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?

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?