Musings While Sequestered

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Easter: A Cake for my Bunnies

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a post.  Time flies in spite of spending most of it home alone!  I’ve found that I’m very good at finding ways to while away time.  Some of them are more productive than others, but I’m learning that when I feel like I’ve done nothing, I’ve, of course, been doing something.  So, reading the news on my phone or catching up with people on email or Facebook isn’t necessarily wasting time.  It’s just that the floor is still dusty, or the dishes are still in the dishwasher, or Hitchens’ Arguably is till unread.  But who cares?  If these things are important, they’ll be taken care of eventually.

 

I’ve worked several jigsaw puzzles in the past few weeks.  I can really get into the zone for hours at a time on these.  Again, could be considered a trivial use of time, but they’re good for the brain and help prevent dwelling on the angst of current events.

Another, perhaps more productive, way I’ve found to become fully absorbed is sewing.  I really love the creative aspects of sewing, and you actually have something to show for your efforts.  I’ve made protective face masks for family and friends and cloth napkins for Rachel and family, since they use them for every meal and three meals a day for six people generates a lot of washing.

 

***Complete Randomness***

 

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    Today’s Google Doodle

  • The other morning I woke up and looked around thinking, I’m surrounded by rectangles.  Thank goodness for my oval vanity mirror.  But really, in human construction the rectangle seems to be by far the most common shape. Not so in nature.  Maybe that’s why architecture like the Guggenheim Museum is so appealing.
  • I’ve been having lots of strange and complex dreams.  For a while I thought it was from the pain medication I was taking for my knee replacement, but I haven’t taken any for several weeks and am still having weird dreams.  I think it’s just because I’m awake off and on all night because of pain and stiffness in my leg caused by lying in one position for too long.  My surgery was six months ago and my mobility is good, but I’m not out of the discomfort woods yet.  They say it can take a year, so I’ll wait another six months before I start worrying about that.
  • They say that the stay at home and other distancing measures are “flattening the curve” of the Corona virus spread.  This makes it sound like the measures aren’t resulting in fewer cases, just spreading them over a longer time period.  I don’t understand why it wouldn’t mean that there would be fewer sick  and dying people.  I need to do some research.  Maybe I’m not understanding the math, or the concept.
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April in Albuquerque: Poppies

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…and Snow

Another Day, Another….

I just wanted an image in the post. Random stairs from long ago.

I’m glowing with accomplishment because I just completed doing my exercise video for the third time this week. It’s more challenging to motivate myself for this than for exercise class, but I do enjoy doing it once I’ve started. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes on a different topic: “In writing, the only hard part is to begin.” Substitute exercise for writing, and there you have it.

I finished four of Anne’s sewing projects and arranged and paid for a package pickup, then the mailman didn’t show up for two days. I don’t know whether to be concerned about the health of my mail carrier or pissed off that he skipped me for two days (at least). Rachel took the package to give to her carrier. Hope it makes it. Mundane life in the time of the plague.

I still have one sewing project – placemats and napkins – for Anne, and I’m going to make face masks for Rachel and her colleagues to use when distributing Chromebooks to their students. School has been canceled for the rest of the term, and they’re working on a distance learning plan. Since Rachel’s job is in educational technology, she has been working very hard and long during this “downtime”.

Today is Colin’s sixth birthday. In lieu of a party, he has requested a hike and a picnic for his birthday. He isn’t lacking for presents. He opened several from me and various others yesterday and has a pile from his parents to open today. I made birthday cupcakes for him and am including a photo to illustrate my pitiful cake decorating skills. However, I ate one yesterday for quality control purposes and can tell you that they taste great.

Well, on to the next great thing. Maybe I’ll take a shower. No image for that. You’re welcome.

Bit by Bit

Spring in Montgomery Park

Day by day, bit by bit, I’m working to accomplish my goals for time management, exercise, and project completion. As an aside, what is this compulsion we have for accomplishing something, anything, rather than just letting our days flow? It feels almost inherent. Since I posted three days ago, I have accomplished a few things. Two days ago I took a nice long walk from my house to Montgomery Park. As illustrated to the left, spring is budding and blooming there, and really all around me.

Spring on Hahn Arroyo

It’s so much fun to look out the window from day to see and to see things getting greener and greener. Yesterday, after maybe overdoing the walk the day before, I didn’t exercise. The long walk made my new knee leg hurt all night. Guess I’ll make the lengths of the walks a little more gradual. Today for about an hour I did one of the exercise videos I screened the other day. I’m feeling pretty virtuous about that. When I’m done here, I think I’ll take a shortish walk. The weather is getting warmer as the days progress.

I’ve also been sewing. I completed one of Anne’s table runners and am working on a second one. I have enough left over fabric from the second on to make placemats and napkins. Sewing is a creative outlet for me, so I’m having fun with this.

I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. They are good but not as good as Anne’s. They never are. She claims she uses the recipe on the bag of chips, and I do that, too. But they’re not the same! Oh well, that’s her signature dish, so I guess it’s just magic.

Trying to Organize

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In an earlier post I mentioned the idea of creating a sort of block schedule to organize my days and increase worthwhile use of my time.  Since I’m determinedly retired, I don’t want to use “productivity”, since that word reeks of corporate management.

There are a few discouraging things I realize about myself that relate to this attempt:

  1. I am terrible about creating an exercise routine at home.  I loved my exercise class and was as consistent as I could be at attending, but I have ALWAYS been bad about doing it at home.
  2. I tend to be loosey-goosey about timeframes when I’m in charge of my day.  I don’t want to say I’m lazy.  I’m not lazy.  Well, sometimes I’m lazy.
  3. I can tend to procrastinate the things I’m not so crazy about doing and rationalize by doing something else instead.  Oops!  Ran out of time for that.
  4. Due to all of the above, I’m afraid to do a block schedule, even though my better self wants to.

What to do, what to do.  I guess I’ll just blather on about something else (see #3 above) until I make up my mind.

On the national scene, California, home of my daughter Rebecca, has issued a shelter in place order and shut down most non-vital businesses and services.  Much of the rest of the country will probably soon follow suit.  While this certainly makes sense in terms of containing the Covid-19 virus, the social and economic effects in the short and longterm are almost incomprehensible.  The government is taking sweeping measures to help individuals and businesses and to stabilize the economy, but at what cost to our already monumental national debt? History will tell the story. Rebecca already works from home, so will probably be ok, at least for now.

Daughter Rachel and her family are all being treated for strep throat.  Not great, but glad it’s nothing worse.  I woke up last night worrying about the family’s restless teenagers, who are, of course, immortal and don’t want to be confined to home.  The consequences of them exposing themselves to this essentially social disease might be minimal for them but deadly for the younger and older members of their family.

Yesterday I cleaned out the files in my drawer containing the most current and active stuff.  Felt pretty good, but is just the tip of that iceberg.  Also, I got the material sister Anne mailed to me for her sewing projects.  I like sewing projects.  Today I need to update all the online accounts that use my expiring credit card.  Fun times.

TimeframeActivity Set
8 AM – 10 AMGet up
Morning routine – teeth, meds, etc, coffee
MWF – Exercise video, other days-recumbent bike
10 AM – NoonHousehold chores, blogging, reading
1 PM – 2 PMTake a walk, work outside, hike
2 PM-5:30 PMWork on projects, read, write to friends/family
5:30 PM-7:00 PMCocktail hour, begin dinner prep
7:00 – 10 PMDinner, TV, reading, unstructured time
10 PMGo to bed
Tentative Shelter in Place Block Schedule

There. I did it. I hereby remind myself that there will be no recriminations for straying from the schedule and that it will be amended as necessary. I consider this a social experiment. Furthermore, I exempt myself today, since I’m already off from the plan.

Fitness Log

Exercise clip art free clipart imagesWhat with the whole country cancelling every type of gathering and the need to stay home, I no longer have the option of going to my 3 times weekly exercise class at the Senior Center.  I’ve never been good at the self-discipline required for consistent exercise at home, but I know that it’s necessary if I am to stay healthy.  So, maybe this will keep me on track.  Resolution:  do something active every day – exercise routine, or stationary bike, or walk.  Here’s what i did.

  • 03/18/20
      • Ride recumbent bike for 20 minutes
      • Screen exercise videos on Prime Video (It counts!  I need one for tomorrow!)

 

What to Do When You’re Snuggled at Home

Image result for list So, I decided that while I’m confined to home my sanity and productivity would benefit  by having a list of possible projects and activities to keep me active and entertained.  As a side note, I saw a post on Facebook from someone who is keeping herself in order by creating a loose general block schedule to shape her days.  While I’m not always terribly organized with my time or particularly self-disciplined, I thought that was a pretty cool idea.  It’s related to this listing idea, but less specific.  So, I see another organizing post in my future.  For now, let’s start with the list.  Just as a means of self-encouragement, I’ll begin with items I’ve already completed.  Note: Items on this list are in addition to (and sometimes instead of) regular household routines like getting up, eating, doing dishes, etc. This is an ever changing document.

check-transparentBravo!  Done!

  • Clean debris from front and back yard
  • Clean rug on patio
  • Prepare and file taxes
  • Start blogging again

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Yet to Be Done

  • Keep blogging!
  • Season my new wok (more laborious than you’d think!)
  • Sort through and organize file drawers
  • Sort through and organize desk clutter
  • Sew table runners for Anne
  • Sew pillow covers for Anne
  • Download and edit photos from camera
  • Complete the online photo classes I’m signed up for
  • Do some art
  • Clean outdoor furniture

So,What to Do Now?

Here’s my little conspiracy theory.  I’m hoping it’s just sick and paranoid.  Our current President has been likened to Hitler or any other similar dictator.  There are those who believe, not without ample indicators, that in his heart he is an autocrat.  So here comes Covid-19.  His first attempts at “Never in MY America” were failing.  Damn it! Now if he were a rational person he would have taken a moment to regroup and (re)evaluate.  But that’s not his way. Fortunately, he has advisors who say, “Donny, if you ignore this and many people get sick and die, your chances of being re-elected will be in the dumpster.  On the other hand, if you take charge and institute drastic measures, you’ll be remembered as the President who led his country through one of its greatest crises in history.” [Now, let’s not lean too heavily on the veracity of their claim, just stick with me.]  So Donald thinks for a moment. [I know.  Just try to imagine that scenario.] A lightbulb goes off over his head.  Now he can order people to do exactly what he wants them to do!  And they’ll all have to do it.  And when the crisis is over, they’ll all be in line.  Right where he wants them.  Personal freedom?  Balderdash!  I’m in charge here. Mission accomplished!

On a more personal level, what will I do with all my time as I shelter in place (see previous post)?  I thought I’d compile a completely random list of possibilities.  Since it will be a document in flux as ideas enter my head, I’ll start the list as a separate entry.

Sheltering in Place

March 16, 2020

A world pandemic is changing everything.  On a global scale, healthcare systems are being overwhelmed, people are getting sick, and some are dying.  Two terrifying things about Covid-19 are that little is known about how it plays itself out in the sick person and that it spreads exponentially.  In addition, like most virulent diseases, it is most deadly in at-risk populations like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.  All of this is widely known now, and drastic measures are being taken to contain the virus and to identify and care for those who have it.  Throughout the country, public places are closing, events of all sizes are being cancelled, the stock market is plunging, and people are being asked to stay home.  The full effects of all of this on our economy and our way of life are yet to be determined.  There you have a brief summary of the news.

On a more personal level, my way of life is changing.  There is a difference, of course, between staying home because you want to and staying home because you must.  So far, the psychological hardship has not been too profound for me, but it feel it baying at the edges of my consciousness.  I’ve always been pretty good at fighting any tendencies toward depression, but the struggle has already been real the past couple of years because I relocated to Albuquerque from my longtime home in Indiana.  While my reasons for doing so were solid – nearness to family, starting my life over at 70 has been challenging.  I left behind many family members and friends and a happy and active social life and community involvement.  I’ve been very diligent at working to make connections in my new home, but it takes time, hard work, and good fortune.  Now, all my outside activities have come to a standstill because of the virus.  My age puts me among the at-risk populations, so I am taking the shelter in place mandate seriously.  While all this sounds a little whiny, I have to say that I’m finding the challenge rather interesting.

For example, here I am writing in my blog for the first time in several years! (I must admit that I’m rather embarrassed about that lapse.)

Autumn Walks

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Nan at the zoo.

I began the day today with a walk at Mesker Park Zoo with my friend/walking buddy, Nan.  I didn’t take my camera because our goal was walking and I knew it would slow us down since I’d have to photograph everything I saw.  However, I did have my iPhone, of course, so I took a few shots and processed them when I got home using some of the iPhonography apps and tools recommended by the fabulous Rad Drew when he addressed the Fine Art Camera Club recently.  I’ve been meaning to do that, anyway, and had planned to spend today studying various photography materials, so mission accomplished!

Below are a few of the exotic animals we saw.

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The autumn colors have suddenly become much more pronounced this weekend, and I was really feeling the need to get out with my “grownup” camera and take some photos of the foliage.  I noticed in driving to and from the Zoo that the trees in and surrounding the cemetery across the road from the zoo were very striking.  And there’s something about the dying of autumn and the commemoration of the dead that seems so sadly beautiful.  So later in the afternoon, I returned to the cemetery and captured some images there.

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Stations of the Cross