Small comforts big in stressful times

Pond with the sign University Retirement Community in the background.

The burbling pond by our entrance


For the first time in a month, I got over being scared of everything, and went out for a short trike ride.

I rode around the greenway in Davis, near our complex, and stopped to admire how gorgeous California is right now, after a bit of rain, and in springtime.

There were flowers everywhere, and the backdrop of the water-saving yucca and succulents were beautified by trees, rocks, and inventive gardening.

Six feet apart to not become six feet under

Saw a few people inside our community, and a few outside. We stayed apart, carefully.

One kid was running a remote control car around his court.

I didn’t have much energy, so I pedaled very slowly, resting and sitting (which you can’t do on a bike) frequently. I kept my hands on MY handlebars the entire time – and washed everything very thoroughly when I came back.

I didn’t touch my face while out or before washing. I didn’t get off the trike. I didn’t touch the elevator buttons.

But I did have to touch my own trike to get the lock off. Unlikely anyone else has touched it, off on the side where it is locked to a bike rack in the basement.

Dinner had nothing I could/would eat

I hope they figure out their system. I’m a picky eater at the best of times, and I don’t eat most carbs (they fog my brain even worse). But we seem to be getting almost random food selections – tiny milk cartons one day, tiny cans of juice the next day, large glasses of milk with fitted lids the next, then back to tiny milk cartons. The large glasses had no indication what kind of milk was in them.

The protein was lamb; I don’t eat lamb.

Last night all I could eat from the delivery was the small container of salad greens – one for the both of us.

We have food. We have backups. We are used to being in charge of breakfast and lunch, anyway. This is not a complaint – it is an observation. Their system is still getting itself organized, but the logic is odd.

It’s been less than a week since total lockdown.


This morning at 6 am the husband set out on foot for the local grocery store pulling our wheeled cart from Staples. And hour and a half later, he was back with supplies.

The store had a time for seniors and disabled people – and they all stayed 6 ft. apart. He wore disposable plastic gloves until he was out – and then trashed them.

He is my HERO!

We ALL worry that if we get too low on basics, the stores will not be back to providing them the next time we need to go. We try not to hoard. We have TP, but never bought an unconscionable amount.

And we hate wasting food.


They have closed the indoor and outdoor pools.

And both gyms. The gyms, I understand, because in the best of conditions, there are people who don’t wipe off equipment, and they can’t have an attendant all the time. However, we have a number of people whose disease management REQUIRES them to get exercise – or they deteriorate even faster. They are unhappy.

We just got a memo that there will be a supervised swim period MWF from 8-noon – with the Wellness Center director supervising we stay apart – because the director freaked out (as he probably should have) when people were too close to each other in the mail-room.

They have installed no-touch gel stations in mail-room and library.

We will wash our hands on top of that.

I have my trike. A few people here have recumbents of their own. Husband decided to walk to the grocery store rather than trust that the facility’s bikes are safe to touch. Fortunately, it is a 15 min. walk.

Social life

I called several people this morning – they seemed surprised to have me ask about their well-being. I figure if we all check on our closest friends and neighbors, most people will have someone here giving a call.

Next door neighbor and I realized that our balconies provide privacy – but no way to communicate – the building makes it impossible.

I ran into people walking their dogs, or going from the main building to a cottage (there are a few garden apartments in a separate building, and a small number of detached small houses). We stayed apart – didn’t chat too long – didn’t sit down.

Still doable.

Communication within and without

The newsletter group is getting Zoom ready to have their meetings that way. You can download it for computers and phones, and it’s free up to a certain size. Thank you, Zoom. We will be using it for family meetings from four different cities.

The main problem at URC is that our average age is mid-eighties, and some people are not really computer literate. And those of us who are can’t go in to their apartments to set them up.

And their kids and grandkids can’t come in to show them how to use technology.

There are still telephones.

Staying busy

There are MANY options, from free opera to paid books.

I’m writing again – it’s hard work more because of the hiatus than anything else, but I did choose to do something new and different with how the scene is organized – and that took some figuring out. I hope it is a much stronger scene as a result.

One lovely person took Pride’s Children PURGATORY out of Kindle Unlimited, and read 304 pages. Hmmm. Don’t know if they had read the rest before, or were able to or forced to stop before the end (around 385pp). I may never find out who it was, unless they leave a review.

When I reread it, I can’t stop that close to the end, but then, I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find.

There’s plenty else to do – Tai Chi will be meeting via Zoom – but I have no excuse for not doing what I moved here to do – finish the two remaining novels in the trilogy. And it felt so good to get back into Andrew’s head to write.

Signing out for now – hope we can keep this up for many months!

Stay well – drop a line as to how YOU’re doing.



14 thoughts on “Small comforts big in stressful times

  1. Jeanne

    The college has moved everything, including my service, online, so I’ve been figuring that out. This morning I got up and went out to Walmart early (right after the seniors only hour, as I don’t qualify at 59) because Kroger hasn’t had any lactaid milk for weeks. I found one lone container of lactaid whole milk, so bought it.
    I’m sad that pools have closed here. I take a walk every day, but can’t walk far. At least I can get out of the house for half an hour and see the plants that are just starting to bloom here–we have the first jonquils and forsythia opening.


  2. marianallen

    I don’t get out much anyway — by choice — so the only hardship on me is worrying about other people. My writing group has started meeting through Zoom. I spend far too much time reading and listening to C-19 news and too little time writing. I hereby pledge to remedy that!


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      We’re scared we’ll miss something important to our survival. But – it can usually wait to the end of the day before we wallow in ‘news.’

      Writing first – if at all possible.

      For me, lots of things need doing on the East Coast – and by the time it’s 1pm here, the places that close at 4pm ET are gone, so I need to do that first.

      Nothing else – but you know how you get dragged int!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. joey

    I don’t eat lamb either. Would if I were starving, but otherwise, it’s a hard pass.
    I’m glad you got out on your trike! Good to get some fresh air and exercise.
    I am sick and hopefully it’s not the plague. That’s really all I can manage. Hope.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I hate hoping that people have ‘just’ the flu – the flu is dangerous enough.

      I’ve had it, and my daughter on the other side of the country had it (they actually tested her positive for strain a)).

      Ours each lasted about three days, and we had both had the shot. We always get them

      I really hope you don’t have the plague, because you are in the center of a family group, too.

      People are tolerating the fever as much as they can to let the body burn out the virus – but don’t let it get TOO high.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. joey

        I remember reading about your daughter testing positive for Flu A. This morning, Mentor sent me a chart and flu seems like the thing. I actually said to my husband last night, “You know when my body last ached like this? — After my flu shot.” So maybe it’s flu. I really, really, really want it to be the flu, Alicia.


  4. Widdershins

    Getting out on your trike – excellent. You’re taking all the right precautions so, ‘go for it’ I say! 😀
    Food selection – that sucks, hopefully they’ll get it sorted soon.
    Groceries – yep, hubs is a hero! 🙂
    Social life – more and more is going online. Thankfully most of the technology is nicely mature after all this time.
    Staying busy – very necessary once the shock and grief/rage/denial/etc cycle loses steam.

    We ducked out yesterday (Sat) to do a bit of essential fresh fruit and veg shopping. Our little town was very quiet, very similar to Christmas or Boxing day, but you could feel the tension in the air though.
    Today, Mrs Widds baked our weekly bread, and we’ve had a very low-key afternoon. Right now she’s out on the patio with a book and a pot of tea, all rugged up because the sun of this last week has deserted us, and I’m catching up on a backlog of comments from my last post.
    Tomorrow, Mrs Widds goes out into the world to work … she’s temping for an ‘essential’ business, at least for another couple of weeks, but she’s the only one in the office so she’s pretty-well isolated there, and I will keep the home-fires burning and continue working from home.
    We’re both nearing the end of a ‘grieving for what is now lost’ phase … I suspect the next one is ‘finding balance’.
    Stay safe, dear friend. ‘See’ you tomorrow. 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m somehow finding something small to blog about from the many things happening every day, even when ‘nothing’ is going on.

      So glad the two of you are finding your balance – hope those among us sane enough and educated enough to follow best practices are sufficient to save the nations. They won’t appreciate it – like Y2K, which didn’t happen precisely because so many people worried about it and did their jobs – this pandemic may pass without educating many people, because they were lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynda Dietz

    I saw last night on Twitter that Scribd is offering 30 days of free access to their books, audiobooks, etc. You only need to enter an email address, not a credit card or anything. If you’d like me to post that link, I can.

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing what you can to stay active and healthy. I’m so sorry about the meal issue. I don’t have dietary restrictions, but really feel for those who are trying to find gluten-free options these days (iffy to find during normal times in some places). We are blessed to have sunshine right now (even at 28 degrees F) and a large property to roam around, so I’m trying to get myself outside here and there. Stores are limited in what they have available, and there are still (!!!) people complaining that we’re having our rights violated somehow by the cashiers having to wipe down the cart and the loading belt before we can put the groceries through the line, while remaining behind a taped line on the floor so as not to crowd anyone. Honestly. If no proactive measures were happening, they’d find a way to complain about that too.

    In my state (PA), the nonessential businesses were strongly suggested to shut down about a week ago, and most did. This week (as of yesterday, 3/21), they’re now enforcing that all non-life-sustaining businesses remain closed, and there’s a large list of what does and does not fit that description. The people who are not taking this seriously are the ones who are going to make the whole cycle drag on longer. It’s hard to see people being so selfish and not become consumed with anger at their idiocy.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I prefer to call it deliberate ignorance. These people are not id**ts (a hurtful term to intellectually challenged friends) – they are choosing to ignore what should be obvious to anyone are, finally, the authorities doing their job to keep us safe. Even DT reluctantly, squirming, and too close to the people on the podium (what’s up with that, anyway? does he need backup?) is telling people what the rest of us have been saying for MONTHS!

      They have chosen to accept conspiracy theories because their education in science has been so diminished that they are not capable of understanding simple Youtube videos such as Penn and Teller’s excellent one on vaccination,

      They will get sick, too. Their older relatives will die at the elevated rates, too. They are definitely BEHAVING selfishly – and don’t even realize it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. acflory

    I’m glad you’re getting outside for some gentle exercise. I have the garden so I’m not going stir crazy. Plus I have books and my online gaming. In many ways, life isn’t that different except for being very, very careful with toilet paper and cooking a heck of a lot more. It’s odd but when you don’t know when you’ll be able to buy supplies next, you tend to waste nothing of what you have. The freezer is full but still being sooo careful. Probably a good thing.

    By the way, the person who read your book may have made the font a bit smaller. That would reduce the notional number of pages. I hope they leave a review, and I’m glad you are writing again. 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m not sure how pages work; I think KU uses KENP, which are determined by Amazon, and don’t depend on the font size the reader uses.

      I think maybe this person started a while back – there were a couple who read very few pages.

      I am learning to be VERY careful with TP – and someone here gave someone else here a roll, wrapped up, for their birthday.


      1. acflory

        I don’t have anything in KU so you may well be right about the pages. Even so, I can’t image they’d leave the end unread!

        lol lol – the Offspring’s birthday is coming. Now I know exactly what to give. 😀



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