Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

COVID Crazed

I’ve gotten crazier in the last year. I blame the pandemic.

All of that time I had. Secluded. Social distancing. Avoiding people.

A good time to work on the many projects I hoped to finish: Write a book. Sort through bins of mementos and organize them into scrapbooks. Design and sew a wrap skirt like I had in the 70s. Learn Spanish. Lift weights and sculpt some dope (… working on my Millennial Slang) Baby Boomer biceps and triceps. Take an online woodworking course and build a breakfast nook. Find friends I haven’t seen for decades and reconnect. Read all the classic novels that I have yet to read.

Sigh.

I did none of that. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

What I did do was watch every single season of Schitt’s Creek, Shtisel, Frankie and Grace, RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Handmaid’s Tale. Those titles will tell you, and my therapist, everything you need to know about me.

Oh yes, and I did eat. And eat.

And eat. And eat.

No weight lifting, no working out. My upper arms are still flapping in the wind like an old weathered flag against a osteoporosic pole.

No Spanish. Except nada. And perezoso. (lazy, sluggish, slothful)

I never got through the first of many bins full of old pictures and mementos. Was I ever really that young? OMG, my parents were so young at the exact same time I thought they were so old. A son’s letter to Santa, asking for a mousetrap and a screwdriver. (?) Another son’s handprint turned into a turkey, with the feathers giving thanks for Family, No Homework and Fried Potatoes. A picture of my daughter and her brother in matching outfits I sewed for them with my son sporting a bowl haircut and cute little embroidered shorts (that he would later blame for his career as a Marine Corps Scout sniper). I had to stop. I was dry heaving and nostalgia sobbing. My husband was dialing 911.

Anyway, I did find some old friends and reconnected with them, albeit through the daily newspaper’s obituaries.

And, oh yes, I bought copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.”

They’re both right there, by my bedside, stacked with the others. Waiting.

Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

Bricked in the Pandemic

Twelve months seclusion, walled in, shut off, isolated
And now, a ray of light, a gust of hope
Life as we know it
and need it
and must have it
is there, just on the horizon.
Achingly close, yet still out of reach
We wait. It will come.
It must.
Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

Pandemic Incognito Brings Out Superpowers

The Cher-Wanna-Be

I procrastinate. The day my hairdresser, Miriam, left for a 2-week vacation in Utah is the day I noticed I had rapidly gone from Honey Blond to Gluttonous Gray.

The Activist

I could not afford to fly to Salt Lake City for a root job and I could not go to another hairdresser because Miriam is also a longtime, close friend and it would have been like committing adultery. As it says in the Bible, getting it on with another beautician is a grievous sin.

So, I dug through the back of my closet and found the wigs that I bought long ago and have never worn because, well, because I’m paranoid that everyone is staring at me because they know I’m wearing a wig.

The Aunt Myrtle

Wearing a wig, face mask and sunglasses comes in handy when running errands in flannel pajama bottoms and an old, paint-stained T-shirt. That’s when I always run into the immaculately-dressed and exquisitely made-up former co-worker who wants to stop and chat about her very accomplished children and her very accomplished life. As. Opposed. To. My. Very. Unaccomplished. And. Dreary. Life.

The Badass

But, she passed by the wiggy-me without a hint of recognition. Hallelujah! Why have I been wasting my life wearing my own hair and exposing my lips and eyes?

When I donned the auburn, long-haired wig and ventured into the city to shop, I was Venturous Viv and a completely different person from Virtuous Viv, the highlighted brunette who browsed the non-fiction section in my small town library.

I discovered I was more suited to work in a soup kitchen as a brunette, but as a curly-headed blond, I was more likely to lead a protest against the state legislators’ attempt to eliminate Indiana’s wetlands.

The
Sleeps-in-Coffin-By-Day

The inky, black bob with fringed bangs gave me absolute super powers. I became Vamp Viv. My husband ran into my bad self in the frozen food section of a local supermarket and was especially attentive before I hit him over the head with a 10-pound bag of rock-solid chicken legs.

The Marie Antoinette

Wearing that same wig, I was able to morph into Vindictive Viv and deal with a jerk behind me at the stoplight who always hauls a gigantic confederate flag in the bed of his truck. You know the type — the guy who starts yelling obscenities at the car in front of him because that driver doesn’t rev the engine and take off the second the light turns green. So, with a flip of my dark locks and fringed bangs — and my middle finger — I exerted my extraordinary powers, locked the doors, turned up the radio and calmly sat through the light one more time. I peeled out just as he was preparing to stab me with the Rebel flagpole.

Maybe you’re thinking “mental illness,” but except for the Yankee-Wanna-Be-Confederate guy, I’ve had nothing but good experiences. And — bonus!— these six new, enthusiastic women in my life have expressed an interest in joining my Prosaic Procrastinators writer’s group.

Coronavirus, Scribbles by Viv, Vintage chicks lol

The Boredom of Trying Not to Die or Poke Someone in the Eye

Every day melds into the next. Week into week. Month into month.

And now, year into year.

I always thought if I had more free time, I would get so many projects completed. Those bins of photos and memorabilia that need sorted, catagorized (or tossed) and put into scrapbooks; that bathroom that needs a total overhaul; the two books and eight short stories I’ve been working on here, there and nowhere; that stack of sewing and mending that has been gathering dust in the sewing room for seven years now; a new backyard patio … the list goes on.

Conveniently, I blame the pandemic.

One good thing about the pandemic is that I have little contact with other people, most of whom I just want to poke in the eye. Hard. Seriously, when did vulgar stupidity become cool?

Conveniently, I blame social media.

I’m already bored with cooking. I cook it, we eat it and it’s gone. Seems like a whole lotta work with nothing to show for it but the extra COVID-19# around my waistline. It’s quicker and much easier to just grab a spoon, a jar of Nutella, throw in a handful of chocolate chips, some bacon and call it a day.

Don’t judge. Bacon is a food group.

Maybe I could complete more projects if I did not have so many distractions?

Last night I stared vacantly at the salad I had prepared for the fourth night in a row and distinctly heard a few active brain cells yawning. I put it back in the fridge, and rummaged through the cupboards for something more, um … tantalizing. In the back of a bottom cupboard — where I hide shit from my husband — I found a bag of stale chocolate chips. I downed a handful. And then another. And another.

Things must change. I have to get motivated, finish the projects, maybe shave my legs, brush my teeth, feed the poor, enroll in pole dancing classes, join the National Guard or recycle all those wine corks. Something.

Otherwise, at this pace, my first trip in over a year won’t be my lifelong dream of visiting and hiking in the Dakotas, but will likely be a trip to Texas for an appointment with Dr. Nowzaradan.

If you don’t know who Dr. Nowzaradan is, you probably are not the type of person whose idea of an appetizer is a bag of chocolate chips poured directly into your gullet.

Cooking, Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

ButterNutting My Way to Pandemic Cuisine

How bored and anxiety-ridden am I? Enough to turn French.

 le freak; le maniaque; le sot.

My attempt at growing butternut squash is shown in the middle. My baby is flanked by the giant, mutant GMO squash on either side.

My son gave me the last of his fall harvest — two mutantly large (oh yes, those GMOs) butternut squash — and I decided to make butternut squash soup, for the first time in my looooong life (aged 20 years in 2020 alone).

It was simple, I guess, but peeling two butternut squash the size of Volkswagens is akin to finding head lice on Rapunzel.

However, once I had that out of the way, I was full throttle to the Ultimate French Cuisine Snobby Pandemic Chef From Hell.

I decided to make crème fraîche (pronounced kram fresh-ha) and toasted pepitas as a decadent topping for the decadent full-fat creamy butternut soup. That extra COVID+19 around my waistline was not attained by munching celery and sipping lemon water.

Those two mutant squashes yielded SIX(!) freezer bags of future French cuisine — or freezer frost, depending on my mood.

Since I couldn’t find crème fraîche in the store (“Cream, right? Dairy aisle. Fresh ah, veggies? Produce aisle.”) , I decided to make it. Turns out adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and letting it set for 8-24 hours renders a delightfully thick luscious type of French cream. Je suis très impressionné!

I cooked the cubed squash with chopped onion, apple, celery, carrots, garlic, veggie broth and salt and pepper until soft, blended it all in the blender (one small batch at a time) and poured it into bowls. Topped with a dollop of salted, roasted pepitas (come on — regular ole’ pumpkin seeds! Aldis —under $2 a bag!), fresh, chopped parsley and crème fraîche — and voila! A masterpiece!

For no one.

Bon appétit!

Just me. Always me. I have NEVER been so sick of me.

Well. there’s also my husband, who is also sick of me and whom I run into once in a while in the hallway on weekends. Alas, he could not see the splendor of a perfectly blended and exquistitely-plated butternut bisque and magnificently executed crème fraîche when all he really wanted was a dozen smoky BBQ wings with steak fries.

I ate it all. Thus, I upgraded the COVID+19 to COVID+24.

Would I do it again? Geesh, it was a lot of work. But, during the pandemic when there’s a lot of me, me, me time, I might foray into that French cooking arena once again.

When this is all over, though? Pretty sure I’ll forget the soup and enjoy a mixing bowl of the crème fraîche and toasted pepitas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. grossir pendant la quarantaine.

Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

Masking Encounters of the Third Kind

I’ve noticed more freedoms — not less — in wearing a mask each time I go out.

I don’t have to remove the bits of spinach in my teeth after eating a salad.

There’s no need to pluck that one stray hair that grows out of my chin every month.

I can sneer undetected or mouth all kinds of obscenities at annoying people who get in my space.

I save a lot of money on lipstick and dental work and no one is the wiser.

Hmmm … Weren’t my grandchildren still in elementary school? Who were these young adults?

A mask, combined with large sunglasses enables me to crash random gatherings and visit random people. They don’t know that they don’t know me.

Case in point: I recently traveled to Virginia and stayed with my son and his family.

At least, I think it was my family.

Come to think of it, the house looked different and the grandkids were taller and more grownup than I remembered.

I watched the man I thought was my son forgo his 7-mile daily run and down three pieces of pie in one sitting. Weird.

Growing more suspicious, I glanced up at my “son,” which was weird in itself,
because he was normally only a few inches taller than me.

I watched as the very fit and health-conscious daughter-in-law downed two glasses of wine before dinner, turned her head too quickly, grimaced in pain and rubbed cooling gel on her aching shoulders.

Who were these people?

At dinner, I overheard the grandson as he leaned over and whispered to his younger sister, “Wasn’t our grandma a lot taller? “

“I think so,” the girl said, glancing at me sideways. “And,” she said, “I don’t remember Grandma telling the same stories over and over and always leading with, ‘When I was your age …’, do you?”

“I’m scared,” the teenage boy said. “Her eyes look a lot like that crazy cat lady down the street.”

I excused myself, grabbed a bottle of wine and went out on the front porch to recheck the house number. Was it possible that I missed it by one or two numbers? Was it possible that my GPS had directed me to a family in Maryland instead of Virginia? Was it possible that it was not actually me inside my mask?

Life has become very confusing during this pandemic.

Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

Pandemic Turns Life Upside Down With 20 Daily Decisions

So very many pandemic decisions every day:

Masked troll vs unmasked troll

  1. Is it Monday? Saturday? Thursday? April? June? 1977? 99? Indiana? Illinois? IU? Purdue? Brad Pitt? George Clooney?
  2. Slippers or slipper socks?
  3. Frayed IU sweats with missing “I” or flannel pajama pants with stretched out elastic waist?
  4. Underwear or commando?
  5. Wine? Vodka? Mouthwash?
  6. Messy, rapidly-turning-gray bun or baseball hat?
  7. Hulu? Prime? Netflix?
  8. Pink hearts and unicorns face mask or black crossbones and skulls face mask?
  9. Sudoku? Jigsaw puzzle?  Crossword? Pin the tail on the Michigan Militia?
  10. Cheetos? Doritos? Kettle chips?
  11. Brush teeth and rinse with mouthwash or skip the teeth and gulp the mouthwash? (Refer back to No. 5)
  12. Watch news and open wrists? Watch “Keeping Up With Kardashians” and see if Kim’s butt got any bigger? Or watch “Shtisel” again and consider conversion to Orthodox Hasidic Judaism?
  13. Sleep? Nap? Doze? Move from recliner to sofa?
  14. Makeup? Face mask? Burka?
  15. Eat pan of fudge brownies or 2-layer chocolate chip and caramel cheesecake?
  16. Help an older lady load her groceries into her car or gut-punch the guy standing 6” from my face in checkout lane who’s wearing no mask and yelling, “This is bullsh–!”
  17. Brave the crowds to buy toilet paper? Hand sanitizer? Bleach? AK-47?
  18. Make a nutritious dinner for Hubby and me or hide in the closet and eat a quart of Häagen-Dazs with a soup ladle?
  19. Use 100-proof hand sanitizer on my hands or make a relaxing Tizer ‘n Tonic?
  20. Do something? Do nothing? Do anything?