Pandemic Dreaming: The EOQ of Toilet Paper

Today is my three year anniversary of blogging. I picked up this hobby after early retirement and started off writing about weird little problems. Now weird problems are turning up in my dreams. Some of these quarantine stress dreams have taken me back to old career dilemmas. As a supply chain manager with demanding plant managers for customers, I was warned never to run out of anything! One of the commodities we tinkered with repeatedly was toilet paper. Limits on storage space and variable work forces kept the Economic Order Quantity in constant check. Living and dreaming through this pandemic have taught me that none of the versions of that EOQ formula are relevant. I now know the answer depends on how many cats you have, what brand you are talking about and whether there are suitable substitutions.

Photo by Chris Amaral Published by Avanti Press, Inc.

I could go on, but I won’t. What have you been dreaming about lately?

This One is for You

Featuring Fine Art by Kristine Schneider

Smile, this blog is for you! For those of you missing graduation, prom, birthdays, weddings and other celebrations, this piece is for you. Artist Kristine Schneider occasionally preps her canvases in “Burnt Sienna” and works the color back out through her technique. One example of this is the oil on canvas art deco camera called “Lovely Tonight.” It reminds us that even though we are missing some of these events, we can still celebrate them.

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Maggie’s Shire – Creating A Pandemic Fairy Land

Do you believe in fairies, love creative re-purposing, or like positive stories about how people spend their time? You might be interested in what my fellow third culture friend Miriam Lusk Berry has been up to during this pandemic. In addition to being a nurse, Miriam is a Mom, a daughter who gets to live with her own Mother (rather than be separated) and has a beautiful Grand Pyrenees mix named Maggie. Maggie deserves some credit, for it is her walks that produce the treasures used in creating her “shire.”

I love a good re-purposing story and I love people who pick up trash when out walking. In the case of Miriam, she not only picks up after Maggie, but picks up natural and man made debris to use in constructing fairy houses. I also enjoy learning how people spend their time and find joy during difficult times. Look at this fairy house made of bark, beads, twigs, moss and hand painted styrofoam!

Miriam, a Scotch/Welsh American, was actually raised in Hong Kong and Macau. She remembers studying examples of Chinese cork art as a child and was drawn to the life of miniatures. Her idea was to build some miniature homes similar to the Hobbit Houses of the J.R.R. Tolkien stories. The result was beautiful little fairy houses and bonsai like art. You can buy fairly garden houses and other accessories, but they are ugly and often made of plastic. It’s much more creative to clean up the trails around your house and use the bits and pieces to make your own. Miriam has a love of bead making, and and those are also integrated into the designs.

After constructing the tiny houses, Miriam sprays them with a clear water-proofing treatment and “plants” them in her garden. They are said to bring good luck. So far, they have lasted several weeks through several rain storms. Behold Maggie’s Shire:

Next up on “Project Shire” will be a couple of cairns, some miniature tree swings and stacks of cut logs. Have you repurposed anything lately? What have you been doing to bring new life to old things in your life?

Neighborly Love – Artist Kristine Schneider Has A Message

My husband Mark and I have been walking around our neighborhood daily (sometimes twice) to get outside and work off the lasagna and other home made comforts. Look, there’s another one! Who is making these?

Someone in the neighborhood was making something of their own – huge colorful banners for their yard: A strong blue eyed nurse presenting the word “Love” for World Health Day; the word “Victory” rising up out of darkness with the sun shining its rays onto a garden; a collage of happy images surrounding the words “Find Joy in the Little Things.”

That did it. I had to find out who was behind this. The third banner was the first one I’d noticed that had an artist’s name on it. So I began my social media digging.

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Lessons From 6 Feet Away

We live in Texas. A BIG state. It’s not hard to practice social distancing. We are lucky compared to friends and family in New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco. Still, we are under a stay-at-home order. Our challenge is, which home? We are newlyweds. Plans of consolidating house holds and moving to a new house are on hold while we assess the impact of the pandemic on the market.

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Artistic Wonders of Waste

Having just completed my second full year of retirement and getting ready to marry/combine households, my latest hobby has been trying to purge items from my home without generating waste. I’ve gotten quite good at selling, donating, regifting, recycling and repurposing. My main hobby, however, is travel and I’ve noticed a trend in the use of abandoned items to serve greater purposes.

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The Fabric of Friendship

Real friendship protects intimacy and is sustained over distance. Real art is like a bolt of fabric – a creative, continuous process over time. My art is to write about the creation of art.

My blog was started to write about retirement, but has expanded to include travel, art and anything else that amuses me – such as how much time I’ve been spending with fabric. At the first of several post-retirement workshops (three of which were dedicated to fabric) I made this painted silk scarf and promptly gave it to a friend. It reminds me of the many old friends I have, near and far, who have stayed close to my heart.

My second fabric workshop was also silk painting, but using slightly difference tools and techniques. This time I travelled across the country to meet with three new friends that I’d met in Molokai. We bonded further over several hours of creating these beautiful ocean hued treasures on the drying rack.

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Creating Purpose From Pain

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl

It’s ok to be sad or mad. Grief and anger are those steaming piles of shit in life that become the fertilizer for your garden. What becomes of your compost heap? What grows in your garden on a cloudy day?

A small reflecting pool at Hui Ho’olana
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