The Curve Ball

Discover Prompts  Day 8: Curve

So “curve.”

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the prompt was “curveball.” As I continued reading and I smiled when I saw the rest of MW’s line. Life has thrown a big one at a lot of us these days: a curve.”

I was excited when I saw that the Discover page was going to offer daily prompts in April. When I first started blogging a few years ago, I found the DailyPosts and WP Blogging U very helpful.  But alas, I fell off the blog wagon awhile back.  This year I don’t have the energy for NaNoWriMo and/or the A to Z challenge.  It has nothing to do with COVID 19.  Life happens, and my creativity is “Meh.”

Truth be told, I’ve struggled with these prompts this time around. The prompts and alternate ideas are creative and engaging, but I spend all day churning ideas in my head that don’t get to my page. 

For example, prompt # 2 Open, brought me to the Grand Canyon, but that trip came with ghosts of the past.  I saved the essay for another day.  Prompt # 6 Hands. brought me the question, “what is the sound of one hand, clapping?” It was one of those days that I started to do research to make sure the riddle was not about one hand slapping.  That post didn’t even make the page.  I was going to tie that prompt in with # 7:Below.  A suggestion on that day was, Think about the last time you were emotional — angry, or elated, or sad, or nervous. What lay below, feeding that emotion?  I was not ready to go there on day seven.

Here I am today, talking about The Curve, with a post I started in March. 

If you’ve read my posts before, you may know that I’ve been working part-time at a public library. I really like the place. We are one of the smallest branches in our county’s system of 10 sites, including three larger regional libraries.  Its hard work and we regularly deal with staff turnover, but we’ve also got a great team of volunteers that come in each day to help.  

I have enjoyed everything about the job.  In shelving books, I often find some treasured tome that I didn’t know existed.  I enjoy people, and actually, my favorite part is dealing with the patrons, especially the regulars.  What a great crowd.  Most are old-timers and have been coming to that little branch for over twenty years. The full-time senior staffers know just about every person by name.  They look forward to seeing them each winter when they come back.  Upon returning to town for the winter, many patrons consider their first stops, the library, and Publix – in that order! 

The staff often know, and most importantly, they genuinely care who is sick, who just got a promotion, took a trip, started a business, or wrote a book.  Some of the elderly and the lonely stop in to read the newspapers or use the public computers. They also come in to connect – that irreplaceable human contact that we all need.   Everyone gets a warm welcome and a free smile.  

Sometimes the place feels as if it were an episode of the sitcom “CHEERS.” The tv show is about a neighborhood bar in Boston.  We don’t serve drinks, but the atmosphere feels similar – friendly and accommodating.   

“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.” (Intro theme from Cheers.)   

On Wednesday mornings, one can’t help but smile as the children’s laughter, and singing spills out of the storytime space and into the great room where most of the action happens.  There is such excitement when they come to check out the books they picked themselves or have found all the pictures of the scavenger hunt around the library.  They bring the classics – princesses and dragons, dogs and cats and of course tv favorites. I’m hopeful that these experiences will remain stored in their little minds and hearts, as they have remained for me. I still believe libraries are a treasure cove of amazing things and a vital part of communities.

Last month, however, the libraries closed to the public. A few days after that, I made the decision to stay at home. 

The library offered curbside service so that patrons could pick up books or materials that they had reserved before the emergency declaration. We have plenty of e-resources online, but because for some people, the web feels overwhelming, staff is available by phone to assist in navigating the resources. 

Behind the scenes, due to the potential risk of contamination with COVID 19, the library staff was disinfecting equipment and preparing materials to be placed in quarantine.  Because of the life span of the virus on paper or plastic, books, and DVDs can not be put back on the shelves directly.  The library materials need to sit out in quarantine for days.  As I said before, our site is small, and the only place considered available to quarantine books was in the great room in front of our circulation desk.  Due to the health risk involved, and after consulting my medical provider, I made the decision to stay home. 

As more information becomes available, new risk management protocols are in place to keep staff safe and patrons informed.  I tip my hat to those who continue to work for the library patrons in different capacities. I pray for them and their families, for they are part of the remarkable army of unsung heroes we’ve come to recognize during these difficult times. 

Currently, there is no opportunity for me to telecommute. It has been three weeks. I’m not sure where I go from here as there are so many unknowns.  My life right now seems up in the air, but this is not my first rodeo, I will get back to living my true life soon enough. 

As I searched the web for a photo to add to my post today, I found this quote on Google Images.   I think it suits me perfectly.  What do you think? Blog Curve

Dishing it Out

 

Discover Prompts Day 5: Dish

Usually, on a Sunday, I prepare meals and “healthy” snacks for the week.  I work part-time a few towns away, and during the tourist season in SW Florida, the commute at peak hours is a nightmare. On days that I have to work, I like to make sure I don’t have to fuss over what I’m going to eat.  On days that I don’t work, I still don’t like planning and preparing elaborate meals.   I’ve taken to making one pot and one-dish meals, such as soups, casseroles, pizza, or pasta.  Keep it Simple is my motto.

This is the second week where I’ve not planned out my week partly because I have not been to work for three weeks because of COVID 19.  It has been challenging to plan, mainly because the supermarket has been hit or miss with what is available. I make it up as I go along.  I managed to find ground turkey at the end of last week and promptly prepared my version of “sloppy joes” on mini French rolls with a side of oven-fries and a cucumber salad.

In preparing my meal, I noticed that I was running low on “recaito.” Recaito is a homemade seasoning, basic to just about all my recipes. Some people call it sofrito, which means “gently fried” or sautéed.  Growing up, I used to watch my grandmother and mother chop up all the vegetables each time for every meal.  The onions, pepper garlic, and sometimes tomatoes are sautéed in a heavy pan before adding to the dish. Every day, for every meal…chop, chop!  On rare occasions, I’ll take the time to do to chop up everything fresh, but in general, I thank goodness for blenders, food processors, and Magic bullets!

  Recaito.  consists of onion, garlic, peppers (I prefer cubanelle or Italian pepper), aji dulce -small sweet peppers (don’t confuse with the Scotch bonnets), add cilantro and culantro/coriander leaves (culantro has a more robust flavor, use sparingly.)

As you know, supermarkets have limited supplies, and since I didn’t feel like traveling to a specialty supermarket, I decided to make the Lazy -Lindi version of recaito.  These are, after all, unprecedented times of basic survival.  The newscasts continue to say that things will get worse or peak in the coming weeks. I don’t want to be without recaito in the middle of a pandemic.  We all have our limits. 

Usually, I make a big batch to share.  See my attempt at a still-life of my 20200405_142724ingredients and tools.  You may recognize a Ninja blender, extra-large measuring cup, ice cube trays, pre-cut green peppers and onions, peeled garlic, a small bunch of cilantro, and small packaged culantro.  The ice cube trays are for easy storage.  After the ingredients are blended, I pour the mixture in Ice cube trays and then in a freezer bag or container.  When I’m cooking, it’s easy to pop an ice cube or two into my soups, sauces, Spanish rice, or beans.  If you are not feeling exotic, leave out the cilantro and culantro.  It’s still a tasty and convenient way to have condiments on hand. 

So with my magic ingredient past down from generations, I am ready to survive our COVID 19 Pandemic.  Be safe. 

Welcome to My Street

Discover Prompt #4 – Street

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View from my front door

The street where I live is actually a Circle.  They tell me it’s about one mile all the way around. My furry Baby Girl and I walk half the length a few times a day.  Sometimes, out my front door and past the parking lot, I feel like I’m stepping into a magic forest. 

The Embers is an apartment community in the middle of a large city. I’m told the project was built inside a protected conservation area.  It’s generally quiet and tranquil except for the occasional ambulance in the distance or helicopters flying to the Trauma Center at a nearby hospital. 

The street is lined with all kinds of native trees and plants. The street lamps seem to have been strategically placed, so that during the hours just before nightfall or daylight, shadows can play tricks on your eyes.  The soft light from the moon and stars seems to Moon in the treesmake the street glow, and it’s easy to forget that I’m not really out in the woods.

On our street, the regular small woodland creatures like possum, armadillos, snakes, and squirrels forage for food and make their homes in the thick vegetation.  The trees are filled with all kinds of birds, each one signing a unique melody with the woodpeckers keeping rhythm with their tap, tap, tap. 

There is a large population of cats – blacks, and tuxedo, marmalade, and tigers in grey and black.  It’s hard to tell if they are all feral or just out for the day. Baby Girl loves the kitties, but whenever we come near, they scamper away into the tall grass just beyond the road where she can’t reach them.  Each time she catches a whiff of a kitty, she gets so excited and desperately wants them to play with her.  I can see them watching her from within the bushes.  Sometimes I wonder what they think of all her enthusiasm.

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Scent of a kitty

There are no sidewalks on our street, but boulders where placed near the ends of speed-bumps to keep drivers off the grass. Covered in moss and dirt, on days of dense fog, these boulders appear to be stunted creatures trying to climb out of the ground. I’ve wanted to photograph them, but these crafty creatures turn back to solid rock when they see me take out my phone!

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Baby Girl and the Stone Creator

My imagination ponders about the natural history of this place.  Who were the first dwellers here, and how did they spend their day? 

It’s great that this piece of land has been kept in some kind of land conservation trust. I’m especially glad that with all the social distancing regulation, I have a nice space to walk and let get inspired. 

Welcome to my street.