Tag Archives: #SOL20

Allergic to baths

30 Mar

Lucy and I share many characteristics: we both like to stay home, we both like a cozy blanket, and we both have grass allergies. In fact, we take the exact same medication. My vet told me it was okay, for the record.

My eyes have been itchy and I have had some nasal congestion and sneezing, which, these days, makes me worry a bit. Lucy’s grass allergy manifests in a slightly different way. Her feet and tummy get itchy, and with the itching comes the gnawing and the  accompanying sounds, which are a little gross and a lot loud. The allergy medication keeps her skin under control most of the time, but every March, we have to take things a step further – all the way to the bathtub. And that is where we went yesterday.

I’ve written before about how much Lucy hates the bath. I didn’t have to chase her down this time because, after years of study, I have learned to trick her into entering the bathroom. When I close the door, though, she knows she’s been duped.

It surprises me that she falls for it, because I due her the same way at the vet and when she boards. We walk together to “the door of doom” and then it closes behind her. The only difference between the bathroom and those two places  is that I am behind the closed door with her.

As on any bath day, Lucy stood next to the door, hoping the fickle finger of fate would open it. It has never done so in the past and did not do so yesterday. I scooped her up and  set her in the tub. She acquiesced, as she always does when in this position. The terrible deed was over in ten minutes  – that’s how long the shampoo is supposed to stay on before being rinsed off. Out of the tub, a quick pat down and Lucy tears around the house, trying to regain her doggie scent.

Yesterday, though, she got the last laugh. Shortly after her bath, we went out for a walk. She did not return quite as clean as she left the house.






The selfie struggle was real

27 Mar

The request came early Thursday morning telling us that we

will work to put together a short video clip of Stoller teachers to send a greeting to our families/students. The goal is a bit of a positive boost for our students.

Short turn around looking to make it in the next 2 days and piece it together. The underlining message is we miss you, take care of yourself, cant wait to see you again.
Please take a picture or a 10-15 second video with your kids, pet, in your kitchen, with pj’s on it doesn’t matter. We are just looking for a Stoller cares video.
Have you ever tried to take a selfie with a sleepy senior basset hound? The slideshow below shows the best I could get. I didn’t even attempt a video.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Revisiting an old craft

24 Mar

I love knitting, but I have to admit, I am getting a little tired of the project I am working on. Having seen calls to people to take up a new craft, I decided to revisit an old one.

About 20 years ago, I took a beginning bookbinding/book arts class. I loved it and gave people handmade journals for Christmas that year. Over the years, I made fewer and fewer until I stopped,  until a few years ago. Our principal was retiring and I suggested to my team that we give each student a paper on which they could say something inspirational, and I would bind them together into a book for her. It was simple and beautiful in words and execution.

Since then, I haven’t really done any more bookbinding, but yesterday, I pulled out my books and supplies and looked over what I had.


I decided this was enough to do a practice book to get my chops back. In the meantime, I placed an order with a local, independent art supply store that is still doing online orders. I have plans to do something a little fancier after my practice run. I will let you know how it goes.


Lucy’s nicknames

23 Mar

When I adopted Lucy at age three, I didn’t change her name, despite the hundreds of other dogs named Lucy. I t doesn’t matter because I very rarely call her by her name. There is no real rhyme or reason to the name I choose to call her at any given moment, except for the way it trips off my tongue or works in a sentence.

Here is a list of names I have for her, in no particular order.

Lucy_BathLucy_6th GotchaDayLuce
Miss Moo
Moo Muffin
Little Muffin
Mi Amor
Potty Pants
Princess Potty Pants
Pokey Pants
Princes Pokey Pants
Miss Poo
Pook Muffin
Punkin Butt
Miss Bum
Precious Punkin
Honey Bunny
Bunny Butt



Late night logic

22 Mar

Gavin Newsom’s announcement that all Californians must “stay at home” bothered me more than I cared to admit to myself.

It followed on the heels of an announcement from my school district that all buildings will close and no staff will report. My principal sent an email assigning us an hour to come in and get what we needed. I’d brought home most of what I needed so I didn’t go in. Later in the day I wish I had.

The day before, after an email from our tech person about District Help Desk availability, I emailed her back about my password, set to expire before we are scheduled to return to work. I didn’t hear back until she sent an all staff e-mail on the day people could go in. She told us that the district had added 120 days to our passwords, but, if we wanted to update it we should do so when we come in. My assigned time had passed, and I was waiting for my grocery order.  She gave us some options if we weren’t going in.

 If you do need to change your password before we return to school, please make sure to keep track of your new & old passwords so we can get you all synced up when we are back in school (you will need both your district password to get you into your mail, etc, but the old one will get you into your laptop).

If you aren’t coming into the building, you can also drive close to any BSD location to connect to the network and do the same thing.

I worried about not doing things correctly and then, if and when we decide to roll out an online learning program, I wouldn’t be able to access the files on my laptop. I squelched my concerns and carried on with my day.

I went to bed trying not to think of the terrible times in which we are living.

Sleep serves many functions. One thing it does is help us process information and then make decisions about what to do next. Clearly my brain was working overtime because I awoke at 1 in the morning, thinking of 15 character phrases I could use for my new password.

As I lay on my back counting off  letters a brilliant idea occurred to me: I could go to the school nearest my house as soon as I got up and change my password. I  got out of bed to write some of my ideas down so I wouldn’t forget them in the morning.

Lucy got me up at 4:30. I took her for a potty walk, drank some coffee and was out of the house just after 5:30.

The streets and highway were dark and quiet as I drove the 20 minutes to my school of choice. Please work, please work, I chanted as I pulled into the dark parking lot. I decided that right in front of the office might be the best place for me to connect. As I sat on the cold cement in front of the office, I prayed a police car wouldn’t prowl the neighborhood and see me.I lifted the laptop and saw a strong Wifi icon. My password was changed within a few minutes and I now had 149 days before my next change.

I was home just after six. My street was still dark and it didn’t look as though any of my neighbors were up yet. I felt a little foolish, but my sense of relief was greater.


The new shopping

21 Mar

A few days ago, I went to the grocery store and kept my gloves on the whole time. I was grateful for the stylus on the card reader, so I could punch in my PIN without baring skin. Once home, after wiping down my bags and containers, I took a shower.

I was unsettled by how unsettled I felt about going out.

Yesterday, I ordered dog food online for the first time. Today, I placed an online delivery order with my local supermarket.

I have used this service before. The first time was when I was on crutches and navigating stores was complicated. I have used it a few times since and it has always been very straightforward. When I sat down to place my order, I considered a couple of meals I might make this week, and selected the “within five hours” option.

My phone pinged just after 9 to let me know that Jessica was shopping my order. And then the texts started.

Yellow onions were out, would organic be OK?

She sent me a photo of the empty been shelf, though she did manage to find cans of cannellini beans. Hooray!

She texted me for substitutions for

  • crushed tomatoes
  • coffee creamer
  • cauliflower
  • yellow onions

By the time the app let me know she was on her way, I felt like I knew Jessica.




Keeping Portland Weird

20 Mar

It was a sunny Thursday and, once more, Lucy was just standing on the sidewalk. There was a time that she ran, but nowadays, she simply likes to stand around, sniff, and watch the world.

This particular Thursday, we emerged from social distancing so she could have a potty break and I could get away from the sofa. The sun was warm and I didn’t mind just standing there with her. At this time of the year the sun feels wonderful, and given the circumstances, healing.

As Lucy and I soaked up the sun, I noticed a sound in the distance. Could that be bagpipes?  I asked myself. It couldn’t be Portland’s Unipiper, could it? I wondered as I turned my eyes in the direction of the music. Sure enough a yellow clad figure was at the end of my block. I knew Lucy couldn’t run fast enough for us to see him and I was content to enjoy from a distance.

But then he turned up my street.

Fortunately, a unicycle is not built for speed and I had enough time to dash into my house and grab my phone. On the way, I passed a neighbor.

“The Unipiper is coming!” I called happily.

“Is that a bad thing? You are running away!” he laughed to me as he descended to see the local celebrity.

“Just grabbing my camera,” I called back, just before dashing into the house. I was back in no time and managed to snap one good photo as The Unipiper pedaled past, playing Scotland the Brave.



Zooming in

19 Mar

A call went out from my twin sister yesterday to my siblings and their children.

Hi everyone. Just checking in that everyone is managing in these interesting times! Is everyone okay? Want to do a group Zoom meeting so we can connect virtually and see each other. 😊

There are five of us and 10 children. We are old enough that most of those children have children. Most of them live within a few hours of each other, but, with the pandemic and all, face-to-face visits aren’t an option. For those living further away, this was a way to see people we see infrequently.

When we met last night, we had six screens open and 12ish people present. I say 12ish because a few people popped in and out. Four of the five siblings were there – the first time we’d had so many of us in one place since Mom’s funeral.

Most had never used Zoom. In some ways, it was a bit of a shambles as we started, people talking at the same time, then no one talking. Eventually we developed a rhythm, the same way we are all developing a rhythm as we all stay at home.

We all checked in on one another, told funny stories, talked more seriously about how this is impacting what we do. As we wrapped up we talked about “Zooming in” again in a week, hopeful that maybe a few others would join us. I’ll let you know if they do.


Quiet in the hood

18 Mar

I had an appointment for a haircut yesterday. I wondered if my hairdresser would cancel, but she didn’t. Her salon is about 4 blocks from my house, in the same block as a small Whole Foods, and in a stretch of NE 28th that is sometimes called Restaurant Row.

The weather was nice, so I decided to walk. Although people were out, it wasn’t as busy as it normally is. I decided to take some shots of the signs that have been put up since the governor declared that restaurants could only serve take out or delivery.

This sign was posted on the telephone pole in front of the Whole Foods.


It’s hard to know what this shut down will mean to all these small businesses. My hairdresser talked about how she was torn between staying open and shutting down. Salons have been shut down in Washington and she might now have to struggle with that decision much longer.


17 Mar

I had a moment of panic yesterday.

Do I have enough books? I don’t think I have enough books and the library is closed.

I decided to do an inventory.

I have some books I need to read for the 2021 YALSA Nonfiction Committee I am chairing. There are three books I have to read and four I could read. Others have signed up for them, so I don’t have to.

I grabbed all the books I haven’t read yet and collected them together. I have lots of audiobooks in my library account. Unless this thing goes on for a really long time, I should be OK.



Randy Ribay

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