About brandib1977

I'm a single gal living in rural Appalachia. I have a job that keeps me busy and a to-do list so long I'll never see the end. Adventures- both big and small- are an important part of my life. Since I don’t even have a houseplant depending on me right now, I’m free to do basically whatever I please. This blog tells some of those stories. Life is pretty darn good!

Street Art

There’s an amazing alley in Rapid City, South Dakota where graffiti artists can legally leave their mark.

It’s a brilliant method to tamping down on graffiti around the city and one of those most surreal places I’ve seen.

There were several pieces that caught my eye. Here’s just one.

Incidentally, I don’t recall reading about this in any brochures. We found it because we parked the car and walked around. When you visit a new place, get out and explore. You never know what you’ll find!

People Watching

Sometimes I wish that it was socially acceptable to just walk up to a stranger and ask what their story is. “Hello sir. You look like an interesting human being and we’re stuck in this airport for a while. Would you mind telling me where you’re from and a little about your life philosophy?”

Since I wasn’t brave enough to do that, I’ll have to settle for making up my own tale. But really, friends – doesn’t he look like he’s been on some adventures?

Adjusting Expectations

Today’s theme is adjusting expectations.

Since the first of the year, I have been living very quietly and enjoying this time of a No Spend Challenge which has allowed for more self care, planning, reading and lots of other activities at home. I’ve been saving money for this year’s adventures too.

Lunchtime walks, upcoming events and the promise of travel have given me something to look forward to. Plans include one of my favorite old(er) movies on the big screen, a weekend trip away, an author talk, and a concert.

And then this little global pandemic hit, containing me to home at least for a while longer. While the last couple of months have been centered on voluntary self seclusion, I’m not thrilled about the involuntary kind.

In fact, I’m downright irritated that my adventure season isn’t starting this week as planned and am already concerned that my summer trip won’t happen either.

That’s why it is time to adjust expectations.

Here in Ohio, the governor has closed schools and banned gatherings of a hundred or more. Limitations have been placed on restaurants too. Churches are cancelled or holding services online. Communities like mine are scrambling to provide lunches to low income kids, and many working parents have no clue what they’ll do with their kids for the next few weeks. Lines are long in stores and people are clearing shelves of everything from toilet paper and medicines to ramen noodles and pizza rolls.

The messaging surrounding this virus has been unclear. We’ve been told to wash our hands and to be smart about germs while we’re watching Italy and China shut down entire cities. No one knows what the future holds but, from what I’m seeing, there’s potential for a lot of bad to find it’s way to this country before it gets better.

From what I’ve seen of my Facebook friends, people seem to be continuing life as usual when it comes to recreation and fun. We’ve closed schools but parents continue to drag their kids to the store, to the movies, out to eat, and basically anywhere else they wish to go because they don’t want to be stuck at home.

When I started my January No Spend Month, I jotted down a list of things to that didn’t involve spending money and most of them were things I could do at home. For me, that list included household projects like organizing kitchen cabinets and weeding my clothes closet. I had a list of recipes to try and a list of fun things too! Taking my camera for a walk, puzzles, movies, books, playing the piano, and long bubble baths are just a few things on that list.

This is a great time to spring clean and to freshen up your house by rearranging things you already own. If you have kids, give them art supplies and ask them to make cards for residents of nursing homes and hospitals who aren’t getting any visitors right now. That should entertain them for a few minutes anyway!

And remember, you’re still able to go outside. I’m making a mental list of work that needs to be done in my yard and there’s a shed that needs cleaned out and torn down.

Yesterday, I experimented in the kitchen, making up my own potato soup recipe, tried making tomato jam, roasted broccoli, chopped up some salad veggies and made a few biscuits. I read, did some laundry, began researching cruelty free companies (this has been in the list for a while), strategized for the week, and watched a little tv.

Exciting? Hardly. But I was busy, productive and completely disconnected from the mass hysteria that has caused so many people to lose their minds. 

It was a good day.

So I am going to dig in and devote this time to getting some stuff done and getting back to basics. If nothing else, I’ll be well read and rested by the time this madness is over.

I have an inner old lady who survived the Great Depression who believes in the Depression era mantra – “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” She sits in the back of mind every day but I’m hoping that I don’t need her services more than I already use her.

Look at the bright side – we may find some wonderful new hobbies, authors, recipes, family traditions and habits! Meanwhile, stay calm, avoid people when you can, and wash your hands. This too shall pass.

And one more thing – our communities are filled with people who are older, who have mobility issues or who have weakened immune systems. If you’re healthy and able and going to be out anyway, offer to run some errands for them. They might really appreciate the helping hand!

Have a good day, friends. It’s all going to be ok.

 

 

Anyone Else?

Anyone else geek out when they see a vintage car on the street? I was visiting a museum on this Winchester, Virginia street when I spotted this car. There was an Australian with a giant camera photographing it as well and we agreed that it was a real gem even though the car needs some work.

I hope that I will always stop and admire vintage cars as they travel through a world that increasingly values the new over the old, the trendy over the classics, and the perfect over the quaintly flawed.

Remembering Vada

The lady pictured above is my neighbor – Vada – my grandmother’s lifelong friend and the kindest person I have ever known.

We will gather today to honor Vada and lay her to rest next to her husband and only child.

She was a grandmotherly lady known for her cooking and kindness. She was famous for her homemade noodles and kept a deep freeze stocked with delicious pies, always ready for the next church dinner or a death in the community.

Vada was one of the last of my grandparents’ generation – a simple country lady who kept a garden, preserved food, quilted, hung out her clothes on the line, and whose home didn’t change in decades.

She was of a generation that had survived so many wars, depressions and recessions that they knew better than to waste anything and were always prepared for trouble. A threat like COVID-19 wouldn’t be a concern to Vada at all because she was always stocked and ready.

Vada was a church lady who loved the Lord. She also loved her pets and was known for feeding strays. She couldn’t stand to see anyone or anything go hungry.

Christmas meant tins of her homemade candies filled to the brim with things like buckeyes, fudge and caramel corn. She loved my homemade sugar cookies so I always made sure she had a supply for Christmas.

She didn’t want her picture taken the day I made the above image. That was several years ago but I remember her saying with a smile and laugh “Oh, Brandi! I didn’t know you would be taking pictures! You don’t want my picture, do you?”

I assured her I did want her picture and snapped a few while she worked her magic in the kitchen.

This moment in time with the blurry hand and the sweet smile is how I want to remember our Vada. This is why we make pictures – so that even when our memories fade, they will never really go away.

Embrace A Black Cat

It’s Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious?

Since black cats are often a symbol of bad luck, I want to take a minute to advocate for them. Not only is my little Scout not bad luck, I consider him my lucky charm.

I wonder sometimes what might have happened to him given how cruel people can be to black animals. Black animals are often the last to be adopted in shelters and at higher risk of abuse.

If you have a chance to adopt a black kitty, I hope you’ll do it. All animals deserve a good life.

Happiness Is…

Happiness is the first subtle signs of spring. The initial hint that spring is near came last week with a chorus of March Peepers serenading us at night. Yesterday it was the bloom of Crocus and Daffodils. Some trees have buds on them and the air is a bit warmer despite the absence of sun most days.

After months of rain and cold, these harbingers of spring give us hope that better days await.

Fortunately, sometimes hope is all we need to get ourselves through.