Social Distancing Staycation – 2

My morning view from the corner of my patio

About a month ago, I posted about taking a break from things that had become my “jobs” during lockdown. I started doing some of the things that I like to do on vacation. I realized that most of what I vacationed from were things that were related to social media. I shared a few things that I was enjoying during my break.

I promised to share a few more of my staycation activities. While I am back to blogging, I realized recently that I hadn’t gone back to several other social media activities. Just yesterday, I posted some more fun things to my page called Activities for Kids at Home. (If you are interested in hovercraft experiments, solar powered oven smores, or virtual summer camps, you might want to check this page for frequent updates.)

On to my own Fun Activites for Adults at Home. Not all of these are actual vacation activities, but they all are things I enjoy doing when I carve out the time.

Rock Painting

When I first retired, I got into rock painting for various reasons. At that time it was mostly rock cottages. After things closed up for COVID-19, neighbors began putting hearts in windows, teddy bears on porches or flag poles, and chalk art on sidewalks to entertain families that are walking. Some people even put up Christmas lights. I decided to spruce up the garden around my mailbox with little painted rocks. I’ve seen families with young children stop and check out the rocks I painted. When I get enough out there, I may put out a sign that says “Take one.”

Some of my painted rocks

Gardening

Once the weather got nice, I planted snow peas, lettuce, kale, and summer herbs. My perennial herbs returned from last year. It’s so relaxing to collect my small harvest each morning as I drink my tea!

Camera Photography

I continue to work on my photography skills with my Motorola phone, especially in the early morning light.

Birdwatching

Usually on vacation I grab my set of bird field guides so I pulled those from my shelf and have taken time to sit on my patio and really listen and watch as the birds wake up. The sounds of the many birds combine with the tree frogs as I watch little gold finches land gingerly on the fragile stems of my heliopsis or coreopsis. They hide on the yellow flowers as they feed, hanging on while the stems sway with their weight.

One day a few weeks ago, I was rewarded with the sight of a large flock of cedar waxwings feeding on juniper berries in my yard. I have lived in my house for over thirty years and this is only the third time I have seen these birds.

I also joined a Facebook birdwatchers group for people within a five-mile radius of my house.

A flock of cedar Waxwings

Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are something new for me. I began to listen to a few during lock down. As someone who enjoys the sounds of nature, I especially liked a podcast on Invisibila called The Last Sound. It shares the story of a musician who realized what we can learn from our world and our impact on it by listening to the sounds in nature. He left the music business in which he had performed with the likes of George Harrison and Jim Morrison to spend fifty years recording and analyzing the sounds of nature. The podcast is much more interesting than my description.

Playing Mahjongg

And then there’s Mahjonng. I first mentioned that I was going to learn Mahjongg in December when I was talking about the Gift of Time. Reading over that old post, written three months before Covid-19, is interesting during this time of social distancing.

In January I began learning to play with a group that was meeting weekly. It’s a complicated game, but I really enjoyed it before it was cancelled. Meanwhile, during this time of social distancing, I discovered a site called Real Mah Jongg. I was able to try the site free for two weeks before signing up for a nominal yearly charge. I played a lot those first two weeks. I guess I wanted to get my money’s worth! After that I joined. It is a versatile site in that I can choose my speed of play and whether I want to compete against the computer or actual people. This game probably takes up more of my time than it should but I enjoy it and it certainly requires thinking.

Miscellaneous

I have also pulled out my sketchpads and pencils which have not had much use in the last few years. I videotaped myself reading one of my granddaughter’s favorite books and learned how to send her that file. I’ve almost mastered curbside shopping, which I continue to use as we are still staying out of public places. I walk the subdivision. I feel pretty relaxed.

What special activities have you learned or begun lately?

Do you have any podcasts to recommend?

6 thoughts on “Social Distancing Staycation – 2

  1. I have had all these different fabrics I had different shirt/skirt/pant ideas for and never got around to making. Since online schooling ended, I moved all my sewing stuff upstairs and have made myself a new set of pajamas. They are super soft, and Declan loves them and has asked me to make him some pajama pants. So I am on the hunt for some soft, cool Declan fabric to make him some and then I am back to my shirts/skirts/pants. I’d also like to be better with my camera. I have a DSLR that takes great photos and if it doesn’t it is totally because I am doing something wrong and have no idea what. I’ve saved a few articles that I would like to read and then play around with the different settings on my camera. But you are right – I am just glad to have the time to do these things!

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    1. Good luck with the sewing projects. I didn’t know anyone sewed anymore. A friend and I were just talking about the fact that each of us used to make most of our own clothes and clothes for our kids. She is now making masks and I can’t remember how to thread the machine.

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      1. I seem to get this false sense of self confidence after watching someone else perform the task. That is how I got through the boys haircuts through the quarantine. I also watched Project Runway for a few years a while ago. It seemed simple enough – get a pattern and the right fabric and easy peasy. It was Catelyn who had a ton of sensory issues with clothes when she younger and I realized I needed to try and find a fabric she could handle against her skin (turns out knit (jersey knit, rayon knit) fit her needs best). So, I started with her. I made her a ton of shirts to get her through. Then I found a pattern for my size, and since I like more of a forgiveness in clothes in my midsection, I was able to cut them that way. I do not have the prettiest stitch by any means – but I guess I figured out how to get the job done!

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  2. I’m with you on the podcasts. It’s something I never really tried and certainly didn’t get into. When the world shut down, and my work got a payroll protection loan, we were all instructed to (at a minimum) continue learning via webinars. The site we were instructed to use is a librarian site that didn’t hold much use for me… and I certainly wasn’t going to watch accounting webinars. So I started watching ted talks. Wow. What fun. I’ve learned about so many interesting things over the past 3 months. I’ sorry to see it end.

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