It seems weird that at a time like this, when everyone’s life is interrupted, mine goes on as before without any major changes. Or any change, actually. For various reasons, I’d already stopped most of the activities I’d been involved in, and I hadn’t yet decided what new activities to try, so I’d been staying home even before it was recommended we stay at home.

Although there have been no cases of “The Bob” here, this county seems to follow along what Denver is doing, and Denver has issued a stay-at-home order for its residents that will be enforced. They are allowed to go the grocery store (and, I presume, work in those stores if they have a job), visit doctors, and go out to exercise and that’s sort of what I’ve been doing. Except I don’t have a doctor here. And I haven’t been braving the grocery stores. (I didn’t stock up on anything but a bit of tuna, so I’m just nibbling my way through leftovers and what little I do have.)

I have been trying to walk a bit every day, and I’ve been looking at videos on knee exercises because I tweaked my knee while sleeping one night, and it hasn’t yet gone back to normal.

And I have been going to sit with a sick friend occasionally when her husband needs to be away. (Yep. Living dangerously!)

The library is closed, and the latest I heard was that all services were suspended, maybe even the quick exchange of books they’d once promised, but I do have emergency books — a stash of unread paperbacks and a Nook with books I would only read in an emergency.

One thing I have been doing differently is experimenting with something I’d once planned to do but never quite got around to doing— using a pee rag. It’s something I learned when preparing for a backpacking trip, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work inside, too, especially since there is only me here (and especially since I haven’t seen a package of Charmin in the stores for weeks now).

Other than that, the only change in my life is:

That’s right! A daffodil!!

Such a sweetly ordinary thing to see.

Wishing us all the ordinariness we once took for granted.


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.

What Do You Absolutely Need?

I’ve been searching the internet for information about ultralight backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags in case I ever decide to walk up the Pacific Coast. Apparently, the lightest weight for all those things combined is about five pounds. Which, since I am interested in walking rather than struggling along with heavy pack, is still too much weight considering everything else I would need to bring. I suppose it would be possible to forget the tent and just sleep under the stars, or rely on relatives of friends and online acquaintances for a place to California sunrisestay, but emergency shelter is still a good idea.

But let’s forget that for now. It seems to take way more planning than the spontaneous adventure I dream of. Let’s also forget food and water, and assume that whatever I need will appear when I need it. As ridiculous as that might sound, it’s quite logical, since the first month or so of walking up the coast would be rather urban — San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara.

And let’s not talk about clothes. That too seems to take more planning and research than I want to do, at least for now, though I am thinking something gaudy. Sometimes camouflage is good, but human hunters so often choose their prey from among those who won’t be missed, and I want to make sure I would be noticed and would be missed.

So, what besides sleeping accommodations, food, and water, and clothes do I really need? Emergency supplies, I suppose, such as bandaids and water purifying tablets. A phone. Maybe extra batteries for the phone. Camera. A sun hat. Bug repellent, though supposedly there are few mosquitoes near the ocean. Toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss. Lip balm. A bit of cream or lotion to keep my skin from chapping. Handkerchief. Toilet paper. Pee rag. Flashlight. A few pieces of duct tape. Treking poles. Pen. A small notebook. A flower or something frivolous for my hat or backpack to remind me that the trip is supposed to be fun.

Sheesh. That’s a whole backpack full of stuff right there!

If you were going off on some sort of adventure, what would you absolutely need to take along?


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.