8 May 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not


Dear Diary,

Summer arrived in Oregon yesterday with clear skies, summer winds blowing immature cherry stems off the trees, and temps creeping steadily upward into the high 80s. It’s swimsuit weather. Play outside weather. Linger in the sunshine weather. Spring will be back with a vengeance on Monday, though, if the weather reports are to be believed. It’ll be rainy day followed by rainy day followed by rainy day and repeat. Oregon’s never really been one for adhering to dates on a calendar for determining what season it is. Sometimes we rip through winter, spring and summer in a single day. But for now, and through Sunday, Diary, you can find me outside, which is my Happiest Place. 

I’m not going to lie; I need all the “happiests” I can get right now. All the soothing. All the “shush shushes” and “there theres” and “oh sweet bunnies.” I need the calming of the wind as she runs her warm hands over my skin, and the hot massage of the sun melting my rigid muscles. I need to spend an hour, at least, in the hammock chair with a good book releasing the weight, for just a bit, of trying to dispel misinformation which is my job in the way that it’s everyone’s job but isn’t mine to carry alone no matter how often I behave as though it is.

Read a book, Beth. 

Drink a glass of cold water.

Relish the heat from the sky.

Breathe in and breathe out, intentionally, and then repeat the way Oregon repeats the rainy days. There are things we can count on. In Oregon it rains. And breath sustains life. Biologically, yes, but breathing on purpose — sucking in oxygen and holding it in taut lungs and sitting in stillness while it swirls through our blood before releasing carbon dioxide, its transformed counterpart — sustains the life of the soul, as well. It’s a multitasker, this Breathing. 

There’s a whole long list of Things I Should Do. Things That Would Be Productive. Cook black beans for dinner. Sweep the patio. Patch the grass with top soil and seed. Weed along the east side fence. Put away the clean laundry that’s been sitting on my desk for four days. Change my sheets. Pester the children until they change theirs. Wash the spilled juice off the cupboard. Vacuum the stairs. Say what the hell and rip the carpet off the stairs so I never have to vacuum it again which was and is and evermore shalt be a waste of time, as vacuuming can’t fix what’s wrong with it. 

I could make sure the kids have done their homework and their chores. I could pick up the garbage that spontaneously manifests in my backyard — empty pop cans, ripped napkins, plastic dishes with dog chewed edges. I could put the cover back on the grill where it belongs instead of leaving it on the ground where it’s rested for a week. Or two weeks. Or very possibly three.

I’m not going to do any of that, though. I’m going to take my own advice and still my heart and my mind. Which is better for me. And better for my people.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the hammock chair. For an hour, at least. Cross fingers for longer.

With love,




P.S. Not that the children will leave me alone there.

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5 responses to “8 May 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not”

  1. Heck, our grill cover has lain on the deck all winter long. I couldn’t tell you when it last graced our grill. Reading a book is so much nicer.

  2. At first glance, the picture of you with your pooch looks like you are at a sandy beach with a little strip of clear blue water at the top. It’s kind of trippy!

  3. Hammock chair, reading, dog snuggles. All so good. The stairs. I gotta say, when I read about your carpet, I had to nod. Our old house (which was a really old house), had old carpet on the stairs and we ripped it out. Then we spent a hella long time with needle nose pliers pulling carpet staple things out of the wood. Then testing the stair paint for lead. But then? We washed those ugly brown stairs, threw down three-ish coats of primer, and then brilliant crisp white porch paint (hard and hardy). I toyed with doing beautiful stencil patterns on the risers (google gives me aspirations I can’t possibly actually achieve), but I’m lazy and not artistic. All this to say – those stairs were gorgeous afterward and a quick once-over with a broom kept them mostly clean and crisp white. It was the best thing we did to that crappy little house. I soooo want to do it to our current house but the carpet is continuous with the landing and bedrooms upstairs and I just cannot imagine how to deal with that problem. So I vacuum stairs. And as I stash the vacuum away, more dirt gathers on the stairs.

  4. Happy Mother’s Day Beth. I wish you at least 20 min of interrupted sun time. I mean, an hour would be AWESOMESAUCE, but ya know. People. Pets. It’s the result of being so loved. ♥

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