The Grocery Store Made Things Less Than Clear

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about COVID-19 directly, and I am standing firm on that for right now. That might change as things in our communities change, but for the time being, I will be casually reporting from time to time on things that are COVID-19 adjacent – like my trip to the grocery store yesterday.


We ran out of bread. This would be easily remedied by a trip to the grocery store under other circumstances, but right now, it’s a pipe dream. But I, dear reader, am a dreamer and a doer. So, I went to the grocery store.

As I walked toward the store, a teenager wearing the store apron, a mask, and gloves was sanitizing the handle on the grocery carts. I stopped and asked myself how many plagues we avoided by sheer luck since this practice appeared to be new. I took the cart closest to me.

I had a list on my phone –

Pause if you have an Alexa device or an Echo device and you aren’t using the Shopping List function, you are missing out on its most valuable feature.

Me. Carry on reading now.

I had a list on my phone which included a few miscellaneous items, bread, and dog food. I had no reason to walk through the produce section, but I did. Why? Because it was stocked to the brim. Completely full of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables. From the looks of the produce section, the grocery stores were getting back into a normal stocking routine.

I was inches away from blowing my entire grocery budget on all of this readily available food, but I stopped myself and remembered that I can only eat so much. I grabbed some Cara Cara oranges and recommitted to my list.

When I rounded the corner and headed toward the bread section, it too was mostly stocked, but this is where things started to feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

A man, I think, dressed in a hazmat suit complete with mask stood in the bread aisle squeezing loaves. A woman across the aisle leaned against the hot dog buns to get at least six feet away from me and Mr. Hazmat. She had the hood of her hoodie tied tightly around her face, plastic gloves, and no mask.

Note here: The coronavirus cannot get in through your ears or skin unless there is new information of which I am not aware.

The canned foods aisle was Mad Max territory. It was bad. No black beans in site. Repeat – No. Black. Beans.

As I went through the self-checkout, I saw an old woman with a dish towel tied to her face, a really fit couple wearing zero protective layers, and a woman around my age leaning into her cart to push it.

This is why it is confusing. It looks like the grocery store stocking system is stabilizing, but it’s hard to ignore the we-are-inches-away-from-Soylent-Green looks on people’s faces when out in public especially in grocery stores.

The new could be sanitized handles on shopping cart, people keeping a safe distance from each other in public places (aka not shoving each other out of the way), and sometimes not getting everything you want and need.

Part of that doesn’t seem too bad.

Impromptu Blog Challenge

Can I blog for 30 Days without missing a post?

I have no idea, but I know if I am going to do this I need some guidelines. Without guidelines, I will most likely start posting pictures of River daily by day three.

To Pinterest!

(5 minutes later)

Okay. Forget Pinterest. Too much information there and too many challenges that involve prompts. Let us make our own rules, yes? Yes!

Guidelines/Rules

  1. Must blog daily between the hours of 4:30a and 11p, because I am an early riser but have been known to stay up late to meet a deadline.
  2. No offering a writing prompt as a blog post. Example of what not to do – Write about an army of chicken nuggets battling fish sticks. Winner takes kitchen! Go!
  3. No prewritten stuff from months or years ago.
  4. No photos only. If you’ve got nothing and want to post a picture, great! Put a paragraph under that mess.

Okay. I think that’s all. I’m sure I’ll add and amend the rules as I go, but for now, I’m into it.

This counts as my first post.

March: A Review – 2020 Edition

March this year has included self-isolation, a 5k, books written by friends, and less than adequate edits of my own books.

Self-isolation

Being at home with zero social obligations has been at once delightful and maddening. It has afforded me the opportunity to take some classes, learn some music and get a little fitter.

5k

Yesterday, I ran a 5k out of nowhere. I felt like I could. I said to myself aloud that I could, and then, boom. I did it. It was amazing.

My attempt to recreate my 5k this evening did not go as planned at all. Turns out running with dinner freshly spread about the bottom floor of your stomach is not a great idea.

Books Written By Friends

I was able to read my friend Annette’s new book this month which was great fun and you should all read it – Click here. My friend Tony released his book to the world this month as well. Both of these events plus all of the other things that Annette and Tony do make them superheroes. End of statement.

Less Than Adequate Edits of My Books

I have done a less than heroic amount of edits on my scifi book and my print copy of A Christmas Rideshare, but that’s okay. I had a couple of off days, because the well of work had run dry. When this happens, it is typically because I’m not farting around enough or exercising enough. I’ve taken care of this. Don’t worry.

How is April Looking?

Well, April is looking pretty chipper aside from the confusion and uncertainty that’s going on in the world. But I cannot fix or control the world. No, no. I must do what I can for myself.

The plan is to finish the edits on the scifi book, make a better cover for said book, finalize the paper back of the A Christmas Rideshare, and run at least two 5ks.

Let’s see what happens.

At Least We Didn’t Cannibalize Each Other

Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash

On April 6th, things will be open again. People will be going back to work, and people will have built up a month or two of toilet paper, cleaning products, and canned food.

I was talking with Tony about this earlier today. He had questions as to what kind of people we’d be when this crisis is over? Will we be better people on the whole? Will the country be kinder? Will the world?

I made a joke about people emerging from their homes squinting into the sunlight and feeling dirt beneath their feet for the first time in a month. But, you know what, I know that won’t happen.

I have never seen so many people going outside since this COVID-19 pandemic. People are doing yard and garden work themselves. People who had given up on mowing their own lawns not only have to do it themselves now (because teenagers are bags of germs), but they want to do it themselves.

People are practicing social distancing in the public parks that are open. They are visiting friends and family outdoors with an appropriate amount of air between them. Communities are hosting fitness events in cul de sacs and dance classes on balconies of apartment complexes.

We are getting back to nature because of this damn virus. Those who are lucky enough to not have the virus are walking more, getting more sunlight, and getting more fresh air.

We are also communicating more. I have used Facetime more in the last week than I have my whole life. I am not the only one. My mother has been using Facetime too.

I have texted my family more often and connected with colleagues via video more often in the last week than I have all year.

We are becoming better communicators in part, because we aren’t working all the time the sun is out. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for day jobs including my own, but it is hard to want to talk with anyone after you’ve cooped up with two monitors and a wireless headset for upwards of eight hours.

Also, let’s talk about the phenomenon of hand washing. Were we, as a people, not washing our hands before?

I’ve never felt safer touching things lately. People are washing their hands constantly, and they are so proud of themselves for it. It’s like we’ve all discovered fire…again.

What I’m driving at is, I don’t know how we will come out of this. From where I am sitting, there will be those of us who emerge from our homes post-pandemic with appropriate amounts of vitamin D, better relationships with our family and friends, and the cleanest hands we’ve ever had. There will also be those of us who have lost people, lost jobs, lost hope. There will also be new survivalists that fill cabinets, sheds, campers with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.

But no matter the group you’re in or I’m in when this is all over, we will all be winners as long as we can say, “At least we didn’t cannibalize each other.”

A Tale of Four Hoodies

How many hoodies is too many? Before I downsized my life, I had upwards of ten hoodies which might not seem like a lot to some of you, but is too many when you are living small and trying to create a uniform.

Currently, I own four hoodies: one pullover hoodie for exercise and pajamas, one zip-up hoodie for exercise and pajamas, one zip-up hoodie for warmth, and one pullover hoodie for warmth and general wear.

The Pullover Hoodie for Exercise and Pajamas aka the Get Your Sweats On Hoodie

This picture was taken by with the FIMO camera app on Android

This is my favorite of all my hoodies, because the fabric is moisture-wicking and a little rough which means it doesn’t pill at all.

The Zip-Up hoodie for Exercise and Pajamas aka Grand Canyon Hoodie

(Currently not pictured, because it’s being washed. Just being honest.)

This hoodie has the added benefit of being sentimental. It was purchased when I took a road trip from Nashville to Nevada. It was the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.

The Zip-Up Hoodie for Warmth aka the Southern Festival of Books Hoodie

(Same as the Grand Canyon Hoodie. In the wash. Will add a picture later.)

This hoodie also has sentimental value as well as functionality. It was purchased the first time my mother attended the Southern Festival of Books with me.

The Pullover Hoodie for Warmth and General Wear aka the Day Without A Woman Hoodie

This picture was taken by me with the FIMO camera app on Android

I missed the first Women’s March. I was scared to leave my house, so I did my part at home sending postcards and letters to my representatives.

Shortly after, the Day Without A Woman nationwide-walkout/stay-in happened. Women all over the world were staying home to protest the wage gap between men and women.

Having always worked either for myself or for industries where this isn’t an issue, I purchased this hoodie and participated by donating my time to some of the women who were at home.

These hoodies have a commonality: They have sentimental value and functionality while fitting into my color palette. Despite this, they don’t exactly match, are heavy on the graphics side and some are ill-fitting.

The Day Without a Woman hoodie and the Get Your Sweats on hoodie fit perfectly. They are the right length in the trunk and arms. They are roomie without making me look ten pounds heavier.

The zip-up hoodies are not great fitting. The arms and chest of the Southern Festival of Books hoodie are snug. If it were a pullover and could be worn as a solo piece, it would work. The Grand Canyon hoodie has a similar issue. The bottom and chest areas are tight.

I found that when I airdry these, they fit much better. To be honest, I get lazy or just forget to do this most of the time.

While I love all of these hoodies and would hate to let any of them go, I am certain that eventually, I will have to replace them.

Until then, I am researching ethic brands and less graphic-heavy hoodies and am leaning toward having only one zip-up hoodie in the future as I tend to prefer the pullover style.


This post originally appeared on The Simple Wardrobe.

Reading Newsletters

I am a sucker for a good newsletter. If I like you at all, I’m in for newsletter – at least, for the first couple.

I tend to subscribe to newsletters the way people shop for food when their hungry.

This morning, I opened my personal email to find 68 emails waiting for me. Only two were important. The rest were updates and newsletters.

I’ve decided to do a little newsletter purge today. This means I’m reading all of these dang newsletters…well, as many as I can stand.

The best newsletters I come across in my inbox will be posted below so you can enjoy them too. Deal? Deal. Let’s do this.

Becoming Minimalist is a clean, beautifully written newsletter for folks were are interested in minimalism and purposeful living. If nothing else, the blog and newsletter are really aesthetically please, so you could check it out just to see how pretty it is.

Just like it says in the subtitle – Politics and culture. The writing in this newsletter is spot the eff on. The voice is clear and casual which I appreciate. If you aren’t into politics, they still have something for you as they often discuss television and movies.

This website is also very pretty, so you should just go stare at it like a creeper.

If you are a writer, you know these guys. Sterling & Stone is Johnny, Sean and Dave, and they have been in this (the writing business) for a while. Their newsletters are excellent. Informative and generous. I give this newsletter 5 out of 5 deadlifts – for Johnny.

There are so many more newsletters to share, but I need to work on something else right now if I may be completely honest with you. Enjoy these for the time being, and I will share the others with you another time.


I too have a newsletter which you can subscribe to you by clicking here or the bones in the sidebar.

In Case You've Noticed The Missing Pictures

Just a heads up, dear readers – I am doing a little experiment with my blog.

If you visit hellothisisbarbara.com at the time that I type this, you will be taken to my Wix blog. At the time that I write this, this website/blog is at hellothisisbarbara.wordpress.com.

So, what the heck am I doing?

Well, I’m poker when it comes to blogs and websites. I just have to mess around with them.

I love my Wix site. I really do. And, as far as site builders go, Wix is the best in my opinion if you are too lazy to build your site from scratch or with WordPress.

As for blogging, WordPress has got it going on. Easy sharing of posts. It’s always clean.

So, I’m going to coexist for the time being. I’m going to keep my Wix site and my WordPress blog.

I’m seeing which one serves my readers and my needs the best. I imagine this will take a while.

In case you’ve noticed the missing pictures…

I imported all of my blog posts from Wix, and there was a glitch with the import of photos and videos inside of blog posts. That is why you’ll notice missing photos from my previous blogs.

I’m less concerned with this at the moment as I am in experiment mode, but I do aim to update the old posts little by little over time.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Self-Isolation: Day Two

Greetings from self-isolation. Where is Self-Isolation: Day One you may be asking? It’s in my drafts section. Turns out, I don’t have an overwhelming desire to chronicle my self-isolation.

I, of course, have thoughts and feelings about the current pandemic, but who doesn’t.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this is the only entry of Self-Isolation documentation you will find here.

I hope you are safe. I hope you are healthy. I hope you aren’t getting mad with boredom. I hope you use this time to make some cool stuff.

Going Live

Hey, friends. At 10a.m. Central Standard Time, I will be going live on Instagram (@hellothisisbarbara) to talk.

No fancy clothing or hairstyles required. I will be present in pajamas and unbrushed hair.

I will be talking about journaling and writing in general.

Feel free to pop in and ask any writing/self-publishing questions you may have.

Keep in mind that I am not consulting during this time, so if you ask a question that requires actual consultation, I will ask you to direct message me for details on how to schedule a consultation and pricing.

Here’s what I plan to talk about if no one is awake enough to participate:

– settling in and updates (minutes 1 – 3)

– my journaling story (minutes 3 -5 )

– art journaling vs standard journaling (minutes 5 – 7)

– journaling vs blogging (minutes 7 – 10)

– dedicated journal vs multi-journal (10 – 15)

– wrap it up (15 – ?)

These times are estimations, of course. It is very likely that these sections will take longer than the allotted time, so be prepared. I can only schedule my own time, so if people have quick questions, it might throw us off a bit.

Okay, so there it is. I’m planning around 15 to 20 minutes, but who knows! Let’s do this!

10a.m. Central Standard Time

Instagram Live @hellothisisbarbara

Free Journaling Course here: https://skl.sh/2SeMZ4L