Is 2020 a distant memory?

I looked back in my blog to what I was feeling a year ago. It was the fall of 2020 and I was anxious to say the least. We had decided to put our house of 28 years on the market and leave California for Arizona. My kids were in the Bay Area and furious with us. My daughter was unemployed, having been laid off from her job due to COVID. My son was working remotely. My husband was working remotely from our master bedroom. There was a lot of emotions going on although not much else.

Here’s what I wrote last October:

Palm trees in Palm Springs
View from my neighborhood park in Palm Springs

I ran across a poem in an email from a club I belong to. It hit a nerve with how I’m feeling lately. I’m not able to sleep through the night. I’m worried for my children’s health and lives. It’s been a strange year to say the least for everyone around the world. I can’t wait for 2020 to be a distant memory.

It may seem odd to belong to a “woman’s club.” It sounds downright archaic. But it’s an interesting group of about 150 women. We are mostly empty nesters and range in age from mid 40s to early 100’s. We have a clubhouse that we maintain and rent out to various people and organizations for things like weddings to theater. The main purpose of our club is to raise funds for scholarships from graduating high school seniors. We give them four-year scholarships for college.

The club website states our purpose:

Intellectual Improvement – Social Enjoyment – Helpfulness in the Community
​​​Serving the Community since 1938

It’s a great club because you aren’t expected to do anything. Or, you can be as involved as you wish and head a committee or project. I know many of the women from my years as a mom of school-aged children. When I joined the club, I saw many familiar faces of women who were always the ones active and involved in their children’s activities and schools. They are the ones to count on to get things done.

Then there are the older women, generations older than me. I value their perspectives and interesting histories. I don’t think I’d have built friendships with these women unless they lived next door. But thanks to our club, we all sit together for lunch or tea, and learn from guest speakers about our town’s history or other topics. I’m sorry we won’t be meeting this year in person, but I look forward to the day when 2020 and the global pandemic is behind us.

Here’s the poem I received today from the Palm Springs Woman’s Club:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

And I wake in the night at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

 I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                   Wendell Berry

picture of woman's club meeting place
Exterior of the clubhouse.

I think this year the club will begin meeting in person. I got an invitation to their opening party. But, of course, I’m not there. Maybe I’ll pop in someday and say hi to my old friends.

Do you belong to any groups or clubs? Are they meeting in person this year? Did they meet at all in 2020?

Little things that give me comfort

During this weird time of 2020 shutdowns and lingering isolation into 2021, I discovered two products that make me feel better. They are little things my son introduced me to — self care products that bring a little highlight to my days.

Never would I have imagined that I’d be washing my hands millions of times a day. My poor hands began to look so old, worn, chaffed and red in 2020. My son surprised me with an Australian hand cleanser and rich lotion. FYI, I’m going to link to these products and NO I’m not getting anything in return.

Link to Aesop.

Aesop hand soap
This is the hand soap my son gave me for Mother’s Day during COVID shut down. I used the soap up and didn’t order more because it’s pricey. It was a really nice present, though. I did order their face cleanser and love it, too.
Aesop hand cream
I love this hand cream and still have some left. It’s soothing with all the times I wash my hands these days.

While taking care of my son, post surgery, he received a package of Turkish hand towels. I was completely unfamiliar with them. He instructed me to wash them three times to get then soft and absorbent before we put them out for use. They are beautiful and luxuriously simple made of 100 percent cotton. Something I added to my bathroom when I got home. After I wash my hands — again — I pamper them with the soft Turkish towels.

Link to Cacala.

Cacala Turkish towles
These are the wonderful Turkish hand towels that are so soft and absorbent. They are also kind to my hands.

Have you discovered any self care products or foods that made you feel better during 2020 and 20201? What little ways have your days changed? Are you washing your hands more than ever, too? Have you discovered any routines or habits during these days?

How to stay focused when overwhelmed

view of swimming pool

The pool where I swim Masters.

Do you ever wonder why sometimes life is slow and easy and then bam! We get overwhelmed with everything? I’ve been feeling that way all week. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this crappy year called 2020. I’m having trouble dealing with all the emotions hitting me.

Here’s how I try to cope when I’m feeling overwhelmed:

ROUTINE

I try not to mess with my established routine. For going on six years, I have followed Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and it’s served me well. I start the day with three pages of journaling, a long walk and prayer. Even when I’ve got a crazy schedule or upheaval in my life, there’s no way I’ll cheat myself of this time to get my head and body refreshed and ready for the day.

SWIM

Exercise is so important to staying stress free and to keep your mind clear. Unfortunately I have a tendency to let go of swim practice when I’m too busy. It’s my hope to be consistent with three practices a week. I’ve got a good start until this week and I took a few days off and it’s not helping me.

PRIORITIZE and ORGANIZE

Figure out exactly what you need to get done and let go of the other stuff. When I’m juggling a bunch of projects at once, I figure out what is most important. If I do the harder tasks or work I don’t want to do first, the rest is easy. Getting the clutter out of the way helps, too. My daughter is big on color coding her work and putting it on a white board or calendar. I’m going to try color folders for each of my projects so I’m not searching through papers on my desk.

WORK AHEAD

When I have a few minutes of free time, I work ahead. Last week I was waiting on work, so instead of surfing the internet and reading news online, I made a list of everything I needed to get done for this week — and jumped in on it. Lists are my saving grace. I start each day with a list of to dos and work my way through the day. Then, I make a list for the next day, and start in on that, too. One of my friends told me she crosses things off her daily lists with a red pen. I’ve adopted that and it’s so satisfying!

beautiful view of mountain and park

Views from my morning walk.

What are your methods to stay on track and focused when things seem out of control?