Just Life

10 on the 10th | March.

this afternoon’s entertainment

March 10, 2020 has been on my mind a lot lately. It was the last somewhat-normal day …my sister Karen took the day off to see Emma with me at the theater. We brought clorox wipes to clean our seats (I remember that the theater was pretty empty for a 2 o’clock show and no one else looked remotely concerned about needing to clorox anything). We loved the movie (I also remember listening to the first ever Novel Pairings podcast on the treadmill that morning; Chelsey and Sara talked about Emma!) … and afterwards shared a glass of wine at a bar across from the theater. We asked the bartender if he was noticing any changes because of the “virus” and he said not really.

I’ve written about this day here before because I love that I spent my last somewhat-normal day doing something fun with my sister. That was the last time for so many things. and the beginning of a year I never could’ve imagined.

So when I saw Laura Tremaine’s prompt for today’s 10 Things on the 10th (Instagram link) – “Because it’s on everyone’s mind this week, we’re going with the most obvious prompt….10 Thoughts for ONE YEAR in a Pandemic” I decided to join in*

  1. I noted in my journal that things turned a corner in about 18 hours on Thursday, March 12. I had a somewhat socially distanced (no one hugged, we didn’t cozy up on the sofa, we ate from a shared tray of snacks) bookclub meeting in my neighborhood that evening and the next morning four of us showed up for small group at church. We each sat at our own table and agreed this would be our last (in-person) meeting “for a while”; I stopped by the church office on my way out to let them know we wouldn’t be meeting … by the end of the day, church was closed. kids weren’t going to school. grocery shopping was eerie (and toilet paper and all the cleaning supplies were gone).
  2. Staying home shouldn’t have been a huge adjustment for us because we’re both retired. but we “did” things. Marc didn’t play golf (or even visit the driving range) for months. I didn’t knit in real life with another person until Memorial Day when I visited my sister on her screened porch.
  3. I signed up for a personal Zoom account (unlimited meetings for unlimited time) in March. I figured the money I wasn’t spending at Starbucks more than paid for it. The connections I’ve kept (knitting and church) and made (Sunday mornings with a few ladies who I “met” through this blog) have been priceless. My knitting and church groups have both expanded to include folks who aren’t local and the Sunday morning group is all non-local. I expect those connections to continue … and I am not sorry I might be driving my car less.
  4. Marc started doing all the grocery shopping. It was an adjustment for me giving up that control over the menus and the impulse purchases, and now it works great. Also, I do not mind that hour or so to myself each week. and we’ve both gotten better about the Shopping List as a Real Thing.
  5. Curbside pickup is awesome. I hope stores continue this post-COVID. I have paid extra for the convenience (ahem, Total Wine three days before Christmas?! yep, I paid!) and I’m pretty sure the money I save not strolling the aisles (looking at you Target) would more than pay for it going forward.
  6. We bubbled with Katie and her family in May and hosted ten sessions of Marmie & Poppa camp over the summer. The boys arrived on Monday morning and got picked up Tuesday afternoon. We will always treasure that time we got to spend with the boys … ages 3 and 5 …  it was truly magical.
  7. Our other daughter was in England. locked down. in a flat by herself. She braved everything to come for 10 days in September. I will never forget the feeling of hugging her in the airport, knowing that was the first human touch she’d had in months. and then sitting on the sofa that evening … the first time she’d seen anyone in real life without a mask on since March.  (she also came for Christmas and I had similar feelings. and now she’ll be living with us for a bit three weeks from tomorrow. and I am so very grateful).
  8. I started playing tennis again. Katie picked it back up over the summer and I’m sure I never would’ve started without that push. I’m a little sad I didn’t start right away, but so glad I finally did. I’m playing my first ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association … it’s big here) match – in maybe 18 years? – tomorrow morning. I’m nervous excited. and loving the connections I’m making with the other players on my team. (and not only because most of them are older than I am and have already been vaccinated 😉 )
  9. Olive & June. I’ve been on the “get dressed and put on a little makeup” train forever … and this year I finally embraced the at home manicure. Kendra @thelazygenius sold me on their system and it’s the best. I also have their pedicure system … and I haven’t tried it … yet. gosh. I wish I’d had a “starter pedi”.
  10. We did it. a pandemic YEAR. Georgia announced 55+ are eligible starting next week and we’ve pre-registered for vaccines. Like I wrote last week, I’m still having a hard time imagining what life might look like in another three months. and I just need to be ok with that.

…and it’s also been A YEAR where friends (and family of friends) passed away (made harder because we couldn’t gather to mourn); children started school, graduated, moved away for college (and then moved back home); we celebrated birthdays and anniversaries; grieved losses; read books, knitted sweaters (and started again to knit socks), tried new recipes, ran to the lake, walked the trail at the park, checked in with friends, wrote blog posts, took photos. and lived.

*of course the actual “joining” is supposed to be on Instagram, but I’m way more comfortable with this platform … and a real keyboard. seriously, I cannot figure out how folks share so much text – so perfectly formatted – on the little tiny phone screen. is there an app that makes it easier?


  • Bonny

    My SiL and I were looking at “old” photos last weekend, and I came upon several where John and I and seven other family members gathered at a nearby pub for John’s sister’s birthday. It seemed like decades ago, but when I looked at the date, I was shocked to see that it was the end of Feb. 2020. That was pretty much the last normal thing we did. It’s been a long, difficult year, and it’s not over yet, but I’m glad you and Marc will soon be eligible for the vaccine. John and I have been eligible in NJ since mid-Jan., but finding an actual appt. is proving near impossible. Fingers crossed you fare better!

  • Juliann

    What a great looking back post. I haven’t done this – yet. Also, I think those people with so much text are probably using an ipad at least. As to what happens next – I was just talking about this with my daughter. I think we each need to know what is okay for us and then stick to that and I hope that people will be respectful of the choices we each make for ourselves. We will see.

  • Sarah

    I was just noting to my daughter this morning that tomorrow will mark one year since I was sent home from work midday as a “trial” to see how working from home would work out. And that ended up being my last day in the office (though I was able to get back in briefly one day last summer to grab a few things and throw out my dead office plants). I remember things getting weird that week and talking a lot of about it at work, though we were still trying to shield M from it at home. I really should pull out my journal and read what I wrote when it was clear things were serious.

    Funny you should mention Emma — because I started listening to Novel Pairings earlier in the week, I remembered that I never got a chance to watch the new movie (I was not comfortable going to the theater when it came out, and renting it at home was still ridiculously expensive). As a birthday gift to myself, I bought it from Amazon and have been watching it the past couple of evenings!

  • Kathryn

    This is a great post! I’m glad you’ve been able to find some things to be thankful for in the past year. Also your afternoon photo looks lovely.

  • Vicki

    Kate left on 3/10/20 for what was to be a 6-week dog- & house-sitting gig in Edinburgh, and Rusty & I left for Mexico the following day for our anniversary. Kate was back in less than 2 weeks and has been with us ever since… soon to be moving to Edinburgh again, though! Rusty & I were gone for a week, during which change was quite dramatic… eery.

    It has been quite a year and, like you, there have been some very good things. I won’t be eligible for the vaccine for quite some time, but have registered with possibility of receiving a vaccine that might otherwise go unused. (Rusty is awaiting jab #2.)

    I am with you completely regarding a real keyboard! I did some longer posts during Fiberuary, but typed those posts into a draft email, then copied & pasted on my phone into Instagram. Convoluted, but it worked. 😉

  • Margene

    Spending Zoom time with you and catching up with your blog posts as been at the top of “things” that got me through the last year. Our last night out in 2020 was for my birthday and our first night out in 2021 will be for my birthday! What a crazy year it has been. We are so grateful (and fortunate) to have been among of the first to get the vaccine in our state and can now gather with others who have been fully vaccinated, but we’ll still need to be careful when in public. Even though we must all stay vigilant until most of our population has been vaccinated we can’t help but feel hopeful about a post-virus future. Thank you for your constancy and positivity this past year!

  • Carole

    I love this post of looking back and reflecting on everything that changed one year ago, Mary. I’ll admit I teared up at the thought of you hugging Sara in the airport and being the first human she had touched in so long. It must have felt almost like a rebirth for you. XOXO

  • Katie @ The Cozy Burrow

    This is an amazing post and it captures the shock of the moment so well, yet focused on some beautiful moments as well. My 5 Year Journal this week is full of sentences like, there are now 5 cases in NH… which seemed so frightening! And we took severeal trips to Sam’s Club and Target for clorox and lysol – with no hand sanitizer to be found anywhere. What a year!

    PS – I still haven’t used Zoom. That seems like a shocking statement given our current situation!

  • Jane

    What an interesting way to look back at this past year. I would be no help on the Instagram front as I rarely use it. It is hard to imagine how life will look as more are vaccinated. My best idea for us is to put one foot in front of the other just as we have been doing. And also relying on faith and science.

  • karen

    I cannot believe it’s been a year and what a year it’s been. We have a huge family rift because of the virus that I am working my mind around accepting. Maybe one day things will be better!!

  • Alexa

    So poignant, your and Sara’s hug … I am rejoicing that she’s going to be with you soon again! Great memories of this time last year – who could possibly have foreseen the ramifications. The date that sticks in my mind over here is the 23 March, when Boris Johnson took to the airwave to tell us we were all locked down from midnight: I can still feel the shock and underlying fear and worry. There is quite a lot in the press about ‘coming out of lockdown’, and how we will all manage it, and at what pace. I think we will be very cautious for quite a while!

  • lydia

    More than anything I’m surprised how easy it was to transition to working at home and not actually missing co-workers. Very little changed about my routing except gathering with family/friends for something as simple as a glass of wine or a cocktail. Still had to check in on my Mom, take her to doctor appts, work, buy groceries, etc., etc. I am very thankful that the weather in the early days allowed for bike rides-being outside was a life saver.