Ok World – What Happened?! (Coronavirus)

OK world – what happened?

January 2020 was full of hope, dreams, and longing with a new year on the horizon. Plans to travel, connect, learn and re-energize made the top ten list. And then something else happened instead. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) entered our lives. It sort of creeped in really slowly. And although it existed, it was mostly ignored.

When I first heard about this virus in early January 2020, I thought ‘These viruses happen to other people who live far, far away in places like China.’ Ebola, HIV, Dengue, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, Zika and so many other deadly health threats were distant to me – or so my small mind thought at the time.

I realized that as the COVID-19 virus spreads, our lives become smaller.  Travel is halted. The border between Canada and the US has closed. ‘Shelter-in- place‘ has been issued in San Francisco. Gathering with others has been discouraged and ‘social distancing’ has been encouraged in ways there were unimaginable at the start of March.

All sports events at all levels have been cancelled. Broadway plays, theaters, universities, schools, libraries, ski resorts, meetings, churches, fitness centers, bars, breweries, and casinos have been mandated to close. Colorado has pretty much shut down the state. Drug stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and department stores are still running and are looking to hire workers to help keep the shelves stocked.

Social Disruption initiated

Universities announced they will teach classes online so students are not allowed back on campus for the present time. Businesses want their workers to stay home and work remotely. People are home. They are not driving their cars, using gas, entertaining or socializing. They are hunkering down BECAUSE there is nothing to do.

And that is the goal. Nothing to do will keep people home. Nothing to do will help decrease the spread of the virus. Nothing to do forces us to stay inside and away from others. If there is no one around, there is no one who can give me the virus. And there is no one I can give it to if I have it.

Now we are told it is not about IF it happens but WHEN the virus will happen.

Everything I’ve just written is fact. And most everything has occurred in the past 2 weeks for US citizens.

So what now?

Stay healthy. Here’s my list of things I am planning to do.

Taking Control of My World
  • 1st of all – I refuse to spend my day watching the news. The TV news will destroy my soul and take me down to a very sad place. I watch Norah O’Donnell on the CBS evening news  then turn it off. I also go to youtube.com/news and choose something from that list if I want additional coverage.
  • 2nd – I have a whole list of youtube.com music that I can click on and listen to uninterrupted for 3+ hours. That music helps ground me. Want to breathe in Mozart?  How about relaxing Zen music? Good morning music?
  • 3rd – I plan to make regular phone calls to my family and friends. This is the perfect time not only because they are home with more time on their hands as am I but also because if not now – when?
  • 4th – Since all the fitness centers are closed, I’ll push myself out the door to walk. It’s good for my head, heart, soul and body. And I am practicing ‘social distancing’ in a healthy manner.
  • 5th – I am downloading books from my library using Hoopla and Libby and Overdrive. Also, through my library, I can download videos and movies through Kanopy. I can read magazines using Flipster, learn a language using Odilo or visit a music library.Poudre River Public Library download resources
  • 6th – And most important for my psyche is I plan to incorporate color into my life. Now is not the time for black or white. I am thinking all the colors of the rainbow! Color is such a great mental stimulation for me.

Next year at this time when I read this blog post, I want to close my eyes and remember how well we all got through it. How we pulled together as friends and created togetherness where before there were only strangers. How we reached out and offered help, comfort and compassion when others were struggling.

In the meantime, I will be writing it all down as a way to help me remember it, make sense of it and learn from it.

Loving you, Marge Katherine

Resources –

The Holidays are OVER – Amen!

The Do’s & Dont’s of Social Distancing

Symptoms of COVID-19

Corona Virus Near Me 

Elevator Counseling

I love taking the stairs but when the elevator in the hotel parking garage opened as I approached, I knew there was a reason. I turned to the other passenger and said, “Well, I guess the Universe is telling me to take the elevator.” She said, “Do you listen to the Universe too?”

I told her I did.

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

She had her suitcase and was heading towards her vehicle. “I think what you do is find that one thing that’s beautiful,” I said.  “A smile on a baby’s face. Or the sunrise. Or maybe a sunset. Just find it and focus on that and keep going back to that one thing. And then add one more. When you are in a dark hole, all you can see is shit and darkness.”

I told her, “It’s like if you’re on a diet. You’re not going to make a difference in a day, but in month you’ll start to see change. So, hang on to that feeling of finding beauty everyday for a month, then you will see some light in the darkness.” I wanted to reach over and wipe away her tears.

When she mentioned she was at the hotel for a conference, I asked her what kind of work she did. She was counselor attending a trauma seminar. No wonder she was so messed up. Who knows what sad stories she was dealing with in her world.  For the briefest moment in time, I was able to convey to her through my actions. “Let it all go. I’ve got you.” And I did have her for that very short window of time. Maybe that was all she needed. To be heard. To be not alone. To connect.

Everything about her was raw and vulnerable. I hope she finds some healing and is able to treat herself kindly.

How about if we send her some light? Just close your eyes and send some light and love to this giving person. Will it reach her? Will it make a difference? Maybe it will. I hope so.

 ~~ Resources & Links:

 

 

Day 21 – Gray skies, warm soup

today was one of those rare days in Northern Colorado where the skies are heavy i like people who smileand gray and the humidity is bursting with moisture. we don’t get them often so when we do, I fall into the routine of doing domestic stuff. making soup is the one thing I turn to that helps ground me. I love soup and I usually order it instead of salad when I am eating out. today’s soup was a family favorite – meaning a favorite of mine as a child. it’s a basic chicken soup with a type of pasta called pastina or officially ‘acini di pepe’ instead of noodles or potatoes. it’s my ‘go-to’ soup on days like today. I make one pot and eat it all week-long.

the other thing I like to do on days like today is going to the library. it gets me out of the confines of the house and in a building where other people are mulling about. that’s very important to me because I could easily sit here all day, making soup, baking, reading, writing and having no people interaction. not good.reading gives us a place to go

at the library I checked out the book titled Mercy by Jodi Picoult. I began the book early this month on my way to Carson City and read it on the plane, at my son’s house, and on the return plane. for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere. maybe it’s on the plane?  so, back to the library I went and tada — now I have a good book to read on a rainy day. sweet, right?

well, it’s time to say adieu, good night, farewell, adios and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

sleep well my friends!

Day 17 – Walk and be happy …

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. “The best of all ways to lengthen our days” is not, as Mr. Thomas Moore has it, “to steal a few hours from night, my love;” but, with leave be it spoken, to walk steadily and with a purpose. The wandering man knows of certain ancients, far gone in years, who have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking,–hale fellows close upon eighty and ninety, but brisk as boys.”
–   Charles Dickens

mountain photos

“Above all do not lose your desire to walk.  Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness.  I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.  But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill … if one keeps on walking everything will be alright.”
–   Soren Kierkegaard

Quotes found on The ways of walking

Day 15 – Touch it Once

My friend Teresa likes to follow the ‘touch it once’ method as a way to simplify her life. If she gets a phone message, she returns it instead of adding it to the list of things to do. She’ll answer emails right away and follow through with the request as it is received.

I’ve tried to do this as well. Instead of putting my jacket on a chair, I try to open kickback5the closet door and hang it up. I’ll have several lists of things I need to do and often the toughest item is on the bottom. I’m moving that to the top and try to do it first (you know those calls you put off, quotes you need to get, appointments you want to avoid…)

Anyhow, when I follow the ‘touch it once’ rule my house is neater and easier to clean but I really have to keep it at the top of my mind. “Follow through, hang it up, put it away, respond now.” It’s all for the best and yet, I still am digging through files and sorting and cleaning as a way to find one document. I’m getting better and my piles are getting smaller, but it really needs my full attention. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As for exercise today – It was a gym day with some cardio and weights. It was also a bike ride day (just a short ride to campus and back  – a mere 6 miles total) and a rake and mow the lawn day and a paint some of the house day. Whew!

There were all on my list and they all received a big CHECK in front of them. The CHECK was almost as pretty as a gold star.

Here’s to a lovely weekend to one and all!

Day 12 – A Toast!

Hi There –Here’s something I want to share with you:

In 1929 on this very day my mom was born and she died 65 years later.
A toast to my mom for all the trials and tribulations she went through. All the lessons learns, all the goodwill she created and the legacy she left behind.  A big hug and many thanks mom!

Today was a blur for me. I did my exercise – at the gym. On the treadmill (boo, hiss, yuck) then in the weight room (yippee, bravo, score!) and then later in the day a walk with 2 friends. The walk was the best – the weather was mild, the sun was shining and conversation was ongoing.

Boulder FlatironsI did not take any photos today but my wonderful friend Deb sent me a photo she took from her walk. The view of the Boulder Flatirons is amazing and there’s not a cloud to be seen! A big hug and thanks to her for helping me add media, color and substance to this puny post.

 

 

Sometimes Facebook Makes Me Crazy

I don’t spend much time on Facebook like I did. I go there every few weeks and look at new family photos and then exit the program. There was a time I posted photos and made comments and ‘Liked’ but not anymore.

First off, it took me a bit of time to understand but after I read the posts from family and friends I got sad. Their lives were so full, so rich, so purposeful. They had anniversary photos, new jobs, they had ‘relationship status’ updates from “single” to “in a relationship” and then “married.” Their kids were top-achievers, getting into great colleges, finding employment and getting married. The married children were in contact with their parents, took photos with their children and life was rosy and sweet.


Their holidays were joyful and the only thing missing was Norman Rockwell. Photos of their vacations could have been ripped from travel guides. The more I read, the sadder I became. It’s not that I was envious of my Facebook family, it’s more like I was left behind in the gray room with all the gray colors and gray food. My life — which is pretty full and fantastic, felt sort of …lacking.

It took a bit of detective work  but the pieces fell together and the truth unfolded. There were fights, bankruptcies, illnesses, divorces, job losses and failing students standing there when the camera was put away. This bit of reality didn’t ease my sadness; it just made me realize how childish it all is.

It’s childish for me to compare my standing with someone’s posting on Facebook. kayak2It’s stupid to wish for another life when I have no idea if that person is truly happy or perhaps cries herself to sleep at night. I know where I stand. I know what I’ve achieved and what it took to get me there. I know there are things I want that I haven’t achieved and sometimes I wish I could have a ‘do-over’ but this is where I am – right here and now.

Every now and then I’ll check Facebook to see who’s doing what … and everything I read I’ll take with a grain of salt. No sadness, no comparison, no wishing I had someone else’s good fortune. I know better now.

I went walking …

I went for a lovely walk today. It was supposed to be up a hillside to the top of a lovely mountain. The route had to be altered due to the fresh snow on the dirt trail. The trail was snowy in some parts and muddy in others. The hike could have been accomplished however it would have been slow going. No aerobic points, no exertion just careful walking.

IMG_4959
Instead I took a walk around a lake. There were many people out enjoying the air, the sun, the wide open sky and the most amazing view.

The lake was frozen and the mountains were spectacular.

Tomorrow Daylight Savings Time kicks in and the clocks move ahead leading to more sunlight.
And spring is right around the corner. Amen!

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Book Review | Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I loved this book when I read it last year and when I reread it last week, I sat in admiration for
Tiny Beautiful Thingsthe words of insight, kindness and advice offered by Cheryl Strayed. She offers advice in a no holds barred sort of way.

The book is a collection of questions and answers sent to Dear Sugar advice column.

The questions ran the gamut of issues – topics include self-esteem, relationships, friendship, death, birth, love, work, fear, happiness and on and on. Some are just musing.

Some replies are pages long. The message in the reply is often quite poignant as Cheryl has a way of speaking to the heart of the person on the other end. Her words hold you accountable. If you are at fault, own it. If the world has been unfair, shout it from the roof tops. If you’ve done wrong, forgive yourself.

With most replies, she relates to something she has experienced. She writes with an openness that makes the reader listen more closely than ever before. As with most issues, the writer probably already knows the answer but can’t see a way out. Some others write because they have a need to unload. Others write with a palpable desperation.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Some questions ask about love. Will we find love? Is this love? The heartfelt questions span
generations.

“I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

To get a good understanding of the genuine questions and replies that fill this book, here is a question and a link to the answer. Find the book and read it. The answers and suggestions spoke to my core. Maybe they will do the same to yours.

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Love,
Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom…

Read with me

In early Oct I pledged to write daily about ways to improve your mental health. I didn’t refer to journals, studies or what the good doctors say. I just wrote about what works for me. I suggested music, friends, silence, flexibility, fun, relaxation, play, movement, conversation and volunteering.

The suggestions along with personal insight and stories helped me as well. They reminded me of the techniques I use when I need to feel grounded. As the days get shorter and the time change kicks in, I know I’ll be employing several of these techniques as well.

reading in the libraryMy last topic is about books and reading as a way to stay sane. The act of picking up a book means you are in one place for a set period of time. Your mind has permission to let go of reality and travel with words to other places.

Some books are there to help you. These self-help books offer insights into nutrition, rearing children, beating addictions, raising step-children, finding a mate, dealing with grief and on and on,

Non-fiction books relate stories of triumph, success, failure, love, family and happiness all wrapped in one. Fiction lays unlimited possibilities on our doorstep. Biographies take us inside the walls of homes, onto battlefields, behind prison walls and into space.

Take the ride, Let the author distract you. Enjoy the learning process. Share what you’re reading. Dig deeper. Laugh at the joke. Cry when it’s sad. Get angry and mad. Smile when it’s something sweet. Let the words on the page take you away, bring you back home and put you to sleep.

All the best to you!