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Like you, I'm staying home to stay healthy. From my office I can see the red-and-blue glow of the living room TV, with talking heads and banner headlines. There's a dreamlike quality to all this. So much, so fast. So many unknowns. I had three events and a trip cancelled.
I greeted my across-the-street neighbor with an elbow bump, which might have made us smile, except that what she really needs---being recently widowed---is a breath-squeezing hug. Her husband succumbed to cancer recently. Can you imagine debating when (or whether) to schedule a loved one's memorial service? She's uncertain if her sister should fly in, and if she does, should she stay with their elderly parents?
What I'm doing
Trying to stay fit. Happily, my fitness coach Amy Van Liew---who specializes in women over 50---shares her expertise via online videos. Amy's wonderfully knowledgeable, helpful, and skilled at making Pilates and other types of exercise easy and painless. (That's me out of focus on Amy's website.)
Thankful for healthy food. A neighbor with a ranch brings avocados in exchange for succulent cuttings. Avocados are a super food, and along with the nuts I always have on hand and oranges from my trees, Jeff and I can eat healthy for weeks. (Problem is, when watching the news, I hit the Doritos and Cadbury eggs.)
Doubtless you, like me, plan to clean out closets, drawers, cupboards and garage. Thrift stores may soon be flooded with donations. So we really need to get this done before they refuse to accept more. But will they want people's possibly contaminated cast-offs? Instead of booming, will Goodwill go down? Yet there's certain to be a demand, especially during a recession. Wow, this crisis has so many layers.
Tuning in to Ray Bentley, my former pastor who's an expert in Biblical prophecy. I used to attend Maranatha Chapel, a large church in Ranch Bernardo, before I became so career-obsessed, Sunday became a Day of Work. Ironically, now that I want to go to to church, I can't. Except online.
Update: Video series worth binging: The Chosen. If you're interested in the life of Jesus, how others saw him, and what the culture was like, you'll absolutely love this.
Thinking about family
I call my 90-year-old MIL, who's alone with her TV, more often. She's in a retirement home that closed its dining room and now brings meals to residents in their rooms. "I'm so sick of coronavirus," she told me, pun unintended. Granted, she's hard to get off the phone, but hey, it's not as though I don't have the time.
I try not to call my adult kid too often. My son's a contractor, and his days have been business-as-usual. "We're going camping," he told me. "I'd be surprised if you didn't," I replied. In fact, I'd be surprised if there are any campground spaces left. If the weather were warmer, everyone would hit the beach...like they did in '07, when schools closed due to wildfires.
In the garden
Our gardens need us, and we need them. Do visit your local nursery, where plants are washed by rain, dried by sunshine, and scoured by fresh breezes. Dark thought: The check-out may be contaminated. Use long-handled tweezers or salad tongs when giving or getting cash. Kidding. But DO keep hand sanitizer (or soap, water and paper towels) in your car.
Do some digging and planting. It's been a rainy spring here in CA, and the soil is soft. Yesterday I unearthed a vein of adobe. I was tempted to stop and use the slick, reddish-brown clay to sculpt a lumpy figure. Why not? One good thing from all this is that it's OK to waste time. Consider that a luxury, because it is.
Sit still, very still, in your garden. After a few minutes, skittish birds will reappear. Listen to chirps, caws and warbles as they tell each other: "I'm over here!" You may even spot one with nesting material in its beak (Oh, the joy!) Btw, did you know that "my" birds are movie stars? On my YouTube channel, see Create Beautiful Feeders for Backyard Birds (5:01).
If you're home with kids
A treasure hunt is my grandson's most-requested activity. Each clue is numbered and leads to the next. The last reveals the location of the treasure, which might be Legos, a handful of quarters, or a fancy box of sparkly stuff. (Or as my ever-practical DIL observed, "You don't have to do all that. He likes candy.") I make the clues harder as he gets older.
My grandson delights in treasure hunts.Scavenger hunt: Hand each child identical lists of items to find outdoors and to photograph: a bird, a gopher mound, a red car, a flag, a cat, a yellow flower, a cactus, a fuzzy plant. Or better yet (with some instruction): an agave, a kalanchoe, a jade plant, an aloe in bloom, an agave, maybe living stones. Set a time limit. Those who keep their noses in their electronic devices get assigned a patch of weeds to pull.
If Your Kid is Far Away
My active grandson, now 11, has been doing school from home. Usually he comes here during Spring Break, but that's not an option. So we did an entire 12-clue treasure hunt via text messaging. It took half a day and was fun for both of us. Do try it yourself with kids you want to connect with but aren't able to visit. They have to read fairly well, be able to send texts or emails, and to take and send photos. You also need a highly motivating "treasure"...like this one:
Our Virtual Treasure Hunt's Challenges:
- Stack five rocks of any size so they don't fall over.
- Find five different back-yard flowers. Text their names with their photos.
- Identify photos of five common backyard birds.
- Solve a chess puzzle (I sent him a screen shot from an online site).
- Arrange six different-colored kitchen items according to the color wheel.
- Find seven different angles outdoors. Take and send photos of each.
- Answer questions about your great-grandparents (all found in a scrapbook).
- Finish this sentence from Chapter Two of... (a book I'd given him).
- Identify this musical instrument (I texted 15 seconds of a YouTube video).
- Make a Mouse Lunch of six different items. (Scale: 1 Cheerio = 1 donut).
- Take a photo of a street sign four blocks NW of your home.
- Unscramble a secret code that reveals the treasure.
I'm planning another Virtual Treasure Hunt, so if you have any ideas, please share them in a comment below. And if you do a Treasure Hunt yourself, tell us how it went!
It's your turn
I'd love to know, and I'll bet others would too, your own suggestions for what to do while while staying home. Will you please share them in the comments? Thanks, and stay home and stay well. Debra