Coronavirus Day 13 – Random, disjointed thoughts

Random, disjointed thoughts.

This is hope.
These small paintings are “hidden” all over Boulder. They’re such a treat to find. (about a foot tall)
This one I found on the side of my favorite coffee shop. I’ve walked passed it countless times, but SAW it yesterday.
Perhaps a budding artist who was inspired by the cat paintings??
This one is in a pocket park two houses down from me.

After my last post, I wondered if I’d even be able to come up with enough to write another because in reality, with the exception of a daily 1 hour walk in my neighborhood, I’ve not left my house so what could I possibly have to say? Go figure. I’ve got a lot to say. Maybe it’s because I’m paying more attention now…

So here’s what I’ve come up with, in a rather stream of consciousness form….not necessarily silver linings or rusted metals but just stuff. Plain and simple and a bit disjointed.

When I put anything that starts with a “Q” into my phone, my phone completes the word as “quarantining.” One step ahead of me, phone.

The strange walking dance continues and I’m kind of fascinated by it. I’ll be walking down the sidewalk, see someone a block ahead of me and someone crossing the street to my side to avoid someone else, leaving me in the middle wondering which direction should I go? Somehow it always works, much like a choreagraphed dance or a marching band whose players weave in and out in constant motion without running in to one another. When listening to a podcast when I walk, there are often gaps that I realize I’ve not listened at all because I’m so focused on the scant, but relevant pedestrian traffic. It seems like we need music for this dance.

This whole staying at home thing… I made the comment in my last post that I hadn’t ever spent this amount of time at home unless I was sick or with newborns and even then I don’t think it was that long. There was a time when the threat of having to stay at home was promptly followed by the words, “You’re grounded.” They were familiar words for me during my high school years as I struggled with curfews. I’ve got some good grounding stories, like the one with an escape from my sequestered room, a jump started car and a night out with my best friend that ended in a wreck (no injuries) but will save that story for another time. Let’s just say I’m handling the sequestered part much better now and am not even the least bit tempted to escape. Stay tuned though.

The decisions I struggled with last week as to whether I should cancel or not – car maintenance, dentist appointment, pilates class and a massage, were decisions that I didn’t have to make after all. All were canceled and now even questioning it seems so ridiculous. How far my point of reference has moved in a short week.

Time is fluid and kind of irrelevant now. I’ve taken baths in the middle of the day, had dinner at 4:00 and ate dessert before my dinner last night because it was the better choice. Weekends, weekdays, all the same now. I am trying to keep some sort of a schedule but it’s pretty vague… coffee when I get up, FaceTime sever members of my family, do stuff, eat, do more stuff, walk, eat, do more stuff then head to bed because I’m usually exhausted, strangely enough. The “stuff” is the variable. Somedays the “stuff” is better than others. Today, my morning “stuff” was a pilates class on zoom. That’s good stuff.

Maybe this is more of a reflection of my personality, but I do much better with the quarantining on rainy, snowy, cloudy days. The sunny days are far more difficult. Hunkering down just doesn’t line up with sunny days, blue sky weather. I am grateful for my hour long daily walks and some digging in the garden with hopes that garden centers will be open when the planting begins, but the bulk of my days are still inside, hunkered down and I want the weather to match the activity.

I spent much of yesterday cooking. It reminded me of when I was pregnant with Emery and was making chili and spaghetti sauce in preparation… pots simmering on the stove and a line up of opened cans and chopped veggies on the countertop. I came to the conclusion that if you’ve got all day to cook, it’s really rather enjoyable and very nurturing for the soul. I made vegetarian chili then realized I had no chili powder so simply changed the name to veggies, tomato and bean medley. I’m pretty much eating medleys for every meal these days… a bit of this, a bit of that and put it on top of rice or quinoa. Soy or peanut sauce for Asian, salsa for Mexican. Done. My daughter AND my daughter in law both brought me needed groceries yesterday – onions, garlic, chocolate… you know, the usual, and they happened to arrive with their goods at the same time. With ample distance between us, we had a nice conversation in the yard. It was so good seeing them in person and not on a screen. So good that I wanted to cry. Meanwhile, the granola I had in the oven burned, but it was well worth it as I got to have a real conversation with Emery and Brooke. It was so strange to not end with hugs. Heartbreaking, really. I miss hugs.

Cooking prep…I actually felt nervous to deplete my canned goods by 5, but a lot of meals came out of them.

And speaking of hugs…I realized the other day that it has been 13 days since I’ve had any physical contact with another human being… 13 days without a hug. That’s hard. That’s what’s hard about going at this alone. When my son Grant was in high school and was headed out the door, I’d ask for a hug and would get an air hug (out stretched arms with the back of one hand slapping the palm of the other). It became a bit of a tradition in our family of huggers, but an add on gesture to the real deal. Brooke, Emery and I all did air hug goodbyes just as a young woman was walking by and she caught my eye, tilted her head and gave me a smile of understanding. It is the smallest moments that have the most impact on me now. Those tiny gestures of reassurance and understanding.

I sifted through the burnt granola, picking out the blackest bits and was able to use it tonite to add it to 2 apples for a small “apple crisp.” This was what I ate first, before my dinner, simply because it was the better choice. Not that the bean, tomato, vegetable medley wasn’t good, but the apple crisp was better, and so it was eaten first. Anyone who knows me well knows that I do NOT like cooked fruit and will NOT eat it, but when all you have are apples and burnt granola to squelch your cravings for some sort of sweet dessert, then cooked fruit it is. My kids will be surprised when they read this. And it was pretty good. I think a lot of things are pretty good now that I’m cooking all my meals and am in quarantine. That point of reference has also shifted.

I’m so very grateful for the spirit of this amazing town I live in. The outreach, the kindness, the smiles, I will always remember this as my real introduction to the town of Boulder. I discover something new with every walk… new pocket neighborhoods that I had never seen before, benches tucked small corners with perfect mountain views and houses that are just plain fun.

Happy house. How can you not smile when you pass a checked “Alice in Wonderland” house?
I hope she’s able to get to the store soon…

A couple of mountain lions were spotted in a nearby neighborhood yesterday, around a mile from my house. This is not normal. The occasional mountain lion on a mountain trail, maybe, but on a neighborhood street, not so much.. Is it possible that the trails are so busy now with the quarantine that the animals simply wanted a place to get away from the humans so resorted to the empty neighborhood streets? Besides a watchful eye for pedestrians, I’m also going to be scanning the neighborhood for mountain lions, I guess. These times are truly not for the faint of heart.

My sister, Susan, said that her local distillery is now making hand sanitizer. Although more than grateful to have it, she said it had the lingering odor of the day after a woodsy. For those who don’t know the term, (which is either a Midwest term or an Olathe, Kansas term….), a woodsy was (or is??) a gathering in a remote area where parents wouldn’t normally look that involved a bon fire, big groups of kids and the likely possibility of liquor. A nostalgic smell, no doubt, but maybe something I wouldn’t want to have lingering on my skin 24/7. Still, kudos to the distillery who have changed their production for the sake of their customers.

I’m feeling overwhelmed today. Boulder has now instated basically a shelter in place order, like much of the country. Although it’s what I’ve been doing for the past 12 days, seeing that in writing felt heavy. My pendulum swings throughout the day from happy, creative and inspired to sad, worried and depressed. After 13 days, I’m used to it, but it still catches me off guard.

In my deep closet clean out last week (or was it the week before???), I found some hand carved angels that I had gotten a few years ago in Santa Fe. Both of them had detached arms so with much pride at my followthrough, I dug out my glue gun to make repairs. Now that their arms are attached again, I’ve noticed an odd external rotation on both of them which I realize now is because I gave them the wrong arms. They look like they’re getting ready for a cheer. READY! OK!! I don’t normally house them on my mantle, but figure a little extra cheer couldn’t hurt. Sorry about the arms, girls.

Given that most of the reporters and those being interviewed are working from their homes, I’m finding myself as focused on trying to see the titles of the books on the shelves that they always seem to position themselves in front of as I am with their words. There are some nice libraries out there. Some of them could use a bit of tidying up, but am guessing they’ve not had the kind of free time that I have.

I took an all day creativity class a few weeks ago and the first thing the teacher told us to do was sit quietly in his open doored studio and simply listen. We then talked about what we heard – actually we wrote poems about what we heard then painted it, but that’s another story. I often walk with ear buds in, listening to music or podcasts or books but today, I took them out and simply listened, inspired by the class. I heard song birds, the faint sound of children playing, a hammer pounding and a woodpecker (hopefully in someone else’s yard) and took a moment to stop and simply absorb it all.. What you can hear, see and feel when all the junk is peeled back, is truly amazing. It sounds like a radio station that has gotten tuned in and sounds so much clearer once the static is gone.

There is so much that I miss but at the same time, a day hasn’t gone by that I’ve not seen something in my neighborhood that has given me pause and a big smile. I’m seeing so much more than I used to.

And here’s the biggest silver lining of my day…

Boulder lit up the Flagstaff Star on the mountain that I mentioned in a previous post to “raise the hopes of our beloved community” amid coronavirus pandemic. It will be the guiding North Star for so many who see it at night. I’m blessed to have a clear view of it from my bed. It felt like a big hug last night. Thank you, Boulder.

Thank you, Boulder.

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