Thursday, December 31, 2020

Bring on 2021

With Covid dominating not only the news but our lives in 2020, I think we all are ready to bid the year a not-so-fond adieu. We are sticking close to home tonight (like most nights since March), playing games, watching movies and waiting to toast the New Year. Here's to 2021 delivering more than a toilet paper shortage!

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Christmas 2020 - One for the Record Books

Oh Christmas Tree
With Covid-19 running rampant around the country, Christmas 2020 - like Rudolph - will certainly go down in history. And not in a good way. In a normal year, we would have gathered with friends for parties and with family members to celebrate Christ's birth. This year has been anything but normal. We are still grieving our family members who died in 2020, so it was especially difficult not to be able to get together with even our immediate family this year. 

In the blessing category, our daughter has been staying with us since the middle of November as she has been working remotely since February anyway. But for the first time in his 35 years on this earth our son was not with us to open presents. He and his wife traveled to Indiana to be with her family, and we just didn't feel like it was safe for them to then come directly from there to our house. We are hoping that once they quarantine following their trip they will be able to come here for a weekend so we can exchange gifts. It is really hard not to be with them right now, but I have always said it's not about the date but that we are able to be together as a family. So it will happen when it can happen. 

We did not step foot in any stores, instead doing all of our shopping online. I know this was very bad for the small businesses, but it just is not safe inside the stores. There are still too many people who don't believe that they should have to wear a mask. I've also seen where they are continuing to go out in public even knowing that they are sick. It's ridiculous, so we are doing whatever we can to protect ourselves. Our own little community has had 13 Covid cases that I know of, and one death from the virus. It is scary!

We did some baking, including our first try at my mother-in-law's homemade cinnamon rolls. She sort of passed the recipe on to our daughter. I say sort of because, like those of many women of her generation, recipes were not written down. So the measurements of key ingredients are left to interpretation. We thought our rolls turned out well, but agreed that we would add more cinnamon in the future. Lorraine must have been smiling from heaven as all three of her kids made the rolls from their respective states this year in her honor.

cinnamon rolls

As we opened our presents this Christmas, while enjoying our signature Cranberry Cosmopolitan drink, we reflected on those who were missing from our gathering. But we also appreciated the fact that even the three of us were able to be together. I don't think we are alone in looking forward to bidding 2020 adieu. Cheers!

Cranberry Cosmopolitan

Monday, December 21, 2020

Some Semblance of Normalcy

tree in glass

Semblance is a great word for 2020. It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "the outward appearance or apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different." Christmas 2020 has some semblance of normalcy, doesn't it? You see the decorations, hear the Christmas Carols, shop for gifts and wrap presents, but you know that fundamentally something isn't quite right. Like the photo above, some things seem upside down.

For us the inability to celebrate with family and friends due to Covid-19 is compounded by huge holes in our basic family structure. Losing both of Jim's parents earlier this year and my sister in September makes it incredibly hard to get into the Christmas spirit. While we have so much to be thankful for, it's hard not to be bitter that three of the most important people in our lives are gone.

We will dig deep to remember that our loved ones are now with Jesus, and that He is the reason for the season. And we will pray for and remember those who are no longer here with us.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Carpe Diem

When you are given 70 degree, sunny days in December, you seize the moment. We went to a newish seltzer bar to sample their wares as they have outdoor seating, and then took a walk on a downtown greenway. It was great to see some semblance of normalcy with the Christmas decorations.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

The next day we took our kayaks out on Mountain Island Lake. The water was calm, and the blue herons were extremely cooperative in having their pictures taken. As an added bonus, a large herd of deer ambled through the woods while we were watching the blue heron. 

Mountain Island Lake

That evening we went to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to see their Christmas light display. It was an outdoor walking tour, and while it was a little more crowded than we would have liked, everyone wore their masks and it was easy to step off the path to let a group pass. I've said before that we are so blessed to have relocated to an area where we can enjoy the great outdoors, particularly in light of Covid.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Modified Stay at Home Order


Grinch mask
Last week Governor Cooper enacted a modified stay at home order in North Carolina. Effective December 11th and lasting at least through January 8th, the executive order states all individuals must “stay at home or the place they will remain for the night” from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Certain businesses must close between those curfew hours, including bars, entertainment venues, parks, museums and aquariums. Exceptions include those going to and from work, while businesses selling groceries, medication, health care supplies and fuel may remain open. Restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries can operate with only take-out and delivery services after 10 p.m. All other Phase 3 limitations remain in place at this time.

The number of cases in the United States continues to explode. The residual fallout from folks traveling and/or getting together for Thanksgiving is becoming obvious, though it will be a while before the true impact of that holiday becomes clear. And Christmas gatherings are just around the corner. In our neighborhood the bubble has been burst. I know of at least 12 cases, and we only have 170 occupied homes here. 

The tone of the country is somber, as it should be. It is no joke when nearly 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to this deadly pandemic. While a vaccine seems to be imminent, the fact remains that it will be many months before all citizens can be vaccinated, and many more will die before it becomes a reality.

So we will continue to stay at home when possible, and mask up when we have to go out. It is the very least we can do. My photography has been such a blessing to me during this time, as I can be outside and alone if I choose. Nature brings me much solace during this time of uncertainty and fear.

Mountain Island Lake sunrise