Ten good things while sheltering in place
today at 12:14 pm
Thanks to Donna, who inspired this post.
My neighborhood is friendlier
My neighbors down the block have built a fire pit. From what I gather as I shamelessly eavesdrop, it’s built into the ground. Their two kids, one just graduated from high school and the other a college student, are home with them. Just about every night they build a fire and talk and laugh, emphasis on the laughter. The mom has one of those full throated, deep laughs that make you glad you were around to hear it. The whole neighborhood, always friendly, has been gregarious. People call out to my husband and me as we walk by with our dog. Parents thank us as we step six feet away from their kiddos wobbling wildly on little bikes. I’ve realized how very luck I am to live here.
I’m cooking new things, mostly healthy things
I won’t say that everything I eat is healthy, nor that I’ve reduced the amount that I eat, but I’m not eating much packaged and processed food. We’ve been cooking so much that we have to go on recipe hunts to create variety. I’ve made enchiladas from scratch with the best sauce I’ve had outside of New Mexico. I’ve made vegan pesto, pickled onions, cauliflower tacos, roasted vegetables with a puff pastry top. I’ve baked every piece of bread that we’ve eaten and discovered a wonderful flat bread recipe. The colors and smells and textures have been divine.
“Some Good News” with John Krasinski
Once I discovered Krasinski’s homemade show about good news, I was hooked. He’s funny and he’s well connected. From Malala to Jon Stewart to an amazing number of everyday people, he’s got the best stuff going. I keep the kleenex close because I cry most of the way through it. Like the graduation special, which you can watch here. He has hilarious weather forecasts where a different famous person each time either looks out the window or looks up at the sky and says, “Looks rainy” or “Yeah, it’s sunny.” It warms my heart and reassures me that human beings are worthwhile.
Less work stress
I’m a teacher, and at the beginning of all of this, the stress weighed heavily because I had to take my face-to-face classes and transform them into online courses. One is a first-year class, who struggle with the transition to college, and I was worried the move to online would do them in. But they made the transition. In addition I learned the joy of Zooming with them for conferences. Somehow in the midst of all of this, they’ve found a way to take school seriously and it’s been a pleasure to work with them. Much of my day at school pre-COVID-19 was spent on administrative tasks, meetings and paperwork. But we now only have essential meetings. There’s no commute, no lunch to pack, no worry about getting home in time to walk the dog. I can grade without interruption, and having students to watch over has kept me on track.
My grandfather used to say that he’d give me $20 if the next time I saw him I wasn’t wearing tennis shoes, jeans, and my hair in a ponytail. Truth be told, my truest self lives in sweats, walking shoes, and a headband (hair’s too short for a ponytail). I usually dress up for work, tights and dresses and dress shoes, makeup, the whole lot. But not since March. Nope. The dressiest I get is leggings and a comfortable dress to go grocery shopping. In fact, I have fun on grocery shopping day getting “dressed up.” But there’s still no makeup and my hair’s a mess because, well you know why.
Thank god for basketball. The NBA has dumped dozens of games onto YouTube. Wanna see Kobe score 60 points? Wanna see the best on-court fights? They’re there. And, on Wednesdays, ESPN shows a double header of a classic game. I usually don’t remember having seen the game before, so it’s exciting to watch. But the crowning glory has been “The Last Dance,” the ten-part special on Michael Jordan. It’s riveting stuff. I practically repeat the entire show verbatim to my husband the next day. I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t end up being the best basketball player in the world by being a sweetheart. Nevertheless, I’ll always love him.
I have to scroll by any and all discussions of the pandemic or I’ll end up in a fetal position, so I’ve gotten really good at scrolling. My favorite aspect of Facebook are the groups, especially the private ones. One I belong to is for folks who deal with anxiety and depression. We have mugshot Mondays, photos of us drinking our coffee. We share our weirdness and our favorite memes, ask for support and try to laugh when we can. Another of my groups was originated by my best friend. It’s called The Safe Place. We can say and do anything except for criticize each other. We’ve had two Zoom cocktail hours, where I had the chance to meet several of the folks I’ve never met in real life. It is my virtual home.
Zooming with Family
Don’t know why we didn’t do this before the pandemic, but we’ve had lots of fun having large family gathering thanks to Zoom. My husband and his siblings meet every week and the peels of laughter coming from his office are a tonic in these tense times. When my family gets together we out-story each other. Ever competitive, it’s a contest to see who can get the biggest laugh. The kids love to hear stories about the old folks and we can see each other. Such a joy and so much better than the phone. One weekend my husband bought two bottles of the same wine, dropped one at my daughter’s house, and he and our daughter did a taste test via Zoom.
Less Driving / Less Shopping
I’ve filled up my tank once since the sheltering in place began. Early on we took some drives, but someone mentioned that driving can easily result in fender benders or other accidents and first responders just don’t need the hassle. So, it’s once a week to the grocery store and a cop coffee or two with my daughter. See my story about that here. And, nothing’s open, so there’s no place to spend money. I mean, I’ve bought some things online, but mostly it’s food items. We may get to build a fence this summer with the money saved.
Time with my husband
My husband teaches philosophy at Illinois State University, a two hour drive from door to door. He’s usually gone Tuesday through Thursday and sometimes on Fridays, too. I don’t see much of him. But he’s here now, and though I’ll admit it took some getting used to, we’ve settled in to quiet times of enjoyment. I love hearing him talk to the cat (to whom he’s allergic), bang on his drums, and hold Zoom classes with his students. I love taking walks with him and our dog (to whom he’s also allergic). And so far, every morning as I lie in bed scrolling through the internet I am met with toast and coffee.
Why don’t you make a list of ten good things and share them with me? Or just one or two?
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