Advice from Pauline

Beginning perhaps on Friday I developed a strong urge not to blog today. Monday is usually my day, but Monday had no appeal any longer. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as if I had anything to say. The news had wrung me dry.

Anything that crossed my mind seemed as if it had already been said in a way that I would never be able to muster with my brain fried, diced, and served.

Then Pauline responded to my comment on her blog The Contented Crafter.

I was looking at a post from you on IG [Instagram] about making elderberry syrup and my phone rang – and I never got back to it. I know you have a very different governmental system to ours and it does sound very hard for all my friends there. Here we have a woman in charge and it’s showing. People and health first. We know it will be a struggle later on when the virus has been held in check, but personally I hope it means we will change our ways of living, our expectations, our emissions, our stuff, our disinterest in those who have less, the generally disadvantaged, the third world countries, the dispossessed peoples of the world. I hope we will plant more trees, use no plastics, clean the oceans and care for our animals better. I hope there will be a new normal and we will embrace the positive in that – whatever it is. In the meantime we will make tasty goodies in our kitchens, from fruits and vegetables grown in our own gardens, to help our own wellbeing – and that of our pets. We will laugh at ourselves and laugh with each other and this will raise our immunity levels. We will strive every day to look for the good things that are being done and enacted and shared – lets walk through this together and share and support and make the world a smaller, friendlier, safer place for a while. I think this will make a great deal of difference. Thank you for coming over Luanne, all the way from Phoenix too – which sounds so exotic to me 🙂 I hope the Gardener is well and all the kitties too. Keep posting – just about what you are making and how you are feeling and what made you happy and laugh, or sad and cry today….. and I will too. xoxo

You see what I mean about somebody else saying it better than I could do. Notice what she wrote at the end: Keep posting–just about what you are making and how you are feeling and what made you happy and laugh, or sad and cry today. WOWSA!!! And she will, too :).

So that is what I am writing about today.

I did make elderberry syrup to boost the immune system of the gardener, the daughter, the future SIL, and myself.

I don’t spend a lot of time or money on “supplements” and other immune boosters or cures, as a rule. Well, not a rule. Haha. When I try something I end up using it once or twice and then it sits in the cupboard. And I don’t usually make it myself. But this time it seemed important to make it myself. That way I know all the ingredients that go into it. It smells quite medicinal when it’s cooking, but the taste was quite good. I used cinnamon and ginger, but I did not use cloves as I am not very fond of cloves.

I felt as if I was channeling my women ancestors while I made the syrup. Caring for my family with my own hands, putting love into the medicine along with the honey.

What else did I make? I made chicken breasts with the lemons from my friend’s tree and the rosemary from my bush. I cooked sauerkraut and, instead of throwing away the juice as usual, we drank it. The gardener’s uncle used to drink sauerkraut juice every day and swore by it as a health drink. It also is supposed to be an immune booster. I admit the cooking of the sauerkraut is just because I love it that way: with natural sugar, paprika, pepper.



I wish I could say that I made some more pages for my fabric Scrap scrapbook, but although I meant to, time got away from me. Trust me, I NEVER don’t have anything to do. I’ve added sitting out in the sun on every day with sun. It’s helpful emotionally and maybe physically. I wrote another poem this week, but it stinks. I made a little herb garden so that I can have fresh herbs without having to run to the store.

I am learning to need a little less, use a little more of everything, and put more thought into all I do.

What made me happy and/or laugh?

My cats, of course. Perry is especially cuddly lately, and I think he senses my anxiety. Pear and Tiger wants to be with me all the time. The other three are their own usual selves. At least I hope they are. I hope they don’t have hidden anxiety. They all give me lots of love and security, and occasionally, make me laugh pretty hard.

My daughter started an Instagram account for her puppy. You can see Riley at rileysblackbook. Now I get a little dose of Riley every day, although I can’t go over to their place in actuality.

Some of the memes and videos on Facebook that friends share make me happy or laugh. The bunny who wants to be a herding dog was one of my favorites this week. See it here: Bunny has been watching the dog herd

Restarting my “fill in the gaps” project for genealogy that I post over at The Family Kalamazoo blog. It forces me to focus, but I don’t have to be as creative as when writing a poem. And these days, I really want to get a rudimentary structure of family history done and sent digitally to all the younger family members. Just in case.

What makes me sad is watching young people crowding the beaches and parks, sassing the police who try to move them along, and putting themselves and everyone in danger. What makes me sad is that my mom lives alone and has to isolate and to keep from going crazy she still socializes with 3 of her neighbors. Who can blame her?

What makes me sad is watching videos from Italy about the patients and healthcare workers. The doctors who came out of retirement to die at the hands of Covid-19.

But the videos of all the music coming from the people make me teary in a bittersweet way.

Another bittersweet for me has to do with the shelter animals. Mostly, I am terrified for the animals as sad reports come in about people abandoning or euthanizing animals out of ignorance. The shelters had to cancel all their fundraisers. And the staff and volunteers have to risk their own lives to work at the shelters, taking care of the animals. There was a bonded pair of senior kitties I REALLY wanted to foster. But it turns out it wasn’t right for us right now. So instead I took on another task for the shelter. I am now “womanning” their Twitter account. So come follow along at Home Fur Good.

How do YOU feel? What makes you happy and sad these days?

Stay safe and keep growing. That’s my new motto.



Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Food & Drink, Nonfiction

65 responses to “Advice from Pauline

  1. A nice post for an early Monday morning. All we can do is make the best of the situation and keep looking forward. That sauerkraut sounds wonderful! Stay safe and keep posting. 😊

  2. That sauerkraut looks good! When I run out of my (homemade) pickled beets for breakfast with my scrambled eggs, I open a jar of sauerkraut and enjoy it cold! Guess I should try something new with it.

    • It was so yummy! You should try this. You add paprika, pepper, sugar, water and cook for some time. I am not a beet person because I hated our school beets. But hubby loves them pickled!

  3. I like your new motto. And thanks for sharing Pauline’s advice!

  4. Thanks for sharing Pauline’s words. I’m used to being home, so life hasn’t changed too much for me, except that I’m not going out to the gym–or on outings to theaters and such. And my husband is here (and cats), so I’m not alone. I know my mother-in-law is lonely. It’s troubling that we can’t see my own mom, but at least she’s safe. All best to you and yours–including the furry ones.

  5. It is right to find worthwhile things to do, and share with others (virtually) during a time that is scary. I am making different recipes also. Lots of frozen fruit for smoothies. . I’m not watching the news but instead finding things to learn and do at home. And the dogs – wish I could foster some but I cannot – I still get out with Dexter and Comet.

  6. What a wonderful post! I feel like you. There is a distraction going on that makes doing anything harder. I worry about the animals too. Of course in the midst of our shelter in place, Mollie had a crisis. My vet was able to give me some meds (through my car window as only cats are allowed in their building) and I was grateful they were there. My nephew’s daughter (who is 40) checked in with both me and my brother to make sure we are ok. I was so touched. I don’t consider myself elder but clearly she does. I realize how fortunate I am. Other than age, I’m not high risk but I have friends who are. Any serious lung issue will kill them. All I do is for them. I am so sorry about the older kitties that need fostering. I hope someone can step up for them. Stay safe.

    • So so sorry Mollie had to scare you! The vets and vet techs are such heroes. The bonded seniors are luckily being fostered, I just thought the situation I could give them would be better until I realized a couple of major issues. I’m sorry you have to worry about your high risk friends. It must feel a bit like being a sitting duck. Awful.

  7. You give us so many things to think about and do. In this life, there really is no room for boredom.

  8. This was a fascinating post, Luanne. It seems you have more than enough to write a super post. You asked how I feel and I have to be honest when I say I’m very upset with the Congress. No matter the party, all are showing the worst side of humanity. You would think with the catastrophic condition of the country today; these lowlifes could at least take the time to work out legislation that might just help some people. Other than that, everything is fine.

  9. How do I feel about these things you’ve commented on? I feel as if we’re twins and you’ve written a blog post using the contents of MY head. The mother living alone, the irresponsible people having beach parties and not caring if they bring a virus back to people who obviously love them more than they deserve, the animals in shelters, animals being put down or abandoned by ignorant, uncaring people…. You’ve said it all for me. I feel the same.

    • I’m so sorry you are anguishing over the same things. Over all I think I’m pretty stoic, but then last night I had a nightmare about social distancing of all things! It’s awful to feel like the presence of others is the enemy, if that makes sense. Are you baking? I hope you have the ingredients. And quilting! XO

      • I’ve been baking our own bread all my grown up life, as my mother did before me. Somehow we will survive this huge (virus) challenge but I think the world will be changed forever because of it.

  10. I am overrun and I just can’t, but I appreciate your post and Pauline’s. Stay safe and sane. <3

  11. Time and again Pauline responds with sensitive eloquence. I am pleased to be her blogging friend

  12. It is hard for me to want to blog right now too (exacerbated by the face I’ve been dropping off lately in general). But I’m so glad you both shared Pauline’s words and added your own. I examined the blueberry bushes in our yard today, and we have berries! The birds usually get them, but it is the sign of life that makes me happy, as did the bunny munching the tender spring grass this morning (thankfully unseen by my dog Evangeline!). Best to you and yours.

    • Oh, so wonderful about the berries! I think nature is the best antidote for the anxious and grieving feelings we all have over this situation. I am finding it difficult to write in the way I usually do as my mind is just prancing all over the place. It’s affecting my sleep a lot, too. Stay safe!

  13. Wonderful post…thank you for sharing Pauline’s post and your own of course! We need each and every ray of sunshine we can get!

    • Linda, we do! And now when I go out into the sun my usually always-outdoors husband says, why are you going out all the time? I think he is inside more than usual, probably so he can watch the news :(.

  14. I think focusing on what is good is necessary. As is sticking to routine – when the world is spiraling out of control, it is easy to get caught up in the pull, the drain, the vortex. But then if we are out of control and out of sight of what is good in our life, if we break with routine and allow ourselves to spin down the drain… we will not have resources left to deal with the calamity if it really does hit us. If.

    It’s understandable that you and the rest of us are anxious and alarmed and concerned. Control what you can, and let go trying to control what you cannot. You will feel more powerful that way.

    That’s my sermon for today.

    Be well, Luanne. and scratch the kitties for me.

    • Thank you, Maggie! Good sermon! The routine is always very very helpful to me. A few things are squeezing out the sides of it, and that is my sleeping is bad which affects how I feel and then this monkey mind. Ugh. You be well, too, my dear!

  15. Awww, thanks for the pingback and all that Luanne. As my friends and family will attest I am much given to handing out advice even when I have trouble taking it myself 😀 I’ve been a bit knocked over by this country’s rapid change from a Level 2 alert to a Level 4 in 48 hours. We will soon be all in lockdown. It made me terribly sad yesterday when I heard the news. This morning I am more upbeat again, but it is a fragile upbeatness if you know what I mean. I shall be posting regularly however and we will ride these waves of ups and downs together! PS I love that you are growing your own herbs – I too have pots of herbs and also herbs on the kitchen window sill now we are heading into winter …..

    • I do know what you mean. My feelings shift a lot. One minute I feel very optimistic, then I do not. Back and forth. And my mind finds it difficult to settle down, which is taking a toll on my sleeping. But I will keep making :)!!! Working on a scrapbook page! XOXO

  16. Great post, Luanne. Please continue to post – I do feel that’s as important as we can do from our own shelters in place.
    Also, the sauerkraut that you cooked looked so delicious I wanted to have a bite! I’m afraid I can’t go with the Gardener on drinking the juice, but it sounds like it couldn’t hurt anything.
    I’ve been trying to keep Women’s History Month alive with my posts to give encouragement to all of us who are trying to manage as women today.
    I hope their stories give encouragement.
    Hang in there, my friend.

    • Oh, I wish I could serve this sauerkraut to you. It was so good. It is gone now ;). Thank you for writing your women’s history month posts. It’s important to remember these groundbreaking women and not forget where we came from as we try to deal with the present and worry about the future. I will catch up as I pull this mind together. Remember kaleidoscopes? That how my brain FEELS.

  17. These days it seems that the virus has really infected our minds and not our lungs. It’s a serious, very serious, distraction. I’m glad you’re being proactive with your immunity and taking the time to make your own recipes. I should get a little more creative – actually managed to find a bag of flour at the store today, hurray!

    I’m still getting a lot of exercise, and thank goodness for the dogs. Now if I could just focus on writing for a change…

    Bless you for helping the shelter in whatever way you can. I need to find some way to give back to my community, too.

    • It helps so much to be helping!
      Congrats on the flour! And the exercise. I am finding it difficult to write and my daughter told me today she’s finding it difficult to write any songs. Our minds are too scattered. It’s too hard to focus. Stay safe!

  18. First and foremost Luanne, I’m going to tell you that Pauline is who I go to for advice and even though we are close in age, she being a bit younger, she is wiser and more grounded. I rely on her strength and wisdom when the going gets really rough. This particular virus responds and feeds on fear. It’s wise to be cautious and take measures to stay healthy but also stay happy. Do not let the fear and anxiety pervade your being. We are also on lockdown. It’s not fun but I do have my daughter working from home and we are making the very best of a bad situation. She is getting time that is usually spent commuting with her water colors. I’m sewing up substitutes for paper towels. I use them because they are heavier for my big coughs. At $7 a roll on my last trip to the store, I opted to skip them. This is a time for all that’s been unseen to come into the light. We are seeing what’s really going on and shining a light on what needs to change. It will get better but the change is often very painful. You are definitely going in the right direction. I’ve never seen an elderberry but heard so much about the benefits of the syrup. Building your immune system is a good thing and keeping your thoughts positive and happy will be the extra bonus. That’s what Pauline says and in spite of diagnosis that said I should be long gone, I’m still here with no further damage to my lungs. The mind can do wonderful things and my doctor is quite surprised. She’s quite the woman and I’m a long time admirer of her grit, creativity, and heart. Keep doing what you are doing. We are all looking for that rainbow at the end of this storm. It will come.

    • That is wonderful that you are able to find some guidance from Pauline, as well. I’m so happy that you have your daughter with you because that has got to help so much. My elderberries are dried, so tiny little things. And as they cook they smell quite medicinal. The taste is also a bit medicinal. You have a very good attitude, Marlene. We will get through this. XOXO

  19. God bless you and your kitties who are taking good care of you!!!

  20. Luanne, your chicken breasts with lemon and rosemary sounds divine! Must try it. Gotta get lemon and rosemary first! 😀

    What I take away from Pauline’s bit at the top is that we will definitely appreciate what ‘normal’ is, after having gone through this and come out the other side… A variation of “you never miss the water till the well runs dry.” Yup. I’ll tell you this: BOY do I appreciate having my boyfriend living with me. If I lived alone, like so many people do, it would be terribly lonely…

    Re our pets, I have to say that Annie knows something’s up. Yesterday she trotted back and forth through our apartment, making little concerned meowing sounds. She seems calmer today, though. I wonder if she didn’t appreciate all the news on TV yesterday. 😉 Today we have the TV off. ENOUGH.

    ‘Salut’ as they say here in French; see you later! <3

    • What you say about Annie! Perry is acting anxious. He is very intuitive and picking up on our feelings though I do try to shelter him. He still thinks he’s a baby because of the way I treat him. The gardener actually cringes about it lol. Yes, the TV is bad. Very distressing.

  21. Glad Pauline was able to lift your spirits and encourage you to continue blogging, Luanne. I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. Blessings during a scary time.

  22. First, Pauline is a treasure. She always knows the right things to say. And she’s the one that introduced me to your blog.
    All of the rest really resonates, Luanne. I’ve had a full range of emotions during Covid-19 time. We won’t come out of this the same, but I I know we will come out of it. And I do believe we could be better for it. i’m not saying it’s a good thing, because it is not. But I believe we will learn from this, just like we have learned from so many other awful experiences. I worry about the shelter animals, too. But many of the ones here are only asking for small donations because they don’t need fosters at this time. I’m reading, gardening, and walking. Soon I’ll be writing—I hope:) Take care. See you around social media. I’ll be the one posting foul-mouthed memes. 🤣😘

    • 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 yes, please do! I enjoy them! Our shelter just announced volunteers can no longer come to the shelter. I know they had to do it. But no way will the cats get enough care because the dogs have to be taken out of their kennels and so are much more time consuming. Luckily we’ve had two weeks of dogs flying out the door. Cats too but not quite as many. But with the shelters closing like this what will happen with the animals on the street? Sorry for the tangent! Kisses to your kitties.

  23. Pauline is good people, and I appreciate her words.
    I can’t get down with kombucha and I rarely have kraut. I rely on apple cider vinegar, especially since I have been on antibiotics for 11 months. My immunity sucks but I ain’t dead yet — THAT makes me happy 🙂 I know someone else who uses elderberry syrup. I cannot deny that elderberries are delicious — I used to drink a loose tea with elderberry and blueberry. I stopped buying it when I returned to full-time work, as I didn’t want to spend time cleaning it up. Of course, now I have plenty of time…
    My pets also make me happy 🙂
    Too much makes me sad and worried, so I’ll skip that for now.

  24. What makes me happy is access to books, movies, and music.
    What makes me sad is not being able to go to church and the number of my students who have lost their jobs.
    I am late coming to this post but enjoyed it so much.
    Keep us posted on you and yours.

    • You too, Rae. We need to focus on love and making thing and reading too! I am reading The Plague. Fascinating! Books, movies, and music! What would life be like without them?! Stay safe!

  25. I’ve noticed a sudden burgeoning of writing from people who have been absent from their blogs. I think these are the times when those of us compelled to write often feel that what we have to say isn’t important, when in fact these are the very times we should be writing!

    • And here you are! I agree with you. My focus is off though. And it is hard for me to write about something when I am going through it. I’m not a diary or journal sort of person. How are you doing? Are you staying home or do you have to go to work?

  26. What makes me happy is reading your blog, and what makes me sad is being away from my writing community (aka WordPress community). I’ve been working at home and that is a major adjustment in part because I’m having to keep a daily log of my “activities.” I’ve even being working longer hours unintentionally so I need to get a grip on that 😉 And although I grew up with sauerkraut as a staple, I never ate it. As a child I was always suspicious of the sour smell and how it looked like finely cut onions (which I hated then). Now I’m curious about making it 😉

    • I’m sorry you are working so much. I bet the cats enjoy having you home. They just don’t want to show it 😉.

      • Thanks, Luanne. I just need to rein my own propensity to do “just one more thing” which is how my work hours lengthen. The kids (as our pet sitter calls them) are definitely getting spoiled with the boost in attention 😉

        • I understand about the one more thing, but the gardener and my pet sitter have it worse than I do. Hence, they always run a little late lol.

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