May 2020 Recap

Ahem Ahem!, Thumbs Up, Newsletters

At the end of the month, Massachusetts moved into the first stage of gradual opening. Accordingly, I’m happy to announce that Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open!

2019 Nov Dec Green Blue Collage

Please note: Due to the difficulties and delays in shipping internationally, at this point I will only deliver orders to the USA.

(I’m very sorry to have to do this, but as long as it’s impossible to tell how long shipping will take – or whether an order is going to reach its destination at all! – I can’t in good conscience inflict that kind of stress on my customers.)

From May 25, the first non-essential businesses were allowed to open, as long as certain precautions were in place. I have to say that, of all the business-related paperwork I ever expected to have to fill out, this wasn’t on the list: Massachusetts state Covid-19 Control Plan template form.

Covid-19 Control Plan Form

Fortunately for me, since I operate a one-person microbusiness, the procedures were really easy. I did write an outline of how I work during the covid-19 pandemic. If you’re so inclined, please have a look and let me know if you have any concerns.

Also during May, the Massachusetts confirmed cases finally, FINALLY, leveled! It took about 2 months, a month later than originally predicted. The hospitalizations graph had been trending down for longer than that, though. We’re not out of it yet, but I’m so happy and relieved we’re seeing definite signs of improvement!

The mild symptoms I mentioned in the April recap are unfortunately still with me, plus my eyes have started to itch. As far as I can tell this means they’re allergy- or asthma-based, so I’m not too worried, only inconvenienced. Other people are also reporting a bad allergy year, so it’s not just our neck of the continent.

May is also when the nature here absolutely, definitively moved on to spring: we’ve seen so many critters and birds come out to enjoy the sun, including this wild bunny hiding amongst tall grass:

Bunny Hiding in Tall Grass

We’ve puttered around the garden since it warmed up and finished some long-running outdoor projects. (And mowed for the first time.) My latest one is trying to transplant some wild violets into what I hope will become a natural bed by the backyard flagstone landing.

Violets Transplanted

I love our violets. You can’t really see it in this photo, but there are both white and purple ones. They’ve been especially welcome this spring, as are the other flowers. The best thing about them, though, is that the violets came along for a ride with some raspberry canes we got from Husband’s grandmother, who is no longer with us.

Foodwise, we’re managing with 2-week grocery runs, although at times it means ex tempore solutions and trial and error. Husband experimented with store-bought puff pastry and unsweetened apple sauce. Voila – an apple puff pastry loaf with pearl sugar on top.

Apple Puff Pastry Loaf

It was as delicious as it looks – instead of just sugar, you could taste the ingredients. This will be a keeper.

Stay safe. I know it’s more difficult now, 2 months into our new covid-19 world. My urge to go out to eat, go see a movie or visit the library like in the Before Times comes and goes. Mostly I’m okay being at home. I’m missing the ease of getting physical media from the library most of all. Maybe soon! ❤

Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Massachusetts Still Remains at Home

Ahem Ahem!, This Is Important

Last week it was announced that Massachusetts has extended the stay at home advisory and the closure of non-essential businesses until May 18, 2020. Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy will, therefore, also remain closed.

 

Heart Banner Pink HB005a

I confess there are days when I get really frustrated and annoyed. I want shops and businesses and services to open. I want to travel. I want to visit the library, go out to eat, see a movie with Husband, and I want to do it now!

The rational part of my brain knows that I’m just reacting to the uncertainty. This will pass. It’s just a matter of when, and of how many people will suffer as a consequence of our actions as a community. Massachusetts is currently working on a plan to ease restrictions; we should hear soon what is deemed safe for now.

I’m lucky enough that even though I have chronic conditions, they’re (typically) under control. Having them, however, and having family working in health care, makes it clear to me that those of us who are able to must take every protective measure we can for all our sakes, and especially for the sakes of those who are in the high risk group. So I stay at home, and keep physically distancing when out.

Stay safe. ❤

April 2020 Recap

Newsletters

Still hanging in there? I hope the answer is yes!

Husband and I are still sheltering in place, for the Massachusetts stay at home advisory is still on; the next reassessment date is May 05, 2020.

April 10 marked a month from Massachusetts’ declaration of emergency, and covid-19 cases were predicted to peak around the 20. (I still haven’t seen statements whether they definitely did or not.) It has been exhausting, and I’ve slept more than usual. This past week my mood has settled, though, which tells me I’ve moved on to adaptation. I’ve even felt quite happy at times, which feels odd in the middle of a pandemic.

I continue to be thankful that we ended up in Massachusetts and that we found this fantastic house in the woods; having a lot with trees keeps me sane. Some people are ocean / lake folks; I’m a tree gal.

My concern is I’m currently having mild symptoms. I’ve spoken with my doctor, and got advice and info; I also know where to go for testing if the symptoms get any worse. For now, though, we hold.

Workwise, I’ve only been able to do the absolutely minimum Etsy paperwork. And blogging, that seems okay (not easy but okay), but I haven’t touched fabric in what feels like ages. It’s a really peculiar, feeling a block stopping you from doing a particular type of activity but not others, and I’m even able to partly look in from the outside and analyze my reaction. I haven’t solved the block yet, though.

Instead, I’ve switched to home projects to keep active and engage my mind. For example, Husband and I organized some of his bookshelves. Here’s a blue section…

Shelves in Blue

…and a study in scarlet:

Shelves in Red

Below is an example of a lovely, colorful bean mix that became very yummy baked beans.

Colorful Bean Mix

The weather has cooled down and is supposed to stay below typical till the end of April. We even had a mid-month, middle-of-the-day snow squall, and a few days after that we woke up to a white ground.

Apr 16 2020 Snow

You can’t quite say that we saw more snow during the first half of April than the whole of March, but it’s close. This seems to be the last of it, though, but there’s a lot of rain in the forecast. Bummer.

We’ve nevertheless been able to do yardwork and go for walks in our neighborhood when it’s nice. Puttering away in the yard reveals all sorts of details you don’t pay attention to in the winter. Like an old bird’s nest in a rose bush:

Old Birds Nest in Rose Bush

Our backyard friends are back, too. Here are two bunnies enjoying the new grass:

Backyard Bunnies Are Back

Trees are really starting to put out leaf buds, and spring flowers are finally out in force!

Apr 2020 Flowering Pear in Bloom

Our flowering pears are absolutely loaded with white blossoms. Ahh, I just love spring! 🙂

Stay safe. ❤

Massachusetts Stay at Home Advisory Remains in Effect

Ahem Ahem!, This Is Important

Just after I published the March recap where I gave details of my situation in our new covid-19 world, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced that the Stay-at-Home advisory and the closure of non-essential businesses would be extended until May 04, 2020.

 

Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy will, therefore, also remain closed until May 04.

Heart Banner Blue HB001b-002b

Stay safe. ❤

March 2020 Recap

Newsletters

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!