Random New-Reality Thoughts – March 19, 2020

My last post was a little dark, reflecting my stress and mood after a challenging week. Writing (venting?) about it helped me but I doubt it helped you, the reader. For that, I’m truly sorry.

I’d like to try to make it up to you.

Today’s post is a collection of randomness. Maybe you’ll find something funny, helpful, or inspiring as you – like me, like the rest of the world – struggle through our new pandemic reality. I anticipate future installments of similar fluff, as things occur to, or happen to me, so stay tuned.

***

As many memes showing up on social media lately are making clear, we introverts have been training for something like this our entire lives. Social distancing is our primary skill set! We’ve got tons of books in the house that can be re-read, tons more newer ones on the Kindle; musical instruments to be played; writing and art projects to create; pets to play with; yards to nurture (now that spring is officially here); Netflix and other online streaming videos to watch. Social life for many introverts, in this time of the pandemic, is not much different than it was before.

***

There will be a baby boom, starting roughly nine months from now. Imagine all the home-bound couples, some who will run out of birth control! I hope hospitals, as they use various models to anticipate the number of beds, ventilators, staff and supplies they need to treat Covid-19 patients in the coming months also factor in extra demand for their maternity wards starting around November.

And what will we call this new cohort? Covid kids? Corona kids? Ideas, anyone?

***

I heard the first sandhill cranes arriving in my valley this afternoon. I hope they appreciate the lessened noise, traffic and pollution they’re encountering on their way north.

***

My introvert friends are behaving no differently than they always have: spending lots of alone time, at home; exercising outside, alone; engaging with friends and family online, when convenient to them; reading, writing, creating art…alone (but sharing with others).

My extrovert friends? They’re on social media way too much now, too much time suddenly on their hands and no idea what to do with it. Some are offering to do things for neighbors/community members (a worthy instinct), but that sort of defeats the idea of social distancing. Some are checking in on me via text or email, which is nice (truly) but I suspect it’s more because they’re bored, can’t go to work or hang out in real life with other people so they’re trying to figure out how to do that digitally. One wants to schedule a time to actually talk on the phone! Noooooooo!!

I love you, but…nooooooo!

***

Today’s the first day of spring. That’s a happy thing! More sunlight lifts moods, warming temperatures lure us outside into nature. It makes walking, running and cycling more enjoyable, all forms of exercise we can still enjoy (so long as we stay several feet away from others). Those lucky enough to have a yard, garden or even plant pots can go crazy, digging, planting (order seeds online!), pulling weeds and feeling nature under their fingernails. Put the bird feeders out (order feeders and bird seed online if you don’t already have them and can afford them) so you’ll have something beautiful and uplifting to watch outside your windows. Wildlife isn’t daunted by the coronavirus or our reaction to it.

Can you imagine if we’d started all this social distancing and self-quarantining in November? Be grateful for small favors.

***

Meme-makers, get to work, please! I’m tired of my social media friends sharing the same ones over and over. Get those creative juices flowing and give us new things to laugh about!

***

Many of my Seattle-area friends who for years have questioned my sanity in moving from Seattle to middle-of-nowhere Idaho are finally getting it. I think they’re more than a little envious right now.

***

I just discovered that if I blow on my Pixel 3a phone screen, it goes from sleep to awake! I picked it up and noticed some dust on the dark screen. Blowing the dust off, the screen came alive! I thought I had to tip it back and forth or move it around significantly (or press the on/off button briefly). Turns out moving it simply pushed air against it, waking it up. I’m feeling a little stupid, but glad I figured it out. Small victories.

***

Calming tips for turbulent times worth sharing: a dear friend, having read my last blog post, including the part about brain fog due to lack of sleep, emailed a suggestion she has found helpful. Like me, she can’t sleep with music playing, but she reports that listening to one of the sleep stories on this app, from a company called Calm, helps her fall asleep. I’m going to try it. I see that one of the favorites is narrated by Matthew McConaughey. Hmmm. (They offer several options to achieve calm: read more here. Please note: after a seven-day free trial, a subscription for full access to existing and updated programs is $70/annually. Trust me, I have no financial interest in this company; I’m sharing because I trust my friend Susan T. If she says it’s good and works for her, I believe her.)

How about we all calm down? No harm in that, right?

***

Get your drawing on!

I’ve been interested in learning to draw, in any of various formats (pencil, charcoal, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors). Back in January I even ordered a very cheap and basic collection of pencils, pastels and paints to experiment with, along with some cheap instructional books. While I’ve only played with this stuff a couple times, as this pandemic keeps us all closer to home in the coming months, I think I’ll be glad I have it.

About the same time, I stumbled upon a computer program for drawing: Autodesk Sketchbook (it’s free; there’s a Pro version that isn’t free). They have a Windows 10 version.  And while I realize the optimal use of the program is on a tablet, with a stylus, I can play with it using my mouse on my desktop’s computer screen. Another way to fritter away some time in a creative way that maybe will eventually translate into better drawings by hand.

***

The boys and I enjoying Brundage after ski season closed last year, May 3, 2019.

Our local downhill ski resorts (we have two, Brundage and Tamarack) decided to do the right thing this week and end the season early to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. Thankfully it has been a good snow year, so one hopes the resorts did well enough earlier in the season to make up for closing a few weeks early.

I, for one, am selfishly ecstatic that Brundage made this decision. It’s close by and this opens up even more terrain for the dogs and me to play on without encountering other humans (or very few, and from far away). Every spring I eagerly await notice that Brundage is closing for the ski season, usually in mid-April. After closing there’s a small window of time, a handful of weeks, when the overnight temperatures remain cold enough to keep the snow crusty on the groomed routes, supporting our weight as we run, while we await the re-emergence of the dirt trails after the late-spring snow melt. The terrain is steep – ski runs, as opposed to the more meandering mountain biking trails we run there in the summer – so it’s a tough workout for me but the dogs LOVE IT.

Always looking for the bright spot.

***

Sunset from the deck on March 19, 2020.

I said adieu to this day by sitting on my deck (I hauled a table and chairs out from winter storage in the garage earlier, but I was, actually, sitting on the deck, legs dangling over the edge) watching the sunset. My boys Finn and Conall sat beside me, happily giving me kisses as I rubbed their heads and shoulders. They love it when I get down on their level. Talk about a sure-fire calming technique!

If this is my life for the next few weeks or months, I’m good.

Featured image: the boys and I heading down a groomed ski slope at Brundage after closing last year (May 3, 2019). Looking forward to this again this year!

15 thoughts on “Random New-Reality Thoughts – March 19, 2020”

  1. I’m torn with the whole social distancing thing. While I enjoy solitary pursuits and long periods of quiet with a good book… I admit to missing our weekly pub interactions as well. With only the husband for daily conversation things tend to get dark … he watches the gloom and doom on the news non stop and it’s beginning to drive me nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it takes getting used to. When I first moved from Seattle to rural Idaho, in 2005, not knowing a soul, I’d go into town – for groceries or other items – way more frequently than I needed to, just to interact with other people. I joined a reading group, a cycling group for group rides, etc. My need for those group interactions lessened with time, replaced to some extent by social media and a focus more on one-on-one relationships. I’d hate to have to go cold turkey on seeing friends/groups, like you and so many are having to do, so I sympathize.
      Sorry about the husband’s news addiction. I can sympathize with that, as well; I just don’t have anyone within ear shot to complain to (the dogs couldn’t care less) so I try to keep it to a minimum! Maybe the husband’s barn remodeling project isn’t such a bad thing after all, unless he’s listening to talk radio while he’s working 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post 💚👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 all I can say is Bravo. My life hasn’t changed much. I’m an ambivert. But tend to lean on the “in” more now that my career of being a “paid” extrovert is over. Simply, I loved schools and darn it, I had to be a tad extroverted. 😂🤔 my ukulele beckons me, every book I think I can digest sits waving, I got in a hike when rain disappeared, and relish in the quiet. While working at the campground I have to interact with others. We all need it at times~as much as I want to isolate, community is good. But I still smile during these times. Love your pics and memories. I look forward to getting to Idaho again soon. Stay safe, healthy, and peaceful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I guess we’re all learning new ways to stay connected while being in seclusion, whether we like it or not. I’m certainly glad I found the blogging community this past year, another tool in my own toolbox.
      Be safe and enjoy your travels (in RV seclusion)!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m actually not a social butterfly in the least bit, so the whole social distancing thing feels like just another day to me, truth be told.

    It’s interesting . . . I’ve taken to puzzles again. Me and my daughter are working on one currently, and it takes me back to when my kids were little and we would do puzzles all the time. I think it’s clutching to something familiar and comforting, I don’t know.

    Loved this post, Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Puzzles; great idea! I’ve got one sitting around somewhere.

      When I was young my family spent summers in a tiny cottage on a lake; six people in maybe 600-800 sq feet. If we kids weren’t outside roaming the neighborhood or swimming, we were in the cabin putting together puzzles, playing board games (Risk, Monopoly, Battleship) or card games (Hearts, Spades, Canasta, War, and solitaire when no one else was available to play one of the others). Loser had to put the board game away 🙂

      You’re right; something very comforting in those memories. Maybe those family activities will gain favor again?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m lousy at em, but it takes my mind off everything.

        Not the worst penalty, having to put the game away. Then again, I guess it depends on the game you were playing.

        I think so? But people are also going to become ever more attached to their electronic devices as well since right now, that’s their connection to the outside world.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post; good argument for the application of stoicism. For the first five months after I moved here, I spoke to almost no one and didn’t try to meet anyone. It was all good for me. But, people wanted to meet me so inevitably, I made friends. Still, I’d say a lot of the people who live here are not particularly extroverted. Those who are? I know some but there’s a kind of disconnect, as always.

    If there weren’t an external reason for this “stay at home” moment, I’d be fine with it. I’d be doing it anyway. But the external reason is troubling and I find I have to develop a different kind of mental power than I have ever needed before. I don’t have a good enough understanding of it to explain it, but I’ve learned that Windex really does work, that food left in the freezer for a couple of years is lighter in weight than when I put it in there. That 2 year old ice cream has a nice crystalline pattern. The virus has stimulated a level of anxiety that has made creative work difficult. That bothers me, but I decided that while (as Nietzsche wrote) “Life is an overcoming” new things require new knowledge which evolves into new strategies for overcoming. I’m studying Italian. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Brain fog, lack of motivation, whatever one calls it, for most of us there’s a certain weariness and malaise that has set in from the constant barrage of bad and scary news these past few weeks. It’s everywhere; one can’t avoid it, nor should we, at least not completely, because we need to learn how to keep ourselves and our communities as safe as possible. But what an energy sap. Some days I don’t even want to go outside with the dogs, but I do; they don’t see any legitimate reason not to. And voila, once we’re out there, moving, I always feel immensely better and more energetic. That’s my strategy for now: outdoor movement. Every single day.

      Have fun learning Italian! What a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am more of an introvert than an extrovert but I will say that I am 100% guilty of being on social media more. I think I have been using it to help cope with all the anxiety and stress surrounding the situation. On top of our plague, we had an earthquake here a couple of days ago. It was the first one I have experienced in my life and rattled me physically, emotionally, mentally for a couple of days. Its been good to laugh at the funny memes (even if they continue to be the same old ones at this point), and reassuring to see the spread slowing down significantly in places that were hit first.

    Unfortunately working from home with a toddler here has meant that I have less time to do things. As my husband and I are having to tag-team caring for her, we only get a couple hours a day when she takes a nap that we can both actually be working at the same time. So while I normally have some downtime at work and can catch up on blogs and things, that downtime is now used to entertain my daughter so my husband can do his work. As much as I love the extra time with my daughter, I hope we all get to go back to normal very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa, an earthquake on top of everything else! I lived through two in Seattle, including the Nisqually 6.7 quake in 2001, which made the entire house sway for what seemed like forever, the strangest sensation, so I can imagine how rattled you feel.

      It’s human nature to make jokes about difficult times and events, so I’m betting we’re going to have lots of new videos and memes helping us cope with this new reality. Laughter really does help. As does social media, so long as we avoid the negative stuff. I’m getting better at screening that out.

      Your daughter won’t remember any of this, but you sure will! Maybe a daily journal written to her about your family’s life during the pandemic, for her to read much later, will not only help you process it but be a valuable bit of family history for her?

      Be safe and healthy. I hope the work-from-home routine becomes smoother and easier with practice! The up side: you’ve both still got work 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes. I cannot complain that I still have a job through this. I know I am lucky.
    I like the idea of a journal for my daughter to read someday. I do write in a daily journal for myself at night, but one written specifically for her would be nice. I am sure we will adjust to a better routine, I just put high expectations on myself.

    Like

  7. Wow, it’s funny we posted on the same day about the need for newer memes. This introvert has been preparing for this all his life! My suggestion for the baby boom name? Quaruntenials. I might have seen that somewhere else so I can’t take full credit, but I like it.

    Like

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