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December 2020

January 2021

An Almost Pre-Pandemic Day

Before the pandemic, our calendar was full of concerts, theater or plans to do things with friends.  Not to mention medical appointments.

Now, thanks to COVID-19, our calendar is pretty empty, and most of what is there is virtual.

Friday was different.  It started with an in-person doctor’s appointment for Peter, home just in time to grab a bite of lunch and then a trip to see friends who live about a half-hour away.  Appropriately masked, it was wonderful to walk in the woods, chatting with them.  We barely made it home for a 5:30 Zoom cocktail hour with our niece and her husband who live in Connecticut.

For one day, life was almost the way it used to be.  I miss it.

Another Birthday

This week The 80-Something Blog is thirteen years old.  If the blog were our child, it would be a teenager!  This is its 1356th post since its birth in 2008 as The 70-Something Blog.  My seventieth birthday was a month away then, and I thought that writing about being a septuagenarian would help me process my transition from “almost old” to old.

People often ask me how I decide what to write about.  Do I have a list of topics?  No.  Do I worry that I might run out of ideas? No, at least not yet.  Often, I have something on my mind that I want to share with my readers, but not always.  All I know is that writing helps me process what’s happening in my life. 

To those who have been with me since the beginning, my thanks.  To those who might just be joining us, welcome. Next year at this time I will probably be telling you that I have just written my 1460th post.  I hope you’ll stay with me.

Lost and Found

Peter and I have been living with Parkinson’s Disease for a dozen years.  I say “Peter and I” because although he is the patient, I am the caregiver.  As the disease progresses, it’s harder for both of us.

Because the pandemic has restricted our social life, it’s a challenge to find new things that will get us out of our apartment. On Wednesday, I suggested we drive somewhere and walk in a different location for a change of scenery.  The day before, I had walked to our former neighborhood with a friend, and it was great fun to see what has changed in the three years since we left. I thought he would enjoy it. 

We parked and walked a part of our former regular “after dinner” neighborhood stroll.  I especially wanted to show Peter some changes on a nearby cul-de-sac. 

There was an attractive addition to one house that I wanted him to see, but all the houses are quite unusual including one that looked like it once belonged to Hansel and Gretel.

I didn’t mind going there twice in two days, especially because I caught a glimpse of one of those puffy skiing-type mittens perched on a fence post as we were leaving.  Obviously, some careless person dropped it and some nice person picked it up and put it in a visible place.  I don’t know who the nice person was, but the careless person was me.

Hello 2021

I always greet Peter on the morning of January 1st with this question:  “How’s your year going so far?”   I know, it shows a pretty pathetic sense of humor, but it seems to just come out automatically. 

We were luckier than so many people in 2020.  We lost no one close to us to Covid-19.  Although we missed our family and friends, we at least got to “see” them thanks to Facetime and Zoom.   But we know the worst may lie in front of us as the virus continues to spread. 

First, there will not be enough ICU beds to accommodate the victims of the fast-spreading virus. Once again, hospital tents are being set up for the overflow.  We will have to be even more careful until enough people have been vaccinated.  

Second, our healthcare workers are stressed to the point where hospitals are calling on student nurses, medical school students and retirees to fill in as their staffs continue to fall ill or burn out.

Third, many people continue to ignore social distancing or go mask-less.  I understand “Live Free or Die” but what if your “live free” causes others to die?

I am hoping our country can heal in 2021, that we can regain the respect of the world by respecting each other.

2021’s got to be a better year.

Six Words or Less

Shortly before Thanksgiving, The New York Times asked readers to submit in six words or less what they are grateful for in 2020.  More than ten thousand people responded, and the paper devoted a full page of the Thanksgiving Day paper to printing about a hundred of them.

Some of my favorites: “Saved a lot of lipstick money.” “I am bored, but not dead.” “Healthcare workers, healthcare workers, healthcare workers.” “Out of prison with great job.” “Postponed wedding, having baby instead.” “Zoom Thanksgiving beats ICU Christmas.”

I thought for a long time about the six words that expressed what I was most grateful for in 2020.  I came up with “Peter” “Seth” “Jeremy” “Katrina” “Leo” “Grady”.