Tag Archives: Life

The Passage of Time

Ice at West Branch State Park
Ice at West Branch State Park

My husband and I are still keeping isolated from other people as much as possible in an attempt to stay Covid-free. So far, so good. This puts us in an insular world. Each day is similar for us, but I do not always feel the same way about each day. Sometimes, they go by quickly. Other times they do not. It is not the days that are very different. It is my reaction and interpretation of them that changes.

Some days I miss my family with a longing that is all consuming. I think about them and all that I am missing with the growing up of my nieces. Lives are being lived and I am not a part of them. I know the Covid vaccine is being rolled out now, so we will be able to catch up and share in each other’s lives again. This is a great comfort. Each gathering will be that much sweeter because we will revel in the privilege of spending time together. By staying apart and safe for now, we will be blessed with much more time together. I guess one way to look at the past year’s isolation is that it is an investment in our future. We will be able to have a future and I can’t imagine a time ever again when I will not be grateful to spend time with family and friends.

Other days I am able to appreciate being at home with my dogs. Being free to spend time hiking and communing in nature. Being immersed in the environment, watching birds fly overhead, while walking beside the water is a good thing. Hearing the lap of the waves and the call of the birds is soul soothing. There are so many sounds, if we only listen. The wind blows through the dry leaves creating a pleasant rustle. The earth has it’s own sounds.

West Branch State Park

When I get back home, I am ready for a cup of tea and the warmth of the fire. The dogs are content to nap. I pass some time with a book and become immersed in another world for a bit. Then on to something a little more active. I bake several times a week. We are spoiled having homemade baked goods on hand at all times. I may write. And the routine of household cleaning and laundry is ever present.

It is amazing how these simple things, and a few others, expand to fill an entire day. I don’t know how I ever had time to work. I know the thing I missed out on the most while working a full time job was sleep. A good night’s sleep then was 7 hours. Usually I got only six. Now I sleep for the time that I choose, it is usually 8 to 8 1/2 hours of shut eye. The big difference is that I rarely nap and I don’t fall asleep while watching television at 9 o’clock each evening. Something that I was infamous for doing!

No matter how the days pass, pass they do. It is our job to take advantage of the time we are given. To live, to experience life. To appreciate the things that we encounter. To live a life that you are proud of. And it is never too late to begin.

Good Things in a Pandemic World

Good Things in a Pandemic Word. New Mug, Coffee, and a Good Book!
Good Things in a Pandemic World. New Mug, Coffee, and a Good Book!

As 2021 approaches, I am spending some time looking back over 2020.

For the most part, I have considered 2020 as a year of putting my life on hold. I understand that for so many others, it was a year of illness, death, and financial hardship. I have fared better than many.

As the year comes to a close, I am more easily able to look back and see the big picture. A reason why so many start the New Year off with resolutions to change and make improvements. If I see 2020 as a year of my life being on hold, that is my choice. That means I can also make the choice to see it differently.

What if this year was a gift of solitude and introspection? If times were usual I no doubt would have kept on working in areas that I was familiar with after my retirement last year. It is easier to continue on with what you know than to make decisions and strike out on a new path. I would have kept searching for jobs in the water treatment industry. That was my career, and I was good at it. But I suspect that I can be good at many things. Do I want to stay on that path and wonder about the road not taken? Only time will tell.

There are many things I enjoy. Mostly, dogs, books, gardening, and writing. And I enjoy sharing them with others. I am free to pursue any or all of these. I have always thought that I am an “odd bird” because I have a technical, scientific mind, which was how I earned my living for many years. I also enjoy many right-brained pursuits. I am not just a left-brain or right brain kind of girl. Both sides of my brain fight it out for expression. (That may be why I sometimes get into trouble because of a busy mind!)The year of 2020 provided me an opportunity to look at my life as whole and make decisions about what I want to do with it.

I have also reflected on the fact that I have always been somewhat of a loner. The social meme “It’s too peopley out there” is one I understand. A year of isolation and separation forced by a pandemic, makes me rethink this too. It’s true that I enjoy my alone time and always will. But I now have more appreciation for social gatherings and hanging out with friends and acquaintances. (I never doubted my love and need to hang out with family.) I miss my friends with their smiles and hugs and conversations. Friends can also give us new insights and cause us to realize there are other opinions and reactions to situations. Friends make us think outside of ourselves. They help us to be whole, better rounded individuals.

Staying isolated is hard. But if we look at this over the span of an entire lifetime, it is a brief snapshot of time. How we will see this time when we look back on this period in our lives, will certainly be different that how we feel about it right now. And we get to choose how we will reflect on this time, when the years have passed.

Many have lost loved ones to this coronavirus and I am deeply sorry for them. What a terrible thing. Those losses will mark this as a dark time in history. That does not mean we cannot find a light in the darkness and use it to guide our way.

May peace be with you.

Chill!

Not getting much done even though you have more time available with the self isolation and shelter in place that is going on across our country and much of the world?

It’s ok, just chill!

I have read that this is a natural reaction to the stress and trauma that is creeping across the world along with the coronavirus. It’s a common reaction.

I didn’t think it was affecting me much until I dropped a jar of yeast, breaking a tile in our marble kitchen floor, forgot something major, and locked us out of the house with my keys still inside. All within a few hours.

This is highly unusual behavior for me. I tend to be very precise in thought and behavior. Probably due to all those years of thinking like a scientist. Or maybe I’m just anal.

We all need to take it easy on ourselves right now. Life is hard and stressful enough. Cut yourself some slack.

Lessons From the Dog

Dear Human,

Don’t stress out about things.

This too shall pass. No matter what it is.

Spring will come. As will summer, fall, and winter.

Your child or pet will outgrow the terrible two’s, three’s, and teens.

That time you spend wishing you didn’t have to go to work, one day you won’t.

Be in the moment. Enjoy the now.

From the Dog

With Love.

(And could you pet me while you’re enjoying the now?)

Bring Joy!

Photos with residents are cropped to protect their privacy.

Oh, to be able to bring this much joy into someone’s life. Apparently dogs are more powerful than I am. No one smiles like this when I walk in by myself. But that’s ok, I get it. Dogs are all accepting and instantly make nearly everyone feel better.

I take Shelby and Nikki to visit at a nursing home twice a month and they are always a hit. Many residents want to visit with them. And any passing workers stop for a few pats, from aides to nurses to dining room employees. Family and friends who come to visit their loved ones like to stop and visit with the pups as well.

Everyone enquirers about Shelby and Nikki. How old are they? (9 and 12 1/2) What breed? (Shetland Sheepdogs) Do they live in the house? (Of course) You must brush them a lot? (Yes, my hobby while I watch tv) And many other questions.

I’ve been visiting nursing and residential facilities with dogs since 2000. Of course not with the same dogs. I am on my third generation of therapy dogs. On every visit I’m repeatedly asked the dogs’ names amongst other information about them. How often have I been asked my name? Once.

Does it bother me? Not one bit! Why would I have kept it up for the past 19 years if it did? (Wow, that’s a long time!) It is a great testament to how much people need dogs. People do talk to me and are glad to see me. They tell me about the dogs they had as kids and when they were adults.

Dogs give acceptance to people, whatever state they are in. They are a connector between people and a bridge to memories and conversation. They facilitate miracles. One of my life goals is to be able to bring as much joy as my dogs!

Thank You For Being a Friend

The girls and I lost a friend this week. Nikki (above), Shelby (below) and I have been visiting at a local nursing home for a number of years. This gentleman, Bob, was one of our favorites.

I visited with Bob the two times a month that we went to the nursing home for the four and a half years that he resided there. He always greeted us with a smile and a quick wit. I could tell everyone loved him, workers and residents alike.

He always had a kind word, words of comfort or a joke to share. As we got to know each other, I found out that Bob was from the same small community that I live in. I live right down the street from a business he once had. Over the months, Bob taught me a lot of local history of the area and tidbits of information about what times used to be like there. I learned from him about local landmarks and points of interest, and just what times were like over the years.

Bob could talk about anything. We talked about “our Cavs”, gardening, current events, historical events, his family, my family. You name it, we probably talked about it. We shared life. I felt closer to him than any grandparent I ever had.

Bob lived a good, and long life. He was 94. Still, I cried when I saw his obituary in the paper. I didn’t think it was time yet. Thank you my friend, my life is better for having known you.