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For the first public advisory to stay home and out of the public places, I thought it would be a breeze.

Normally, this would be the topic for the first paper of the year after school started. But things are different this year; no beach trips, camping and fishing outings, July 4 celebrations in the backyard, or birthday parties with family and friends. Summer adventures are very limited this year.

For the first public advisory to stay home and out of the public places, I thought it would be a breeze. No one would be coming to my place, so I could stay in my bathrobe all day long … who would notice? And, that is what I did … lounging away and shredding useless papers. However, I burned out the shredder, and soon got tired of my two bathrobes. So, it became apparent, that structure and routine was needed in my life.

Stage 1: Get up and dressed, have breakfast and start with answering correspondence and returning phone calls. Stage 2: do necessary housework & cleaning. Stage 3: reading and relaxing after lunch, and meal preparation. Stage 4: relax after evening meal and watch TV. Still, with no one around, it was a very lonely situation.

The next plan was to practice "anthropomorphization, a 20-letter word for "giving human qualities to inanimate objects." My family has done this for years only we called it "nick-naming." Now, I take Lucy, my vacuum, to the living room to sweep; Sal, a large pot, comes out when I'm making soups or stews, and when I need to get away, I take Vera, my car, out for a drive. Naming your possessions makes them more a part of your life. (No, don't call the therapist for me … I know they are just objects)!

Now, I also have a "hand washing" plan. There are small dishes at each basin, with a selection of three different soaps. One bathroom has a liquid and two bars … one is lavender and the other is cranberry. The other has a liquid, a lavender and a coconut bar. But in the kitchen, there is a liquid, an oatmeal and a heavy-duty antibacterial bar. This site is where most of the hand washing is done. However, if I were to take a poll, the lavender would be winning. And at each basin, you are free to sing or hum a tune of your choice, but you must include all verses and the refrain!

These silly strategies are all ways of helping me deal with the serious situation we are in right now. The consequences are so devastating for all of us and we do what we can to cope with this horrible virus.

And that is what I am doing on my summer vacation!

Marlene O'Brien is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Community Center.


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