E is for Exercise (#AtoZChallenge)


A big part of my voyage of discovery (how’s that for pretentious?) this month is figuring out how to thrive in quarantine. I realize the point of all this social distancing is survival, but I’m not one to settle for surviving. I want to enjoy my life. I want to thrive.

And so I’m building my How to be Happy Without Leaving the House toolbox, and I’m discovering that one of the key elements for me is exercise. Now, mind you, I was the kid who was always picked last in PE and the adult whose life motto was, “If you see me running, please kill whatever’s chasing me.” But just because I sucked at team sports and hated running doesn’t mean I didn’t like to be active. I walked, hiked, roller skated, and swam as a kid. I walk, hike, and lift weights as an adult. And (shhh… don’t tell anybody, because it will ruin my reputation as a couch potato) I even run sometimes. Even when nothing is chasing me. But I still hate it.

Building movement into my day has been a challenge since the Microbe That Must Not Be Named put me on lockdown. No gym means no weights and no treadmill, and the weather is rarely conducive to outdoor activity this time of year. Hubs and I have managed a few walks in the woods near our home (way distant from any other humans), but for the last week, we’ve had 30+ mph winds all day, just about every day. So… how to get exercise?

So far, I have:

  • Walked in circles in my house like a mentally-damaged zoo animal–which, come to think of it, is an apt simile. I really need some enrichment activities. How about a chew toy stuffed with chocolate syrup?
  • Run in place while on webinars. Note: I would have done this in my office before quarantine if I hadn’t been worried about looking ridiculous. One of the best things about working from home is that no one cares if you look ridiculous.
  • Attempted an aerobic workout video from Fitbit Premium (currently free for 90 days). Note: That video included various forms of torture, including jumping jacks. I actually attempted a jumping jack. And then I considered calling my pulmonologist.
  • Walked and hiked and shoveled wood chips onto pathways in my vegetable garden on the rare days when I could get outside, . Yesterday I found the first grasshopper of the season. Tomorrow I will be ordering a military-grade flamethrower. I have issues with grasshoppers.

So, fellow quarantinos, how are you exercising while on lockdown? Any suggestions for a middle-aged librarian/writer for whom a jumping jack nearly proved fatal?

D is for Discovery (#AtoZChallenge)

D2020The theme for my A to Z Challenge posts is Discovery, especially the things I’m discovering during the 2020 Quarantine Experience. Many of the posts this month will dig deeper into various discoveries–or at least I think they will. I really haven’t planned out this whole blog challenge thing. As with the rest of my life, I’m making it up as I go along.

Anyway, here’s a random list of things I’ve discovered in the three+ weeks I’ve been exiled from society:

  • Human beings are wonderfully resilient and inventive. From hilarious new memes about toilet paper to 3D printed masks for health professionals to Zoom happy hours, we hairless apes have found ways to not only survive but thrive under adverse conditions.

Behold this example of human creativity:


  • If my dogs were actually co-workers, they would be reported to HR at least twice a day. They are pros at lunch stealing and inappropriate touching.

Janet with greyhounds Fergi and Maddie

  • Plain white rice keeps in the refrigerator for over a week with no adverse effects. No, I’m not posting a picture of my leftover rice. Use your imagination.
  • I do not perceive time in a linear fashion when cooped up in the house for days on end. This afternoon I literally couldn’t remember what I’d done this morning, and if I did remember something, I couldn’t remember which day I’d done it. And each  morning when I wake up, it takes me a bit to figure out what day of the week it is.
  • Apparently lack of time was not the reason for my previous inability to get around to doing various things. I have a lot more time, and I’m still not doing them.
  • The first two weeks of my exile, I was productive and energetic most of the time. Starting with week 3, last week, it became harder to focus and get motivated. It’ll be interesting–or possibly disturbing–to see what state I’m in by the end of this month. I suspect I’ll be an amorphous blob physically attached to a couch cushion.

How about y’all, fellow quarantinos? What have you learned from this period of prolonged isolation?