Day 39 – Sometimes Lucky is better than Smart


AKA – “Bridge was their Passion. Then People started to Die”.

That’s the title of a NY Times piece by Jack Healy published on April 29 – it’s the story of how Covid-19 did a number on a Bridge Club in Denver. Starting with one sick 83 year old (who died), contact tracing showed she’d come in close contact with 100 other people at the bridge club. Funerals, weddings, Choir Practice and family gatherings then provided for an uncontrolled spread of the virus . That Bridge Club became Ground zero for Covid-19 in that section of Denver.

And there – but for Luck – certainly not Smarts – go I.

I love playing bridge – and I have two favorite bridge clubs. For those wondering what a Bridge Club might be – it’s a place that holds regularly scheduled competitive (or not so competitive) games of bridge.

To play bridge at a club, you sit at tables of 4. Trays – called boards – holding the cards are circulated from table to table – and every 3 boards the pair sitting E/W get up and change tables. In effect – every person is exposed to every other person – well under any Social Distancing measure. And worse – the cards are held by every other person sitting in your direction at the match.

Plus – there are always snacks – with folks gathering to help themselves.

To make sure a Bridge Club is a perfect storm for Covid-19 – most bridge players are seniors, many in frail health, lots with compromised immune systems.

So if one person had contracted the disease – every person in the room would have almost certainly been exposed.

So why the Lucky? When I’m in Montreal – I play bridge almost daily at our club – and our club is located in one of the epi-centres for the disease in Montreal.

So why didn’t I get exposed? Because as you know from reading my blog – I was in St. Croix celebrating my husband’s 70th birthday. There’s only one tiny bridge club on the island, and with my kids there – playing bridge wasn’t happening for me. So I just never went.

My last day playing bridge at my club was March 7. Just before the Covid-19 fan hit the fire. Lucky – not smart!

Back to the story by Jack Healy. He reports that the 83 year old woman went to a sectional held at the Colorado Springs Bridge Center from Feb 27 to March 3. Over 150 people were there – and no one was taking any precautions.

And bridge is the ultimate of social games. You snack, you chat, you handle cards handled by other people, you handle the boards, you all touch the machines that record the scores. It’s almost impossible to imagine how a bridge club wouldn’t be a hot bed of Covid-19 infection.

And in the Colorado Springs Bridge Center – our game and our lack of concern cost 4 members their lives, and at least 25 others have spent over a month fighting symptoms of the virus.

So what of the future of bridge clubs? Right now, everyone is playing bridge on line – and our local clubs are setting up ‘Virtual’ clubs so that some income will come in – they still must pay the rent if they rent space.

But in the long run – hand sanitizer isn’t going to work. We’ll all have to wear masks, not come in sick or even with mild symptoms, we’ll have to have on gloves, and I’m not sure how to spread us further apart easily – bridge tables are generally 4’ squares at the most.

My guess – Bridge Clubs may well become a think of the past. And that’s a shame. For many going to the Bridge Club for a daily game gave their lives meaning and structure. Something to do when the weather wasn’t great – or even if the weather was good.

And for those seriously frail – it was safe. You could avoid moving too much by sitting North/South, you could even arrive and depart in a wheel chair. And your friends were there. You could gossip a bit while waiting for the game to start, you could share Grand-kid stories.

Bridge Clubs – RIP – a victim of Covid-19

Signing off to play bridge on-line – The Soup Lady

Day 35 – My Squirrels are wearing cleats


My view includes a long thin section of garden with a 6’ high wooden fence, a stone path way, a bird feeding station, and several ever green shrubs. There are also several large trees.

I mention this so you can appreciate how Squirrel friendly my home is! I have never managed to get an accurate count on the number of Squirrels that call my home – home, but I’m sure it’s well over a dozen

There are certainly several identifiably unique ones. There’s one with the rat like tail – I have no idea what happened to him, but trust me – he’s identifiable!

There’s also the Sex Pot. This Squirrel loves to sit on a fence post and whirl his big fat bushy tail around like a stripper whirling a set of beads. Quite the show, and I’m guessing it’s won him many mates.

I have a pair that love playing tag up and down the trees – they even play hide-and-seek. One will go 4 square against a tree – on the far side from the other one. After a few seconds – the seeker – who I think was peeking – always finds the first one. It’s not much of a game, but they do seem to enjoy it.

But the real fascination in my yard for the Squirrels is my bird feeding station. It consists of a long pole, a RACCOON Baffle, and then right now I have two feeders and a Geranium Pot hanging from the hooks above the Baffle.

For those who don’t know – a Raccoon Baffle is designed to prevent Raccoons from attacking the feeders directly. Fortunately, I don’t have Raccoons in my yard, but I have very very tenacious Squirrels. They can and will do anything that they can think of to get to my feeders.

I admit to wondering why all the effort. The birds gleefully toss the seeds that they don’t want onto the ground – so the Squirrels are hardly starving. But I guess the Squirrels figure that they too should be able to feast from the source.

One time I saw a Squirrel make a flying leap from a branch of a tree about 20 feet above the feeder. He missed. He never tried that again.

Yesterday I saw a Squirrel trying to make his way below the windows on my board, balance on the thin edge that runs along the outside, hoping to get opposite the feeders and from there navigate the 4 foot leap. I really thought he might make it. He got around 3 of the window edges, balancing super carefully and grabbing hold madly. But when he tried to get past the 4th edge, he slipped and plummeted the 4’ to the garden. Haven’t seen him trying again…

But I have my eyes peeled. I don’t think those guys will ever give up.

I have caught them sitting on my porch, glazing at me thru the door – clearly wondering why I haven’t been filling the feeder recently. They are almost as hard to resist as the two Cardinal families that call my yard home, or the very noisy, very large Blue Jays that love to announce to the world that I’ve filled the feeders and all is good in the world.

I shall continue to keep my eyes peeled for Squirrel oddities – but for right now – they are signalling that yet again the feeders are empty.

Hey – not my fault guys – you ate it!

Signing off to fill the feeders – The Soup Lady

Day 34 – Golden Finches are definitely bird brains!


I love feeding the birds – as useless and silly as this seems in the midst of a crisis of this proportion – I still get a serious kick out of watching them eye the feeders, size up their opportunity – then soar or flutter or stumble in.

The Crackles are a nuisance bird – they arrive in flocks and are picky eaters. I think the Squirrels might have them on speed dial, because the pickings left on the ground after the flock departs are enough to keep all my Squirrels stuffed for at least one day.

But the silliest birds have to be the aptly named Golden Finches. They are tiny birds, delicate and brilliantly coloured gold. I was convinced that if I put out a feeder filled with Thistle, apparently their favourite food – they would come.

So I did. I’m as house bound as everyone else – and there’s not much else to do. A friend of mine did the shopping (I’m not supposed to expose myself unnecessarily). I ended up with both Thistle – and a Thistle feeder.

Ok – so I filled the feeder – and fussed around trying to put it in the right spot. I wanted to be able to see the birds enjoying the Thistle, and I wanted the larger bird feeder to be near enough to enjoy the birds there as well.

I was delighted and amazed when the first Golden Finch arrived. He checked out the Thistle feeder. He checked out the larger feeder. And he left without eating.

Foo. But maybe he’ll be back? With friends?

Day later – he does return – alone unfortunately. But this time, he tries the food in both feeders – spurns the Thistles to munch down on the seeds and peanuts in the larger bird feeder.

You dumb bird. I bought that Thistle for you – what are you thinking?

Apparently he’s thinking that the food in the larger feeder is better tasting – because he came back – with a friend – and they both proceed to enjoy the tasty morsels in the larger feeder – completely ignoring my so carefully bought and filled Thistle feeder.

Bird Brains!

Signing off to watch her birds – again – The Soup Lady

Day 25 – I’m a Grannie Nerd…


Seriously – how nerdy is it to just love looking at stats? And I’ve found the best site ever for looking at stats related to COVID-19

Color me happy

So first – some of my favourite stats from this site (Statista.com)- displayed in graphs so they are super easy to understand.

Stat #1 – Ever wonder which sex is more likely to self-isolate? Wonder no more:

Stat #2: This is one of my favourites – they asked young adults – 13-25 – what activities they found helpful – and not helpful while self-isolating. Watching the news was the LEAST helpful – and no where in the list are things like – playing bridge, cleaning their house, making their bed, doing crafts, sleeping … But no surprise – these are kids!

Since I’m not sure that these images are going to show up on my blog – I’m quitting now..

Signing off to look for more interesting Stats – and again that website is Statista.com

The Soup Lady

Day 23 – Is this cabin fever I’m feeling?


I love it when experts come out with something that completely agrees with how I’m feeling – so I read this note in the Gazette (on line of course) and went – Right – I have Cabin Fever too!

As per the Gazette – “cabin fever” is not an actual psychological term. But all that irritability, sleepiness, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus we’re feeling is certainly valid, according to some experts.

“There’s a cluster of symptoms that we see when people are forced to being cooped up for extraordinarily long periods of time,” said registered psychologist Janine Hubbard.

We are creatures of habit, so it’s no surprise that some people are feeling restless, which can manifest in dangerous ways, including risky public behaviour, she added. People who are experiencing a lack of control and stimulation “need to activate some of those endorphins,” she explained, as a way to shake off the lack of energy or motivation.

The feelings of cabin fever are compounded by one key question about around self-isolation: when will it end?

In Canada in general, and Quebec in particularly – things aren’t looking rosy. The newest estimates are at least another month – perhaps 2. I have a friend who has decided that she isn’t going to listen to the negative news stuff – but I’m more of the – if it’s going to be that long – let’s get organized – mentality.

So – here are tips to help cope: (as cut and pasted from an article by Alexander Mae Jones, a writer for CTV News):

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE CABIN FEVER?

The good news is that there are a number of things that a person can do to fight the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

Establish a routine

You don’t have to get up at 6:00 a.m. every day, but keeping yourself on a loose routine of some type — getting out of bed at a similar time, having regular mealtimes, attempting to keep to a shower schedule — will help to keep your spirits up as the weeks go on.

“Having regular ‘work time,’ whether that’s you working, whether that’s your kids doing some schoolwork, whether that’s you tackling a project, (or) building some exercise time (is important),” Hubbard said.

Change your clothes

When you get out of bed, put on something that you didn’t sleep in.

“Get dressed,” Hubbard suggested. “Even if it’s just into (more) comfy clothing.”

Putting on a full suit for a work from home shift might be energizing for some, but don’t worry, it’s not completely necessary — the important thing is just the act of getting dressed at all. Wearing pants in a pandemic is an achievement.

Try to see the sun

If at all possible, getting some time outside can have a huge impact on your mental health.

“It’s amazing how much that exposure to sunlight is going to help with some of your endorphins and your serotonin levels, which are all going to make you feel a whole lot better,” Hubbard said.

If going for a walk makes you feel more anxious because of worries about maintaining physical distancing, just standing on a balcony, in your backyard, or on your front steps for a few minutes could improve your mood.

Be social…

Checking in with others through technology or phone calls is important. We all need social support, and just hearing a human voice can remind us that the world outside of our home still exists.

“If you’re used to having a coffee with a coworker each morning … set up some virtual Zoom meetings or FaceTime where you’re going to have your little cup of coffee together and just be connected,” Hubbard said.

…but take breaks from social media and the news

Staying informed on developments within your country and across the world is important, but refreshing Twitter all day and overloading on horrifying headlines can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Hubbard recommended limiting your news intake to “once or twice a day (from) a reputable news source where you know you’re getting accurate, up-to-date information.”

And when you talk to family and friends over FaceTime or the phone, “try to keep your conversations about things other than COVID. Talk to them about the silly things you’ve been reading or watching on TV.”

This doesn’t mean you should not talk to loved ones about your stresses and how you’re holding up during this crisis.

But if conversations turn into two people repeating every upsetting news article they’ve read in the past two weeks, it could just leave participants feeling worse afterwards, instead of feeling connected.

Try to engage in “active distraction,” not just Netflix

Having downtime where you don’t have to think is important, and watching TV or movies can be great for that.

“But try to include some active distraction,” Hubbard said. “So something that distracts you and relaxes you, but also engages your brain.” 

This could be pulling out a board game if you are quarantining with multiple people, or “doing a puzzle or pulling out an old craft project.

“Something where you’re feeling both relaxed and productive,” Hubbard explained. This can help to take away some of the helplessness people can experience in this time.

Don’t compare your quarantine to others

“It’s really important to remember that this experience looks different for everyone,” Hubbard said. “So yes, while you may have some people who are able to use this as a time for … around the house projects or doing some cleaning … or developing a new skill, there are some people who are just trying to get out of bed every morning and get their kids fed and clothed and trying not to crumble.”

For some, their largest immediate worry right now is boredom and how to fill the days in order to stave off anxiety. But others may have family members or loved ones battling COVID-19, or may be still working on the frontlines, or may have lost their jobs and be preoccupied with financial concerns.

These people “don’t have time for self-development projects,” Hubbard said.

Others may be battling mental health issues strong enough that seeing people post on Instagram about how many new languages they’re learning may not be inspiring, but instead feel like social pressure to be doing better than a person is currently capable of.

If all you can do one day is get out of bed, put on sweatpants and reheat Kraft dinner, that’s still an accomplishment, Hubbard said.

“If that’s what you manage to accomplish, that’s fantastic. Tomorrow might look a little bit different. We’re all going to have our strong days and we’re all going to have our days where we’re not feeling so on top of it.”

Shower!

This one is from me personally. My friends and family are reporting that there is a lack of – well – showers happening. So make being clean part of your ‘cooped’ up routine.

Having already changed my clothes, bathed, and created a daily routine – I’m signing off to go for a walk!

The Soup Lady

Day 21 – I’m getting desperate for laughter – so here’s some we can share!


My Daughter-in-law shared these with me – and I’m sharing with you. And you can feel free to share with your friends.

We all need some laughter in our lives right now.

Did you know that on the Canary Islands there is not one canary? And on the Virgin Isles? Same thing – not one canary there either!

If Cats worked at Home Depot – they’d say: “Welcome – go find it yourself”

I’m glad I learned about parallelograms in Hight School Math instead of how to do my taxes. It comes in so handy during Parallelogram Season.

You drop something when you were younger, you just pick it up. When you’re older and you drop something, you stare at it for a bit contemplating if you actually need it anymore.

One way to find out if you are old is to fall down in front of a lot of people. If they laugh, you’re still young. If they panic and start running to you, you’re old.

Musings of a dog: Look at my mom outside picking up my poop. She had better wash her hands before she even thinks about touching me.

I find, these days, that most of my conversations start out with: Did I tell you this already? Or What was I going to say?

Instead of a sign that says ‘do not disturb’ I need one that says ‘already disturbed – proceed with caution!”

The main function of the little toe on your foot is to make sure that all the furniture in the house is in place.

I finally did it! Bought a new pair of shoes with memory foam insoles. No more forgetting why I walked into the kitchen.

You never appreciate what you have till it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.

Heads up on this one – if you are still pro-Trump – skip to the bottom… But honestly – it’s irresistibly funny….

If Trump were Captain of the Titanic
– There isn’t any iceberg
– There was an iceberg but it’s in a totally different ocean
– The iceberg is in this ocean but it will melt very soon
– There is an ice berg but we didn’t hit the iceberg
– We hit the iceberg, but the damage will be repaired very shortly
– The iceberg is a Chinese iceberg
– We are taking on water but every passenger who wants a lifeboat can get a lifeboat, and they are beautiful lifeboats
– Look, passengers need to ask nicely for the lifeboats if they want them
– We don’t have any lifeboats, we’re not lifeboat distributors
– Passengers should have planned for icebergs and brought their own lifeboats
– I really don’t think we need that many lifeboats
– We have lifeboats and they’re supposed to be our lifeboats, not the passenger’s lifeboats
– The lifeboats were left onshore by the last captain of this ship
– Nobody could have foreseen the iceberg

And my personal favourite ‘Tumpism..”:

– I’m an expert on icebergs. I’ve got lots of friends who deal with icebergs. Some of the best. Really good ice people who know ice and their forms of berginess…

Signing off to go search for more things to laugh about in these troubling and frustrating times – and hoping that you and yours are safe and healthy – The Soup Lady

Day 9 – Laugh a little – it’s good for the immune system


Seriously – I’m sure there is some study out there that proves that laughing improves the ability of white blood cells to fight off COVID-19. Must be right?

In any case – my daughter-in-law has been gleefully sharing jokes related to the epidemic with me – so on the eve of my getting on an airplane (that’s scary) to leave my safe haven (also scary) – I share with you some humour.

What if they close the Grocery Stores? We’ll have to hunt for our own food. I don’t even know where Doritos live!

Like a Good Neighbor – Stay Over There —->

First time in History we can save the world by laying down in front of the TV and doing nothing. Let’s not Screw This UP!

A link to a song that sums it up – Stay the F*ck at Home – so worth a listen!

Thoughts and prayers going out to all those Married Men who’ve spent months telling the wife – I’ll do that when I have the time.

Every few days it would be smart to put your jeans on to be sure they still fit. Pajamas and Sweats will have you believe that all is well.

Now that we have everyone washing their hands correctly – Next week Turn Signals!

Wanna find out who your real friends are? Ask them to borrow a roll of toilet paper!

Yet another great video worth watching – again shared by my daughter-in-law – and trust me this one is really funny – in a serious way: Flatten the curve\

Single man with Purcell seeking Woman with Toilet Paper for good clean fun

Ladies – time to start dating the older dudes – They can get you in the Grocery Store Early

I know that there are a lot more in this vein out there – I saw a bunch that basically made light of all the sports cancelations – implying that men suddenly realized there was a wife in the house.. Like all jokes – funny because they have a grain of truth in them.

True – but still very funny – the Leader of Quebec has decided that during this crisis all stores need to close on Sunday – even Grocery stores. Why? All workers need a day off. (Why am I leaving my island hide-away to go home I am forced to wonder…)

So share any jokes you have here – and remember – Orange Juice and Laughter are great for the immune system.

Be safe

Be healthy

Signing off to spend 25 hours getting from my island to my home in Montreal – all the while keeping social Distance and wiping down surfaces… The world has never been so clean…

The Soup Lady

Day 8 – We must leave our island hide-away


The borders are closing and the flights out of here are getting canceled.

As much as I’d rather hide here on the island – we have just 9 COVID-19 cases on the island – we need to get back to Canada while the getting is still possible.

We had a flight planned that would leave the island around 3:30 in the afternoon, getting us home (via Miami) at around midnight. But the direct flight from Miami to Montreal was an early casualty of the need to cut back on planes flying empty.

Our next option – leave early in the morning – fly to Miami, from there to Chicago, and then home. The idea of spending 4 hours in the Chicago Airport exposed to all those travellers was frankly scaring me to bits – but at least it was just one day.

Now the morning flight from St. Croix has been canceled.

We have to go to Miami and spend the night in a hotel there. Then in the morning – we need to get back to the airport – from there via Philly home.

I called the hotel – who warned us that food service is very restricted – basically carry out only and eat in your room. And there are no services in the hotel – no pool, no sauna, no nothing… and no loitering in the lobby.

On the good news side – they are using serious measures to sanitize the rooms – and I trust them to do what they say.. It’s a very nice hotel, and I think they would make every effort possible to make sure we’re safe.

So that’s the plan.

I’ll report on how it goes when it goes….

Signing off to wish her husband of 50 years a very happy 70th birthday – The Soup Lady

Day 6 – Advice on home schooling – from an Expert!


I read this on one of my absolute favourite sources of interesting news and health info – the Tufts University Newsletter – called “Tufts Now” (google it already) and thought it good enough to share. Enjoy.

The author of the piece is Taylor McNeil – and his email address is at the bottom.

He starts off with a fabulous quote by a British Professor forced to home-school his 6 year old. After 30 minutes – he tweeted – School Teachers should earn a Million Pounds a year for doing this!

Having been lucky enough to ‘home-school’ two of my grand-kids for several years – I share both the pain and the joy of spending hours and hours with a young person. It’s not an easy task – and my best advice is to break it down into small, extremely manageable bits. We can keep focus a lot longer than a 3, 5, 7, you name it, year old. Teachers know that short and sweet and highly focused beats out long, boring, slow paced learning.

In any case – what follows is the text of his article. It’s basically suggestions by a senior lecturer in the Department of Eduction, and I’d suspect taken from a paper. But it does contain some really good ideas for all those parents out there now getting up each morning to the ‘sunny’ faces of their kids – ready to start the day with a lesson. Or two.

“That doesn’t mean there are not things we can all do with our children, said Erin Seaton, a senior lecturer in the Department of Education in the School of Arts and Sciences. From creating new routines to devising project-based learning, she thinks parents can turn a potentially distressing time to an opportunity for new types of learning.

At the same time, she recommends talking with your child about the changes going on in the world. “Take cues from their questions, and respond with honesty and reassurance,” she said. “Seek out support,” she added. “Ask friends and relatives what they are doing to keep busy.”

Here are Seaton’s recommendations about how to help children cope with so much time isolated at home.

Routines are important. In a chaotic and uncertain world, schools can provide a structure that is comforting to a child. Losing this routine can leave children unsettled. Think about when your child will do best with more structured times, and when you need your child to be independent for your own sanity or work schedule.

Invite your child to help you create a routine and try to stick with it. Build in breaks, and if you can, try to find time for your child to go outside. Think about spaces that are best for working and learning—sharing these can be challenging. Try to carve out a corner or counter space for your child to consistently work.

Establish screen time guidelines. Talk through screen time ahead of time, so that your child knows what the expectations are. Keep in mind that unsupervised screen time in a crisis might be scary for young children; have to-go and approved apps and programs a child can access on their own.

“Follow the child.” Italian educator Maria Montessori urges parents to “follow the child”—observe a child’s passions and tailor their education to them. Learning at home can offer children a chance to dig deeply into a subject of their own choosing, from baking to politics, video game design to volcanoes, women’s soccer to activist art.

Focus on project-based learning; help your child to identify a project they can explore deeply and without too much guidance or adult support. Can your child create their own paper basketball court and use statistics to show how they might pick their dream team? Even though they are homebound for now, could they create a travel plan and budget for a new destination, here on Earth or in space? Can they design their own future city, including the laws and policies they might enact? What would it look like if your child tried to map their neighborhood? Could they create a cookbook with favorite family recipes to share with others?

Independence is important. Montessori argued that children need to learn through experimentation and practice and that independence can build a child’s sense of confidence. In my family, there is always a tension between wanting my child to do something independently and the need to rush out the door.

Right now, parents have the gift of time. Allow a young child to practice tying their shoes or an older child an opportunity to solve a puzzle or problem without solving it for them. Likewise, don’t feel as though you need to rush in to fix every problem. Invite children to come up with their own solutions or try things first without coming to you for assistance.

Help with household chores. Inevitably, having children at home is going to create more mess, more dishes, more unidentified sticky globs on the floor and chairs and, in my house, windows. Help your child to identify some daily chores they can accomplish on their own as a part of the routine. Have your child make a box or bag or chart that lists activities they can do when they feel bored or you need them to play independently.

Keep up skills, with an accent on fun. It never hurts to practice basic skills, but allow for children to do this creatively. Playing cards and using dice can be a wonderful tool for reviewing math skills. Cooking offers ample opportunities to apply ratios or measure out fractions.

Reviewing these basic skills never hurts and can strengthen understanding for more advanced concepts, and it does not require expensive materials. Games and puzzles build skills in logic and reasoning, but also in taking turns, planning, and creative problem solving.

Make time for literacy.Reading can mean many things. Children can read directions to a game, read a book to a younger sibling, read a comic, read a newspaper story, read a biography, cut up a newspaper and arrange the words into a poem. They can write a letter to a far-off friend or a nearby neighbor who might need support, or draw a picture of what happens next in a story or movie.

Help your child to process information by asking your child about what they notice, or see, or wonder about, or what they think might happen in a story. Listen to a book online. Watch a video of a favorite author or illustrator talking about their work. Have your child film a stop-motion movie scene with toys or act out a story with their siblings or stuffed animals.

Go easy on yourself. Do what you can. These are difficult and uncertain times for parents and children. Parents will feel stressed, and children will, too. Talk about this with your child, explain how you manage stress, and invite children to help think through ways they can be more helpful or ways you can both make a difference in your own community or family. Skype with older relatives or invite them to Zoom in for dinner one night. Seek out support. Ask friends and relatives what they are doing to keep busy.

If you can, have fun. Build a fort. Have an indoor picnic. Take a walk. Make a pie. Create playlists. Have a dance party in the kitchen. Write funny tweets about how hard this is. Try to find a rhythm or a time when you can get the most work done and maximize this. In a world where children often feel over-scheduled and overwhelmed, try to frame this time as a break from the stresses and pressures children face. Offering children opportunities to go outside or experience unstructured play are valuable opportunities. “Play,” Montessori argues, “is the work of the child.””

Taylor McNeil can be reached at taylor.mcneil@tufts.edu

Interesting reading, eh? And much of it echos what I suggested for Seniors – and really for all of us. Keep busy, Make a schedule. Have Fun. Be easy on yourself. Skype. Viber. Touch Virtual Hands

Signing off to attend a meeting, play bridge, and basically be glad I’m alive. The Soup Lady

Day 5 – Reach out and Talk to a Senior


Do you know a Senior who is trapped at home alone? Reach out to them right now!

As a senior I can tell you that the hardest thing about being stuck at home is the loneliness. Seniors organized their lives to keep busy. Volunteering, playing bridge, going shopping, visiting the bank – even just walking the mall – our lives are kept organized by our schedules.

And the effect of being ‘home bound’ is to lose our schedule. My BFF – the Intrepid Traveler – is an wonderful example of how a Senior organizes her life. She volunteers at a host of different places – including two museums as a docent (volunteer guide), and also does Meals on Wheels. Her normal schedule includes swims at the Y, walks to get groceries and the like, and of course time spent going to the theatre with me. She also takes classes at our local university and volunteers there.

Expect for Meals on Wheels – all of that has ground to a halt in Montreal. No Theatre, No Museums, No shopping except for essentials, No nothing.. Now my friend has alternative resources including her daughter and grand-kids and her husband – and she’s still doing Meals on Wheels which she tells me is taking amazing precautions.

A digression here – Meals on Wheels, for those who don’t know – is a program aimed at feeding the elderly who are shut in. They sign up to get 1 or 2 meals a week which are cooked and ‘plated’ in a community kitchen. Then a team of 2 – a driver and a delivery person – take the preprepared meals to their homes. Generally the delivery person uses the ‘drop off’ as an opportunity to make sure the elderly person is in good spirts. A quick visit does that trick.

But COVID-19 concerns have changed that. Now there are two delivery persons in the car – and keep in mind that most of these volunteers are well above 70 – one to open the doors with gloves, and one to carry the meal. And no more visiting. A knock on the door (gloved hand) – a through the door – are you ok – and off they go.

In the kitchen things have changed as well. Normally the space is shared with a day care, the occasional meeting, maybe a Yoga or Tai-Chi class – but now it’s just the two cooks – staying 6 feet away from each other for safety.

End of digression

As you can imagine – my friend’s life has drastically changed – and she is not without resources. Imagine other seniors who count on their schedules to keep their lives full – now reduced to reading books or playing bridge. I have another senior friend who is coping for now with solitary walks up the mountain if it’s sunny, and a lot of reading. Her computer skills are not up to using the new technology – and she’s alone. She let me know that her daughter is calling daily- which is a help – but her social interactions have completely dried up.

So – got a senior in mind? Reach out now – and set a schedule to contact them regularly – daily if possible, but at least every other day. Even a 5 minute ‘check-in’ will provide them with something to schedule their lives around – and right now – that’s going to be a life saver.

Be safe, Be healthy – keep social distance if you must go out – and wash your hands.

Signing off to call her friends…

The Soup Lady