Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Grocery Shopping and Eating During the Pandemic



I’ve been trying to teach the dog how to say the word “water” but the best he can do is stick his nose down into his nearly empty dish, then give me the evil eye as I sit at my computer nearby. Is he a poor student or am I a bad teacher? Don't know, don't care. I just care that it would be easier if he could talk and not do the Jedi-mind thing he does to me. That's creepy. Anyway, that last half inch of water in his dish is yucky from his long schnauzer beard bringing debris into the house. In the pre-pandemic days the spring cleanup in my yard would be done by now and since it isn’t, with every trip Levi makes outside he comes back with oak leaves attached to his fur. He needs a trip to the groomers but, of course, that's not happening under pandemic lock down. I try to do a body check before he comes through the door but he’s younger than me and he often wiggles his way past me too fast to get them all. I find dried up old oak leaves all over the house. There's a foot deep pile of them in his pen and for some reason he loves to wade into the center of the pile and poke his face deep down inside it, probably looking for bugs. He’s all boy. He loves bugs. 

I hope some of our stay-at-home orders are lifted at the end of the month. It’s so close I can almost taste it and it tastes like hot dogs and Starbucks. I can count on one hand the number of times a year I eat hot dogs. Since my husband died I have one each on the spring and fall trips I make to his home town where I go to his gravesite to dig the crabgrass up around the stone. If I didn’t do it, the stone would be completely covered in no time at all. There's a famous hot dog place in town that my husband and his friends hung around their entire lives and when I’m done at the cemetery tradition pushes me to their pickup window for a dog and chips before heading down to the riverside park. It's a perfect place to reminisce about the olds day when my rose-colored glasses still worked and my future held nothing but fanciful dreams. It’s a peaceful park despite the fact that it’s a busy place with bikers and dog walkers using the trail that runs alongside the river and goes miles in either direction. I pick a bench with my back to the trail and if I’m lucky I’ll get to watch graceful swans at the top of the dam, if I’m not lucky the ducks are never far away.

When you can’t go any place that seems to be the time when you can think of a dozen places you want to go. I’ve only been out of the house three times since the stay-at-home orders started the middle of March. Twice to the grocery store and both trips were creepy. The most recent trip was a few days ago. Still no toilet paper or wipes or pasta and a lot of the shelves were empty. A limit of one per person on eggs, milk and paper towel was posted. Just a handful of mixes for making bread and cake mixes---maybe 10 were left on the 50 foot of shelves allotted for them. I forgot to look for hamburger but I heard that was hard to score and butter was very low. I didn't even need paper towel or butter but I felt compelled to buy them! I had no trouble getting chicken and rib-eye steaks. I spent a fortunate at the store and hope not to go back for 3 weeks. My biggest fear, now, is that we’ll get a spring power outrage and I’ll lose all the food I bought. 

I’ve gained five pounds during the pandemic and my internist, on our telephone appointment, didn’t even ball me out. Still, I felt guilty enough that I bought a bunch of Atkins liquid meal replacements to drink for breakfast. I generally do better resisting comfort foods when I stuff myself full of vitamin and mineral rich foods early in the day. But Atkins, gummies and orange juice is my new pandemic breakfast until I can reign in my appetite for random eating. Fifty-five calories for 4 ounces of OJ and 160 for the Atkins and that’s less than half what I’d have with my usual cereal, milk and fruit…all the more calories to spend later in the day on Oreo Thins. God, I’m in so much trouble with my pandemic eating! I generally even don't buy Oreos unless I'm expecting company under ten but they jumped in to my shopping cart along with wild sardines. Sardines, at least, are a long standing comfort food that I don’t buy often either but the store was out of tuna. It’s like I’m storing fat up on my body for the coming famine. The scare of disruptions in our food chain is getting real.

My plans for this summer were so much different than they are starting out. I wanted to do a lot of walking and dieting so next winter I could replace my entire wardrobe before my move to the continuum care campus that was supposed to happen the spring of 2021. Other than undies and socks I haven’t bought new clothing in probably 2-3 years and my wardrobe is looking shabby, even to me, the queen of putting comfort over style. I was in between two sizes and now I'm not, and I didn't go the right direction.

Levi has been outside enjoying the sun while I’ve been writing this and he’s now doing a spread eagle on my window screen. It’s his version of ringing a doorbell. It often reminds me of one of my husband’s favorite movies, The Graduate. Levi’s spread eagle is so like Benjamin’s at the church window while he was yelling “Elaine!” only Levi is doing his Jedi "Mom!" trick in my head. And I just noticed the screen will need to be replaced before I can open the window unless I want to allow mosquitoes inside to feast on my blood. There’s always something. ©


46 comments:

  1. If storing up fat for the upcoming famine and food supply disruption is a Thing, I'm way ahead of the curve on that one even Pre-Pandemic, so I'm Good and can live off my Fat Reserves for perhaps a Month or more? Miss Priss quit the Jedi Mind Tricks and now has suddenly become very vocal since moving here and also she's taken to pissing on pillows and piles of Princess T's clothing. I suspect she's pissed off that we're Home all of the time and there is a disturbance in The Force? Either that or we don't understand her vocabulary of yowls and she really gotta pee and we all ignored her histrionics to be let out... could be THAT? *Bwahahahahaha!* When I'm Blogging, The Man is engrossed in whatever is on his Big Screen TV and Princess T has her Head Phones on... well, we aren't so attentive to Cat Talk!

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    1. She's still doing the peeing thing? She's old, maybe she does need to go out more often or has a urinary track infection. I hate that our pets can't talk! Levi is pretty vocal too when he wants something.

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    2. Yes, she's Old and perhaps has some incontinence if you can't react immediately. She coughs up more Hairballs than in her Youth too, poor Old Thing! She never was an Inside Cat until we moved out there to Subdivision Hell where too many Native Predators abounded and she would have ended up a Buffet item. So now she got used to coming in at least half the time, so after 4.5 Years of it you can't reverse the practice, she wouldn't understand.

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  2. Oh yes to pandemic comfort food!

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    1. There are so many! And I'm more worried about stockin up on those than other things.

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  3. You know I hadn't thought of it but you make a good point about the over eating of so many. Perhaps it is less boredom and more of a wish to store up reserve fat in case this thing really affects our food supply.
    For some reason I am going the other way but for similar reasons. I am trying hard not to lose. Guess my reasoning is based on trying to ration what I have so I eat less.

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    1. Gosh, I need to take a lesson from your book and think "rationing." Just before this all began I was trying to reduce my pantry. I hate that I've got the pantry stuff again. What too much temptation for a stress eater to have around. I to think the pandemic is bring out something primal is us regarding food and baking becoming a national obsession.

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  4. Jean, why does your summer challenge have to change? If you were going to walk you can still walk even now. You can still diet now too but it is more difficult when you are in the house. I guess I missed that part - sorry. And Oreo thins...never had one, but when I could eat cookies Oreo's were my favorite non homemade cookie. Are they as good as the regular. Not a fan of double stuffed. See I need to know so I can vicariously live through you. I'd kill for charmin and an oreo right now. pitiful isn't it?

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    1. Oreo Thins are better than the regular ones in my opinion. Same taste profile but they are only a 1/3 of the thickness and are only 35 calories. I like the mint thins best.

      As for walking It doesn't take much to discourage me from walking. I hate it. For example: 1)Right now it's snowing, yes, April 22nd. It's got to warm up a lot before I go walking. I've been literally chilled to the bone for weeks, body temperature hasn't been above 96.4 in months. Doctor thinks my thyroid might be off again but doesn't want me in the lab for another month. 2) My neighborhood streets has been like Grand Central Station since the pandemic and that makes walking with Levi harder. And 3) I'm having a hard time seeing my goals right now. Without a new place to move next spring I don't care about having new clothes. I'm tired and I'm standing still. I'm a stress eater. I'm a basket full of excuses.

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  5. I'm sorry that you're so in flux right now. It sounds like you need to get outside in your yard and just feel the outdoors. Moving around in Nature is so helpful, at least to me. We had some on and off snow flurries yesterday, too. Nothing stuck, but it was disheartening. I still bundled up and got outdoors for a bit, almost as an act of defiance.

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    1. Summer seems so far off when we get snow and/or flurries every 4-5 days in April. At least the grass doesn't grow when it's cold which is good since we can't get lawn care service until some restrictions are lifted. Before this latest cold snap I started sitting on my deck reading for a half hour a day, loved hearing the birds and it does help the spirit. But I bundle up just being in the house. Can't wear enough layers to be outside and stay warm when it's in the 30s like today.

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  6. I completely understand about the pandemic eating! Thankfully I still work so that's kept me from gaining pretty much but on the times that I am home my thoughts always go to what can I eat next? I too hope that things start to slowly open up after May 1st. We all need it to for a variety of reasons!

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    1. I've always been a person who kept a limited supply of comfort foods in of the house, never, ever stockpiled like it is now. Hard for me not to stockpile them when so many store shelves are empty and the community message boards are filled with posts of people looking for information on which store has what. Doesn't help that I can't get fresh produce every week like before.

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  7. Yes to pandemic eating! For me, I think it's boredom and anxiety over the housing market/move/etc. I haven't tried Oreo Thins, but I think I will have to now. "I was in between two sizes and now I'm not, and I didn't go the right direction." LOL. I feel your pain. As for this weather...just ugh. I'm so sick of cold, and the forecasts keep saying cool through the end of April. Which AMAZINGLY seems to be coming at the end of next week. Our builder thinks they can resume at the beginning of May, as do the realtors (with new distancing policies, of course). Who knows? We're all living in limbo. And the only good answer is to have a snack. :-)

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    1. We are in similar boats on the anxiety over the housing market/move. The 'what ifs' are so depressing.

      I hate being in between sizes knowing how few pounds it takes to move to one size or the other. I wanted to move down then throw out all my opinions for going up again...you know, like "they" tell you do do but I've never done. Always the fear that I wouldn't be able to afford new clothes if I gained again keeps two sizes in my closet.

      I swing back and forth about the weather being cold or warming up. If it warms back up before my lawn care guy can start it's going to be messing with everyone wanting all of April's clean up done at once and with grass growing up through it. Thankfully, I did pay for a fall clean up so my yard isn't too bad. With it so cold, gardeners don't really have a valid reason to protest they can't buy plants either, which is another plus.

      I can't see how the governor would not let builders go back to work if they have a plan for social distancing and not sharing tools. Fingers crossed for both of us!!!!

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    2. Our builder sent out an update video today and they are apparently also allowed to do some grading, possibly concrete, and planting to prevent erosion on sites that are near water. So that gives them a little leeway. He also said we are one of only two states (MI & PA) that haven't considered constructions essential. That said, I'm glad they aren't unless they add real estate. Because I don't want to own two houses and everyone had to stop showing their houses when the lockdown started. Yes, it's just depressing and stressful. Hope it gets better and more clear for both of us soon. (And I agree re: the temps and gardening. I started in on my gardens and then it just got too cold to do anything - which is OK by me. I'll have a cookie, please. LOL)

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    3. Just saw our governor on TV say that on Friday she's going to have a more detailed plan on who gets to start easing up on restrictions and start back to work. I'm hopeful that will include heavy construction and lawn care and real estate. But she did say that people over 65 can expect to have our stay at home ordered to get extended at "bit" past May 1st.

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  8. We are all in the same ocean, just different boats.

    Oreo thins are my favorite store bought cookie as well! Kate made some dessert using leftover Pillsbury crescent rolls, topped with crumbled Oreo thins, butter and vanilla. Bake and top with a vanilla drizzle. OMG!

    We always have a basic pantry (because my Mom did! ... she lived through rationing) They would buy when non-perishables were on sale so if we got snowed in (Ohio) she could still feed all eight of us.

    I do feel the need for a nice big fast food hamburger ...

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    1. Oh, gosh, now I have to try crescent rolls with Oreos. I've got both in the house.

      I have mixed feelings about eating any food right now prepared by someone other than myself. But when I get over that hot dogs and hamburgers will be on the top of the list.

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  9. I am not eating more but I know some that are

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    1. A lot of people are baking judging by the empty flour shelves. I normally get my flour from online at King Arthur's and I placed an order today, but even they had limits on how many items you could buy.

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  10. Add me to the list of comfort eaters. And you're right that trying to keep away from the supermarket (mine feels downright dangerous) means stocking up on several weeks' worth of foods that I would usually have in very limited supplies in the house. Today, I made a chocolate souffle; this is something I would normally make once a year, and it's the second time I've made one in two months. It's the closest I can come at home to a really decadent restaurant chocolate dessert. When the pandemic is over, we'll all have to go on a communal diet!

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    1. I'd love a souffle about now. I've only made one once in my life...just for the challenge of it.

      I was thinking about the post-pandemic ads people will be writing for diet apps and gym memberships. We ARE all in this together and we'll all get on the diet train when it's over. Stay safe there in Maine!

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  11. Good luck! Sending you hugs and good wishes.

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  12. Hey, I think we all can relate. Meat is going to get scarce; we'll all e vegetarians if the meat packing places keep closing because of Covid. I'm now cutting my wipes in half. I have five rolls of toilet paper left. But for once, everything in my grocery order was there. (I think Rick will be bummed to realize he bought one carrot instead of one bunch).

    I'm with you on so much of this, though I will say I've lost five-seven pounds, depending on which day you ask me. (I have a feeling tomorrow won't be promising). I want Thai food but I don't trust the take-out people to be healthy.

    Oh, and I have to say, Lizzie talks. Not English. But there's no denying what she wants.

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    1. I love Thai food and hadn't realized how often I was picking that up or soup from my favorite local chain. They can say what they want about the virus not transferring through food I'm not taking a change.

      Levi can talk 'cat' too. LOL

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  13. I'll see your 5 lbs and raise ya 10. Thank goodness Amazon is now shipping non-essential items like pairs of pants.

    When there's no people around, I don't care what people think. I didn't realize how much I was ruled by social pressure until this pandemic took it away. By the time I re-emerge, I hope I will adore my fat.

    In late February, I started a food prep delivery service called HelloFresh. A friend coaxed me into it because I'd not yet used my new induction stove. I was scared of it, or scared of confronting my builder if it didn't work. But that's another whole story. I'm cooking incredible meals using scads of olive oil, salt and butter, along with the other ingredients that arrive by mail every week. Oh my, will I ever trim down?

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    1. I've heard nothing but good things about Hello Fresh. But when I looked into it it didn't seem like something you could really make work for just one person.

      I just ordered some pajama pants to wear around the house. I generally sleep in over-sized tee shirts and want to throw the pants on in the morning. There is something freeing about knowing no one will knock on your door to know you're not wearing a bra in the middle of the day. LOL

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    2. I tried the braless thing for a while and discovered I like the way that thing hugs me.

      Oh, yes, HelloFresh is wonderful for one person. The the minimum order is 3 two person meals. I cook the entire meal and save half for a night when a glass of wine feels more attractive than the chopping block. The meals are delicious and very complicated to make. 30 minute prep? Double that. And you'll have a sinkful of pots and baking sheets afterwards. However, restaurant grade meals at $10 each. Give me a jingle if you're interested. I get kickback if I sign someone up. šŸ˜‰

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    3. Doesn't sound like something I'm willing to do until I get a better oven and have left eBay selling in the dust.

      I hear you on the bra thing. I'd like a sport bra kind of thing if I could find one that you didn't have to put on over your head. I'll go commando in the meantime.

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  14. I was introduced to your blog by Deb at the Widow Badass, and I’ve actually been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I feel like I can jump in and comment.

    Just reading about going grocery shopping is enough to make my stomach churn a little. I’m not a people-y person to begin with, but this situation is not helping matters.

    You had my attention at gummies for breakfast. In my world, gummies are cannabis infused. If that is the case in your world too, I like your version of weathering this crisis šŸ˜†

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    1. Thanks for the common, I love meeting people who come to my blog. Under normal conditions of the past, going to the grocery store was something I really enjoyed doing.

      Sorry to disappoint you but by gummies I meant chew-able vitamins. It's the only way I can take vitamins without gagging from the smell and size of them. I also do chew-able sleep aids. Recreational and medical cannabis are legal in my state, though. Come on over. LOL

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    2. Yay! I love it when 2 of my favourite blogging people get to know each other. šŸ˜
      Joanne and I have become friends in real life, Jean. We’ve gone on many an adventure in real life since commenting on each other’s blogs. You’ll like her!

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    3. I'll have to seek her out on your blog because her comment up above doesn't link to her blog. I do remember your adventures with her though. Friendship is truly a wonderful gift.

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  15. Cookies are jumping into my grocery cart too, like never before. LOL! I don't even really like cookies - or at least I didn't before everything went to shit. Oreos too - working through a pack of Goldens now. Mint cremes next. I don't even know who I am anymore. ;-)
    Eggs are hit and miss - I was able to score a dozen this week and felt like I won the lottery. Butter too. Got a pound - yay!
    I don't even bother to look for wipes and am still working through the jumbo pack of TP I got right before the world went haywire.
    All in all, still extremely blessed and comfortable compared to some. I feel like a jerk even mentioning my very minor inconveniences- not complaining mind you, just stating what my new reality is.
    Stay safe, Jean and Levi the Mighty!

    Deb

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    1. I'm not complaining either, just stating how it is and since we all in this together I do find comfort in hearing each other's stories.

      When are you moving? Or is that on hold for a while?

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    2. Looks like end of May if all comes together for me. Waiting to hear if I’ve been approved for an apartment for June 1 occupancy. Wish me luck! It’s been more than a dog’s age (sorry, Levi!) since I have been renting a dwelling.

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    3. Hopefully, by then it will be safer to travel across country. I think it will be.

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  16. We're on the same page when it comes to those Oreo thins. I prefer the mint, too. In my opinion, they have my previous favorite, the Girl Scout thin mints, beat hands down. Despite being a commercial cookie, the chocolate is scrumptious -- they use real cocoa, for one thing.

    We're doing really well now with grocery supplies, When I went to the store yesterday, they had everything I wanted, except for yeast. There was a variety of pasta, fresh pasta, flours, soups, crackers -- all the normal things. There was plenty of produce and meat, too, although my best meat purchase just arrived in the mail. There's a meat market in a town about 75 miles away that makes the world's best sausage. I ordered some sweet chipotle breakfast sausage, and they arrived packed in a styrofoam container after only one day. The shipping was $10 -- can't beat that. Not only that, there was a coupon included for 25% off their homemade tamales. It may be time to gather a few friends and place another order!

    I was glad to see your note just above about your chewable vitamins. I was pondering gummie bears for breakfast, and it just didn't seem like you!

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    1. My gummies are not bears. LOL Mine are "Vitafusion Women's Super-charged Multi-vitamins for Energy, Metabolism, Bones and Immune Support." Long name but they don't smell like vitamins.

      I was just at the store and was going to pass up the Oreo this time and did until I saw an end-cap with new flavors of Oreos. My favorite dessert is tiramisu so I snapped up an Oreo Tiramisu cookies. Should have tried the coconuts instead. I'm a sucker for new stuff. While I was there I bought meat for the freezer. Small businesses are getting creative aren't they. A meat market around here is delivering meats and veggies.

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  17. I haven’t been in a grocery in over a month and don’t plan on doing so for a while longer. Helps that I long ago ran out of cookies, and miniature dark chocolate peanut butter cups I’ve not replaced. I do cheat purchasing an occasional churro when I venture out to a drive thru for their black bean chicken bowl. I, too, hope my refrigerator keeps working and there’s no power outage so my food is preserved.

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    1. I'm more afraid of drive=thrus than grocery stores. I can wash the germs off food packaging, but having low paid workers breathing and handing food that goes directly in my mouth gives me pause. I know they say you can't pass the virus through food but it's my hang-up.

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  18. I think comfort food is very important right now. I find I have been making chicken and dumplings and meatloaf and beef tips and noodles and the like, more than I usually do in a year. Beats drinking bleach.
    I ate an entire package of frosted animal cookies yesterday. Polished off two bags of m&ms two days ago. There is more, but you get the idea. It's from listening to the news.
    I have several pairs of fleece pajamas and just love them. So much warmer than cotton, yet lightweight. Cotton will always be cold. I also have a pair of alpaca wool socks. They were $35.00 and worth every nickel. Montana can be cold but I have learned how to dress. If I go out, I wear a bra. Otherwise I do not. If someone dropped by without calling first they would be shocked into never doing it again!

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    1. I really hate people who just stop by without calling first, not that it happens often. Even ten minutes will do me for advanced warning. I'm worried most that I'll get so used to being bra-less that I'll forget and go out that way after all this is over.

      Well, our dear president sounds like he's love to have us do shots with bleach or mainline Lysol.

      I love flannel night gowns.

      At least your comfort foods are sugar loaded like most of mine. But just reminded me that I have some animal crackers left over from Halloween that I need to eat. LOL I hand them out to the babies.

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