Liberty Heights Redux!

 

The Liberty Heights series is republished! The first 4 books are now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and other vendors with a very cheap deal, 99 cents each! They are also being offered to libraries but I have no control over the distribution. You have to ask your library about getting a copy. Amazon is talking about paperback but so far it’s just talk. Still, good news, right?

The other books in the series will be coming soon. If you need a cheer up, a light read, a fun read, it’s time to visit Liberty Heights!

https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Store-Elle-Druskin/s?rh=n%3A133140011%2Cp_27%3AElle+Druskin

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/animal-crackers-elle-druskin/1111939207?ean=2940165614675

 

See you in Liberty Heights!

Elle

Stuck in a lockdown? Getting ready for a hurricane?

Preparing for a Lockdown and other natural disasters

 

Rather than talk about writing, I thought this week I would address the ongoing mess that so many are experiencing with Covid. Parts of Australia have been on lockdown for weeks. Sydney is in its 7th week with no end in sight. Half of Australia is in lockdown.  France has instituted a covid pass for entry into any public facility from supermarkets to restaurants. Cases are surging everywhere, even places with high vaccination rates. I’m not going into the politics of this nor public health failings. You can read plenty of that in other places. What I am going to talk about is how to try to get through these snap lockdowns and really the ideas apply to other disasters like hurricanes as an example.

Step 1: prepare. Don’t leave this until the last minute when supplies may run out or be limited. My mom lived in Florida and she was always prepared for hurricanes. She had loads of batteries, all sorts, ready. That’s incredibly useful. Have plenty of flashlights, better than candles since they can create a fire hazard especially stumbling around in the dark. But, battery candles are handy. They won’t shed  a lot of light but will help a bit and they last a long time. I also have two battery powered lamps, another idea from my mom. If you think the power might go out, make sure you have a battery radio and you can get a television too. I had one in the past and might get another one. They are useful for keeping up with the news and anything else you might want to watch. Here’s where those batteries come in handy! A headlight that straps around your head might be handy too, especially in the dark.

Food. Obviously have a good supply of non perishable food. It may include things you normally don’t eat but in an emergency, you’ll be happy to have these things. Fill your freezer and I don’t mean with things like ice cream. I see this all the time. People buying food that spoils quickly—milk, ice cream, etc. I don’t know why. Cook everything in the freezer. Then you can put it back in to freeze. If power goes out and you don’t continually open the freezer door, it will keep for quite a while, meaning maybe two days. Maybe more. It depends. To extend the cooling time, fill the entire freezer. If you have space, fill ziplock bags with ice cubes. You can always use them and if they melt they are clean water supply.

Get barbecue that does not require electricity. You can cook on it if you want a hot meal. As for milk, get the long life or a substitute like almond milk if you prefer. If you are going to buy canned goods, that’s fine but check expiration dates and obviously go for the longest. You might not use them up and you don’t want to have to throw them out later in the year. If you can get pop tops, even better, but make sure you have a can opener. Buy anything in pouches like tuna. Easy to store, no spoilage and easy to carry around.

Talking about power. If I know a hurricane is imminent, two or three days before, I make sure I fill the car with gas (petrol) because if power goes out, using cards may be difficult. Long lines and supply shortages are common. Don’t wait until the last minute. I also do everything that requires power the day before predicted hit. Laundry, dishwasher, etc. That way I start with everything clean. And while it might not save the planet this might be a time when you need to use paper plates and cutlery so you don’t waste water if that is a shortage problem too. Of course, fill anything you can with water in the event that water becomes a problem. Yes, fill bathtubs, containers of any sort (I have an old laundry hamper that I leave in the shower and fill it. It holds a lot of water.) You will need water for drinking, bathing, washing up anything and flushing a toilet. So the more you store, the better. Sure, you can buy it and should in advance but stores run out as panic buying sets in so if you are going to buy, do it well in advance and don’t throw out bottles. You can refill them. I also do anything that requires water early like washing floors the day before a hurricane might hit. Start out clean with everything done. That’s the general idea.

As a side note, I fill a thermos with hot water. If power goes out, I can still have a hot drink. If you don’t have a thermos, this might be a good time to buy one.

Charge everything right up to the last minute. Phone, ipad, laptop, kindle and make sure you don’t leave them on when not in use. It’s a good idea to have an evacuation list too if you have to get out for any reason and make sure the phone and charger, etc. are on that list. In a panic you might grab the phone but forget the charger. I have a backpack ready for emergencies so all I have to do is grab the phone, laptop, kindle and chargers and I’m ready to go.

Combat boredom and woe is me!           

Getting through being stuck inside whether covid lockdown or natural disaster. I have found that planning really helps. Make a list of things you really want to do. This is your chance to try new things. Look at it that way rather than I’m stuck inside. I can’t tell anyone what to do, it’s all about your own personal interests but don’t be afraid to try anything. A few of the things I have done:

Learn a new language. If you have wifi, use an app and start learning a language. It’s fun and most of the apps include speaking and reading. If you do it over time, you will learn. You don’t need to do it a lot, 15 minutes a day but if you are consistent, you will learn. There are heaps of languages on these apps, plenty to choose from.

Practice some exercise that you can do in confined areas. Again, there are apps and videos so if you are afraid of power outages, download some of the videos. You can do yoga in minimal space. Don’t worry if you can’t

do the exercises, adapt and do what you can. Tai chi is another one. And the bonus is you will find them relaxing too. Again, do it daily for a short period of time. More frequent and less time is better than once a week and a long time. Don’t say you can’t, just try it and see how it goes.

Get craft supplies ready. Anything. If you have a knitting project that you never finished, now it’s time to dig it out and get it done. That applies to embroidery, needlepoint, etc. Of course, that would be better during the day time with optimal light but go ahead. If that isn’t your thing, try something new. I’ve never painted, I’m not artistic but recently I bought some water colors and brushes with instructions. First attempt was terrible, second was better. Do I care how it turns out? Not really, not at this point but I’m trying something new and I can see improvement and I like fooling around with the paint and mixing the colors. You never know, you might get good at it.

Read. Well, that should be obvious. I read a tremendous amount all the time and in lockdown it must have doubled at least but it’s a chance to get caught up with reading in my TBL (To Be Read) pile. It’s your chance to discover new authors, new books, so before a storm, download a few or a lot! And have them ready.

I’m sure you know that you can use that time to catch up on movies if you have power like during a covid lockdown. Everyone does but try something you might not have watched before. I recently binged on Hit and Run. Fabulous! So go ahead and binge but even if you love movies, you get sick of that after a while which is why you need other things to occupy your time.

If your power works, do some cooking. Keep it simple if you are not especially experienced. Simple works.  In the past, I’ve used a slow cooker a lot. You can’t go wrong as long as you have enough fluid so it doesn’t dry out and know what you can cook in it. Meat always turns out well because it’s cooking in fluid so long whether you use stock or a sauce that the meat is tender and tasty. Vegetables don’t need as much time unless you want mashed potatoes so just keep that in mind. Of course, you can bake, do other cooking or whatever. Your kids can do it with you so you will all be occupied and you get to eat what you make! So make sure you add lots of those ingredients to the shopping list as part of your preparation.

Dance. Really. You can find loads of videos everywhere. You don’t have to be a dancer. Nobody will see other than your family and they can join you so they don’t roll their eyes! My dance teacher did online lessons during a lockdown. Was it ideal? Of course not. My house is not a dance studio but for some people it really worked. He did give me choreography to practice and that helped a lot. I did that every day and he gave me exercises to do. Again, very useful because I could do it on my own. Yes, I was happy to get back to the studio eventually! And the dancing counts as exercise so go for it!

Home repair. Ok, I am lousy at home repairs. Really awful but if you have any ability, now’s the time to fix that dripping faucet, fix scratches on I don’t know what, etc. And surprisingly, during lockdown I fixed a toilet.!!!!!!! Why? I didn’t have a choice so I had to figure it out. I completely surprised myself so don’t say I can’t do it because you might be able to do whatever it is.

Board games. I know. Hardly anyone has them or uses them much anymore but they are very handy for situations where you don’t want to waste power or don’t have it so it’s always a good idea to have a few around. Even if it’s only a deck of cards and it will keep everyone busy.

Try a new hairstyle. I did during lockdowns. It didn’t matter if it looked awful because nobody was going to see it but me so if you want to try curls or something else like creating a French twist, assuming you have internet, just do a search for a video that will walk you through the process. You just might come up with something terrific and that applies to make up too. Dig out all your make up. Again, if you have access to videos, you can have some fun looking at celebrity make up or iconic looks like Audrey Hepburn and see if you can duplicate it with the step by step process. It might look wonderful. You never know.

Do get dressed. It’s a temptation to slouch around all day in pajamas and sweat pants and it was pretty funny at first to attend a zoom meeting with everyone in pajamas. But, that doesn’t create a structure to the day so get dressed. Try on different outfits. It’s a good chance to see what the heck is in your closet. You can do a Marie Kondo and clear it out or you might find things you haven’t worn in years and you still like them and can fit into whatever it is. It’s like getting new clothes! But get dressed. The real deal. Between that and your new make up and hair you might look really different if you are doing zoom meetings, you still want to look presentable. Trust me on that.

Try to keep some structure. Have designated work hours, break hours, etc. If you don’t know what you are doing that day, you get lost and confused. That’s why it’s important to get dressed, have a list of things you are going to do that day and follow through.

Is any of this fun? Well, again, it depends on you. It’s an attitude so it’s up to you. I found during lockdowns that many of these suggestions really helped people. I made a few short clips of myself dressed in a sixties dress, hat and makeup—remember from above? Clean out closet and find stuff, try new make up and hair??– and sent them to people to cheer them up. It did. And then they got into the spirit of it and made videos too. So we were entertaining each other.

I could say a lot more but I think this is enough for now. You get the idea. So, the key takeaway is:

 

Plan. As detailed as you can be whether shopping for supplies, structuring your day and listing new things to try. Planning makes you feel more in control and losing control like in lockdowns fuels anger and frustrations. Stay in control.

Structure your day. Have a list of things you need or want to do that day. You won’t be wondering what do I do now? I’m bored. And then sit around and eat all day out of boredom. You don’t want that!

Be brave and try new things. Anything. You just might fall in love with something new. You won’t know until you try.

 

I hope this has been of help in some way. And last, attitude. Always look for a way to make lemonade out of lemons!

See you another time,

Elle