Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thoughts on my time "Sheltering-in" during the COVID-19 Pandemic

I’ve been working from home since March 18, 2020 due to the “Shelter-In” order from our Governor Gavin Newsom due to the virus COVID-19.

Today is three months that I’ve been working from home and tomorrow I am taking my computer and monitors back to a thoroughly disinfected office for our formal return to the office on Monday, June 22nd. My feelings are mixed and I wanted to write about them today so I can remember all that went on during these three months.

I was prompted to write about this because I was speaking with my sister about things, we took for granted before COVID-19, things like trips to some place fun for a birthday celebration, which is something we’ve done every year. Lisa is going to be 60 this year and we can’t even plan something special for her. Our friend Lupe’s birthday is this Sunday and we can’t do something special for her either.

Lisa sent both Lupe and I this email this morning, “So funny how your perspective changes. All this time I have been thinking “What’s the big deal – It’s just a birthday. You’ll get another next year”. But now that it is hitting home with Lupe’s birthday and the fact that this year, I will be 60 and I wanted us to go somewhere nice to make a really good memory. Now this SUCKS!!!

This got me to thinking about how you never truly understand things until you put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  I thought it was so stupid that the teachers were doing teacher parades for the kids when they shut down the schools…until they went by my house and I saw how excited they were, waving at me and mom and how they were so happy to be doing something positive. It made me cry, it still makes me tear up when I remember, it’s a memory I will always have that no matter what, there are good people in the world.

So, I came home, I’ve never worked from home, but I figured I would be here for a few weeks, a month at the most so I set up shop in my living room. Not the best idea I’ve ever had! There was constant activity, mom going from the kitchen or laundry room to her room or the bathroom. My son and daughter doing the same, all day long, all of them with different schedules. Mom would forget I was working and just start talking to me and I didn’t want to be mean and tell her “Mom, I’m working!”

After a few weeks of this when they told us we would not be coming back for at least another month I set up my office in my “art studio” (a little corner of my bedroom where I had a small art desk and ten million art supplies.) This was much better, there were still interruptions but for the most part I could shut my door and have privacy. As I get older, I realize I need to focus more on what I’m doing and interruptions could cause me to make a costly error, luckily that has not happened.

Now it’s time to go back and to be honest, I don’t want to. I’ve enjoyed my time at home, there have been some rough times, times when I called my sister Lisa just to vent, but for the most part it’s been nice being here.


And now we are going back and I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that we are not going back to the same world as before…get used to that idea Alicia! We are going back to a workplace of fear, fear of our co-worker infecting us, fear that we went back too soon, fear that they may let clients return to our office too soon, fear that we may get sick using the communal bathrooms in our building. We’ll have to wear masks when we speak to each other, stay six feet apart, if not more! We’ll have to wear our masks when we go to the bathroom, when we use the elevator, when we use the stairs. We’ll have to take lunch in shifts so we aren’t all in the kitchen at the same time, we’ll have to clean and disinfect after we prepare our lunch so the next person will have a clean space to make their lunch. We’ll have plexi-glass shields in our reception area and hand sanitizers stations are being installed. We won’t be able to go to lunch together and I’ll have to take my own lunch everyday as I’m still not secure in eating food prepared in restaurants for pick up and take out.


Just received this email from management and it’s bittersweet:

I wanted to catch you all, before you shut down your systems for the night and might not turn them on again, until Monday Morning.

1.       For those of you with an office, please keep your door closed at all times.  If you come out of your office, put your mask up over your nose and mouth (mask will be provided)

2.       Wash your hands regularly.  We have touchless soap dispensers in each of the bathrooms and one in the kitchen.

3.       Sanitize your hands regularly.  We have Sanitizer systems in each suite, by each bathroom, near kitchen entrance and one outside the conference room.

4.       Practice Social Distance.  We measured that seven people can be in the kitchen at once (four sitting at tables and one at each the coffee, refrigerator and microwave). 

5.       Plexiglass Screens are located at each Lobby and in front of the receptionist.

 We obviously have a lot to learn, how this is all going to work. I encourage you to come to me, with ANY concerns.  If I don’t know the answer right away, I will figure it out and we’ll make sure you’re comfortable.

I can’t wait to see all of you tomorrow.

Welcome back!!!!

Even though I appreciate all the extra care and attention they have given to our safety, I’m still scared. Not so much for me, but scared to pick up the virus and bring it home to my mom.

It’s been an interesting three months and I don’t know that life will ever be the same again. I don’t know if I will ever take things for granted again, a shopping trip for milk without getting suited up in a HazMat suit, trips with my friends, going to a movie, eating in a restaurant….heck, I’m even scared to go get my blood drawn or go get an eye exam.

The one positive I can take from all of this is that my employer cares about us. They did not hesitate to send us home, they didn’t worry that we were taking home expensive computers and monitors, they didn’t worry that maybe we would sleep all day on their dime and not be productive, they just wanted to make sure that we were safe and I will never forget that. 

They could have laid us all off and shut down all the offices for good, but they didn’t, they wanted to make sure that through all of this our clients were being taken care of and we were earning the paycheck we need to keep our homes, keep our families fed and pay our bills. Did they do it because bottom line they wanted to keep their source of income coming in as well? Maybe…but it doesn’t matter because in this I think we were all together. I helped them stay in business and they helped me keep my job and I for that I am grateful.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Jack of All Trades....Master of None

One recurrent theme on my blog is the quote, "Jack of Trades, Master of None." I've always loved this quote and feels it applies perfectly to me and the life I've led. 

The complete original quote is, "A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one." Being the Master of One just doesn't suit me.  

My blog has never been about one thing. It's not a cooking blog, even though I have pages and pages of recipes posted. I've done table-scaping posts, book review posts, low-carb lifestyle posts, Iwanna Wednesday posts and writing prompts. I've just dabble in a little of this and a little of that.

Am I just easy bored and restless and fly from flower to flower taking the best of each one? Or am I more interested in learning many things rather than specialize in just one? Hmm, I don't know. I think I would say that I am just evolving. 

At one time this blog was the love of my life, what I looked forward to the most. I love words and writing, always have, always will. It's what I come back to time and again, whether it's writing on this blog or writing in a journal, which I've come to do more and more.

But back on May 3, 2016 I found a new passion in ART. I attended a Wine and Paint class as part of a group celebrating the birthday of a friends daughter. While the wine was fantastic, it was my own artwork that amazed me. You can read that post here

Here's a photo of me with my first true artistic creation. Look at the smile on my would think I had just painted The Mona Lisa!

Since then I've been creating art of some type. But true to my nature, I'm a Jack of All Trades and Master of None. 

I started with sketching.

Ballet Shoes

I've done Impasto Art with a palette knife.

I've painted on canvas with Acrylics.

I've done Art Journaling.

Staying true to form I'm moved on to something new that I want to share and  archive on my blog for my son and daughter to look back on someday when I'm old and feeble and just want to sit in my wheelchair and yell at the politicians on TV. Then they can remember that their mother was an Artist, a Writer, A Jack of All Trades, Master of none but she had passion.

Zentangle is my latest passion. For those that have never heard of Zentangle (I know I had never heard of it), Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful art by drawing structure patterns called tangles. Tangles are created using a combination of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs. You can find more information about Zentangle here

My life was turned upside down on March 18, 2020 when the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 which directed all individuals living in the State of California to "shelter-in" and stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of federal critical infrastructure sectors. Our world as we knew it descended into something we had only seen in movies or read about in books. 

The management team for the company I work for told us at 2 pm that day to shut down our computers, pack them into our cars and take our little butts home to begin sheltering-in and working from home, until further notice. That's what we did and that's what I've been doing since that date. In a few weeks it will have been four months since I have been working from home, venturing out into the world only to purchase essential items such as food and home keeping supplies. 

Needless to say all of this weighed heavy on my heart and mind because I am the Head of Household. My mother lives with me, my son and daughter both still live at home and while they don't realize it, I feel as though they were looking to me to keep them safe and fed and sheltered. 

Thank goodness I own my home and don't have a mortgage, I kept my job and my pay exactly as before so my lifestyle didn't really change except for the fact that I had/have no life. I work at home, I eat at home, I sleep at home...I don't leave home. If I do venture out or if any of my people venture out I've had to make sure that we all wore masks and gloves and use hand sanitizer and wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes. 

How did we get from being a Jack of All Trades and Zentangle to talking about COVID-19 aka the Corona Virus? Well I found that I lost my will to be creative because I was so stressed out. I really had nothing concrete to worry about but yet I had everything in the world to worry about. I would see on the news where elderly people were dying alone in hospitals without their family by their sides because they were in quarantine and I feared that happening to my own mother. I couldn't let her get sick and die alone, no-how, no-way! 

Everyday was something new. At first I was comforted by the fact that the virus was by-passing young people, but then all of a sudden there would be a report that it was killing young people. Some days you would hear the virus is on surfaces, then next day it was only airborne. You couldn't count on anything so you had to take ALL the precautions and this was super stressful. 

Luckily one day I stumbled on a new a "Stay at Home Zentangle Class" by a YouTube artist Hannah Geddes. Here's the first video:

I was amazed how something that looked so complicated and beautiful could be so easy and I has hooked, I had to learn Zentangle and I started Hannah's classes. 

I just started and didn't really research anything about tangling or Zentangle, but I learned as I went along. I learned from Hannah to slow down, to concentrate on the lines and to breathe and I found that even though the world was still in chaos, I was able to calm my mind and help myself to be more at peace and to sleep through the night again. I've been doing Zentangle ever since, soaking up all the different patterns and watching several other CZT's or Certified Zentangle Teachers. I've been having a great time.

I watch her do each design and then I have been using Index Cards that I've cut down to 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Once I make them and get used to the tangle, I've been gluing them into a simple composition book that I've been using as an art journal, writing journal and tangle journal when COVID-19 began. Here's some of my earlier ones from weeks 1, 2 and 3. Each Tangle has a name given to it by it's creator.






Here's a few that I did today. These were just for fun, not part of Hannah's class.




So anyway, this has gotten to be a rather long post and it's almost time for me to prepare for bed and work again in the morning. We are supposed to be back in the office on June 22nd, barring any further drama and chaos...wish me luck!