The really great news for me is that I made it well into my ninth week of lockdown without opening a package of Oreos.
Finding a glimmer of hope and happiness seems to be the key to survival during this time, isn’t it? Celebrating the smallest of successes? Lucky for me, I also have a happy place I can go to, so Oreos don’t have to be my answer. (Besides, the package barely made it into week 10.)
How about you? Do you have a happy place where you can retreat for a physical, emotional or mental recharge during this time? I worry about those who don’t.
Cooking used to be my favorite therapeutic endeavor. For years, I recouped what I’d lost at work during the week by going to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, then I’d cook away the afternoon. Frankly, it was pure bliss. And I still enjoy cooking, which leads me to my next question…
Who has all the orzo? Trite, I know, but ever since a friend introduced me to a great orzo salad a few years ago, this little pasta nugget has become a favorite. And now, it is nowhere to be found. Macaroni, rigatoni, shells in more sizes than we really need, ziti, lots of spaghetti, lasagna and linguine – everywhere. But where’s the orzo? And no, I’m not substituting red lentil pasta balls, chickpea penne, cauliflower anything, or super green rotini, and apparently, neither is anyone else because there is plenty of that to be found.
But it’s all good, because frankly, I’m in the quilt-making-soothes-my-soul phase of life now and when I need a lift or a refuge, I head to my sewing room. I try to walk outside every day and I’ve picked up my reading pace, but still, sewing is what really lifts me.
Early on during these “unprecedented times” (please, please, make that saying go away), I made masks for friends and family and when I was finished, I put my machine away and declared I was done sewing for a while – I wanted to focus on writing. But late one evening, I read a blog posted by a writer friend who chronicled the gift she received from hospice aides who were caring for her mother:
Then they handed me a small, twin-sized quilt, also made by a volunteer. “This is for you,” Colleen said. “A keepsake.”
The quilt broke me. I had held strong for weeks, cleaning up buckets of bodily fluids, being alternately yelled at and praised for things beyond my control, watching the most powerful woman I had ever met become weak and frail. But the quilt broke me. The generosity of the hands that made it, the unasked-for gift from a person I would never know and who would never know me, broke the dam and fat, hot tears streamed down my cheeks.
I cried for three hours.
I wore that quilt around like a cape, draped it over my shoulders as I sat vigil by my mother’s bedside, wrapped in the selfless kindness of a stranger. https://www.loriduffwrites.com/quilt-of-kindness/
The next day, I cut out a new quilt. I needed to be in my happy place.
Lori inspired me and the quilts I’ve been making will eventually go to patients having chemo at our local cancer center. Not looking for anything from anybody as everyone uses their gifts differently, but it has made me feel less guilty for not joining a local mask-making brigade. This week, I’ll finish my fourth quilt. What will happen next? I still have more fabric, even if I don’t have more Oreos. And I’ll fix a bowtie pasta salad for dinner – it will be just fine.
P.S. You may notice a slight change on my web site. I’ve added a section titled Carrie’s Quest, where I’ll be posting fun things about the book, lessons in the process, and what Carrie might be up to. Stay tuned – like Carrie, it’s a work in progress.