Reasons For Gratitude

I took a chance today and posted one of my blog links on my Facebook author page, hoping the ban was a mistake on their part, but nope. This blog is still banned for violating their spam standards. It upset me, though it shouldn’t have. I know what they had done, and to be upset about it yet again seems a bit foolish. Still, not being able to post the link to my daily articles so that people I know on FB can see what I write, coupled with having deleted a couple of posts that were bringing hordes of the wrong kind of people has played havoc with my readership and search engine referrals. (The more people one has viewing one’s blog, the higher one’s ranking in the search engines, and the higher one’s ranking, the more people will view the blog.) Still, the people who want to read my posts follow me, and the people who need to read my grief posts should be able to find me . . . eventually.

In an effort to change my attitude after stopping by FB, I decided to make pierogi. (For those who don’t know, they are a Polish potato dumpling served with sour cream.) The long-drawn-out process — preparing the potato and cheese filling, preparing the egg-noodle dough, filling the dough squares, boiling the dumplings and then frying them — is complicated enough when more than one person is involved in the preparations, but with one person doing it all, it takes hours. But those hours were spent not thinking about anything since mostly it’s muscle memory work, so that was all to the good.

Now I’m back to myself, taking things as they come, which is even better. And for the most part, what comes is pleasant enough. I can’t go out for walks yet, but a bit of research told me that an elliptical is a great exercise for knees, and it just so happens, I have an elliptical — a hand-me down from a brother who didn’t particularly like it. I hadn’t been using the machine because all the boxes that were stored in the old garage are now stored in my exercise room, but I moved things around so I could get to the elliptical. The exercise is not something I can do for more than a few minutes at a time since it’s a much harder workout than simply walking, but it isn’t hurting my knee any, and perhaps it’s doing some good.

One of the things aggravating my knee was the steep step up into the house through the back door. Now that I know that the step was putting too much of a strain on my knees, I use the front door, even though I end up tracking dirt into the living room. (Which is why, obviously, I was using the back door.) There are plans for a new back stoop area that eliminates the steep step, but since it will be a ramp from the back door of the house to the pedestrian door of the garage, it can’t be done until the garage is built.

The garage has been on hiatus the past ten days or so — although the local lumber yard has my garage door, they won’t be able to deliver it until next week (something to do with The Bob — maybe people out sick?) So, with a bit of luck, there will be some progress made on the garage next week.

Meantime, there are many volumes of The Wheel of Time left to be re-read.

So, despite the whole insulting spam thing, there are reasons for gratitude. I’m mostly healthy, mostly well-fed, mostly content. And if I am isolated, at least I am isolated in my own house. And for that I am especially grateful.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Quarantine Chronicles

The restrictions under which we are living, at least for those of us old enough to still be kept at home most of the time, are hard enough without adding dietary restrictions to the equation.

I’ve been doing well eating what I have on hand, using up all the things that have been in the refrigerator or freezer for a while, and buying mostly fruits and vegetables to round out the meals, but today I decided enough was enough. Although I usually don’t take my car out to do my few errands until Friday, today I grabbed my mask, fired up my bug and went to the grocery store. Except for employees, there were only a couple of other people in the store, so I was able to roam the aisles at my leisure looking for enticements.

I threw a small package of flour in the cart — well, I laid it softly in the cart so as not to break the package, but that doesn’t have the drama of throwing. The small package cost the same as the five-pounder, but I figure there was no sense in tormenting myself. I’ll make the biscuits and pierogi, as I planned, and then maybe I can go back to a more wholesome diet, though to be honest, the flour was the least of my splurges. I haven’t had ice cream in ages, but when I saw that a premium ice cream was on sale for less than half price, I figured that was a sign, so that, too ended up in my cart.

On the healthy side, I treated myself to a package of blueberries. I was thinking berries would be a sop to my healthy inclinations, but a small voice in the back of my head is chanting, “blueberry pancakes!”

Of course, considering how lazy I’m getting and how much work it takes to prepare anything, I might not get around to making any of those things. Maybe it will be enough to know that I could.

One thing I bought that I’m not sure I will use right away is yeast. It wasn’t on my list, but there has been a shortage of yeast on the grocery story shelves for so long that it seemed almost a sacrilege not to get it when it was offered. Depending on how disciplined I am and in which direction (ie: disciplined enough to stick to healthy foods or disciplined enough to cook what I bought) I might get ground beef and cabbage next week to make hamburger rolls (aka bierocks, runzas, or berokes).

Meantime, I still have leftovers to use up.

And thus ends this particular episode of my quarantine chronicles.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.