It has taken a pandemic for some of us to have the time to learn more about or do what I am calling the seven C’s. 1) Computers 2) Cooking 3) Crafts 4) Creativeness 5) Cleaning 6) Clarity and 7) Catch up.

  1. Computers – I have had the opportunity to learn how to do online meetings. I’ve had to limit the number of zoom meetings I can do per week so I can have time for other things, especially, to have time for myself. Living through a pandemic is stressful. We all need more time to relax and have fun. I have enjoyed seeing the virtual zoo tours and such. Love the penguins.
  2. Cooking – Preparing yummy food for my hubby has been a higher priority. My husband prefers to dine at home, even before the corona virus hit. I have been having fun adjusting recipes to fit the ingredients we are fortunate enough to have. Also, I am using more of my spices. Sometimes our meals taste just as good as what we would have gotten at a restaurant. I do get take-out once a week or so. Restaurants need our support. Don’t forget to tip!
  3. Crafts – Have fun making crafts, especially with your kids. Hopefully you can use what you have at home already. Of course, it is fun ordering something online and receiving it in the mail. I even mailed a card to my husband who is at home, so he would have the fun of receiving something personal in the mail.
  4. Creativeness – I’ve enjoyed having some more opportunities to be creative. My local writer’s group has been coming up with online flash fiction stories, where each member had up to 48 hours to add their contribution to the story. It’s also been a learning experience for me. Our current story is to be written in the first person, something I had never tried before.
  5. Janet's DeskCleaning – Pandemic or not, I am a busy person, but I have taken time to do some really needed cleaning jobs. One day, I washed windows. Today I dusted my desk. I had fun adding special touches to my desk, such as putting several pictures of family in a picture holder on my desk.
  6. Clarity – I’ve been able to use self help books and such in order to work on my mission and vision for my business and personal life. Having more quiet time to think and read has helped. Figuring out what’s important to us can help guide us to a happier, more fulfilling life.
  7. Catch-up – Sometimes we benefit from situations which slow our lives down. We finally have time to do some much needed catch upping on projects we have let slip due to hardships in our lives. I really appreciate the extended deadlines some organizations are putting in place.

So, have fun with my seven C’s or your own list of things you are dealing with in your life right now. Remember, it’s O.K. to ask for help. In fact, it’s good to ask for help. No one can do it all. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. That’s what make’s us special!

Dogwood TreeBeautiful day. Sun shining. Birds chirping; busy flying around, tidying up their homes. We have several bird houses in our backyard. Bluebirds in one of them. Husband planted an apple tree the other day. Today I washed some clothes, including his trousers, muddy from planting the tree. He told me he used up some of the leftover bags of potting soil that were in the shed, “‘cause the directions for planting the tree said to use fertilized soil.” Every living life form needs nutrition. Did you know, termites are one of the only creatures which can get nutrients from wood? They have microbes in their gut which can digest it and make use of the nutrients therein.

I had a dream the other night that I was organizing things in my bedroom. You know something is a problem when you start dreaming about it. But even dreaming about something isn’t enough. We have to decide to take action.

What actions are you taking to keep your life going forward? A termite needs to chew big pieces of wood into small little pieces before they are small enough to where it can digest it. Likewise, we have to chip away at big problems before we can tackle them.

May you take time to enjoy the beauty of this spring, and all the diverse life forms on our earth. May it inspire you to start working towards making your dreams a reality.

Apple Tree

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a current google trend. I heard it has been voted as the top comfort food during this pandemic. Yes, I had some ripe bananas which I didn’t want to throw away, so I peeled, put in my mixer bowl, and kept them in the refrig till I finally had time to bake some banana bread a couple of days ago. Completing my taxes could be moved to a back burner because of the tax deadline extension. Thanks to that extension, not only did I find time to bake some banana bread, I squeezed in time to wash the windows out in our sun room. I had fun looking online for and ordering some replacement gel cling-ons for the sun room picture window. The old cling-ons had gotten dirty. When I tried cleaning them, they started sticking to my fingers, getting distorted enough that I had to peel some of them off the window and throw away. What a sticky mess! Anyway, back to the banana nut bread. I had so many bananas I decided to make a triple recipe, rather than making a double one on one day and having to make more banana bread on yet another day. I had done some quantity cooking before, but it was in kitchens with institutional sized mixers. For this triple batch recipe, I asked my husband to help stir the ingredients in a big cooking pot with a long handled spoon. I had two giant sized aluminum loaf pans, leftover from a window planter craft my Circle of Friends ladies group did many years ago. If I did the math right, each loaf pan held one and a half recipes of batter. I usually used two medium sized pans or so for that amount of batter. Something about living in this stay at home quarantine and the unstable economy made me think it was prudent to make some use out of those giant loaf pans. To make a long story short, I took the bread out of the oven too soon, such that I ended up having to put the loaves back in the oven the next day when my husband and I had discovered the middle of the loaves were still uncooked. It took much longer to finish baking them than I had anticipated. It would have helped if I had some longer than normal toothpicks. The normal sized toothpicks had come out clean when I tested the doneness of the loaves the day before. What is one thing I have I learned during this pandemic? Being frugal may bring new challenges. In the words of my social media consultant, Peter, (way younger than me, who was trying to teach me how to get around in Instagram today, and I accidentally sent someone a picture of a cat), “It’s a learning curve.”

Cadie the cat

I have a bunny craft that my mom made. It is a bunny made out of construction paper. It’s paws wrap around a 1-1/2 inch paper soufflé cup which may be used for holding party favors, jelly beans and such. I’ve held onto this craft for many years. To me, it is a piece of a picture of my mom, something by which I can remember her. It is a sample of her creative ability. I should have kept it in a box were it would haveBunny been better preserved, but alas, that is not the case.  I kept it in a small basket by my kitchen phone which is not far from the kitchen sink, unfortunately, close enough to have gotten sprays of water on it occasionally. I did move it out to my sunroom not that long ago, to sit on the white wicker shelf I inherited from my parent’s sunroom, along with some tiny flower pots my mom decorated and used as party favor holders at her brother Ken’s fiftieth birthday.

Yesterday I started hunting for the bunny pattern, I vaguely remembered having, for making mom’s bunny craft. This hunt for the bunny involved racking my mind as to where it might be, where I put it, or last remembered seeing it. I looked in a box high up on a shelf in one of my closets which held some craft papers and books mom had given to me. Not being able to find it there got me thinking I might make another Easter craft. That got me started down the rabbit hole of looking for crafts I could make with liquid starch on the Internet. You see, my oldest sister Deb, gave me a half used bottle of Linit starch one day as she wanted to get rid of it and thought I might use it someday on one of my husband’s shirts (which never happened). I thought I would be able to come up with another use for it someday, not wanting to just throw it out. My bunny hunt continued through this morning and the start and middle of this blog.

Creativity can be defined as the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. But one can find creative solutions in all disciplines of life. You cannot create in a vacuum. Some pieces of information need to be there for ideas to be developed. Reading a book or searching the internet can give us some fodder with which to work. Through discussions, debates, and conversing with colleagues all over the world, solutions are more likely to be found. We all have some creativity in us. If you want to test your creative ability, take two minutes to concentrate on an everyday object, such as a spoon. Think of all the ways one might be able to use it. It can be a way of practicing thinking “outside the box”.

I eventually found the bunny pattern my mom had made. Being frugal, she used the back of an Easter card she had received from probably a friend, on which to draw her bunny pattern for making the bunny party favor craft. The bunny is all curled and has faded ink pen and magic marker around its edges. Looking at it more closely, I turned it over and discovered that one can make out the manufacturers writing on the inside of the card. Bunny PatternI would like to conclude this blog with those words in a minute. First I would like to say, may we all find time, even if it is just two minutes, to put on our thinking caps to come up with solutions to the new problems we are currently facing. Also, take time for yourself. If you do have an Easter egg or basket hunt at your home or yard this year, I hope they won’t be as hard to find as my mom’s bunny pattern was for me. I have to admit, the hunt was worth it. Now starts my hunt for 1-1/2 inch soufflé cups.

The surprise conclusion I promised you: “May hope and health be yours this holiday and throughout the coming year.”


Janet and Rainier  Rainier