A question I've been dying to ask you: Would you rather all your stuffies come to life, or have your house turn into a chicken? Ooo that's a hard one. I know. My house turn into a chicken. Why? Because the stuffies would be bossy. Really? Maybe. They would wanna play with you all the time. Oh, right. Okay, but the chicken wouldn't need your help? No, it would just be a chicken. Would it be a huge chicken, the size of your house? No that question… your house turn into a real chicken. Oh I see, just a regular chicken. But where would we live if you turned our house into a chicken? Anywhere, cause -- we -- just everything in our house would disappear and there would be a chicken and its place and you could turn your house into a chicken and not into a chicken. And you could paint your house to look like a chicken! Why? Why would we do that? And then it actually turns into a chicken. All right.
I mean, I don't think I do talk on the phone more than I did, like before the pandemic. Maybe if I look at it from like a really really far back standpoint like probably. But, I mean I send -- instead of talking on the phone, I don't really like talking on the phone it kind of annoys me because then when I want to hang up I feel bad. Because like I don't wanna -- I'm not gonna say "I want to hang up. I don't wanna talk to you anymore," because that's just rude. So I have to be like, maybe I have to make an excuse or I have to be like wait for something I actually have to do or be like, "I'm sorry I have to go. I have to do my homework." And I just I feel bad doing that. And so I made up a way to fix that for myself. I just send my friends videos of me talking. If they don't wanna watch it then that's fine, they don't watch it, they don't respond, I totally understand that. And then if they send me a video back and I don't respond right away, they know that I'm doing something but I don't have to say something right back because it's just in like a text message video or like a Snapchat video. So it works out perfectly and it's just so much easier and I don't have to like be like having a full-on conversation. We're just sending each other videos back and forth.s just in like a text message video or like a Snapchat video. So it works out perfectly and it's just so much easier and I don't have to like be like having a full-on conversation. We're just sending each other videos back and forth.s just in like a text message video or like a Snapchat video. So it works out perfectly and it's just so much easier and I don't have to like be like having a full-on conversation. We're just sending each other videos back and forth.
It's Passover Michigan Diaries. I just want to tell you about a little bit. You know, we do the holidays typically just make the food. So like for Passover this year on Friday my dad made matzo ball soup, we had matzo and haroset which is a food I don't eat except on Passover, sort of a traditional food. And I don't have a food to compare haroset to like the diced apples is the main ingredient, a lot of people add nuts like almonds or -- I’m not actually sure. And then there's usually like some cinnamon in there and maybe some other spices. I think there's usually wine in it or grape juice. It's pretty good. So that's just a food that we eat on Passover. My sister did the zoom Seder as well. And so Seder is the ceremony that you do on Passover. It's usually a big festive meal, depending on how you choose to partake it could last several hours. You drink four glasses of wine during the Seder traditionally. Sister did the zoom Seder with a friend and friends family. That was really good to hear, and yeah my teammate apparently did his Zoom Seder. And I mean I assume it's been similarly weird for other people for other occasions, whether it's birthdays holidays just getting together for whatever. You know, normally you cook the common meal when everyone sits around the table and eats and the convention that a lot of people have adopted is that everyone just makes the food themselves and joins the zoom call, or someone orders and delivers to everybody. Just trying to make it work. So yeah that was just a moment of connection I guess, feeling connected to my family and the tradition, feelings of nostalgia. I don't eat those foods all the time. Horseradish is another big one. I actually eat horseradish pretty often, but that's another traditional food for Passover. And I'll leave you with, so the traditional way that the Seder ends is you say next year in Jerusalem. And my sister posted something on Instagram It said, “next year in person” and that hit pretty hard. So, who knows Michigan Diaries maybe we’ll be next year in person.
The other thing I guess looking at your list of questions this week, I was going to talk about were the Yellow Pages. That's a -- certainly to think that some people have never experienced using the Yellow Pages. I know growing up as a kid, we relied heavily on Yellow Pages. You know living on the farm, when my dad needed a repair or something done or even just finding a person you could look their name up in the phone book, The White Pages, which were bound together in the book with the Yellow Pages and find a name and address and a phone number. And today, sometimes getting an address for an individual online can be hard. There are all these sites that want you to pay and it takes a little bit of googling and fishing around to find an actual address. So I missed the white pages and in book form, but people don't have landlines and cell phones or unlisted. So, certainly very very different, White Pages would be pretty thin these days.
One of my favorite memories that I love doing every year, and this was more so as an adult, was going with my father, we have a very large tulip tree in our woods, down in the gully behind the farm. And we would jump on the four wheeler, and go back in the woods to check the tulip tree to see if it was blooming. And riding with him on the four wheeler and spending the time admiring this tree, it's I don't know, I keep -- I should probably try to find out, I think it may be one of the tallest tulip trees in the state of Michigan. It's on a slope, so it's kind of hard to tell how tall it actually is. And it's surrounded by other trees. It's quite a steep slope actually, but I guess I should get some geometry going maybe and try to figure out how tall it is. But we would go down there and try to -- I remember one year picking some of the flowers off and I brought them back to Minnesota with me. I was flying and we had wrapped them up in a tissue and a plastic bag to keep the stems or the branches wet and I had them in my backpack and I carried it on the plane. And so many people commented on the beautiful flowers and asked me what they were and I'm like, "well, they're not -- they're flowers, but they belong to a tree" and they could not believe they weren't an actual flower. And I guess the fact that it was just, y'know, going back there with my father and that was something that we would do together in the early spring. I think they bloom in early May, that we would get to have that to look forward to and do when I would be home in Michigan.
I'm thinking about the year of COVID and now that we're in 2021, and I think I had a very different experience with 2020 because whereas --prior to covid, I had spent a lot of time in my home writing books, so it was a pretty solitary life, sitting and writing and things like that. And the one thing I did was on Wednesdays I worked at our church's food pantry. That was my one day a week doing that. When COVID hit, many of our volunteers are elderly and so when things started locking down, they needed to do so as well. They either had health issues, or they were just at risk, so as the volunteers stayed home, we kind of -- a few of the other volunteers and I decided that we would pull together a very small skeleton team and work the pantry through COVID. We were not going --we weren't gonna shut the pantry because we knew people in our neighborhood were still going to be hungry, and probably more people. So it started with just about five of us and I started going in every day Monday through Thursday for the whole day, not just an afternoon a week, that I was doing. We had to change our entire protocol. Instead of allowing our clients to come in and kind of shop through the pantry, we would help them, we had to just pack boxes and then load them in the car, as they drove into the parking lot, we'd ask them to raise their trunks and then we would put the food in. Mask wearing of course immediately happened, and gloves so that we wouldn't contaminate anything. We would sterilize the tables that we would put the boxes of food on, and everything else in the area where we worked. And so the year of 2020 became a year where I was out almost every day and doing something that was so significant in a year that was so depressing and disabling of all of our brothers and sisters. So I had a year that was full of worth and value. I was excited to get up, and to get to work, and pack boxes.
My favorite tree? Wow, I like apple trees because you know, you can pick the fruit. You gotta an old crabapple tree out by some property I own, and it's probably been there forever since I've known it. I've been there-- my grandparents had bought the property, homesteaded property actually, in the early twentieth--late nineteenth early twentieth-century. I'm not sure that tree hasn't been there forever. But, right now I live in an apartment building in town, and there's some kind of an old -- and I don’t even know what it is, kind of an old raggedy straggly old tree out back. And the summer it shows up with leaves and it's gorgeous and it’s glorious. And I'm sure it has some kind of a name, but I don't know what it is, but it softens the landscape for me in the summer. It kinda blocks the sun from my windows and gives me some privacy from prying neighbors. And so I don't know what it's called, but that's my favorite tree.
Have you found or created any unexpected community or connections in the past year? I think Michigan Diaries is probably it, right? You know, why did I start participating? I was living in a hotel, you know just looking for a way to express myself, thought it was cool to contribute to science. I kind of found a little community it's kind of cool. Also the sea shanties a little bit, I haven't like talked to anyone except Michigan Diaries about that but and family a little bit but they're kind of like, oh cool. That's kind of just, kinda of weird to be part of an anonymous community online.
I also have been spending a lot of me time this whole pandemic. Prior to pandemic, I was always out and about, but being home this -- being home this past year for long periods of time, it kind of let me focus on myself, my mental and physical well-being. I just had a lot of down time to actually focus on me. I quickly realized within like a couple months into the pandemic, that I really enjoy being alone and I prefer being alone and just staying home doing nothing versus going out and about with my friends, family members, and whatnot. So that's something that I've learned about myself. I do think compared to other people, I do think I had a decent pandemic experience. I know a lot of people didn't like the whole idea of staying home this whole entire time. I did ended up losing my job during the whole pandemic, so that was the downside to this whole situation, but I'm trying to make the best of the situation and hopefully I can actually land a job this year.
Today I'd like to tell you what we did to mark the one year anniversary of the pandemic. So we had a fire in our backyard with two other couples that we've met with throughout this pandemic with fires in our backyard. And right now all six of us have had two of the vaccines, so we're fully vaccinated, but we still met in the backyard. We sat around that fire and one by one we went around and we first listed, we just named all the losses that we've experienced this year. And these are some of the losses that I'll relate to you. One of them was, we lost our cruise to Europe. "I lost," one of the people said, "my retirement. I'm a teacher and this is not the way last year, I had to retire being shut down and I couldn't end with my class the way I would've wanted to." One of the couples there lost a sister in law to death, and have to learn now how to be an aunt and an uncle to their children. One of them, one of the couples said the big loss for them was a ninetieth birthday celebration that they had planned for months for their father, and some of their relatives were even coming who live overseas and they had to scrap the ninetieth birthday celebration. One of them said they lost a hundred year celebration for their church and their Dad who is ninety -- in his nineties was gonna be a central figure in that hundred year celebration, and that had to be scrapped. One of the people said "I didn't realize I was so social." And he was relating how he's lost all these opportunities that he's gotten together with friends and he didn't realize he was so social and missed it. One of the men there said, he's lost ensemble music. He plays a trombone and he's lost playing in many groups. One of the participants said they've lost singing in choir, and one of them said they'd lost they really miss watching sports in person. Okay, so then we went around and we said all the things that we've gained this year or insights that we've had this year. And so here's some of the things that I remember people saying. One of them said nature. They've gone on more walks…