Me in the Middle of Being Grateful 2020 during COVID-Times

November Grid

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2019

(This Dozen Gratitudes List was originally written for 2017. It still remains a very meaningful list for 2019. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! )

  1.  For the cup of hot coffee I’m holding in hand while I ponder about this year and how quickly it’s flown by.  Grateful for still being here!

  2. For the ability to distance myself from the noise and drama of this year’s political events.

  3. For the hope that still swells up in my heart with a belief in the goodness and kindness of most people.

  4. For a safe dwelling and a supportive community that recognizes the needs of those of us who are aging.  I’m grateful to those who have filled a need for me this past year. 

  5. For my ‘young-at-heart’ mind that continues to love being creative in my retirement years.  Here’s to more watercolor sketching and creative writing.

  6. For our ‘genius’ system of government which continues to weather through all sorts of abuses yet, hopefully, continues to survive and thrive.  “The presidency is bigger than one man.” ~ President G. W Bush

  7. For the knowledge that my life on this earth is drawing to a close and I’m leaving behind five children, and their families, who strive to make this a better world.

  8. For a stronger sense of resilience and knowledge that I have it within me to face anything that comes my way with strength and grace.  No one is going to rescue me.

  9. For lessons learned this past year about myself, about where some people deserve to be in my life and setting healthy boundaries.     

  10. For the present moment because it is truly a precious gift.  Be aware!  Know what works for you in keeping you grounded and seeking the middle ground.

  11. For the higher power, whatever each person sees that to be, that holds me in unconditional Love through it all.  “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” ~ Glinda (Wizard of Oz)

  12. For the courage I’ve found this year to hold on to my convictions and faith within a very complex culture and society.  Trust your intuition.  You’re the best friend you’ll ever have.

Watercolor sketch © Mary Lou

Pandemic 2020 ~ October

The Right Thing

The graphic above is the Satire DT, not the Real DT. There’s wisdom and leadership in that advice. Something we sadly don’t have. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing since this pandemic started back in early March. And finally I went ahead and checked the right box shown above. I voted very early by mail. It was the only right thing to do. Anyone who has played the kind of reckless games that the current president has played during this pandemic doesn’t deserve four more years.

I continue with my weekly physical therapy wearing a mask yet social distancing is difficult because others are in the rehab fitness center. It’s almost impossible to know when or if you’re exposed even though all precautions are being taken. Here’s a quick photo I took after finishing one of the exercise sessions. Pretty exhausting therapy exercises and I go home and rest:

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The Right Thing
By Jan Beaumont ©️

The New Zealand election has now come and gone
And we’re settling back into our lives
But quite soon they will vote in the United States
And they’ve lately been flashing the knives.

Where we had two women, quite young in their years
The US has two older blokes
One of them seems to be quite dignified
While the other’s the butt of the jokes.

I just hope the American people come through
As their country sure needs to get well
But I trust the majority have some good sense
Or they’re in for four more years of hell! 

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The numbers keep rising (according to Worldometer.com) and medical professionals.

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In spite of ongoing reporting from reputable news media and medical professionals that the virus is going to be getting worse, the president continues to downplay the threat and flaunt the rules of mask wearing and social distancing. In a surreal reality TV show, he’s hospitalized after a positive testing of COVID-19. After a dramatic display of miraculous cure, he continues large campaign rallies and accuses the doctors of lying in order to get money.

In March, the real Donald Trump retweeting this in a sick display of humor:

Pandemic 2020 – September

Well here we are! Nine months since the very first reports of this dangerous virus. For most of us, awareness came in the beginning of March when we were learning how it was spread. And when our president, here in the US, came before the nation on March 11th. And here is some of what he said:

Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”

If we are vigilante and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. “

We must put politics aside. Stop the partisanship. And unify together as one nation and one family. “

None of this happened! He didn’t practice what he preached.

One month out from our presidential election we’ve learned the president has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital. Each day more of those in contact with him are turning up with positive results. October promises to be filled with drama and October Surprises. I’ve already mailed in my ballot and confirmed it has been received. That lifts some of the stress surrounding these crazy times.

As for me, I continue to wear my mask when I go out among people. My source of trust is the medical profession, my son who is a cardiologist and, of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci. I’ve tuned out the politicization of this terrible pandemic. I’m doing the best that I can over the long haul.

The assisted living facility where Pat is living has cautiously opened the doors for visitors again. Wearing a mask, having your temperature taken and being asked covid-related questions is all a part of the routine. My first visit with him was on a beautiful fall day. It didn’t seem like six months had passed by as we have been talking on the phone every day since this all began. What a gift it is to have him for support and encouragement. 💚😷

Lets All Drink to Lockdown
By Jan Beaumont ©

I’m normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can’t go out the gates.

You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
We need to stay inside
If they haven’t seen us for a while
They’ll think we’ve upped and died.

They’ll never know the things we did
Before we got this old
There wasn’t any Facebook
So not everything was told.

We may seem sweet old ladies
Who would never be uncouth
But we grew up in the 60s –
If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll
The pill and miniskirts
We smoked, we drank, we partied
And were quite outrageous flirts.

Then we settled down, got married
And turned into someone’s mum,
Somebody’s wife, then nana,
Who on earth did we become?

We didn’t mind the change of pace
Because our lives were full
But to bury us before we’re dead
Is like red rag to a bull!

So here you find me stuck inside
For 4 weeks, maybe more
I finally found myself again
Then I had to close the door!

It didn’t really bother me
I’d wile away the hour
I’d bake for all the family
But I’ve got no bloody flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful
I like a gutsy thriller
I’m swooning over Idris
Or some random sexy killer.

At least I’ve got a stash of booze
For when I’m being idle
There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
If I’m feeling suicidal!

So let’s all drink to lockdown
To recovery and health
And hope this bloody virus
Doesn’t decimate our wealth.

We’ll all get through the crisis
And be back to join our mates
Just hoping I’m not far too wide
To fit through the flaming gates!

Pandemic 2020 ~ August

Winter Is Coming

Same old. Same old.

August was a settling into the fact that this virus isn’t going away. We heard conflicting information from all sources. The president, without shame, used the pandemic to stoke more left and right division. It was unreal how half the country reacted to simple guidelines toward preventing the spread of infection. Deaths in the USA reached over 180,000. Total positive cases well over 5,ooo,ooo. The president continued to hold large campaign rallies, along with the Republican National Convention, that flaunted every effort of medical professionals and responsible citizens to prevent more deaths.

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This portrait is made with the pictures of all the doctors and nurses who passed away in this pandemic. Enlarge it and you will see. Pass it on as a tribute 💖

It’s a tribute to healthcare professionals in Mexico.

As of July 2020, no international health body has published a global total for deaths of healthcare workers caused by COVID-19. 

According to this study conducted by the UK newspaper The Guardian and US non-profit organisation Kaiser Health News, at least 768 frontline healthcare workers have died of COVID-19 in the US alone. 

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My life is slow and reflective. I’m centered and peaceful. The outside events that are battering my country break my heart yet I know I can’t fix it. There are so many who have lost jobs, a roof over their heads and no idea what the future holds. So many families that couldn’t be with a family member as they suffered with this virus.

My life is so much more enriched by being connected with beautiful people who show strength and wisdom that helps me carry on.

And meanwhile…….

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Winter is Coming ~ Seth Monk

Most of you know me as a positive person, or at least a realist. I’m not into conspiracy theories, or fear mongering, and I generally find a way to eventually flip any situation into a positive learning experience.There is something that’s been nagging on my mind though, and I feel like it needs to be shared.I need to ring the bell 🔔 And the bell sounds like this:

WINTER IS COMING

In a few months, it is going to become darker and colder. We are going to be forced to spend more time indoors. However with the virus most likely picking up due to people being forced to be in closed spaces and weakened winter immune systems, we’re not going to have many places to go. Stuck at home, stuck IN our homes, we are going to be in dark, cold, forced isolation.We aren’t going to have much contact with nature, with the sun, with each other, or much physical exercise. Spending our time indoors with only artificial lights, iPhones and Netflix is going to seriously hurt our mental health. The economy is going to be hurting. More places will be closing down. More jobs lost. More uncertainty and insecurity. More unsureness and anxiety. We feel this collectively in our nervous systems. In November there is also going to be a presidential election. Not only is there going to be a crazy, loud, aggressive surge of voice and opinions and debates, but there is going to be a winner. Or more importantly, there is going to have to be a loser. No matter which candidate wins, the losing side is going to declare war on the country. Trump supporters will revolt in some way if he loses, The rest of the population will revolt in some way if he wins again. Either way, there is going to be heavy political and communal turmoil that will last for months. This backdrop will already bring the collective tensions to an explosive high, and that is just the default state from which the rest of your personal life, with all of your own problems, difficulties, worries, challenges, and neurosis are going to play out.For many people, This is going to be the hardest winter of their lives.I am ringing this bell to help people have time to prepare. Get outside as much as you can now. Get in the sun, get in some water, and safely strengthen whatever kind of community bonds you have. Start thinking about how to make your home a wellness fortress. Buy things to soothe your nervous systems; candles and incense and oils and teas and plants and uv lights and bath soaps. If you were going to be literally stuck at home for a few months, what do you need to make it bearable? In some cases, consumerism is an answer. Get into a wellness routine now; Meditation, yoga, journaling, anything that you can do regularly that can help carry you through the winter. Buy snow clothes and plan on being outside to get your exercise. Start drawing a line with social media and devices. We need to stay present and informed but our nervous systems can not take that stress and stimulation that is coming. Set healthy boundaries, pick your battles, and detach as much as you’re able to. Be aware of how much you really need to be connected and to make actual change and what is just addiction. Make sure you have social networks of people you can call or go on winter walks with. Start creating, building, strengthening interpersonal connections. They will help save you.Make peace with the unknown, work on trusting the greater process, know you are not alone and that things are working to work themselves out. The sun will shine again, the flowers will bloom, and we will again have the chance to be together. I’m aware that this might seem premature, and that people are sitting at the beach currently so this all seems very far away. But it’s in our best interest to start planning (not worrying, not panicking) to give ourselves the best chance and support of making it to next summer in the best shape we can.I hope this message was received in a good way, feel free to share.

Pandemic 2020 ~ May, June and July

Pandemic 2020 ~ April

<strong>Pandemic 2020 ~ March</strong>

Me in the Middle Holding Space for My Country

Pandemic 2020 ~ May, June and July

I decided to combine May, June and July because of ‘brain fog’ and also I wanted to catch up to the present month of August. It’s easier to journal as it’s happening than to attempt to go back and recall these surreal events over the last five months.

School Bus COVID19 View from my Window

One by one school systems made the decision to close all schools. It was surreal because Spring was arriving and if we didn’t have the news reporting the pandemic we wouldn’t know that the threat was there.

Here in my apartment complex the county school bus would stop by around 11 a.m. and drop off school lunches for the children. The first nice Spring day that I sat outside in the patio there was a lot going on with cars pulling up to the school bus and the sound of the driver greeting those who came to get theirs.  There was a little girl running up and down the bank of the running creek, calling out to her mother.  The decision was made that by delivering the school lunches, the children would have a feeling of connection to their school while classes weren’t in session. At the present time, in August, there are plans to continue this program.

On May 25th the world witnessed a video of George Floyd being slowly killed by one of our civil servants in law enforcement.  Millions of people took to the streets in peaceful protest all over the world. My family members among them.  The message was clear. There needed to be reform that addressed the ongoing brutality by some in law enforcement that crossed over the line.  The call for reform concerned the lack of swift action on the part of law enforcement to bring accountability to the offenders within their ranks.   This message began to get lost when radical left and right took advantage of this and provoked violent confrontations.

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By May 27th, the Worldometer recorded cases in the US that were growing at an alarming rate:

May 27 Worldometer

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I was attempting to find ways to take my mind off of what was unfolding day after day. So many unknowns. So much confusion of facts. The president continued to minimize what we were hearing from the medical professionals. the States that were the epicenter of the pandemics surges were met with criticism and partisan resistance to needed federal action. He blamed everyone but himself.  It was exhausting and infuriating to watch his briefings.

Trump Who's Fault

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For most of May I enjoyed participating in an Audubon Webinar on Drawing Birds. Most of my time was spent watching birds coming into my bird feeder and they brought me a lot of joy. It was a wonderful distraction to see the sketches of the other artists and share my attempts on artist Facebook Pages.

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By the end of June it was obvious we weren’t mitigating the spread of the virus here in the US:

When business shut down and we weren’t able to get a hair cut, I decided I was going to let my hair grow for as long as COVID-19 kept us staying home. I had long hair when I was young and my grandmother wore her hair pulled back in a twist when she was older.  Being I’m not going anywhere, what do I have to lose and I’m saving the price of a hair cut.

Just as I had predicted, the fashion industry jumped on board and began marketing all different styles of masks. We were learning just which masks provided the best protection. I finally gave in and ordered two masks from AmazonPrime. It was looking more and more like we were going to be dealing with this virus for a long time. There was a growing anti-mask rebellion by those who were listening to the president and the conspiracy theories. Dr. Anthony Fauci continued to be the Voice of Reason for those who looked to science and the medical profession for the clearest advice and guidance.

Mask COVID-19 August

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By the end of July, Worldometer continued to record ever-increasing numbers of positive cases and deaths around the world:

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Every day Pat and I talk with each other. I’ve come to love (and need) this connection with him. I’d love to be with him and he keeps asking me when I’ll be able to come for a visit. It’s been over five months since I’ve been with him and the information coming from the Virginia Health Department isn’t very reassuring. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I carried the virus with me into his Independent Living/Assisted Living facility. We are both strong and offer each other a comforting and supportive love. His birthday was in July and I look forward to the day when I can have him over for a nice birthday steak dinner and raise a glass of wine to another year. ❤

Pat's Birthday 86 #1

To read Pandemic 2020 ~ March

To read  Pandemic 2020 ~ April