How often do we realize that in a given moment we may be in the eye of a blessing? That blessing may come in situations, forms we may not recognize at first glance. That’s what I experienced on my first extended outing after weeks of being cloistered. I had been going out for 5 minute walks near my home. They are so short due to the street situation around where I live. Still I figure it’s fresh air and some physical movement. It’s all good. I also ventured out a couple of times to the nearby health food store. Otherwise it had been about 12 weeks at home.
A need to actually go to a brick and mortar bank was the reason for an extended trip out into the wide, wide world.
The bank is about a 10 minute drive to my favorite neighborhood, commonly referred to as the Village. Besides the bank, there are some of my favorite shops and markets. Over the years I’ve also developed relationships with a number of the store owners .
A friend who has been helping me throughout the pandemic drove us to the Village. I was apprehensive about going into the bank. Would there be lineups? A long wait amongst lots of people? Would they be wearing masks and physical distancing? As we approached the bank none of the above was true. We were the only two in the bank other than the tellers. Everything went pleasantly easy peasy. This experience at the bank was the harbinger of how the rest of the day would unfold.
I visited a number of shops and markets that I had frequented pre-pandemic. As it was with the bank, my friend and I were the only customers in each store. What made it doubly great was being able to reconnect with the shop owners that I knew. Despite the masks and Plexiglas protectors at all check outs, it felt like old times.
At the end of the outing, I realized what a gift the excursion was. The universe had no doubt looked after and protected us. It was a gift for which I had much gratitude. I truly savor that experience every time I think about it. In addition to recreating feelings of positivity and well being, savoring has been proven to be a technique for hard-wiring happiness into the brain. (Who wouldn’t want that?)
You got it right, Mr. Rogers, “it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor.”
Comments are welcomed.
Ever since I can remember summer was my least favorite season. The opposite is true, I believe, for most people. Even my birthday is in summer which ought to mean something positive. A birthday is positive any time of the year. So of course, it’s meaningful, but it’s only one day out of the entire season. Since the Summer Solstice occurred this weekend, I wonder how it will go this year, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Due to the conditions of the pandemic and being home more than usual, I’ve had lots of time to ponder how this summer might go. As I considered the possibilities, something popped into my mind. The something was a recollection of a children’s book by Judith Viorst entitled The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. I read the book to my daughter when she was young. It was a wonderful story about helping a child deal with the death of a beloved pet. What does this have to do with summer, you ask? I will tell you.
Instead of rehashing and ruminating on the miseries of summers gone by, I thought, “Why not come up with 10 good things about summer instead?” It seemed that focusing on the good things just might establish a template for having a better summer this time around. The one caveat being that Covid-19 may have other plans for us. Nevertheless, as I’ve written before, even recalling joyful experiences increases well being. With that, here’s my list.
10. Reliving some of my childhood rituals with my grandkids like making chains from Dandelion stems and holding Buttercups under our chins to determine if we like butter. Seems I like butter. But then, who doesn’t?
Comments are welcomed.
After stepping aside for Alfred Hitchcock, I decided to post my own observations and reflections from my Shabby Chicless livingroom in beautiful downtown Quarantine.
There is great goodness, kindness, altruism, humanity throughout the world.
Many people are suffering physically, economically, emotionally. Yet, they are doing their best in these extraordinary circumstances.
A lot of selfish, irresponsible jerks have surfaced, which tends to happen in crises. While they suck up some of the media oxygen, I believe they are in the minority.
Many have had to let go of all of their ‘doings’ and are learning to smell the roses, or coffee or whatever they enjoy smelling.
At that point I had stopped writing. As I resume, some historic events are taking place. Protests are happening around the world. We have before us a momentous opportunity for change
My hope is that positive reforms and changes will be implemented.
My hope is that we will engage in perhaps some uncomfortable conversations and be good listeners.
My hope is that dignity, respect, kindness, compassion be extended to all people.
“Every soul is beautiful and precious; is worthy of dignity and respect, and deserving of peace, joy and love.” Bryant McGill
Comments are welcomed.
You may recall the Sinefeld episode where George pitches his idea for a TB show about nothing. There’s been a lot of talk about nothing during this pandemic so I decided why not write about nothing. People say nothing is impossible. Yet, many of us do nothing a lot of the time. Many are also doing something. You know, Zooming, Face Timing, Instagramming, Tick Tocking, webinaring, phoning, etc. Even with all of those -ings, there’s still a lot of nothing to do. Phone conversations are losing some of their lustre. They go something like this, “Hi. How’s it going. Yeah. Ok here, too. Talked to anyone? Me, neither. Missing that neighborhood gossip. Any new projects? Me neither. Okay. By for now. Stay safe.” I suppose that could be depressing if it wasn’t kind of funny. Which it is if you look through the right lens.
I must admit that sprinkled in between the nothing to do times, I have done a number of somethings. I’ve taught a course, taken a couple of courses, listened to a number of webinars, participated in great Water Cooler type chats via Zoom, had phone calls with friends on both sides of the border, made lots of chocolate chip cookies, perfected the brewing of a new organic coffee. The cookies and coffee are great companions when there’s nothing to do, which, of course, is different from doing nothing. And would you believe I have not gained any weight? Honest to goodness truth. That’s a goofy expression of redundancy. Wonder where it came from. . That could be a nice little research project when I am doing nothing.
I could prattle on ad nauseum about nothing, but what’s the point. You get the picture Besides you probably have lots of your own nothing. So, I will leave you with the pandemicesque words of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.
"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time. "Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh nothing, and then you go about to do it.""Oh, I see," said Pooh."This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing now.""Oh, I see," said Pooh again."It means we're just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
Comments are welcomed.
My intent, at the outset, was to write a thoughtful blog about lessons learned in quarantine. Then I came upon this article in the New Yorker by Grace Henes. It caused me to put my own reflections on hold. Thanks, A.J. (and Grace) I think we would opt any day for your version of suspense over the current pandemic anxiety.
Plot synopsis: Man trapped in his apartment stares at neighbors through the window all day. No one bakes bread.
Quarantine takeaway: New hobbies can be a bad thing.
Plot synopsis: Woman leaves town even though she probably should have stayed home. World’s loneliest boy owns a B. & B. that’s not doing so hot right now. Imaginary friend has to do a lot of emotional heavy lifting.
Quarantine takeaway: Avoid non-essential businesses.
Plot synopsis: Man is in shock after sudden, unexpected events. Has bouts of extreme dizziness, such as those one might experience after watching six hours of true-crime reënactments. Is tasked with following a woman at a safe distance.
Quarantine takeaway: Don’t ignore your symptoms.
“Strangers on a Train”
Plot synopsis: Two men purposefully engage in a close conversation on public transportation, without a face mask in sight. It doesn’t work out well for either of them.
Quarantine takeaway: It’s not a great time to travel.
“Dial M for Murder”
Plot synopsis: Man worries about maintaining his comfortable life style and regular income. He reaches out to a friend he hasn’t spoken to in many years, then orders delivery.
Quarantine takeaway: Business is best conducted over the phone.
“North by Northwest”
Plot synopsis: Man eats at a restaurant, inadvertently risking his life in the process. He seeks assistance with his problems from a government official, with disappointing results. Everyone is having an identity crisis.
Quarantine takeaway: Planes = danger.
“The Man Who Knew Too Much”
Plot synopsis: Chaos at an international level; church services and concerts are disrupted as a result. Iconic song that’s meant to be comforting doesn’t really answer anyone’s questions.
Quarantine takeaway: There’s such a thing as being too informed.
Plot synopsis: Bad things are happening outside your house. Those bad things are birds. Even though you may not have personally seen the birds, or known someone who was attacked by the birds, be assured those birds are out there.
Quarantine takeaway: Fear the outdoors.