Coursera and Telcel

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Coursera and Telcel

Coursera is a fabulous site where you can find a variety of courses to study at your own speed. Throughout the years I’ve taken courses in psychology, sociology, writing and so much more.

On Sunday I started a psychology course dealing with anxiety in light of COVID-19. This course is being given by a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

In my last post I discussed the importance of caring for our mental health. This course is another tool I’m using to do just that.

Did I mention that these courses are all offered free of charge?

Another thing I did on Saturday was renew my phone plan. This is huge for me because I have a plan that includes unlimited international calls to the USA and Canada. This allows me to connect with family and friends on a regular basis. The state of the world right now due to the virus makes this connection even more important than ever.

I was pleased to see that only one person at a time was allowed into the building to access the cashier. People lined up outside were spaced far apart. Physical distancing is definitely being enforced by Telcel.

These are two things I’ve done this weekend to take care of myself.

What have you done to take care of yourself?

What About Your Other Health?

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What About Your Other Health?

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Maintain social distancing. Stay at home. This is all great advice for protecting your physical health.

But what about your mental health? What are you doing to protect your mental health?

If you’re self-isolating, you spend a lot of time by yourself. This is a perfect opportunity for your brain to go into overdrive. This results in an unnecessary abundance of fear and anxiety and ultimately panic. Even if you are at home and have other family members with you, the conversation ultimately focuses on COVID-19.

The art of mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that work for me. If I’m coloring I focus on the masterpiece I’m creating. If I’m watching a movie I really listen to the Spanish and am amazed at how much better my comprehension has become.

I meditate with music and imagery. I’ve even gotten back to gazing at the flame of a candle.

I’ve replaced a great deal of my social media viewing with the above-mentioned. When I want the facts about COVID-19 I go to the Mayo Clinic website. I also participate in discussion groups on this site.

I find online Church as well as Bible study to be important. Both are a great way to stay connected. I also find them comforting.

I also spend less time on the phone although I do connect with the my family and close friends more regularly. Just as long as the conversation doesn’t focus completely on the virus.

Quite obviously I’m spending more time writing. Blog posts are every second day. I’m also working on my next book.

I make a point of going out for walks every day. I lose myself in the beauty of nature. So many trees and flowers are beginning to bloom.

I guess you could say I take a lot of time for ME and I highly recommend it.

Take time for yourself!

TV Time

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TV Time

I don’t usually watch TV often. I much prefer spending time with people. However, seeing as I’m stuck in the twilight zone, I have added TV to the list of my current best friends.

Friday marks the end of my first two weeks self-isolating. Writing and coloring occupy a great deal of my time, but TV is right in there now as well.

Primarily I watch movies in Spanish. But I find the selection here quite heavy in sci-fi, fantasy and horror which I do not enjoy. Martial arts movies are also popular and not my preference either.

As I write this I’m watching Moana. I enjoy the music. My favorite movies are dramas and comedies. But I have also found other interesting programs to watch.

I saw a documentary the other day on ocean life. I went on safari in Africa another time. I learned how not to smuggle cocaine out of Brazil. And I am mastering the art of cooking such delights as swordfish and octopus, not that I will actually prepare either of those dishes LOL.

I’ve always loved cartoons and the Disney channels keep me entertained. And then there is Los Simpsons.

I haven’t yet resorted to watching movies in English on YouTube. But the crystal ball tells me this is definitely a future possibility.

Stay at home and stay safe!

48 Hours

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48 Hours

I used to journal on a daily basis. It’s been quite some time since I last journaled. I thought it might be fun right now as I have a lot of time on my hands. I challenged myself to write a two day journal. After all, my friends up north keep asking me what I do all day, now that I’m self-isolating.Sunday March 29thI woke up feeling very refreshed…..until I looked at the clock. 6:42? Who in their right mind gets up at 6:42 on a Sunday? But I was wide awake.That first cup of coffee sure came early. A cinnamon bun and some cheese and I was revived.I checked out Facebook and left a birthday greeting for my daughter. I then shared a blog post. Next came What’s App and email. Finally it was time to relax and play Candy Crush Friends.Then out I went for my morning walk. The jacaranda trees are in bloom and they are my favorites.Social distancing is easy now. The streets are deserted and I believe I only encountered 3 people as I walked through the neighborhood.Back at home I tuned in to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. The service is broadcast through Facebook as well as on the website. Shortly after I next went to Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene’s website where I listened to Pastor Andy’s final sermon before moving back home to Indiana.Time to color. I tuned in to Fred Penner’s concert using the Facebook link. Great music to color by. I lose myself in the moment when I color and two hours passed by quickly.Lunchtime. My diet has been mainly vegetarian and chicken. Today I had delicious veggies (high in protein) and rice. This was followed by a cup of herbal tea and a pan dulce. I should add that I usually eat my lunch at around 3:30 pm.Seeing as my lavenderia has closed, I now do my own laundry. That was my next task. I had just finished when I got a beep on my phone. My lives on Candy Crush had been refilled!Soon it had cooled off sufficiently to go on my second walk of the day. Once again I saw empty streets.I returned home and my phone calls began. First up was my friend Becky in Shipshewana. We’re Bible study buddies as well as great friends. We had a lot to talk about last night.The next phone call was to my friend Ann in Leavenworth. We reminisced about our dinners on her deck overlooking the river as well as other times spent together. I wonder how long it will be before I can return to Leavenworth.One last check on Facebook for the night where I found a link from Becky. I then spent the next forty minutes watching the church service that her church in Shipshewana had put on the internet.Time to put my phone on the charger for the night. I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. Oh well, a bowl of cereal would have to do LOL.Monday March 30I slept a little later this morning so my first cup of coffee wasn’t until 8 am followed by breakfast. I then spent the morning writing and coloring, aside from a short walk outside.In the afternoon I watched a couple of movies. When the beep on my phone announced that my lives had been refilled, there was also an announcement that I had unlimited lives for the entire week. Perfect timing with this self-isolation going on.Then it was time for phone calls. First up was Cheryl in Winnipeg. Cheryl is awaiting a lung transplant and is totally housebound. No visitors allowed. That means no visits from kids or grandkids.I had a fast salad for lunch.Next was a video call to my daughter Kimmy and granddaughter Maddie in Kelowna. Definitely the highlight of my day to see that little munchkin laughing and playing. I wonder how long it will be before I can hold her in my arms again.Time for a walk around the block again. When I got back I was pleasantly surprised to find a movie on TV in English. So I had that on in the background while I colored.A few more games of Candy Crush Friends and time to call it a night.Today was a quieter day but the time still passed quickly. I think I’m adjusting well to this self-isolation.I also think I made the right choice to stay safe here in Mexico. I don’t think there is a country anywhere in the world today that is fully prepared for this pandemic. Mexico is as good a place as any to hunker down and weather the storm.May God help us all.

My New Virtual World

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My New Virtual World

Social distancing. Physical distancing. Self-isolating. Self-quarantine. Common buzz words we all live with today.

I’m a people person. I like to be with people. I like to do things with people. I like to go places with people. I like to wander in and out of shops conversing with the locals.

Here I am in Mexico in the mist of this COVID-19 madness where I spend most of the time by myself. And my virtual world has become more important lately.

I confess I spend much less time on Facebook. Too much negativity and misinformation. However I do share my blog posts every other day. And I respond to private messages. But when I want the facts about the virus I check the Mayo Clinic website. I also participate in discussion groups on this site too.

On Sundays I no longer go to church. Instead I tune in online to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.

And new this past week…. Pastor Kent of Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene is offering an online Bible study on Wednesdays. And I have partnered with my friend Becky in Indiana to further discuss what is presented each week.

And then there is What’s App, Instagram and Twitter. But I refuse to Zoom.

I do try to limit my time in this virtual world. I have my writing, coloring and daily walks to occupy my time. I also spend much more time on the phone with friends. I was even interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press journalist on the phone a couple of weeks back.

But I miss the in-person contact. I wonder how much longer I will have to just be content with only my virtual world.

My New Daily Routine

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My New Daily Routine

Since I’ve been retired I haven’t really had much of a daily routine. Basically it’s been traveling around Mexico six months of the year and doing a lot of volunteering and socializing in Leavenworth the other six months, with an occasional side trip to Canada.

This winter I returned to Aguascalientes City with the intent to focus on my Spanish skills. I returned to the same neighborhood where I am the only gringa.

I used to savor my first cup of coffee at 8 am. I’d often go to my favorite gordita stand for breakfast. And then it was off to the shops to engage people in conversation. Now many shops look like this.

In the afternoon I’d go to the park to color. Sometimes I’d meet friends there.

I also used to attend church services on Thursday and Sunday. Saturday was my one teaching day.

And then COVID-19 entered our lives.

I now have breakfast in my hotel room. And some days I don’t even get dressed until around noon. I watch movies in Spanish to improve my comprehension but it doesn’t do much for conversation or pronunciation.

I still color every day but not in the park. The park is closed.

I go for shorter walks. I spend more time on the phone with friends. I do on-line church and I’m going to sign up for another course on Coursera.

That leaves me with lots of time for writing. I now do blog posts every second day. And I’m hoping my imaginary friends keep talking to me so that my work in progress does indeed continue to progress.

Phase 2 has begun in Ags. People around here seem to be taking COVID-19 very seriously and the streets are quieter than usual. No problem with social distancing.

Stay home and stay safe!

Leap Year

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Leap Year

I decided to take a break from COVID-19 and publish this post I’ve had sitting in draft form for almost a month.

Thank you Facebook for reminding me where I’ve been on February 29th in the past decade.

Today I am in Aguascalientes. Four years ago I was in Mazatlan. Eight years ago I was in Guadalajara.

But the most memorable February 29th of my life was back in 1984, long before Facebook was established.

I was eight months pregnant with Kimmy. I awoke that morning in incredible pain. Somehow I managed to drive Kyle to nursery school and then myself to the hospital.

Upon my arrival, hospital staff were smiling and reassuring me that giving birth a month early was no problem. I kept telling them that this pain was different from labor pain, but they admitted me and hooked me up to all the monitors.

That’s when the smiles disappeared and were replaced with frowns. I was right. Not in labor. A specialist arrived immediately and diagnosed torn ligaments in the uterus. Yet another hospital stay and more bed rest.

I was worried about Kyle. This wouldn’t be the first time I wasn’t there to pick him up from nursery school due to a hospital stay. It hadn’t been the greatest pregnancy and Kyle was such a trooper.

One month later on March 29th I arrived at the hospital and this time I was in labor. I’m glad Kimmy was born then and not on February 29th. I can’t imagine celebrating a birthday on the exact date only once every four years.