Quarantine–Burden or Blessing?

Scenes like this keep me sane!

Howdy! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here and I’m sorry for being so remiss!

Life has been busy in quarantine and I’ve been going in several different directions at once. All while mainly remaining at home!

First, I started a proofreading/editing business. I LOVE to read and as I read, I find myself correcting any spelling or grammar error in my head as I go. I read EVERYTHING, even ketchup bottles and mayonnaise jars. If something with words is in front of me, I’m reading it! It’s a compulsion really. I can’t NOT read something. Because of this, I decided to put my reading and grammar skills to good use. I took a course (Proofreading Anywhere) and loved it. Currently I’m proofreading professional documents primarily. I’d like to proofread novellas and novels, so if you need any help in that direction, please let me know!

I also updated my bookkeeping skills and learned how to use QuickBooks Online. My husband is a CPA and has his own business. I brushed up on my skills relating to that and am doing bookkeeping and administrative work for him. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about bookkeeping and accounting. The administrative work comes easily to me. I worked as an administrative assistant and clinic manager for over 30 years so I definitely know the ropes!

In my tiny amounts of free time, I’m also learning Spanish and French, crocheting, knitting, and we moved to a new apartment! Whew! Life has been busy in quarantine! Who says that old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Old dogs (that would be me) can definitely learn new tricks and have a blast in the process!

What have you been doing? Have you found quarantine to be a burden, a blessing, or a mashup of the two? I pray you are all doing well and I promise to stay in touch better! Keep on keeping on folks!

Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming!

This year has been a mess like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 59 years of living!  The world is changing so fast and there seems to be so many more dangers than there were when this year began.  Deadly mysterious viruses, broken economy, violence, natural disasters, and opportunists looming in the background to take advantage of this bad situation. I know that we’ll all come through this, but it is really tough some days to keep one’s chin up and maintain a positive attitude. I think we can all agree on that! 

So, how does one stay positive, maintain faith in a good and gentle God, and keep on being a good, compassionate, hardworking, gentle-spirited peaceful person?  There are many ways employed to do it, but for myself, I read scripture, pray, work on improving myself by following a new career path, reading, and crocheting like a crazy woman! (I have a new grand baby arriving in 7 days and I can hardly wait! Hence the mad crocheting. I have things I want to get to my kids before Little Miss arrives. Can you say cute booties, caps, and cuddle blankets?) 

One thing I’ve learned through the years is that action is key to maintaining a healthy outlook and moving forward. I’ve had chronic low-grade depression all my adult life. I take antidepressants, which help immensely, but I learned a long time ago that when I feel like just curling up into myself with my thoughts and low feelings, that is when I need to get up and move!  I need to physically move, be active, get outside for some sunshine and fresh air (wearing sunscreen), and shake up my complacent world! Sometimes just vacuuming the house can be therapeutic. When I was younger, I would rearrange the furniture in my house (and sometimes my office), deep clean, reorganize things in my environment, and feel like a new woman! When I finally realized what my furniture rearranging was all about (movement, exertion, sweat, and imagination), I knew I had clicked into a way to stave off depression, stay physically fit, and be healthier all the way around.

Does that mean that everyone should rearrange their house or office furniture to stave off depression and anxiety? No! Everyone has their own key to keeping themselves out of depression and anxiety. You just have to find that key for yourself! What gets your heart pumping, your imagination firing, and your face determined?  What makes YOU smile?

One way I’ve found to figure myself out is to write in a journal frequently. Getting all my frustrations, hurts, confusion, and life situations down on paper by physically writing them down performs a miracle for me. It clears my head and my heart. It also gives me a map of the path I need to take in my life. I know writing isn’t the way for everyone. Perhaps drawing, painting, singing, taking a walk, taking a drive, house repairs, or building something is the best way for you to clear your head. As long as there is physical movement and some space for you to think your way clear through your confusion and anxiety, it is good! 

If you are a person of faith, keep connecting to that faith through prayer, study, and meditation. Keep your mind focused on what is good, pure, healthy, and positive and you will find peace.  

I’ve jabbered on enough this morning. I hope I’ve inspired some of you with a few of the ways I fight off depression and anxiety. Remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Life never sits still. It is always changing. These dark times won’t last forever. Good times will return. Until then, hold on, find what works for you, and just do it!  (Sorry Nike!)  

I love you all and want you to be happy, healthy, and free from anxiety.  Until next time, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming!

Dory (Like the little blue fish.)

2020–Catching Up

I know I’m writing nothing original here when I say that this year has been at least half a lifetime, or at least ten years long! All previous natural rhythms of seasons, time, and life were disrupted back in March and still haven’t been restored. I think eventually we will get back to a more natural routine, but I seriously doubt if we ever return to what we had, did, or were before.

So! How you doin’? Has the uniqueness of this year made you crazy yet? Have some good things come of it for you? If so, are you grateful? Or is it all just a dark gray glob of confusion? I sincerely hope not on that last option!

It is strange to me that my life has never been so restrictive before, but I feel more free than I have in decades! I’ve had time to quiet myself–body, mind, and soul. I’ve become reacquainted with myself and my family. I’ve had fun doing it too! I’m even retooling myself for a new career. How about those apples? Pretty cool I think!

Before the stay-at-home orders were put in place, I was an in-home caregiver to older clients, clients with dementia, and hospice clients. I LOVED my work. I’d been doing it for about 5 years and found it very rewarding and fulfilling all while helping others to live their very best lives through their final days or years. I met some of the most incredible people who taught me so very much about life. If I told even half of their stories, I promise you’d be weeping with joy, sorry, and newly gained wisdom. Unfortunately, I can’t share their stories. That would be a violation of their privacy and HIPPA laws. I can say this, however. Aging doesn’t have to be a downer. Even terminal illnesses and death don’t have to be downers. If approached with courage, strength, and wisdom, any of those things can be something that enriches our human experience and life itself. I’ve learned that from all the beautiful people I’ve had the great fortune and blessing of meeting, serving, and loving.

My last day of caregiving was March 16, 2020. On that day, my last hospice client finally got to go to heaven and see her beloved husband again. Also, my veteran client’s family decided it was too risky to have someone coming into their house twice a week while COVID-19 was in the air. I completely understood and was relieved to tell the truth.

Sunflowers are my favorite!

The fact is that I’m getting a little older myself and caregiving is a younger person’s job. Younger, stronger, more physically energetic people are need to fulfill client needs. Let’s face it, I’ve never been buff or big and lifting, moving, and aiding adults is very taxing on the body. I’m not a wimp by any means, but facts are facts. A 58-year-old body cannot do what a 28-year-old body can! And that’s ok! We have seasons throughout our life and my caregiving season came to an end.

What am I going to do now, you ask. Well, I’m going to start a freelance proofreading career! It is something I can always do at home, wherever home may be. I can take on as many or as few clients as I wish. I can do the work anywhere, anytime, or any place as long as I have an internet connection until senility starts sinking in, which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time yet.

So! Life is good and God is great! I know some people get really annoyed at my little miss merry sunshine approach to life. Believe me, sometimes I have to dig really deep to dredge up some sunshine, but I can tell you this. It is always, always worth it to call forth the sunshine! Sunshine sheds light on what improvements can be made to ourselves and to our lives. Sunshine heals our spirits. Sunshine is healthy! It gives us a big boost of vitamin D that can literally lift our spirits. So, sunshine, here I am!

I love all of you and pray you and your family have been spared from the COVID-19 plague. I pray you’ve been blessed with stability, family, friends, and connections this year. I pray you’re keeping your chin up and meeting the challenges of this year with a smile and sunshine.

Dory

Everyone’s Face Tells A Story

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This is me, scars, wrinkles, freckles, age spots and all. (I even think my lazy eye might be making a comeback!) I would never have plastic surgery because my face tells the story of my life. I have deep smile lines because I love to laugh and smile. I have freckles and age spots because as a teen I laid out in the backyard with baby oil coating every inch of my visible skin. I have a scar because I had to have a skin cancer removed. I have a scar on the left side of my face because I slipped and fell off the back deck of our house 10 years ago. Because I was 46, it didn’t disappear like scars from my 20’s did. I have wrinkles around my lips because gasp I was stupid and was a closet smoker for years. I’m not model perfect. I’m a real woman.

For the record, I’ve never ever, ever been “pretty” by the worlds’ terms, but I do think I can be “cute” if I wear lipstick, mascara, and a smile. Otherwise, hide your children ’cause I’m kinda scary first thing in the morning!

Why am I confessing all this? Because I think as human beings we should accept who we are–wrinkles, spots, imperfections–and all! Finally, at the age of 56 breathing down the neck of 57, I like me. I like my face. Please, no matter what your age, like yourself! Like your face and body! God loves you and if the King of the Universe loves you just as you are, well, you should love yourself too!

If I Could Teach the World to Sing…

Wow! Sometimes I love the internet and sharing things with people around the world. I shared some of my Ireland pictures on my jigsaw puzzle app and got best picture 2 weeks in a row. I didn’t even realize it until later. Then today I suddenly realized I had 247 comments on the same puzzle in at least a dozen different languages!! I’m just blown away by that! I knew I loved the picture, but that so many others liked it too is really cool. (I’m so easily impressed, aren’t I?) This is the photo that has garnered so much interest.

  
In other news, I found out yesterday that I’m in the top 15% of read reviewers (8992 people) on Trip Advisor because of the places I reviewed while on our Ireland/Spain/England/France trip two years ago.   

My point is, sometimes we get frustrated by how burdensome the internet can be and by how we seem, in some ways, to be more disconnected from people. For the first 30+ years of my life, though, I would only have connected with people I met personally or maybe a pen pal in another country through school or something. Now, we live in truly a more connected world. More people are traveling abroad. There are international online communities for nearly every subject or interest known to humankind, news is known almost instantly, and we make friends with people we’ve never met in person. Lastly, through something as trivial as a photo for a jigsaw puzzle, we can bring enjoyment to people we’ve never met and who don’t even share a common language with us. 

I’m feeling more connected to the world at large in a positive way tonight than I ever have before.  When I was a little girl, I think in the late 1960’s or 1970’s, there was a Coca-Cola commercial that came out on television where people from all over the world were holding hands and singing, 

“I’d like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company
I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills

For peace through out the land
(That’s the song I hear)

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony…”

That’s the way I feel tonight.  Yes, I’m a peace, hope, and love gal all the way to the bone. I feel closer to that ideal than I have in a long, long time. 

D. Elaine Wood-Lane

5/24/17

The Beauty of a Clock

A friend of mine on Facebook today mentioned an analog clock he and his wife have in a bathroom in their home. He mentioned how he could read it from the shower via a mirror.  My mind, as usual, went down a rabbit hole and suddenly I remembered hearing recently that many children and adults could no longer read an analog clock. At the time I thought that had to be wrong and hoped it was true. (I had also heard that children are no longer being taught cursive writing in school. Unfortunately, I have learned that that rumor is true. Breaks my heart, but that’s another subject.)

My husband and I have many clocks in our house, but the dearest, most valuable one to me is an analog battery clock set in a wooden frame that I bought for my dad many years ago at a pharmacy. His vision was rapidly declining due to macular degeneration and he could no longer read his watch. One day while waiting for a prescription refill, I saw a clock for sale for about $10 I think and immediately thought it would be perfect for Daddy. It even had the hands that glow in the dark at night, which would be perfect for Daddy when he awoke at 4:00 in the morning and got up to sit in the living room until Mother woke up. Of course, I bought the clock and I think it was Daddy’s Father’s Day gift that year. That same clock now sits on my bathroom shelf and I look at it many times during the course of an average day. Every time I look at it, I think of my dad fondly. He didn’t use it for years and years, but the time he did use it was precious to me.

I think the true usefulness and beauty of a clock is not in whether it is analog, digital or sand or even in the time it tells, but in the time that it keeps. Daddy’s clock, to me, will always represent the time I kept with my father in his last years and how special that time was to me. 

I have a grandson now, Milo, who is two years old. He has excellent parents who will, I have no doubt, teach him how to read an analog clock. Someday I will share with Milo the story of my little bathroom clock and how precious it is and someday further in the future, I will leave it to him so he can remember how his Grandmama Dee used that clock to keep time with her father and then used it to keep time with him, her beloved grandchil

Talking to the Animals

Walk with the animals, talk with the animals… I walked out of my client’s house today and saw two of my very favorite regularly seen animals across the street. I know. That sounds odd to say “favorite regularly seen animals.” The truth is, I DO regularly see many animals though. Here at my house, last year I got to know Freddie and Freda, my friendly squirrels. This year we’ve become friends with Eddie, their progeny. At each of my client’s homes, I have animal friends I see every time I go to visit them. In the Rockrimmon area, I have 2 rabbit friends who get under my car in cold weather and who hop up to the window and “talk” to me when the weather isn’t cold. Then there are my deer friends. These two bucks. One is the patriarch of the herd. One is a faun I met early in the spring. It has been neat to see the faun grow up. I haven’t seen the does lately. Maybe they’re staying in a warmer area. There is the possibility that they were killed. There was someone in the neighborhood who poisoned several of the herd in the fall. It was terrible and broke our hearts. I don’t know if they caught them or not.
So, today I walked out of my client’s home and there are my guys. They started to cross the street to see me. Yeah, I know, sounds unbelievable, but it happens! The papa buck was about to walk across the street but there was a car coming up the hill much too FAST. I did something any parent will recognize–I yelled, “Deer!! STOP!!” (Except as parents we yell the name of our child, of course.). Deer stopped! He looked at me and stopped immediately. I yelled, “Stay, deer! I don’t want you to get run over!” That dang deer stayed until the cars went by, just like a chastised kid! Hahaha! Then he ambled across the street towards me and made that weird little sound deer make, almost like he was saying “thanks!” Then baby buck came across the street. He’s the one you see on video. They have such great personalities. I never knew that before I moved to Colorado. Today, interacting with these beautiful animals was one of the very best moments of my day. Alan calls me Dr. Doolittle because I “talk with the animals.” Hahaha! I talk, they make weird sounds or just stare at me. To me, that’s just incredibly awesome and reminds me that we’re not the only live creatures on this planet.

Between a Doze and a Daydream

I came out to my studio to write this afternoon. I started off writing a quadrille poem (44 words long) that would include the word spark or sparkle for dVerse Poetry’s weekly quadrille challenge. I wrote as the breeze wafted through my open door and the sun slowly shifted to highlight the artwork on the wall opposite me. The air was not too hot and not too cold, but just exactly perfect. Missy Cat came inside and found a comfy place to snooze and suddenly I realized I had been staring off into space, halfway caught between a doze and a daydream. What a perfect afternoon and a perfect feeling of peace. I realized I was more relaxed than I’ve been in ages. Did I get a lot of writing done? No. Did I get a lot of plotting and planning done for the 50,000 word novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo? I have to say I did. Isn’t it amazing how much one can accomplish when we simply take the time to get halfway caught between a doze and a daydream? Happy Monday everybody!    Elaine

My daydream wall…

Missy Cat’s place to doze…

Humility

You know, sometimes, just when you think you have life pretty much figured out and know how to take care of all the basics, you find yourself utterly defeated by something completely ridiculous. In my past I’ve found myself challenged by big things like aging parents, angsty teens, mental illness, poverty, sexism, racism, and even sexual harassment. Those things are “normal” in the course of a lifetime I think unless you live on a pink cloud all by yourself where nothing ever happens. With God’s help, I have managed and can manage to face all those things, I think.

So, I’m feeling pretty confident about my life and myself this morning when my husband asks me to go buy gas for the lawnmower. He hands me the little red gas jug and proceeds to start mowing the back yard. No big deal! I’m happy to do it! So Buddy (my 10 year old Chihuahua) and I go to the small gas station a block away and I pull out my little red gas jug. I then proceed to fight with it for at least 5 minutes, trying not to swear at my husband beneath my breath as I do so. “Sugar bear!! Why did he ask me to do this anyway? Just because I’m incapable of mowing the lawn, that’s why! I know I don’t mow in straight lines and can’t turn corners, but this is too much!! Drat that man!” I struggled and I twisted and I pinched and, I couldn’t get it off! I couldn’t tell if I was doing something wrong or if I just wasn’t strong enough to squeeze the appropriate places and twist at the same time. I was about to give up when I noticed a young man pull up behind me to buy gas. He had a little boy in his back seat so I decided he looked safe and humbly went over and asked for help. (Women, as you know, this is something we have to be careful about. Some guys aren’t safe.) The young man said “Sure! No problem!” and then, of course, flipped something, twisted the cap and voila! The cap was off the jug in 2 seconds. I blushed at my lack of ability and humbly thanked him for his assistance. He couldn’t help himself. He grinned wryly at the old lady, i.e. me, and said, “Those things can be complicated until you’ve done it a time or two.” I laughed, he laughed and I went back to my gas pump, filled the jug with gas and the car with the gas and slinked humbly back home.

You know, we never will know everything or have all the answers. There will always be something that we need help with in this life. Whether it be getting a stupid cap off of a gas jug, getting help with our kids, parents, spouses, family at large, or even accepting help from complete strangers when we need it.

There are even those of us who have gone to church all our lives, read the bible all our lives and given ourselves to Jesus, who think we have all the answers down pat and, suddenly something comes up that leaves us questioning our previously held pat answers. I think society at large is in this state right now. So much about our society, social mores and values have changed over the last 20 years. Some of them are really good, some of them aren’t and some of them I don’t know about. Some of them I’m still wrestling with and so, I go to God’s word and try to find the answers. I have decided one thing for sure. Even if I don’t have all the answers, I know God does. I know He knows what the big picture looks like and that if I just submit to His will and “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him,” (Micah 6:8) it will all work out okay in the end. I’m not God. I don’t have to have all the answers for every question or situation. I do need to act justly, treat people with love, dignity and mercy, and walk humbly with God. I might not agree with everyone else or anyone else, I might not be of the same religious beliefs or non-beliefs, political stripe, the same race, the same socioeconomic bracket, or of the same sexual orientation as someone else. It doesn’t matter. I am still asked, no, required, by God to act justly, treat all people with love, dignity, and mercy, and walk humbly with God. Especially when I can’t even get a stupid cap off of a gas jug, it occurs to me that I’m not in a position to act superior to anyone, ever. Do you?

Peace, blessings, and love for the week ahead to all of you,

Elaine

P.S. I have problems reading crochet and knitting patterns sometimes too. Everyone seems to think I know all there is to know about those hobbies, but let me tell you, they confound me sometimes! Here’s my current project. If I finish it and it actually ends up looking like this, I will let you know. 😀