Social Distancing

How odd to be told to do what I have always had a tendency to do — practice social distancing. For others, this might be a bad thing, but it plays right into my psyche. For the past year, I have been attending many social activities, meeting people, enjoying having friends and being part of a community, which has been great, but I like this lifestyle, too. It fits well.

Odder, too, to think that the whole country is now living my life. Staying away from people who are sick. Staying home when I am sick or even just have the faintest tickle in my throat or even just because. Washing my hands. Oh, and stocking up and hoarding. I bought eight cans of tuna!!! I was only going to get one package of four cans, but I like two kinds — the white albacore and the chunk light — so I got both. But that was about it. I didn’t need anything else, and anyway, I have no place to store it. (I’ve designated one very narrow cupboard in my kitchen for a “pantry.”)

Normally, I’d be doing a lot of walking since that’s a good solitary activity, but it’s been cold and gloomy here, which doesn’t do much to motivate me, but oddly, the bulbs in my yard seem to like it. Several of them are popping up, which makes me feel good. I should walk anyway, despite the gloom, but I tweaked my knee when I was sleeping so I’ve been babying it. (Isn’t that the silliest thing? I fell splat on the ground, and didn’t even get a bruise. I turn over in bed and hurt my knee. Sheesh. That’s the part of growing older — or one of the parts — I can do without.)

So, what am I doing in my exile? What I always do. Fix what needs fixing — in this case, replacing the cord in one of my Roman shades. Read what is available to read. If I get bored, I have hundreds of movies to watch, but mostly, I’ve been playing on the internet.

I’ve been staying away from FB — there’s not much good that can come of all the virus talk, and there’s not much else going on except for the usual political outrage — which gives me plenty of time for other things, like making mandalas with the online mandala maker I found. Since the purpose of mandalas (besides beauty and symmetry) are to transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to aid in healing, it seems the perfect pursuit for this particular time. I wouldn’t mind being more enlightened, and the world can use some healing.

I hope you’re taking care of yourself and that you’re enjoying a quieter time.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

So it Goes


Tomorrow the concrete truck is coming to pour my garage foundation. Yay!

It’s been rather warm lately, so I connected my hoses and watered the bushes that were transplanted. (The guys who dug my garage foundation were very kind and transplanted the lilacs and native roses they had to dig up to make room for the garage. Service above and beyond!) After all that, I certainly don’t want the poor shocked plants to die, so I watered them again today. (I watered them when they were replanted, but not since then.) Then I figured I might as well water the still inert bulbs. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, but since they are not yet established, I figure it couldn’t hurt. Maybe they’ll think (to the extent that plant matter can think) that it rained.

I did find another blooming snowdrop, as well as two or three green tips poking out of the ground. Considering my success rate (a whopping 1% so far!), I ordered some summer bulbs, including a few for a moonlit garden. I hadn’t planned on ordering more bulbs, but the company kept offering me free shipping, and free shipping is a terrible thing to waste. I also ordered a frog to bring me — or rather the poor plants who have to depend on me — good luck. Besides, a friend said I needed to buy my house an anniversary present every year (which is what she does, and she’s my house-owning hero, so I like to follow her suggestions) and I figured the frog, being so frivolous, is the perfect celebratory gift. I suppose the garage would have been an adequate anniversary present, but okay, I admit it — I just wanted the frog.

I considered having a party to celebrate my house ownership anniversary this Saturday, but I don’t do well with groups — I tend to feel superfluous, and I certainly don’t want to feel superfluous in my own home — so I invited my neighbor for tea, then got the courage to invite another friend, and then a couple more, so now I have . . . not a party, since they will be coming one at a time, but perhaps an open house. So, if you are in the area on Saturday, stop by for tea and maybe even some cake and ice cream.

In honor of this anniversary, a friend sent me a house. Actually, a room in a house. Well, actually, a room in a virtual house. It’s Jackie Lawson’s curio collection, and oh, such fun!

There’s all sorts of puzzles and trinkets and things to click, including a mandala maker. And now I have a new obsession (as if I needed another one!). Making mandalas online is such a kick. There’s no such thing as an ugly creation.

And just an aside — at a meeting today, we were told the guidelines for avoiding coronavirus: “wash your hands.” Um, really? Why aren’t people already washing their hands? Soap and water help prevent all sorts of diseases, including the miscellany of viruses included in “flu.” 200,000 deaths from flu doesn’t worry people, but 2,000 from this new disease does? This is at least the fifth would-be pandemic I’ve lived through. Maybe because I always wash my hands. And since I’m griping — the CDC says to wash your hands with soap and water, so why are stores running out of hand sanitizers and not soap?

But so it goes.

Maybe I’ll go make another mandela.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator