Showing posts with label Pandemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pandemic. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

What I Have Learned While Sheltering in Place During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Part 4: Ten Things I Am Going To Do When I Get Outta Here!

As I work my way through week seven of sheltering in place, I can't help but wonder what my life will be like when things loosen up a bit.  

I am worried that things will never be the same again. Just as 9/11 changed how we travel, there will no doubt be lifelong changes to our society even when the pandemic is no longer a threat.  Will we ever shake hands again?  Will we hug? Will we shun our fellow humans and become more isolated because we fear we will catch something from them? Will society as we know it fall apart?  Much to wonder about.

But I also can't help but wonder what I will do when and if I can leave the house again and do what I want, so....

I've been keeping a list and here it is!

l.  I am going to go to every restaurant and bar on the Monterey Peninsula.

You think I'm kidding.  I'm not. One of the all-time favorite things that Hubby and I like to do is dine out and, uh, drink, or I mean frequent cool bars and have a cocktail.  We have really missed not being able to go out and do that. 

So going to all of the  bars and restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula is my new project. And I am good at projects. Once I give myself a project, I see it to the end.  

I mean, you know I have been working on the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.  When I started, I needed to watch over 600 films.  Now, seven years later, I have only 35 to go.

And when I moved to Seattle 15 years ago, I became very interested in the foodie scene there, so I made a list of all of the restaurants from A-Z and we worked our way through it.  We made it through "F" before I realized new restaurants were opening and some of them had names that started with the letters A-E so I needed a new strategy.  I changed to listing all of the restaurants by neighborhood so when we would go for a walk on the weekend in a neighborhood, I was ready.  I have to say that by the time we moved, we had been to practically every restaurant in Seattle.

At the same time, I found this book on the stair walks of Seattle so I decided we would do all of those.

A year and a half and 25 stair walks later...

Soooo...I am no stranger to long projects, and like I said, my number one project when I get outta here is to go to every bar and restaurant on the Monterey Peninsula.  If I can visit most of the restaurants and bars in Seattle, I certainly should be able to do the Monterey Peninsula and hopefully they will all still be here so -  see you there!

2.  Move in with my son's family!

Okay, I'm kidding with this one, but I am certainly planning on spending more time with my son, my daughter-in-law and my grandkids. Missing my family and not being able to spend time with them has been the most difficult part.

3.  Go on a mother-daughter trip with my daughter!

Like I said, I have really missed my family.  Everyone on both sides of our families have passed, so it's just us and our kids and our grandkids.  Since my daughter lives all the way across the country, I don't get to see her much in the best of times, but this has made it so much harder.  She and I had a great trip to New Orleans planned in mid-April.  Well, you know how that went and I was going to fly first class! But hopefully my daughter and I can have a do-over.  

Looking forward to it because of the great time we had when we explored New Mexico together and I am hoping there are more times like that to come.

4.  Go to the mall.

I know, I know...I pinky swear I won't buy anything.  I just want to feel normal again.  I like to wander around malls (and shop and buy stuff)! 

5.  Go to the library.

There is a saying, "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries," so it's particularly frustrating that this "time of no money" is a contagious time that forced libraries to be closed during a crucial period in our history, when so many people have lost their incomes and can use some free books and DVDs more than ever. I hope others have missed their libraries too and will support them even more in the future.

6.  Go to the gym.

I never thought I would ever say that I missed going to the gym but I do. It provides an outlet for exercise but it also got me out of the house and provided a place to read and listen to music which I am prone to do while on the elliptical. I need incentive to get on that old elliptical! And where else can you feel perfectly fine in head-to-toe animal print!

7.  Go to the movies.

Now this is a controversial one.  Will the whole "going to the movies thing" ever recover?  Will we actually go to the movies again and sit next to strangers?  And if so, what will that look like?  But as a lifelong movie lover, I can't imagine I will never sit in a theatre again and there is no better way to see James Bond than in a big theatre so going back to the movies is on my list.

8. Listen to live music.

Hubby is in a band - and it's not just any band. It's The Eldorados, named this year's Best Local Band by a poll taken by the Monterey County Weekly, so sheltering in place has been very frustrating for him as well.  He wants to play music!  And I want to hear them play it. 

I also want to hear some of my other favorite local bands or go to a concert.  It seems that live music venues which encourage people to gather and dance or sit in close quarters could be the last places to open but when they do I'm there!

9.  Take a road trip.

There are rumors the cops are looking for cars from outside their counties because we have all been ordered to stay home, so we have been pretty good about not venturing out.  And what fun is it to go on a road trip, anyway, if you can't stop for lunch and a drinky-winky?  So looking forward to getting in the car and doing some local exploring.

10.  Better yet, go back to Europe!

Many happy memories...

(No, that is not a crack pipe!)

Helping out the town crier in Chester, England

My sister relaxing on our narrowboat after we traversed the Oxford Canal 
(Oxford, England)

(Hubby drove - best vacation ever)!

The house where my Swedish grandmother was born in Ras, Sweden. 
(Glad we were able to spend time there as it has since burned down).


The Ice Bar, Stockholm, Sweden

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Friet Museum, Bruges, Belgium
(Yes, it's a museum devoted to french fries, er, Belgian fries. Don't get them started about those damn French fries. It's Belgian fries!) 

Waiting for my crepe in the Marais, Paris

Highclere Castle (AKA Downton Abbey)
(It just happened to be open at a special time while we were there.  A friend alerted us and we had it all to ourselves!  I touched every curtain and piece of furniture in that place)!

Sorrento, Italy

Positano, Italy 
(with our frequent travel companions, my Swedish cousin, Jane and her husband, Lars) 


My "graduation" from the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland
 (after our "private" tasting where we were all taught how to pull a pint).

My favorite City! - London!

So many happy memories. Thanks for indulging me. Looking back on all of that helped take me out of my lockdown funk. I just hope I can get myself on a plane again.

So that's my to-do list for when the lockdown is over.

But ultimately, I am going to take what I have learned from this unexpected "time out (see Part 2)," and live a better life.

I am doing much reflecting on my life and wondering what my life will look like after this is over. Will I get on a plane again?  Will I see another movie in a movie theatre?  Will I hug my friends? Will I figure out how to drink wine in a bar with a mask on?  I have been good about staying home and keeping my distance, so I hope I will live to find all of that out. 

But whether I do all of that, what is most important is how I want to live my life.  

I want my life to be about mindfulness, thoughtfulness, gratitude and love and that was something I was trying to do before this ever happened. However, a catastophe like this brings those goals into a sharper focus. Those are the most important things and I intend to keep doing them no matter what. 

Okay, now I am so ready for this to be over!

What are you looking forward to doing when it's safe to go out again?

Thanks for Reading!

And I Hope to See you Soon... 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What I Have Learned While Sheltering in Place During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Part 1

I know, I know.  I said I was going to take a break. Hubby reminded me of that by saying, how can they miss you if you never leave?  But I did say in my post "To Blog or Not to Blog," that it was the Friday movie and book reviews that were going away, not me, and that if I had something to say, I would be back.  

Well, I have something to say. 

So here I am, back in my original persona, the Rosy the Reviewer who "reviews" her life, compelled to share with you what I am learning while sheltering in place in this crazy and historic Coronavirus time that we now live in.

But before I get into the nitty gritty of what I have learned besides washing my hands a lot, let me say that nothing like this virus or having to shelter in place for weeks at a time has ever happened in my lifetime, and I've lived for a lot of years.  For us Baby Boomers, I guess this could be our Great Depression except we won't have our own little children to regale with stories about what we went through like our parents did.  So I guess it will be our grandchildren's responsibility to guilt trip their kids with what they went through during the Great Coronovirus Pandemic.  I recently tried to tell my nine-year-old grandson that not only would this be over soon, but that he would one day have a great story to tell.  He didn't get it, but I think over time he will. 

My young grandson will be able to say to his kids, "You think you have it bad? Why, when I was nine, I had to stay inside for three months!"

But despite the fact that I know many are suffering far more than I am, on bad days I can't help but lament the fact that I can't go to the movies, visit with friends, see my kids and grandkids, go to the mall (though I will say, I'm saving money there), or have See's Candy to see me through and that I have to mostly stay inside with just Hubby, the dogs and the TV to keep me company.  And that leaves a lot of time for reflection.  So I have been reflecting.

With that said, what have I learned?

In addition to washing my hands as often as possible and trying not to touch my face, which ain't easy for someone who has bitten her fingernails since the age of five (I know, I will save analyzing that for another day), I have learned that...

  • A bottle of wine doesn't last as long as it used to (this was FULL an hour ago)!

  • When I encounter other people on the sidewalk and cross the street to avoid them, they are no longer insulted like they might have been in the past.  In fact, they thank me!  So I wave and make a big production of it.

  • When I go into a convenience store at midnight wearing a mask, no one thinks I am going to rob them!
  • I am a bit of a foodie and when I am at loose ends, I like to cook but during stressful times like these, I have learned that instead of rustling up my usual Salmon en Croute or Scallop and Lobster Ravigote with Asparagus and Organic Quinoa, I revert to childhood favorites like fish sticks, tuna pasta salad and Kraft Dinner with hot dogs (Kraft Dinner -that's what we called Kraft Mac and Cheese when I was growing up), not to mention the occasional big bowl of ice cream with hot fudge and a cherry on top. Okay, not just occasional.  Every night.  I feel that Coronavirus 15 creeping on!

  • Dogs...if we have to shelter in place, I have learned that we couldn't ask for better companions than dogs. They are the best company! They don't have much to say and they look at me so lovingly, especially when I have a handful of Doritos.  

And they provide hours of fun!

Here's a thought.  

If you have always wanted a dog, why not rescue one now?  Think of the company a little puppy would provide, especially if you are going through this alone, and now is certainly the at-home time you would need for getting to know him or her and for the requisite toilet training that is in your future. Think about it.  Dogs rock! I can't imagine going through this without the unconditional love from our dogs (well, and from Hubby too)!

  • (Speaking of Hubby), I find that I need my Do Not Disturb sign again. And it's ironic, because on the one hand, I miss my family and friends and feel lonely at times and I can't imagine life without Hubby, but on the other hand, living in forced close quarters with someone day in and day out, with few breaks, can be, well, irritating sometimes. There, I said it.  But, c'mon, if it's not the singing and harmonica playing, it's talking to clients in his office (he works at home and I can hear everything) or it's interrupting me right when my little bell goes off to start my meditation, to tell me it's going to rain tonight or to ask me where the toilet paper is!  Don't get me wrong, I love Hubby and enjoy his company, but we live in a small place and not being able to get some Me Time can be challenging. Okay, challenging maybe isn't the right word.  How about can make me bitchy? The divorce rate in China supposedly went way up while they were all stuck at home so I don't want that to happen...

Hence the sign!

But the bottom line is this:  no matter what your circumstances, it's okay to want to have some alone time, and in this case, since we have so much time to reflect, we should be reflecting and that works best when alone!

  • When left to my own devices at home, I have learned that I don't use my time as wisely as I should.  With all of this time on my hands, I am not learning a new language or knitting or reading "War and Peace" or adopting an orphan from a third world country like some of my friends.  Instead, I find myself turning into Gladys Kravitz, staring out the window to see what my neighbors are doing and taking down license plate numbers, or whiling away the hours watching Lifetime Movies and reruns of "Wife Swap" and "Naked and Afraid." 

  • And speaking of Lifetime Movies - I know I talk about them a lot (In factI actually wrote an entire blog post about my "appreciation" of Lifetime Movies), but, believe it or not, they are often a metaphor for a variety of things.  In this case, I have learned that they can take you away from it all and make you grateful for your life when you realize that someone else has a worse life than you. They allow us to feel a certain amount of schudenfreude without feeling guilty, because these aren't real people. I mean, I may be stuck inside for an indeterminate amount of time, but at least I don't have a stalker trying to kill me or a psycho friend trying to kill me or a vacation at a spa where the spa is trying to kill me (you have to have been there). Lifetime Movies can be helpful for your state of mind, giving you some relief from your troubles, though I will say that the Lifetime Channel was quite insensitive to show "Psycho Nurse" last week. 

I am grateful that all I need to do to avoid getting killed is to stay inside so that psycho Covid-19 virus doesn't get me. Or I have hope, anyway, that will do the trick. 

All kidding aside, though, I have also learned some things about hope and gratitude.

Without hope there is despair.  And there is much to despair in this whole pandemic experience.  But we have to have hope, not the kind of hope that allows us to do something stupid, like going out, hanging out in groups, breathing on everyone and everyone breathing on you with the hope that you won't get sick. 

I am talking about the kind of hope that is deep inside us, the capacity to meet a situation and use it for personal growth.  It's a feeling of positivity that things will change and we will get out of this, because we are doing what we need to do to stay well; a positivity that leads us to take care of our mental health by keeping in touch with friends and loved ones so that we stay connected; a positivity that gives us empathy and enables us to reach out to those who are alone; a positivity that inspires us to accomplish something new now that we have the time; a positivity to motivate us to keep going; and a positivity that enables us to reflect on our lives, do a self inventory and decide how we want our lives to go when we get out of this. Hope is transformative. Renewal is always possible. If we take care of each other and listen to the experts, we will get through this.

Along with hope, I have learned to have gratitude for what I have, that despite the discomfort of the present, I am grateful for my friends and loved ones, grateful that I am not alone, grateful that I can still laugh and make fun of myself (and Hubby!) and grateful that I still have the motivation to accomplish things.  I am also grateful I am not sick nor are those I love and that I have enough toilet paper.

And finally, I need to add that I have learned the importance of humor.  

If we can still laugh, we know we are alive. And I am grateful that I can reach out to my friends and loved ones online and hear the sounds of their laughter as we play "Cards Against Humanity" together or I tell some particularly funny jokes about Hubby.  Laughter lifts our spirits.

I know this is no fun for most of us.  Like you, I have good days and bad days, but despite it all I am glad to be alive, glad I have the life I do, and looking forward to the future!

What have YOU learned while sheltering in place?

(You may be wondering why this is just Part 1.  Well, the pandemic is not over and I am still sheltering in place, so there will no doubt be a Part 2 or even a Part 3, so stay tuned. Rosy the Reviewer is right and truly back)!

To be continued...

Thanks for Reading!

And I Hope to See you Soon... 

Here and on my Rosy the Reviewer Facebook Page!

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