued through afternoon. Bleah. Ohwell; I dare say it’ll end soon enough. In fact, don’t you say in English that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?

March 2018 Recap

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If February felt a warm and spring-y, March 2018 really came in like a lion: in the first half of the month, we had three major winter storms. There was widespread damage both from flooding and snow-laden trees crashing down all over New England. It was very pretty, though:

A March Snowstorm After

Husband and I got off easy, all in all – apart from copious snow-shoveling, our immediate area didn’t suffer badly. The only blackout in our neighborhood lasted less than 24 hours, and damage on our street was limited to one downed wire (with no street plowing, however, because the truck couldn’t get past it). Plus some fallen trees in the woods, but that’s normal.

In connection with the International Women’s Day, I discovered letterer, illustrator and designerd Risa Rodil. My tinkerer heart absolutely beats for this poster of Shuri from the movie Black Panther:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Shuri Improved

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Speaking of hearts, I’ve been making prototypes of small heart ornaments. So far I’ve only made singletons, but I’m hoping to find a handy way to string them up as a banner.

Prototype Hearts Hung up

I was really exited about our spring break trip to visit family in Virginia. For a while I was worried we might not be able to make it – our flight left the morning after one of the major snowstorms. Luckily, the airport was running more or less normally by then. (The crews must’ve pulled an all-nighter – thank you!) It was fantastic to be able to enjoy the warmer weather plus first leaf buds and blossoms in the valleys.

VA March Break Crocus

Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains nature was, understandably, not as far along, but the views were still very beautiful. We happened to visit on a clear, bright, sunny day – the vista went on and on!

VA Blue Ridge Mountains1

And while stopping for lunch in Charlottesville, I saw this sticker on a post near the Downtown Mall:

Charlottesville VA Sticker on Post

“Warning! Fascism free zone.

“This is a no go area for all fascists, racists, sexists and homophobes.

“You have been warned!”

It wasn’t even the only anti-bigotry expression we saw. Clearly the city was deeply affected by the death of Heather Heyer in August 2017.

Instead of designing and sewing, most of my mental capacity this month has been derailed into dealing with taxes. I belatedly found an error in my 2016 return, and had of course to check all previous ones to see whether it tracked further than that. The end is in sight, though – almost done with the amendment and the 2017 return!