Day Nineteen – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Friday, April 3 – 19th official day of government’s warnings. 

 

Here’s something different that you may not have tried before – a colorblind test. As you may know, males are more likely to have some colorblindness, but let’s put that to the test and let us know if any of you women out there are willing to share that you too exhibit some colorblindness.
The second is an optical illusion that will blow your mind! Be sure to watch the video at
least until 45 seconds in. If you’re not sold by then, I’ll be surprised.   Somebody has some amazing artistic abilities.
Enjoying Life,
-Ivy

Day Seventeen – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Wednesday, April 1 – 17th official day of government’s warnings. Happy April Fool’s Day!!! Yes, yes, the world can get a little more interesting today, as long as you have someone to prank. I live in a house full of pranksters, but we generally try to spread it out over the year since one day to prank is just sooooo obvious. Whether you’re trying to think of good ideas for a prank or just love watching them, there are a plethora out there. Below are some of my favorites.
One year, I sent my kids to school with lunches filled with pranks. I normally do not send sugary stuff, but couldn’t help myself – I took out the center white stuff in those sandwich cookies and replaced it with mayonnaise. I filled their water bottles with Sprite (again, rarely do I send them with sugar) and labeled it “toilet water.” Calvin was in 5th grade then, so his friends loved it too! He still talks about it to this day. I think he’s secretly hoping I’ll send him with sugary stuff again!
Others have great prank ideas and it’s not too late to do something to a loved one today, so get crackin’!
This site has great ideas that aren’t harmful.
And this one offers a fun video full of ideas to prank your loved ones.
This site shows some cool pranks too. I like the mouse prank, especially!
Another sugary prank that I really want someone to record is pouring Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, and Skittles into a bowl and mixing them together. The Skittles look enough like M&Ms that people are likely to take a handful of this mixture and throw them in their mouths. Imagine that taste – fruity, peanut buttery, chocolate – weird! So, if you’ve got a loved one at home and can get a hold of these sweets, then record your hunny devouring the handful, I’d pay big bucks* to see it. In fact, I’d pay big bucks* to see a recording of any pranks you play on your loved ones. Don’t delay; send ’em over!
Warmest,
-Ivy
*Big bucks refers to really giant male deer. Not sure where I’ll get them, but if it’s what you want…

Day Sixteen – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Tuesday, March 31 – 16th official day of government’s warnings. On with the fun!
It was about 8 years ago, but still amazing to watch a space shuttle being moved through bustling Los Angeles. I never tire of watching this!
On a related note, here’s a great video tour of the space station. Suni Williams is fantastic and both this video and the one above are suitable for children. In fact, I would play these for my students during our space/planets studies and it was always captivating…even for us grown-ups.
Enjoy!
-Ivy

Day Fifteen – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Monday, March 30 – 15th official day of government’s warnings. That’s half a month – woah! We’re really doing this!
Today’s agenda includes Bottle, an adorable short (video) that I’m sure you will enjoy. It was shared with me years ago by one of our librarians. They always seem to know the good stuff!
Second, is optical illusions made with shadows.
Both of these would be good if you have kids, too!
Warmest,
-Ivy

Day Fourteen – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

 

 

Sunday, March 29 – 14th official day of government’s warnings. I wasn’t going to post today, but 2 things came up that I thought you might find interesting, so here goes!
First, Environmental Working Group (EWG) at https://www.ewg.org/ is awesome if you’ve never checked them out. They report research and facts and rate cosmetics, water, sunscreen, seafood, bug repellant, and kids’ cereal among other things. They have a link for you to go and type in your zip code to learn about your city (or town) water…with results that are kind of alarming. Also, each year they evaluate the toxicity from pesticides on our produce. Then they rate the produce as the “Clean 15” – produce safer that is usually okay to purchase non-organic, and “Dirty Dozen” – the top 12 foods that are so contaminated, it would be wise to only purchase organic. To learn about these, you can go to their website. I have attached their newest “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” shopping guide with this link here https://static.ewg.org/pdf/EWG_FN-2020_Guide.pdf but they may request you to put in your email address before viewing.
The second item that came up is from my mom. Don’t moms always have great ideas?! It’s a free online course about everyone’s favorite topic – happiness! Check it out below and if you enroll, let me know and we can compare notes as we go, which will probably make us happier. 

Yale’s massively popular ‘happiness’ course is available free online

Happy Sunday,
-Ivy

Day Twelve – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

 

Friday, March 27 – 12th official day of government’s warnings. Today I share about a special boy.

 

It was 12 years ago today. Larry and I decided before 12 years ago to do something we had never done before – adopt a child from Nepal. We never really have been baby people, so we had asked that we be matched with a slightly older child. The first photo we ever saw of this child showed that he was 6 months old. That’s not a child; it’s a baby! But it was too late. We had already opened the picture on our computer and immediately we fell in love, despite his smokin’ pink baby jacket.

 

A month later, we were headed for 3 days of flights and layovers, eventually landing in Kathmandu, Nepal…sandwiched between India and Tibet…Calvin’s birthplace.

 

We embraced Shakti (what they had named him for recovering from pneumonia at 3 days old, shakti means ‘power’ or ‘strength’ in Nepali) and held him, kissed him, and cuddled with him every minute we could. But we could only visit him for an hour a day.

 

What we thought would be a 2-week visit turned into a surprise nightmare beyond anything we expected. Granted, this was a newer thing to allow US people to adopt from this not-so-distant-past of Kingdom rule. Europeans had adopted Nepali children, but adding Americans caused a surge, which was actually needed, as there were many kids on the streets and in orphanages.

 

Our surprise nightmare came in the form of big government changes that didn’t really have much to do with adoption, per se, though they affected them severely. Their government was beginning their first ever democratic-type elections. Prior to this, they had been heavily influenced by the British and also had their own Nepali King, who had been murdered by his brother with hopes for the throne.

 

Due to the circumstances, we were told the wait would be a bit longer than anticipated. We asked how long and no one could tell us. “Go home,” they’d say, “and try not to worry about it.”   – Ha!

 

We hoped we would wait weeks, or at worst, a month. We waited well over 6 months, crying almost every day, as the news of the impending elections upset all things in Nepal a good deal. This Shakti boy was emaciated and we hired a Nepali woman (Calvin’s angel) to go to the orphanage daily and feed and engage with him. At 6 months, we began to think we’d never see this beautiful boy again. We had ceased hearing from our contacts we had made in Nepal, except for our US adoption agency who had very little to say and did not know more than we did. The angel we hired ran out of money we had left her and there was no secure way to send more.

 

9, 10, then 11 months went by. We tried to watch what we could on the news, but there was very little in the US that shed light on lil’ ol’ Nepal’s government developments. At month 11, the Nepali adoption agency Director called and said, “Okay, you can come.” We were elated, but so overwhelmed. So many questions…Is the government settled? We knew they had not had elections yet, but perhaps that was postponed? Had our little boy become a grown man? What size clothing should we bring for him? How long would we be there? And the ultimate question: Would he come home with us?

 

Larry stayed in the US due to work obligations. I took the second trip alone. Nepal is a land of men. Women – especially a white woman – do not go cavorting around, so this I knew would be a challenge when I arrived, not to mention that the city is a maze and I spoke very little Nepali. I braved through it all, knowing I would soon see my son. And this time I would not let him go.

 

Both times, we/I stayed (primarily) with a British woman who had lived in Kathmandu for years. She loved the country and was a blessed relief for so many reasons. She had helpers with whom I became close as well. The Nepalese are a kind and friendly people.

 

It was difficult to understand why the Orphanage Director had given me the go-ahead to return to Nepal. Nothing was any different, and most concerning was that the elections were still approaching. I went to the embassy and they said they want all Americans out of the country now because they are not sure how these first elections will play out. The orphanage director (a real piece of work) kept wavering between telling me to leave the country and thinking I should stay. Fortunately I was not alone. There were a few other US people there adopting from the same orphanage.

 

We – this small crew of US families – went to the Nepali offices to plead, insist, or do anything we could to get them to finish these adoptions. Meanwhile Larry was at home contacting Senators and trying to get things moving on this end. There were around 300 adoptions in waiting – and a very small portion of that 300 were US people. As we understood it, most of those 300 adoptions had been signed off (granted), except for the US folks, perhaps because it was new. We were told repeatedly that it was the US side that was slow, but it was obvious to us that was not the case.

 

We all waited and waited while we’d go to their offices each day and bug them in hopes of them getting so annoyed with us that they would just sign the papers. It was a group of 6 officials, all men in the (ironically named) Ministry of Women and Children who needed to sign. Due to the election, many of them were not in their offices, but instead traveling around the country garnering votes.

 

In the meantime, I was still only allowed to visit Calvin for 1 hour each day. It was torture! But perhaps a little less torture than being halfway across the world, not knowing if I’d ever see him again. Now I was here, but would I bring him home? No one seemed to know.

 

The elections got closer and so did the upheaval. There were people protesting outside the embassy, marches and general uneasiness. There we sat and waited, about 6 families, wondering if we should leave or if it would all work out. It did work out, but it was not a moment too soon. The US embassy usually takes a few days to approve adoption visas, but they rushed it through and Thai Air helped us book a quick flight out of there. My mom came at the tail end of it all, which I appreciated very much. Even at 18 months, he was still a baby to me.

 

We call the day that the officials signed the paperwork Calvin’s Gotcha Day. Some adoptive parents don’t use that term and others don’t necessarily consider it a special day. For him, we do – because of that unexpected nightmare that eventually turned into a wonderful reality.

 

We kept that name they gave him as his middle name. We love the message names have in some other countries and wanted to honor him with that. While Calvin would prefer to be considered a “normal American” I have to go and embarrass him each year by celebrating his Gotcha Day. I used to send him to school with pictures and baked treats to share, which he gradually came to dislike. Now I share with you in hopes that you have enjoyed the story. I wrote a much longer version with details, full of turmoil and drama – oh my! If you’re interested, I can email it to you; just let me know.

 

Incidentally, Arbor also has a Gotcha Day, but her’s wasn’t quite the struggle to finalize, thank goodness! I’ve put a few pictures in this folder if you’d like to see, and I also put the first picture of Calvin and Arbor together when she arrived at our house via the Foster Care System. It is a little blurry because she came to us almost literally bouncing off the walls.

 

Happy Gotcha Day!

 

-Ivy

Day Eleven – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Thursday, March 26 – 11th official day of government’s warnings. Today’s thrills and chills come in the form of photos. Anna Norris shared an amazing gallery of “12 gorgeous photos of Iceland’s icy waterscapes” which are beautiful and reminded me of time we spent in Oceanside near San Diego where we took some amazing photos of California’s not-so-icy waterscapes. I was tempted to add so much more, as our trip across the U.S. involved some amazing scenery, but many of you have already been there and done that, plus I’ll be the first to admit that too much scenery causes me to yawn.

Last, we come back to the kiddo realm. Below are photos of what can be done with some (non-toxic) markers and imagination. This project is perfect while we’re all isolated in our own homes. Your kids can have marker all over their hands and no one but you will see it…unless you snap some pictures of it…and send them to me, please! If you are an adult, I suppose you could jump into this as well. Be careful what you touch once the marker is applied, as it may leave mysterious fingerprints all over the house.
Directly below this is something only people who live in Michigan can do. Thanks, glaciers, for forming a state that looks so much like a hand or mitten!
Image result for draw on your fingers fun
Anna Norris’s photos of Iceland’s waterscapes
Scenery from Schmidt’s waterscapes, mostly Oceanside, CA.
Warm Regards,
-Ivy

Day Ten – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Wednesday, March 25 – 10th official day of government’s warnings. I am enjoying learning what others are doing with this “extra time” – – Jimmy Kimmel said something about looking forward to finishing projects around his home…but then he acknowledged the reality…with kids at home, those projects rarely get done. This is definitely true for our family and if you have kids at home, I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing. If you don’t have kids living at home, are you finding you’re able to finish those projects? Projects or not, I trust you’re finding positive ways to spend this “extra time,” as we all know we can get caught up in a rabbit hole, sucking our time away on Facebook or gaming or whatever it is that captivates your tech interest. Personally, I cannot do Facebook anymore. I found that it was as addictive to me as cheese – haha (no more eating cheese while FBing for me)!
Thank you for replying/posting! I appreciate it, Jennifer, Linda, Diane, & SB. It is so nice to hear from you – especially since I used to see all of you on FB.
Today I share with you a video created from a poem by Valerie Cox called The Cookie Thief. It’s about 2.5 minutes long, and it is GREAT! After that, the Art of Chris Jordan, specifically his By the Numbers sets. They depict some of our largest social, health, and environmental issues in picture/art form. Lastly is an interesting graph. I’ll leave it at that and let you examine and come to your own conclusions.
The Cookie Thief – poem by Valerie Cox
The Art of Chris Jordan – all are cool, but Running the Numbers is my fave *Be sure to click on the image when you’re at the site, as it zooms in/out.
The graph:
Post image
Wishing you sunshine,
-Ivy

Day Nine – Locked Up – Self Isolation

Greetings,

Tuesday, March 24 – 9th official day of government’s warnings. Today’s fun is all about data. Personally, I love charts, graphs, and infographics. It speaks to me better than any long essay. Below are 3 of my favorite U.S. infographics and a link to the World Population Clock, which always amazes me.
I’m having trouble pasting the images from the sites, but the links work fine!
40 Maps that Explain Food in America. This is a bit older (2014), but nonetheless interesting.
33 Maps that explain America – updated in 2019
70 maps that explain America – from 2015, but it’s mostly historical
World & US Population Clock
-Ivy