Gratitude during the Pandemic

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Anonymous

It seems like an oxymoron. How can we have gratitude while quarantined because of the Covid Pandemic? Our lives are disrupted in so many ways. What good can come of it?

I took a yoga class the other day with a yoga instructor who talked a lot about gratitude during our practice. Throughout the session, she reminded us to think of something we were grateful for. And to put a smile on our face. When you smile, you can’t help but feel better.

It turns out that once you start thinking about it, there are a lot of positive things that have happened to each of us during the past 4 months. For some people, it meant getting to those tasks that were saved for a rainy day. Others took classes on line that they did not have the time for previously. And then there are those who started baking bread and other goodies during this time. Suddenly we had an abundance of time to do all of those things at home that we wanted to do for so long.

After the yoga class, I went to my sketchbook journal and started writing. By then it wasn’t too hard to find gratitude for many things in my life.

July 8, Day 126 for Mr. Twitchy and me. We started the quarantine early because we were exposed March 1.

4 1/2 months we have lost Time that will never be returned. Has anything good come out of it?

1. Connecting with our grandchildren in Chicago more often, in a more meaningful way – reading to them, playing games with them. And the same for our grandchildren in Los Angeles.

2. Brought together over 160 women from at least 4 countries for Sunday Mornings with Twitchy Women since March 22. Everything has fallen into place so quickly and I have met so many impressive women in the process.

bluelahe - Bullet Journal uploaded by Karen Naomi

3. Learning to play golf – getting out with Mr. Twitchy 2 afternoons a week in the sunshine (getting that much needed Vitamin D)

Looking back in my journal, there were many more expressions of gratitude throughout the 4 1/2 months.

Just 2 weeks ago, I wrote about “a remarkable couple of days” after being nominated in 3 categories (now 5) for the WEGO Health awards and being named one of 9 for Healthline’s Best in Blog 2020, with only 3 being patient bloggers. Yet the entry before that was about the marches and riots, constant helicopters overhead and anarchy in Seattle. Even that entry managed to find gratitude for talking to friends on the phone & Zoom, lifting of some more Quarantine restrictions, etc.

Smiley — Stock Photo © aldorado #13975132

Now I understand why journaling is so important, especially if you have a chronic disease. Keeping a journal captures moments of your life and gives you insight into what has changed over time. It also allows you to see what has been good and what has not been so good, even on the same day. I don’t write every day. Sometimes a couple of weeks will go by, but I am still telling my story. It will always be there for me to go back to when I need it. I will be reminded of what to be grateful for, in spite of everything, and to smile.

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

When Life Gives You Cucumbers and Tomatoes

…and banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and sour dough bread.

It seems that the Coronavirus has given everyone a green thumb this year. Quarantined at home, we all channeled our inner gardeners and planted some vegetables and herbs in our back yards, on our patios, balconies, and in pots anywhere there is some sun. Many of us have also turned to our kitchens thinking we are master chefs and bakers, the end result being Covid-15. What is Covid-15 you ask? It is the 15 pounds people have gained while being quarantined for 3-4 months with nothing to do but garden, bake and eat what they have created.

Here in Southern California, we typically plant veggies in March, as our rainy season is ending. I have had varying success with my vegetable gardens, but this year is different. We planted early, and our rainy season was late, sprinkling our newly planted veggies through the end of April. They thrived and we now have an abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers this year. Last year, every one one of my tomatoes, except the cherry tomatoes, was eaten by birds or other animals.

The shiny CD is keeping the birds away!

What made the difference this time? A friend in Tucson posted several months ago that she hung CD’s from her pomegranate trees to keep the birds away and it worked. Mr. Twitchy had just cleaned out his CD collection the first two weeks of quarantine so I rescued the discards and put hung them on the tomato plants. Beatles, Beach Boys, you name the band, they are now protecting my tomatoes. And it is working!

The result is an abundance of tomatoes, large and small and endless Persian cucumbers. Now the big question is – what to do with all of this????? I have made fresh uncooked tomato sauce, tomato soup, pasta salad with grilled vegetable ratatouille and more. I am in the kitchen hours at a time trying to make something different with the tomatoes. I think I have used every cookbook, appliance and pot that I own in the last few weeks. Some days my kitchen looks like it had been bombed with tomatoes.

Audrey the man-eating cucumber vine

And then there are the cucumbers. I ordered 2 cucumber plants. When I picked them up I saw that the 2 pots had a total of 5 plants. Do you have any idea how many families can be fed by 5 cucumber vines? The raised bed where I planted them looks like Audrey, the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. They are out of control.

When I asked my daughter if she wanted any, she suggested that I make quick refrigerator pickles with them. She had the same abundance problem and could not take any of mine. So I looked up quick refrigerator pickles and now I am in the pickle business.

Seriously, the pickles are a big hit. And nothing beats a fresh picked tomato in a summer salad. Have a wonderful 4th of July.

WEGO Health Awards

Last year, a surprise nomination led to Twitchy Woman being a finalist for WEGO’s Best in Blog award. Nominations and endorsements are now open for the 2020 WEGO Health Awards. I have been nominated for 3! If you agree and would like to support me please go to this link and endorse/nominate me. Thank you for all of your support of my blog over the last 6 years. I hope we will continue together on this journey with Parkinson’s for many more years to come.

Do You Peloton?

pel·o·ton/ˈpeləˌtän/ noun

  1. the main field or group of cyclists in a race
  2. an exercise bike streaming indoor cycling classes to your home live and on-demand.

Mr. Twitchy and I acquired a Peloton bike a couple of years ago. A Peloton Bike is essentially a spin bike with a subscription service of unlimited live and recorded classes, accessible through a large touchscreen. The classes vary in length and difficulty. I try to get on the bike at least once a week, but it is not enough for me to really feel the benefits of it. It seems that the rides are getting harder and harder for me. Maybe it is just that I am getting older and all of the riders are younger than me? Or can I blame it on PD? I needed to find out how other Parkies do with the Peloton bike.

I thought that there must be some other Parkies out there who ride Peloton bikes. About a year ago, I started a Facebook group for Parkies who have Peloton Bikes so that I could find others and compare our experiences. So far we have 32 members in the group and we would really like to increase our numbers.

I loved when Hannah said to us ‘Parkies with Pelotons, YOU lead this ride’.

Amy

One of the women in the group, Amy Montemarano, proposed that we find a live class with Peloton that would be good for our group to join. Amy contacted Peloton and gave them the information about our group. The instructors always call out people and groups that are either in the studio with them or have signed up to join the class live, on-line, so this was a good way to get some publicity for Parkinsons at the same time. On Monday morning, 4 of us joined the 9:55 am class. We were all able to follow each other on the Leaderboard. One rider, Alice said: “That was fun doing a ride together! Lori , I broke a personal record trying to catch up with you.” Lori also broke a personal record because she was so excited to be riding with a group.

Loved riding with other strong Parkies

Lori

We hope to do this again, maybe on a regular basis. If you want to join our little group, go to our Facebook page Parkies with Pelotons. We are a closed group, so you must answer two simple questions: Do you have Parkinson’s and Do you have a Peloton bike? If you answer yes to both, we would love to have you join us.

Other exciting news from Twitchy Woman!

If you missed the PMDAlliance Inspire Me session last week featuring Twitchy Woman, you can watch it here.

And even more exciting, Twitchy Woman is one of 5 finalists for the WEGO Health Awards Best in Show Blog! Winners to be announced next week. Click on the photo for more information.