Archive for March, 2020

First, Celebrations!

celebrate em tenure 1

Our family had two pieces of good news yesterday. My dear daughter Emily received her formal letter saying that her tenure had been approved! I know some of my readers from Europe wondered what this was the last time I mentioned it. The system for most American universities is that when one is hired for a tenure track position one has five or six years to accomplish all that is necessary. And then, one either gets tenure or must leave that employment. Emily has worked so very hard for this and I think it is well deserved. It requires more than being a good teacher. There must be service to the University and the larger community. There must be publications and often research. We are all beyond proud of her achievements!  It’s a bit sad that we cannot do any real celebrating until this corona virus situation is resolved. I can’t even send flowers to her. But sometime in the future, in the “fullness of time” we will have a wonderful feast together to celebrate this!

celebrate 3 30 em second

Another piece of good news – my oldest sister in law (94 this year) who lives in Budapest became ill. Well, that is not the good news. She was first taken to a hospital for Coronavirus, covid-19. After a day they determined that this was not what she had and she was taken to another hospital and treated for a different infection. And now we have learned that she is back in her home. We are all so grateful about this! Her mother lived to be 102 years old.

Oh, and there was a third piece of news. Alice called me last night, quite astonished, to tell me that the Countryside Farmers Market people had just delivered our orders to her. Of course, no meat nor produce but I did get a loaf of bread. tabbouleh salad. kombucha and two kinds of potatoes. They tried so hard. I hope they can rest a little now!


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All the conversations and all the news seems to be about covid-19. I am still playing around with water color every day; even though I’m not producing anything wonderful, it is very satisfying to do this. I just bought myself a water color journal of handmade paper and may begin it soon when I figure out how to use it best.

Today I did a flower painting based on some flowers Alice brought me. Then I didn’t like something about the leaf arrangement in the lower part of the painting and tried to fix it. I’m not sure which version is best. What do you think?

wc 3 29 first one

wc 3 29

I still can’t decide, though I have a suspicion that, as usual, things were better before I tried to fix them…..But regardless of outcomes,  I do love the practice of painting every day.

The second thing to report on is very sad. Well, it is not as sad as someone getting coronavirus, but sad. Our Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a farmer’s market every Saturday in the summer and twice a month in the winter. But of course, they cannot hold their regular sort of market in this present state of social distancing . This is hard on the vendors and the customers, so the managers came up with a plan. They offered us the chance to order and pay online and then drive through to pick up the food. I ordered a lot and so did my daughter Alice (our first mistake) who was going to pick up both our orders.  In the beginning we had a 9:30-10:00am time slot. Then we were emailed to come around noon. Or later.

farmers market fiasco 3 2020

I heard that they had more sales in orders than they would have had on a regular summer market. And apparently they did not have a lot of volunteers to help with this. (But I don’t really know how many orders nor how many volunteers.)  Today was a gorgeous sunny day but yesterday was heavy rain all day and some hail. When Alice and Mike arrived there were about 30 or so cars ahead of them. After about an hour the market people told everyone to go home and said they would deliver the orders. I’m not sure how wise this was. I believe they began work around six in the morning and were still delivering after ten at night. And then, gave up. Neither Alice nor I got our orders. And now we heard they are not going to deliver any meat, cheese, eggs nor produce for safety reasons. The money will all be refunded.  I am really so very sad. Alice may go and try to pick up any shelf stable things we ordered but, well, the whole event was a bit of a tragedy and I don’t know if they will even try again. There must be some way to accomplish this, even if on a smaller scale. But I feel so sorry for all the people who worked so hard to make this happen, only to have it end like this. They had lofty goals and high hopes. And now they are so sad.

They posted a “We’re Very Sorry” sign on Instagram and I was happy to see all the comments were positive and grateful for the dedication and the attempt to do something good.



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This afternoon Emily, Sofia and Clara came over. We visited on the deck, being sure to sit more than six feet apart. I was excited to see my chives are growing. My Abraham Darby English rose from last winter made it through. This was the first time a rose had made it over the winter on my deck. It probably helped that I bought it as a potted rose. (Of course this photo is not from now. It’s not even from my yard. But I love this rose and it took me years before I could buy it. It was always sold out!)

rose abraham darby

And my rosemary made it through the winter, too! It’s true that we had a quite mild winter in 2019-2020. But I have tried for years to buy special sorts of rosemary which were said to be developed to make it through the winter in northeast Ohio (Arp and Salem among others) and they NEVER do…But now, one has!

I also have several daffodils already in bloom. A week or so ago Emily had cut some pussy willow from my garden and today she picked a few more for me and for Alice.

blog mar 2020 clara

I cut shorter pieces of these branches and put the pussy willow in a vase with no water so it would remain just as it is…A real sign of spring and happiness. While I was out on the deck I kept hearing the bird song – of course I am hearing it from inside the house, too, this time of year. It was quite exciting to have visitors even if we could not exchange any hugs nor kisses….But this will not last forever, I certainly hope. Be well, all my blog world friends.


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I am still doing some watercolor everyday…It is therapeutic. And I watch things on TV. We have the Spectrum channels and watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy every day and some weekend shows. I should watch their nature programs but can see them anytime because I contribute to PBS, a worthwhile thing to do. Also we have amazon prime, Acorn TV and Britbox and more recently Curiosity Stream and CBS Access for the Picard series. Andy and I are both Star Trek fans….

And I read – online but also lots of books.

illus 3 2020 norman rockwell from 20s to 27

This is an early Norman Rockwell illustration from the early 20s. There are many many illustrations of people reading. It’s one of the favorite subjects of hundreds of artists.

illus 3 2020 better reading illus

This is another and favorite illustration of a girl reading in a stylized garden. I wish I knew who the artist was. I wish I had painted this….(I wish my photo were not so blurry!)

At the moment I am still reading Big Magic. I’m also rereading some Georgette Heyer (False Colors at the moment) and D.E. Stevenson (beginning The Baker’s Daughter for our group discussion) and about to begin Scot and Soda by Catriona McPherson…I do mostly read mysteries these days, but these particular days are rather different. Hence the comfort rereads…

Music is something that is also soothing and I think I will sign up for Pandora’s offer of three months of premium for free…..Or perhaps just listen to my hundred thousand CDs.

My son needed to pick up a prescription at a nearby pharmacy/general store and did some shopping for us. I think we would easily live on what we have for a month or two if we didn’t mind too many days of rice and beans……And Slowly, spring is coming. That “thing with feathers that perches in the soul” is here, too. I think I may read some more poetry and even write some simple poems. And do that centering meditation which has been proven to alter the way that brain waves happen within us…


Ah, one more thing I wanted to mention. My daughter Alice has gotten me reading three websites that have a surprising number of good stories even in these strange days. They are Tank’s Good News, The Good News Network, and Upworthy.  Google them and be happy at this proof that it is indeed, an ill wind that blows no good.

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In truth, I am pretty much a stay at home person, and was even before this corona COVID-19 got going. I’m somewhat introverted and am in need of a hip replacement. That was going to be started but is put on hold for how…I read a lot and watch movies and TV. Soon I’ll be doing some gardening on my deck. I do miss going grocery shopping but my dd Alice is doing that for me now.

corona watercolor 3 18 2020 mine

(The above was day one.)

I need to find some chair exercises I can do with online help, and think I will find that soon. The one change in my life because of this virus (besides not seeing my grandchildren as closely or often as I would like) is a positive one. Before all this began I had been gathering supplies with an eye to getting back to doing water color. And now I am doing something every day and find it very satisfying. I also do meditation and ten % Happier is doing a short meditation every day in the afternoon. (If you miss the actual beginning, you can see it anytime later.) But back to the water colors. I put them on my kristijalics Instagram page and post them on my Facebook account. They are nothing in the way of excellent art, but just playtime. However creative playtime is very healthy to have as part of ones life.

corona 3 20 2020 wc--`

(This was day 2.)

Today was just doodling on an abstract background, truly playing around.

corona wc 3 21 2020

Two of these days Andy also did some watercolor with me. I’ve been watching CreationsCeeCee and Karen Rice on YouTube for sort of  “prompts” as they would be called in writing classes. Not sure what to call them here. Perhaps “inspirations”.

I just find doing this every day is not only satisfying but also healing. Or perhaps something that keeps me from needing healing. I recommend it to everyone! Something creative every day will help a lot with the self-isolating that we need to do just now. It may not be painting. It could be cooking, music, writing, gardening. Just spend some time every day engaging your creative self and see if it doesn’t make you feel better.

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A Very Quiet Saturday

flowers mar 2020

What a difference a few days can make…I’m rather self-isolating as many of my friends, who are of a similar age, are doing. Still, last night Emily, Ingmar, Clara and Sofia were here for dinner with Andy and me. Alice had gone grocery shopping for me. We watched the animated movie Spies in Disguise which my granddaughters and Em had already seen. It was a happy time together. The dinner was beyond simple. I had two rotisserie chickens, a crustless quiche with spinach and a big bowl of blueberries. No hugs or real kisses were exchanged and there was lots of hand washing.

People who are somewhat introverts and bibliophiles do not suffer terribly from self-isolation as long as they can get groceries. I always have a good sized pantry and Alice said there was no lack of anything but hand sanitizer and I think soap and water is to be preferred!

Quite a number of excellent museums have online tours now that they are closed.


Schools are closed and the i pads our district provides have been sent home with students. Spectrum, at least in our area, is offering free WI-fi for students who don’t have internet in their homes. Many businesses are offering things to help people. Still, a friend of mine who lives in rural Arkansas was posting about people who live in more remote areas and simply cannot get internet but have children who now have no school…

Slowly spring is here. The snow drops are a pleasure to look at and I will check out my hellebores later. I have several sorts. Art is a joy, to look at and to create. I was just gathering supplies to begin water color again. I’ve been watching creationsceecee on YouTube for inspiration. My friends and I have been exchanging titles of movies we like to watch. I hope all the isolation will slow down the virus and give the health organizations and workers time to catch up.

flowers mar 2020 hellebores

I have some hellebores that look like this in my garden, but these are not mine.


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A Monday in March

Fox july 2019

Why am I exuberant? Last Friday I had a colonoscopy after the days of horrid prep and rattled nervousness. Everything was good and I was told because I AM SO OLD I never need to do this again!

(This  fox is from a card a friend sent me, long ago. But I loved it so much I needed to save it.)

Because, knowing I would be very tired, I cancelled the Friday dinner with Em and my granddaughters, she and Ingmar invited Andy and me to a restaurant called First Watch for brunch yesterday. I had their delicious Brilliant Beet Toast and loved it. Their menu said, “Brilliant Beet Toast is made using our whole grain artisan toast topped with house-made beet hummus, fresh avocado, house-pickled onions, diced red beets, lemon dressed arugula and herbed Goat cheese, and we serve it with two cage-free basted eggs (or, however you like your eggs cooked is good with us!). It’s a vegetarian dish, and if you’re one of our gluten-free diners, you’re always welcome to sub the whole grain artisan toast for our Udi’s gluten-free toast – for free!”

I will try to make something similar myself. We all had a great time being together. The only downside is that the place does such a good business that it was pretty loud!

blog mar 2020 brilliant beet toast

My snowdrops have been blooming for about a week so far and that is nearly two weeks sooner than they would normally do so. But I love seeing them. I also love that daylight savings time is here again. The longer hours of daylight, especially in the evening, do my soul good!

For those of you who like foxes – you know who you are – here is another lovely photo of one.

Fox with daffodil

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