Riding Around, Going Nowhere

I don’t know if you are like me but I have developed a few coping skills while dealing with the pandemic. I try to go about my day without thinking about it too much. It has affected my creativity. I still struggle to write daily. I did look forward to blogging today though. So rather than dwell on my struggle to write, because I do believe words are powerful and saying things I fear can manifest trouble. I am plunging forward with this post.

Instead of writing about my non-writing, I thought I would write about something that has been nagging at me since March. I hate to say I am a control freak but I do feel better when I have control of most things in my life. I have no control of Covid-19.

I thought I might share some of my coping mechanisms. Who knows, maybe they will help you too.

First of all, I have started doing a few yoga moves as soon as I get up in the morning. It is a good stretch and it helps me get grounded for the day.

Luckily before I retired in February, I had been working from home for about three years full time and part time for a while before that. I became used to being home more and that may have been what has made this transition a little easier for me. The big difference is that I had a set schedule. Monday-Friday I had to put in at least 40 hours of work a week. So those days I knew what I had to do. Now flashback to last February. All of a sudden, I had no one telling me what to do.

It was a love/hate situation. I loved not working but I felt at loose ends. That first month was eaten up with constant trips to the local Social Security office, Court House, Insurance Agent to name just a few of the things needed to get everything in order to retire. After I completed those tasks I planned to enjoy myself a little before I jumped into full time writing. I wanted to spend time with friends, maybe do lunch once in a while. Spoil my grandbaby a little and maybe go to the casino a time or two.

Then Covid-19 hit and that didn’t happen. When the pandemic hit, panic struck also. All of a sudden I was afraid to go anywhere and I mourned seeing my family, especially my baby grand daughter. Now it was too dangerous. I managed by ordering groceries and medicine delivered and texting or talking to my kids on the phone. I started to get into a real funk.

Well I am not one to sit around too long feeling sorry for myself. So I got to thinking about why I felt so bad and what I could do to make myself feel better. Besides writing, I’d had plans to work on my house too. I wanted to get a cleaning schedule started and slowly de-clutter closets and cupboards because eventually we will be downsizing. That was something I could do and keep busy and still stay at home.

I don’t mind cleaning, I just don’t want to be doing it constantly. I had used the Fly Lady method and it had been fairly successful but I wanted something more. I discovered Clean Mama. If you want more information about either of these programs, you can google them. They help you develop routines so you can spend a little bit of time each day and keep things neat and ready for those uninvited guests and still enjoy life. Well with Covid-19, that really wasn’t an issue. I still needed that control though.

I ordered the Clean Mama planner and have combined what I liked best from both systems. By planning my week for cleaning, I never wake up with no idea what I will do. (Kind of like that blank page thing with writing. Most writers hate sitting down to write with a blank page.) Well now I start each day with no blank planner page. I know what I need to do that day to get my house in order. It is satisfying to check off those completed tasks.

By getting my house in order, I now have been able to carve out time to write each day. To help with that blank writing page, I have a writing planner. I write down what I plan to write the next day along with a word count goal. Not saying I don’t still feel blocked. I think that will be an issue as long as we are dealing with the virus. But I am doing better. Kind of like the Fly Lady systems baby steps but for writing.

So back to the title of this blog. Driving Around, Going Nowhere. My husband has semi-retired, so most days of the week he has stuff planned to do. But some days we both start feeling a little blue when we think about the things we have missed doing this year because of Covid-19. For him it is car shows. The largest is the ‘Good Guys’ show that comes to Des Moines every 4th of July weekend. He has a couple classic cars and he always looks forward to showing off his car and meeting up with other car enthusiasts. I missed all my writing and author events.

When we feel we can’t take another minute in the house and have that need to get out, we hop in my car and start driving around. No planned agenda. We just get moving. Since we can’t actually stop anywhere to do anything, we drive around and go nowhere. We usually get outside of the city and see the rural sights. Since we both grew up in Iowa, nothing new, mainly farms with corn and bean fields, cattle, hogs, and sometimes a horse or two. Though we do try to avoid looking for hogs. Not that we dislike them but well, if you don’t live in the Midwest, they can sometimes be pretty stinky.

We have discovered some interesting small towns. We found this sign in one town and it made me curious so I did do some research to discover why the sign. The William H Johnson family relocated from the South. Edna Johnson Valeria the daughter, fell in love with a young civil engineer and she and her beau convinced her father to allow the tracks to cross the Johnson land. They reached an agreement based on the condition that the community depot be named Valeria. So the community was based on their romance.

Once while out and about, we saw something we thought was a little different. It was a life size metal cut out of Big Foot. Now that we noticed him, we see him everywhere. The best one was in a wooded area next to a farm. Pretty sure he wasn’t real but he did startle us. Now we purposely look for Bigfoot where ever we go. So far we have seen eight of them. Occasionally, I have mentioned it on Facebook. Hopefully most followers understand it is meant as humor.

    That brown blob is Bigfoot in a small community just outside of Des Moines.


This was on one of our many drives this summer also. Sorry it was too small to read the sign.  We saw these guys in our hometown sitting on a corner with a sign that said – honk and we will drink. We honked and they drank. We laughed so hard, we drove around the block and honked again. They continued to drink. Pretty sure they lived close by. So no harm done and they made it home safely.

My plans for this month with cleaning is to focus my cleaning on different zones of my house with an emphasis on the entryway, coat closet, front door, porch, patio and also schedule at least an hour to write each day.

At least until the pandemic is over and until weather no longer permits, we will also have our driving adventures, looking for the unusual. Hope to have many more sightings of Bigfoot and also discover more interesting small towns across Iowa.

I do continue to read and will do a post soon about my pandemic reading.

What are your plans this week? How do you cope with the pandemic?

Until next time,



Swinging Into Another Life Phase

So I am swinging into a new phase of my life. Retirement and the chance to write full time. 

Back before 2010, I blogged regularly because I enjoyed it and it motivated me to write more. At that time, my life changed. We were all dealing with a huge recession, hubby lost his job, and I had to make a change I really didn’t want to do. I gave up my career as a Real Estate Agent that I loved because one of us needed a real job with benefits. I went from being my own boss to a ‘ foot in the door’ job with a large insurance company. I will not go into detail but it was 10 years of my life I will never get back again.

Last February, I retired and my hopes had been to focus on writing. After several weeks of dealing with Social Security, Medicare, and my pension, I thought I was there. And then Covid19 hit. I went into panic mode because I am in that age group now that needs to worry. It has taken me several months to accept that life is not how I had envisioned it for retirement but it is not how anyone envisioned 2020 and so far I am surviving. Once I got past the fear, I am taking it a day at a time and again looking forward to living.

I am doing better. My urge to write is re-surfacing. I have attended numerous virtual workshops and a convention or two, also virtually. My local chapters of RWA and Sinc are meeting virtually so I do get to see my friends, at least on-line. I do have one friend who sometimes drives a couple hours one way to meet and chat on my patio. We have been trying to help motivate each other.

I want to apologize for abandoning my blog and I believe it is past time to bring it back. I need to write.

Last fall my local chapter of RWA invited a New York Agent to come talk. I had the opportunity to pitch my story and she did say she would look at it when it it done. At the first of the year, my goal was to have it done by now but since that didn’t happen, I am going forward with my second draft of a romantic comedy and hope to get it to her maybe a few months later than originally planned. Since we didn’t have a specific date set and it was prior to the pandemic, I feel comfortable she will work with me. At this point, it is only a chance for her to look at it anyway. No promises. So I am doing this mainly for me.

I plan to blog once a week. Share writing tidbits, book reviews, author interviews, and maybe add information about author birthdays for the month, just for fun. Fun for me and hopefully fun for you too.

I hope you will join me in this journey as we work together toward a better life with words.

Thanks for hanging in there, until next time.


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