It’s very quiet around here. Ambient noise is reduced to almost nothing, so if a bee buzzes by, it’s a big deal. I have the good luck to be healthy — I’ve been here a week, so I think I’m good to go — so of course I’m catching up on things. This is the underside of a yew tree in the front garden. I have cleared out the twiggy dead stuff, to make it safe to move around in the space. I see a haven from the heat waves, maybe.

We are finally furnishing the little apartment attached to the house. So, lots of unpacking and sorting. We’re not there, yet, by any means, but it feels good to at least have the clutter moved out. The space is starting to look habitable. Some pieces are a little tired, so livening them up is surely a next step. And, um, something on the walls, please, and while we’re at it replace the bargain basement lamps with something better, and and and… All in good time.

It’s a work in progress, as is the sorting of everything that came out of the space. Some of the clutter has waited five years, now, for me to decide what to do with it. I’m always looking for the next project. By the time I get through the learning curve, I’m bored and ready to move on. It is good that I have this enforced tidying time. I tell myself I’m making room for the next thing.

As you can see, I am improving my chess. I have a long way to go. A little knitting — someone’s birthday is coming up and said someone wants a sweater. A little reading. And maybe a little nap.

It can be a scary time right now. A lot of plans have gone awry. A lot of housebound kids are driving their parents absolutely nuts. And, of course, some folks are pretty sick. I hope you are in none of those categories, that for you, too, this is a good time to slow down, to catch up on whatever is in need of that. And give in to a few silly songs.

20 Replies to “Home for Now”

  1. You’ve plenty with which to occupy your time…varied things too, so you won’t get bored.
    I know that, in your place, I would be frustrated at not being able to go out and hunt out items for the house, though.
    Keep well.

    1. Hahahaha. The power of the internet. It is sagging under the weight of everyone in town watching Netflix all at the same time, but we manage to struggle through. The auctions are all online now. I have to stop looking. Many things are coming from the rental house, which has finally, yes, become a house in escrow. Yes, I do wish I could get over there and continue emptying the place, but there is plenty to do here.

      I have been thinking about you. I’m glad Costa Rica has good hospitals, just in case. You both take care.

      1. Thank you. Leo has been confined to quarters by his doctor….no outings, no visitors. A good job we have the animals, books and, of course, the box. Lots of offers of help from friends, too.
        At his age, with his problems, he doesn’t stand a chance if he gets it nomatter how good the hospital – and they certainly are good.

  2. The nap part sounds promising. We have plenty of things to do around here, too, but motivation to get started is lacking. We’ll probably get in gear in the next few days otherwise we risk going full-on Donner Party which frightens the Malt. We’re currently in a cold and rainy weather phase and stuck indoors so the AJF is cooking up a storm and she is excellent in the kitchen so my job is eating and getting fat because the gym is closed. Oh, the sacrifices I make. By the way, a friend related that all the veterinarian offices in France are closed but she wasn’t sure if that was virus-related or part of the general labor strike. Is this so? If true, guard Jacques health carefully which, of course, means more treats. Your rooms look great, very inviting and comfortable

    1. Really? No vets? That would be lockdown-related. Actually the little guy is in great shape. He’s eating more kibble than regular food these days. He’s in Paris. I was only going to be gone a couple of days…. So, I being the good cook, I guess even dog food looks okay to him. No Donner Party here — or there, for now. I was just on Facetime, giving an online tutorial on how to cook pasta. Baby steps.

      Glad you like the house. If you guys get to France, I hope you can stop by. The yuzu is happy. The persimmon is leafing out and the mizuna has sprouted. Life is good.

      1. Giving pasta cooking instructions is indeed starting at ground zero – “boil water.” So, are you able to travel around? Is Jacques in de facto quarantine by reason of being in Paris? Thanks for the garden update. My daikon and kabu are planted with their second generation back up plants seeded in pots. Too cold for much else right now although I am trying to start Japanese eggplants indoors. My personal goal now is to get this Japanese tomato plant started from seed (indoors). Called a “Grandeur” it’s an indeterminate hybrid that is reputed to produce large quantities of tasty ‘maters. We shall see…

        1. Boil water. The pink salt is okay. The jar of premade sauce is in the bottom cabinet. Multiple steps. Big job, big Eureka moment when the sauce is found. I may train myself out of a job. Heh heh heh.

          You can’t actually travel around. You have to carry a form — it can be on your cell phone — for each trip. Only certain specific reasons are allowed. It’s a short list.

          Jacques is their salvation, as you can leave home to walk the dog. Amazingly, it now takes two guys to walk one Westie, rambunctious little critter that he is. And who knew that he would need to be walked halfway across town, so often? They are actually bored enough that they are brushing him. Can silly costumes be far behind?

          Daikon and cabu? You guys are hard core. What is cabu? Everything that needs to be started went home with Julien. Japanese eggplant, Turkish eggplant, tomatoes: maybe that’s it. Julien couldn’t wait to show his wife the weird food. It will probably be well on its way by the time lockdown is over. We can have a tomato-off. You have Grandeur. I have San Marzano and I forget what, some multi-colored cherry tomato and some other black and red thing. I have my soaker hoses now. I’m ready.

          1. Kabu is a white radish and common in Japanese cooking and pickling. I see that M. Jacques is fulfilling an important role, hero that he is. Love me my San Marzano tomatoes! This Grandeur is just a fling. I’ll likely grow a big old heirloom of some type in my new veggie cage. My drip irrigation is now wifi enabled, oh yeah it is, so I’m not taking guff from anybody.

          2. Wifi, schmi-fi. My allies the rats will make short work of those little drip tubes. We are on! Maybe. If my tomato plants ever come back.

  3. Ah, Glendale. I used to live just over the hill, in Mt. Washington. Long ago. Far away. I miss the Armenian restaurants.

  4. The governor here has so-far not imposed a shelter in place though it may come. However, we are socially distancing and pretty well self-isolating, only going out to walk the dogs early in the morning and to buy essentials. So far not including Toilet paper. That joy is about a week away since we had just bought two 4-packs when the panic buying commenced in earnest here. I’m fortunate, I like alone. And my husband is not losing income. But so many are not that fortunate. In the meantime, the stillness, lack of traffic, business coming from the bees AND the bonus of having my husband at home so we can get on with the water-uphill task of getting this house ready for market (what market? No-one’s going to be buying for a while so we buy time to get the work done. One day all this will be a memory, we will have the house sold and we will be able to embark on the next and longed for chapter of our lives. Retired and in that forever home. But for now, I have to be grateful that I am one of the lucky ones. Relatively unaffected and only perturbed by runs on Trader Joe quinoa pasta and shortages of decent triple crème and roquefort seems pretty damned fortunate to me!!! Silence, as I have always know is golden 💫

    1. Trader Joe’s. I have shopped at Trader Joe’s since they had just the one shop in South Pasadena. I so miss it. Monoprix is just not the same.

      I gather the US restrictions are more like recommendations. It’s good that you are taking it seriously, though. And like you, I’m enjoying the quiet and the cleaner air.

      If you think about it, isn’t this more or less the way we are supposed to be living for the good of the planet? Is anybody planning for the potential economic devastation? If we all go out less, consume less, etc., just in terms of keeping folks financially stable, how is that going to play out? We can order online and have deliveries made by electric van. FaceTime won’t go away. It’s not back to the 18th century, but still. People are rightly taking this crisis seriously. But there are also long-term implications for how we live. It’s way outside the scope of this blog, but I do wonder about it.

      1. My daughter, then newly pregnant visited in October 2018. Her first visit to the US, she had been to an expo in Vegas (which she hated) and then spent a restorative week with me on the East Coast. She’d been back in London a week when my son-in-law rang and said what is this Trader Joe and why so special – she keeps on and on about it as though she’s found Mecca. I could only assure him that she has and that it is indescribably wonderful and that it is one of the very few things I will miss when I’m back in France. Trader Joe himself died 3 weeks ago …. His stores are a real tribute to a brilliant man. And I don’t think it’s possible to explain why to anyone who hasn’t experienced them. Your last paragraph really resonates. This IS an opportunity of press reset and live in a way that is sustainable. The economic impact which is inevitable (a friend who is a journalist with Citi Wire in London predicts Depression not Recession and I’m quietly convinced of the truth of that may force that sense for a while. Hopefully memories will last longer and adjustments made now will feel good enough to survive. I’ve got my optimistic mojo back but I’m not wholly convinced ….

        1. Augh, Joe, RIP. He had a little corner market, like everybody else back then. Like everybody else, he realized the money was in the booze, so he started buying up lot ends. You could get some great wine for nothing. I loved it, but I had no idea how accustomed I had become to incredible cheap wine until I started shopping elsewhere. One shop led to another. Wine buys led to specialty foods. It was genius. Eventually it got too big to be fun, plus who knows how old he was. He made sure that the buyer shared his values. Now it’s a formula; may it long continue. Of course with so many stores, they can’t sell the last 10 cases of some gem, but the concept continues.

          I often wonder why the concept has not been duplicated here in France. There are so many talented small producers who are, or are nearly, insolvent. What an opportunity. I go to the local marché, of course, but it’s not the same. And, well, Hawaiian shirts in France: obviously there would have to be some adjustments.

          I knit. I buy artisan spun and dyed yarn. The yarn stores are scared witless; I’m sure we’re all stash diving now, not buying new. The little pet shop that sells Jacques’ fancy organic dog food is worried, offering to do Facetime sessions and leave your purchases just outside their door. If many of those small shops go under, which in two months of almost no business they well might, yes, could be a depression. The cultural loss would be enormous. I’m optimistic about my health, but the economy, not so much.

  5. we are closed at home since 10 days now. But my wife and I are ok with this. We feel safer. When once a week we go out to buy food it is always with much stress…afraid to meet someone who could come too near not respecting the social distancing rules…people are strange…there is always someone who with all the space available, streets empty with no cars, and someone approach you…
    Therefore we enjoy our apartment…we have internet, phones, skype to keep contact with friends and relatives, books, radio is a great company, drawing has its place duting the day…it’s our life now! One day we’ll start again to go out without fear…

    1. The situation in Italy is pretty frightening, no question. On the bright side, many of us have stayed home long enough that if we aren’t sick, we probably won’t get sick, as long as we continue the precautions. It is good that you are creative; how boring life must be for people who just watch TV!

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