19 March 2021

The Best Year Ever

Um... NOT!!!

Yes, the calendar changed 79 days ago, but today marks the one-year anniversary of the biggest change in my life. One year ago today, I began working from home. At the time, I thought the arrangement would last two weeks. As the two weeks dragged on and on and on, I wondered, sometimes daily, if I would still have a job. So many of my family members and friends lost their jobs.

Thirteen weeks earlier, I had, in effect, become a full-time caregiver. Lizard got a new knee for Christmas in 2019, and prior to surgery, we thought we might be able to do the 35th anniversary Ride the Rockies in June. Little did we know we were not anywhere near done with hospital visits, all organized rides would be cancelled, and Lizard might not be able to ride a bike again...

Now, a year into this new life, what has changed?

Sometimes I wonder what changed my life more: Lizard's Parkinson's diagnosis or the pandemic. I'm not sure I have an answer. I do know the pandemic, in a sense, was a blessing for us because without it, I would not have been able to stay home full time to take care of Lizard while still keeping up with all the bills.

My weekend warrior days seem to be done. I will never give up hope we might be able to do weekend stuff again one day, but for now, it appears there will be no more mountain treks, journeys, adventures. No more 14ers. No more camping. No more backpacking. No more wildflower excursions. No more extended wildlife stalking.

That, of course, was not caused by the pandemic. That was caused by the vicious and unforgiving Parkinson's. This is a change we have to live with. There is no vaccination. There is no cure. It will continue to get worse. The best we can do is try to slow it by staying active.

Staying active is a bit more of a challenge now because of the pandemic and Parkinson's. But we're beginning to settle into a new schedule, and some things are becoming habit now. We are walking every day. I had to adjust my work schedule to accomplish this in the darkest days of winter, and for now, it seems to be working. Our walking streak now stands at 80 consecutive days. In just 20 more days, I get to design a digital 100-day badge for the two of us!

Back before the pandemic began, I tried to walk every day I could, and I managed some pretty incredible streaks. I longed for the day Lizard could walk with me and enjoy all the wildlife I was able to photograph. Until April 29 last year, I tried to bike every day I could. There was a time when I tried to pedal 60 miles in a day at least once each month, but that seems like a fairy tale now.

Now, we're walking together every day, and for that, I am so grateful! I have not been on my bike since April 29, 2020, except once to pedal home from dropping the car off for regularly scheduled maintenance. There's another big change. I've had the car serviced only once in the last 16 months. We are not driving anywhere except to medical appointments. Huge change there, too. I kind of like not driving much anymore. I don't really care for the frequency of medical appointments, but I am so grateful to have access to superb medical care for both me and for Lizard.

I probably could ride a tiny bit each day, especially now that we have a bit more daylight, but I made the choice last year when Lizard could no longer ride that I would not ride without him. For a long time, I couldn't leave him alone. Now he can do some things independently again, but I choose not to increase his misery by doing what he longs to be able to do again until he can join me. I don't know if his balance will ever improve enough for him to ride again, but I will never give up hope we might be able to ride side by side again one day.

One of my biggest lessons from 2020 is to never give up. I'm doing my best.

I think Lizard's least-favorite activity is shopping. He now has not been in a store (or anywhere other than medical appointments) in at least 16 months. I've rarely gone into stores for about 10 months now. I could have Lizard's prescriptions delivered, along with the rest of our groceries, but I enjoy picking out my own fresh fruits and veggies. Personal shoppers sometimes do a fairly good job, and I'm so thankful for the service. I'm looking forward to the day I can do my own grocery shopping again, although the delivery method saves time, gas and money.

Oh, and how could I possibly forget?!? The last year has taught me to expect empty grocery store shelves on any given day for no apparent reason.

We've been participating in online church since August, when it first began for us. At first, only a fraction of our congregation could actually attend each week, so everyone who was able to attend in person had an assigned Sunday once a month. Music was instrumental only. No singing allowed. But we were home. So I was able to sing along to the piano.

Now our entire congregation is able to attend in person each week, if they feel safe doing so. We and a few other couples are high risk, so we continue to worship from home. Last month the in-person congregation was once again allowed to sing! Masks required, of course.

I do not read music very well at all, and I'm not very good at keeping beat, at which I continuously strive to improve my skills. Never has gospel music meant so much to me. I guess it's true you sometimes don't appreciate true treasures until they are gone. I'm glad I was able to keep singing at home, no matter what. But never has music been so appreciated in my soul until the Sunday it was announced the congretation could again sing together.

We will continue online worship until probably six weeks after we've both been vaccinated. We are included on the current priority level. I do not know how long it will take for us to actually be scheduled.

We watched more television this winter than either of us have in our entire lives. I hope we didn't overdo it too much. We don't binge-watch. We've enjoyed many episodes of Star Trek Next Generation, but it took us more than two years to get through the entire seven seasons.

Perhaps watching all two years' of Little Men could be considered binge-watching. We discovered it during the Thanksgiving holiday and watched one episode each weekday lunch hour (when I got one) for the next several weeks. We were sad when it ended and wished more such quality programming existed. Finishing the series brought up Pioneer Quest in our suggested view list, so we tried it. It was but nine episodes, and we watched one each weekday during my lunch hour after the new year began. This reignited our off-grid dreams and made us wish we had been able to participate in that project back in 2001.

We've enjoyed a few new-to-us movies, including Passengers, The Lost World and Return to The Lost World (the Arthur Conan Doyle versions, not the Michael Crichton versions, although we do own the entire set of Jurassic movies and usually watch them again every winter), Europa Report, White Knights, the entire Left Behind series, The Hiding Place, We Bought a Zoo, Instant Family, Get Smart, MIB International, Proximity and Space Between Us. Still on the watchlist are the new A Star is Born, Shadowlands, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, and Ben Hur.

Most of our TV time, however, has been devoted to documentaries. We have watched some of the most breathtaking videos of volcanos, wildlife and space. Oh, and a livestream hummingbird nest!!! We still do relaxation videos every once in a while at bedtime to help us chase Zs, and Earth from Space as Seen from the ISS is one of our newest favorites.

Lizard will sometimes watch cycling or motocycling videos while I am working. My biggest treasure is being able to watch and sometimes even photograph wildlife outside my window while I work. I also thoroughly enjoy being able to pop outside on the porch for a few minutes of snowflake photography during the workday... when the snow decides to fall. It doesn't happen enough at all.

Now, a year into this new life, what has not changed?

Spam phone calls.

I still don't have enough time to quilt!!!

Limiting screen time is still a priority. Some weeks I do better than others.

I'm still totally devoted to my sweet husband.

What do I not miss?

Public transporation.

My phone ringing off the hook.

What do I miss most?


Sharing cookies, brownies, muffins and other healthy homemade treats with my co-workers.

My employer footing the office internet bill.

Vacation time. Oh, it still accrues. I still take it now and then. But every single minute of my vacation time in 2020 was allocated to medical. Every single minute.

Yellowstone. The Wave. Bicycle tours like Tour de Lavender and Ride the Rockies. Visiting my family. Moab. Onion Creek. Barr Lake...

Let's hope vaccinations will return wildflowers, autumn leaves, elk bugling, cross-country skiing and early spring training rides back into the mix! Let's hope Lizard and I can achieve our temple goal this year!


  1. We have to make the most of it and fighting to get your life back where we can. I agree with you that there are changes we have to accept. But a different life because of fhis virus?

    Yesterday we went demonstrating for freedom. We are demonstraiting again and again and again. Until freedom is restored. Switzerland is a dictatorship.

    I do not greet Gessler's hat. I'm with the forefathers of the Confoederatio Helvetica.

    Every Friday people hang on to the newest absurdities of our Bundesrat who insists that restaurants are closed, not more than 15 people are allowed to meet outside and only accidentially. The media are demanding that only vaccinatied people should be allowed in museums, stadiums, festivals, fairs, public transportation, there is no possibility to cross to border to Germany, France, Austria, no travels allowed without vaccination.

    An all this in the name of a virus that means death for 0.03 % of people and people over 80 year plus one or two severe deseases.

    All the best!


    1. This last year has been so difficult for so many, Regula. I, too, am anxious for the return of freedom. I really don't get why people who are vaccinated are scared of people who aren't... If you're vaccinated, you're 90% or so protected. The unvaccinated person is the one who is not protected. But, people have to have a reason to be up in arms, angry or panicked, I guess. All we can do is try to remain calm and try to carry on as best we can. I hope things get better for you soon!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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