Coronavirus · My Books · My Thoughts

COVID-19 Pandemic: Tough Topic #2—Denial?

Stop COVID-19

Has the COVID-19 pandemic faded from our memories? Have we faced all of its losses and grieved? Or have we denied its impact and moved on? If I move on from a tragedy and haven’t dealt with it, I may carry some of it with me.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? book cover-COVID-19

My book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? offers the possibility of facing what this horrible pandemic was to you by reading my experience, reflecting on what you dealt with, and responding to some probing questions to put it all to rest.

NEWS UPDATE: I won the 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for the Body, Mind & Spirit category!

As we look back, we all lost two years of our lives—for me, it was dancing, traveling and seeing my family. Many suffered severe anxiety and depression.

These charts show the mental effect COVID-19 pandemic had on many people.

I structured my book in small chapters. Each begins with a captivating picture and quote. Then I share my thoughts and experience on that topic. Afterwards, I end each chapter with a reflection question. So, the reader has choices in how to use it: read it from cover to cover, peruse the Table of Contents and select a topic that jumps out at you, and/or use it as a journal.

Excerpt from Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? Addressing COVID-19

An excerpt from my book might whet your appetite. I titled chapter twelve, “I’m Suffering.” The quote by Nichiren starts the chapter: “If you light a lantern for another, it will also brighten your own way…”

“The isolation of sheltering-in-place has begun to take its toll on me—basically interacting personally with no one except my husband since March 8th. As an extrovert, I relish social interaction. Yes, I get ample hugs from my dear husband daily, but I’m accustomed to hugs from a variety of people. We hug when we square dance, we hug at recovery meetings, and we hug at church. My family hugs a lot, also. I heard someone say this week, “I’m suffering from hug deprivation!” Me, too! That describes it perfectly.

I’m used to an abundance of hugs, so the social distancing has been a real trigger for me. Yes, I agree the restrictions are a necessity, but my spirit and soul thirst for a hug, and this lack of a normal staple has zapped me.

On top of the restrictions, I filled my March and April with the final production of my book project, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, and though I was able to add some special features I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had rushed the production, it drained me. Hugs from a variety of people and interaction with dear friends are how I would normally replenish myself after a grueling workday, but there was no safe way to do that.

Come Back Tomorrow and I’ll Have More

April 17, 2020 

I’ve run out, 
Empty, 
No More,
Barely running on fumes. 

But come back 
Tomorrow. 
There will be more! 

More of me 
My humor 
My expertise 
My talents. 

I’ve used up
Everything today,
Ran desperately scarce! 

I spilled me 
Wide-open, 
Nothing left.
 
But daily I rejuvenate 
Refresh 
In my Quiet Time 
With God 
And start again 
With a full tank! 

So, don’t ask me
When I’m on empty 
To give more! 
That’s selfish! 

Ask me about
My availability. 
Ask me if I’m full 
Or empty. 
Don’t assume! 

I know me! 
I can tell 
The meter’s hanging 
Dangerously low, 
Near empty. 

I’m zapped, 
Nothing now, 
Today! 

But come back tomorrow, 
And I’ll have more! 

More of me 
More joy 
More compassion 
More energy! 
Totally more! 

Larada Horner-Miller, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, (2021): 95-99.

Finally,

When you finish, I hope you have reconciled the lost years and feel deeply better about how you handled it. In recovery, we say, “Denial is not a river in Egypt!” Face it, feel it and heal it!

Do you have a residual effects from the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, how have you dealt with them?


News, News, News!

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? COVID-19
Read, reflect and respond!

~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? is a finalist in the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Winners will be announced in a couple of weeks.

~Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, deals with the COVID pandemic in fiction as opposed to my nonfiction book. Check it out! Interesting story!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo. COVID-19
Grab your SmatPhone & read this hilarious book!

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

A Reality Check, Two Years Later!

Globe with mask - reality check

A reality check: two years later, the coronavirus death count just reached one million, and I had to look back. So many lives lost and so many families have changed forever—a favorite aunt, a precious grandma, an inspiring mother, taken from this earth too early. And yes, reality continues to be questioned today with Congress stalling for two months on future COVID funding. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/covid-19-funding-and-congress-no-clear-path-forward.html

So has our reality changed that much in two years?

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? to see where we were in 2020 and let’s step back in time.

Chapter Nine

WHOSE REALITY TODAY IS REAL?

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.”

Leo Tolstoy

Finger pointing on globe - reality check

May 24, 2020

What does the future hold for us? It’s the end of May 2020, and not a lot has changed—the coronavirus rages. The death count continues to increase daily, with it nearing 100,000 in the United States.

Amid this pandemic, people’s reactions shock me! One person posted on my Facebook page that this virus isn’t dangerous. Tell that to the families mourning 99,031 deaths. Tell that to the world whose losses stand today at 345,554 at 2:00 p.m. this sunny Sunday after‐ noon. I shudder at this callous response to this tragedy—it is dangerous and heartbreaking! Today, I choose empathy and compassion for the losses, for the pain, for the struggle, and I continue to wonder about our collective future.

In my circle of family and friends, I know someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March and is still experiencing symptoms ten weeks later. Some say it’s just like the flu. I’ve never had a flu that lasted that long.

Masked group - reality check

What Do We Face?

April 1, 2020

The future always felt

Predictable.

Not now!


Not post-coronavirus pandemic,

Not after the deaths,

The insanity,

The world in turmoil!

What’s coming?

Social distancing

’til April 30,


The whole month.

More cases

More deaths!

100,000s dead?

1,000,000s sick?

The uncertainty

No one knows

For sure,

But why?

Our tech age believed

We could control,

Order,


Orchestrate the world.

But no!


Here we stand frozen

Paralyzed

Isolated.

2020—


with all its advances

can’t contain

this small

tiny

Enemy.

It controls us!

The USA

Ill-prepared

So sad,


But so true!

World leaders, a part of the problem,

Yes,

But China lied!

Would the authorities have acted differently

If they knew the truth?

Not 81,000 deaths in China


But possibly forty times that amount!

3,240,000


Oh my God!

We will never know.

Where are we headed?

Done and recovered

And back to normal


At the end of April?

May?


September?

I haven’t even a thought

About our financial losses

Not in the wake of the deaths,

The sickness and trauma,

The despair!

We’re all in the same boat

Headed somewhere,

Destination unknown

God, help us!


The coronavirus catapulted me farther into a stark face-to-face confrontation with reality. Reality—different to different people? I thought I knew what reality was. I’m an intelligent human being, but the polarization of our country over wearing masks and the coronavirus has me reeling. Who do I believe? Is it a hoax?

I find myself defending my stance of believing in the severity of the coronavirus and adhering to the mandates set in place nationally by the CDC and locally by our state government. Depending on which news source you subscribe to, friends and family members appear to me to be out of touch. Or is it me?

I’ve struggled with reality my whole life, wanting to live in a LaLa Land of my own making, but adulthood and recovery forced me to grow up, move out of that imaginary land into the territory of the REAL.

Woman floating under the moon - reality check

Reality Check

April 2, 2020

The sun keeps shining.

The world spins.

Night follows day.

On the surface,

Normal is constant.

Yet the massive choirs


Of heartbroken cries resound

Across the dusty plains


Down through the fertile valleys

Atop the snow-topped mountains

Through the quiet deserts.

Human kind is under attack

A virus war zone!

People die;


The number mounts!

Doesn’t matter his color

Her Ethnicity

His Religion

No immunity!

The coronavirus kills,

Has no prejudices,

Is not judicious in its target.

The massive grief grows.


The weight of the pain stresses

This world to its limit.

A mother

A father

A daughter

Die alone

Not a hand to hold


No last kiss and hug!

And it’s not just the virus’s victims,

But anyone unlucky enough

To die now


Like my dear friend, Jan.

Her two daughters and grandson stood vigilant

Outside her door

No kiss


No touch

No hug


Only death!

And FaceTime

On an iPhone!

Such sterile technology

At a time

When she needed familiar touch.

Hearts break in unison,

Too many to count—

Exponential pain multiplied

By this devastation!

Yet the sun rises.


Days melt into weeks.

Pain from this horror lingers

Forever

An acrid taste in my mouth

And

Heart.


I know our realities might differ. Hopefully, somehow, some way, our realities meet and merge.

You may wonder why I keep posting my poems of struggle and uncertainty. I grappled so through this pandemic and recorded it. It certainly helped me; I hope it helps you.

YOUR REFLECTIONS:

At the end of May 2020, how did you handle all the conflicting information thrown at us?


Looking back after two years, my heart aches for where we were and all the losses in between. And reality still is questionable, so we needed another reality check now.

Dare you look back to 2020 and what you were feeling in mid-May 2020? Do a reality check today and think about how you have grown better, not bitter over the last two years.


~NEWEST PODCAST to be released Thursday, March 17, 2022, discussing my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? : Live on Purpose Podcast at https://liveonpurposeradio.com/category/podcast/

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Coronavirus · Dancing · Goals · My Thoughts

2022, Hello!

2022

2022 is here, and I’m ready! Each year arrives with new hope, new possibilities! Because of the last couple of years, I have mixed feelings. What does 2022 hold for us? With everything still on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, join me in my wondering!

My Book Business in 2022

Four of my books - 2022
3 of my books - 2022

I now have six books and three cookbooks in my stable. I plan on focusing on my book business and becoming more proficient in the administering of it. My mission statement is “a baby-boomer with a purpose.”

I have five areas of focus this year:

  1. Writing
  2. Recording audiobooks of my books
  3. Online Memoir workshop
  4. Promoting
  5. Continued training

Today I wrote a plan for each area so I use my time more efficiently. Obviously, writing is my major focus. I have two books in the works: a description of my experience of writing Flippo’s biography and what I learned and the first book in a poetry series. Before the pandemic, I had a successful Memoir Workshop I presented at various libraries in the area. Now, I plan to host it online through Zoom.

Audiobooks are another major focus of this year. I will record, Let Me Tell You a Story, first. After that, I plan to record my newest book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?. Then, I will tackle This Tumbleweed Landed and then When Will Papa Get Home? Sounds ambitious, maybe, but I’ll let you know my progress.

Promoting takes so much of my time. I hope to be more systematic at my promotions this year. And last, I have bought some great training packages over the years, so I plan to incorporate training in my weekly schedule.

2022 Goals

My Personal Life This Year

Dancing

I want to dance! I’m getting cabin-fever and want my old life back. As I look at 2022, I see annual festivals we normally attended and yearn to go. Normally we’re in Arizona at the end of January at Hummingbird Hoedown, so I’m hoping we can make that this year.

Because we have a mask mandate, here in New Mexico, we haven’t danced since August—Lin can’t dance with a mask, so I’ve stayed home. But I’m going to go to a weekly Advance dance with a girlfriend because I can dance the guy’s part.

Hopefully, the three local festivals I’m involved in will not be canceled again this year: Duke City Singles and Doubles’ Spring Fling, New Mexico State Square and Round Dance Festival and 16th Annual Hot August Nights.

Dancing is my passion and I just have to dance!

Our Ranch

Recently, I went to our family ranch in Colorado, but I want to go monthly and spend more time there.

Our Response to the coronavirus

As a couple, Lin and I have been super conservative, staying home mostly for the last two years. We will continue being cautious, but hopefully activities will open up more this year.

My Spiritual Life in 2022

Because of such major changes in our lifestyle, we stayed home these last two years, providing me an opportunity to go deeper spiritually. I plan to continue the habits I’ve honed over these couple years of dedicating time to a Quiet Time in the morning to read devotionals and study Scriptures and write. I also plan to add more meditation to my daily habit.

Finally,

I always anticipate the best for each new year: a blank page where I get to decide how to fill it. What do you feel at the beginning of a new year?


~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

~Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

~Check out a Gigantic End of Year Sale at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft. 25% off almost all bundles!

Coronavirus · My Books · My Thoughts

A Baby Boomer with a Purpose!

Older woman looking at a computer - baby boomer

Yes, I am a Baby Boomer, and I just published my sixth book about my experience with the coronavirus pandemic. I’m 68 years old. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, I froze in place, having just arrived home from a trip to Spain. We left Madrid on March 8, 2020, and they had 500 coronavirus cases when we left. On March 9, when we got home, the number count had exploded to 1500 cases! We were sure we would get it, but we didn’t.

Now I could have binge watched every TV show and movie I’ve seen in my life to fill the time, but I faced my fears generated by the insanity of the times and wrote. I wrote poetry and wrote more. Then I shared that poetry in my weekly blogs in the face of this worldwide storm. Several of my readers emailed me, thanking me for putting into words the exact feelings and emotions they were having.

So, as it continued, and I chronicled my experiences, my blog posts became a snapshot of my experience, and I realized I had the roots of a book—a self-help, spiritual/religious memoir journal to console others and show them they were not alone.

But I had another book waiting in the wings—I Said “Yes!”—how to write a biography/memoir after writing Marshall Flippo’s biography and my two memoirs. The coronavirus book sideswiped me. But I had to write it!

You would think a Baby Boomer who’s 68 years old doesn’t have much to say, but I do. I have a purpose in life, and it came through with this book. I want others to feel they had a friend, a companion who walked through what they did and came out better.

During my life, I’ve seen people go through many trials—heartbreaks that could destroy a person. Some came through it bitter; some better! Add to my desire to help, I saw so many people enraged by the pandemic and the restrictions, yet they didn’t have a way to process their pain. My book offered the opportunity to reflect on their experience and respond.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? cover - baby boomers

The Book Format

So, my blog posts inspired this book. I wrote it in poetry and prose format, interspersing those two forms throughout. I divided it up into thirty-one chapters and started each chapter off with a reflective picture and a mindful quote. Then I ended the chapter with a thought-provoking question/prompt. I want the reader to read, reflect and respond, so the book could be used like a journal.

The title Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? came from my involvement in the recovery world. I have heard repeatedly in the rooms “You either become bitter or better.” So, I saw that same opportunity in facing how the pandemic affected me.

Book Blurbs

Because I originally thought of it as a spiritual/religious self-help book, my marketing agent suggested I give counselors or therapist Advance Reader Copies. So at first, I asked a psychotherapist and a Christian life coach to do the honors. Then I asked a Jesuit priest I’ve known for years in the recovery world. After that I asked the Episcopal bishop of our diocese in New Mexico. All of them said yes and offered kind words I included in the front of the book.

Sample (Not formatted correctly)

Chapter Two

TODAY I BREATHED—IT IS A MONTH!

 “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure…”

Oprah Winfrey

Today I Breathed—It is a Month!

April 8, 2020

Hallelujah!


We made it!

Thirty-one days away

From Madrid

The airport


Now I remember some workers with mask on—

Did they know?


A bustling restaurant downtown

Jovial waiters served our meal.

From Toledo

Crowded busy

Shoulder-to-shoulder

Naïve about the possibility

Lunch in a crowded café

Again, our meal served.

Thirty-one days passed

With

Self-conscious

 Staring

How do I feel now?

How about now?

NOW!

Repeatedly

Habitually I shallow breathe

As it is!

But this last month


I unconsciously held my breath,

Worried,

Afraid

Apprehensive

From being in a hot spot

And not even knowing!

A cough,

Oh, no!

Am I sick?


Is it the virus?

Is it psychosomatic?

I feared the worst,


but it didn’t happen!

I breathed deeply

For the first time

In a month.

Exhale!

Inhale!

Exhale!

Rhythm

Relief

Neither of us got sick!!

Today I believe strongly I’m okay

We dodged a bullet!

Today my husband kissed me

Hugged me

For the first time

In a month!

I ached


For his touch

His lips!

Thirty-one days behind us.

Safe so far,

But still vigilant!


YOUR REFLECTIONS:

A month into the coronavirus pandemic: Where were you? What were you doing? What feelings raged?


As we face reality today, the pandemic still rages. New Mexico just recorded 1761 cases today, the largest number since January 7, 2021. A friend who works at the biggest hospital in Albuquerque told me yesterday they have no room there for anyone except coronavirus cases, so they’re referring non-COVID patients elsewhere. Is the subject of my book still reliant? I would say so.

Finally, I am a Baby Boomer with a purpose. When you read this book, I want you to receive solace deep in your spirit and soul. As you look back with reflection and care, I pray you can look forward with anticipation and hope.

Email me at larada@icloud.com and I will send you the first two chapters for FREE!

What are your thoughts?

Coronavirus Reflections: Biter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

Vaccinated: Short, Sweet & to the Point

Asleep after being vaccinated

Finally, I got vaccinated on Friday morning for my second Covid-19 shot. I got the Moderna, and I’ve heard more people have reactions to it. My husband received the Pfizer vaccine and had no reaction at all. I wasn’t so lucky. The rest of Friday I felt okay, but my arm hurt where I was vaccinated. Yesterday and today have been a different story. I’ve slept the days away.

Yesterday I had a slight fever, chills, aches like the flu but nothing too bad. I just slept! Today’s the same. The endless sleeping has been strange—lots of images, not dreams and noise in my ears! During my sleep, I felt inundated with images, and when I wake up, I’m tired and exhausted, ready to go back to bed. My brain feels fuzzy.

For this A-type personality I am, this has been hard on me! I’m usually going ninety miles an hour! I have things to do, people to see, life to live!

Jesse, my cat
Jesse, my seventeen-year-old cat

My seventeen-year-old cat, Jesse, didn’t like me being inaccessible to him, so he made it upstairs twice yesterday to sleep outside our bedroom door. He doesn’t easily make it upstairs anymore because of his arthritic back legs—you can’t tell me cats don’t love!

This evening has been better—I’m not sound asleep. Today my brain is still fuzzy, and it’s hard to concentrate, but I’ve been able to do this blog so that’s progress. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! The good news is I’m vaccinated! After a couple weeks, I can return to some normalcy—a trip to our family ranch in southeastern Colorado. I haven’t been there since February because of my cataract surgeries.

And soon, I hope to be dancing!

What I learned these two strange days from being vaccinated is that you have to listen to your body! I went to bed; I slept, and that was probably the best medicine for me.

Did you get vaccinated? Did you have a reaction to the vaccine? If so, what? (Scroll down below the information below for the Comments section!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-June. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Albuquerque · Coronavirus · My Thoughts

April—Powwow Time in Albuquerque!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012
Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991—thirty years ago—I was told about local events not to miss: the Hot Air Balloon Festival in October and the Gathering of Nations at the end of April. I would agree whole-heartedly.

            “The Gathering of Nations is the largest powwow in the United States and North America. It is held annually on the fourth weekend in April, on the Powwow Grounds at Expo NM, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over 565 tribes from around the United States and 220 from Canada travel to Albuquerque to participate.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gathering_of_Nations

Here we are at the end of April, so the Gathering of Nations came up, and I flashed back to the last time I was there. I thought it was a couple of years ago, but you know how time passes—it was 2012! We met friends from Denver there and had a glorious time, as always.

I knew they had to postpone the powwow last year because of COVID-19, but I hadn’t kept up with what they were doing this year. In fact, I just assumed they postponed again it—NOT! They hosted a virtual event over this last weekend, so you can go to the link below and enjoy the results. https://www.gatheringofnations.com/

HISTORY

            “The Gathering of Nations began “unofficially” in 1983 at the University of Albuquerque, in ABQ, NM. In 1984, the event took on the name Gathering of Nations Powwow. . .  In 2017, the Gathering of Nations Powwow returns to the New Mexico State Fair Grounds, known as Expo NM, to be housed on the newly defined Powwow Grounds which includes Tingley Coliseum.” https://www.gatheringofnations.com/history/

MY EXPERIENCES

When I went last in 2012, the Gathering of Nations was still at the Pit, the University of New Mexico Basketball Arena. Being inside added to the overwhelming feeling for me. I loved hearing the chiming of the jingle dresses and the aroma of the sweet grass and sage.

When the dancers entered for the Grand Entry for the evening event, they came down all the aisles onto the floor filling it up. The colorful costumes overwhelmed my senses—feathers, slick braids, buckskin, and headdresses abounded!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Dancers Fill the Floor at the Pit
Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Dancers Fill the Floor at the Pit

            When I first went in the early 90s, they encouraged all attendees to come down on the floor for the Friendship dance, so I did. What an experience that was—surrounded by such beauty and sounds.

            Anytime I go, I always enjoyed walking around, shopping at all the vendors with the dancers right next to me, so I could see their costumes up close and personal. I could buy anything Native American from pottery to dried sweet grass braids and dried sage bundles to art work. I also looked forward to the Native American food, like mutton stew or Indian Tacos—delicious! A total sensory experience!

            Many times I attended, I focused on taking pictures. I would grab a seat as close as possible to the floor and shot one picture after the other. Usually I focused on one dancer and followed him or her around the floor. I didn’t want to move because I didn’t want to miss any of the competitions!

WHAT IS A POWWOW?

            “A powwow is a celebration of American Indian culture in which people from diverse indigenous nations gather for the purpose of dancing, singing, and honouring the traditions of their ancestors.”

https://www.britannica.com/topic/powwow

            The dancing is a competition with each dance style having a different colorful costume. For the Native people, it is a great social event.

      The dancers dance to rhythmic music created by huge powwow drums and ten to fifteen singers singing in their native language, and usually there are several drum groups in attendees with assigned times. One drum plays at a time, and people crowd around to record them!

Gathering of Nations Powwow 2012 Drum Group

DANCE STYLES

They divided the competition up into various styles:

  • Men’s Grass
    • “Once, a young man, lame in one foot, longed ever so much to dance. He took that longing out onto the prairie, praying for guidance as he limped up a small hill. On top of the hill, it came to him—he should develop his own style of dance. As he pondered this revelation, he looked down over the prairie with its swaying and swooping grasses. This, he realized, could be his dance.”
  • Men’s Northern Traditional
    • “Lavish bustles of long feathers, usually from an eagle or another raptor, burst from the dancer’s waist. In fancy dances, similar, often brightly colored bustles are carried at the shoulders as well. This is a time for the men to dance in the way of their fathers and grandfathers, and some of these outfit pieces are passed down through the generations. Some men’s regalia, in this and other dances, may include a red eagle feather, denoting a veteran’s injury in battle.”
  • Men’s Southern Straight
    • “Men usually wear cotton or buckskin pants, a shirt, a breastplate of bones (or lighter-weight plastic ‘bones’) that stops at the waist or the knees, and a comb-like headdress (roach) of porcupine-guard hair and deer-tail hair.”
  • Women’s Fancy Shawl
    • “Beautifully embroidered or decorated long-fringed shawls complement elaborately beaded capes, moccasins and leggings. The colorful outfits match the spirited twirling and prancing of this exuberant dance.”
  • Men’s Fancy Feather
    • “The youthful ages of the dancers and brilliantly colored outfits—with double bustles behind and sometimes small bustles on the arms—are hallmarks of this energetic dance. Outfits are color-coordinated, and the dancers are extremely coordinated, spinning through what is undoubtedly the most athletic of powwow dances. A friendly competition may develop between the singers and the dancers because stopping simultaneously with the ending beat can mean winning or losing points. The singers perform ‘trick songs,’ with unexpected final beats.”
  • Kiowa Gourd Dance
    • “This was originally danced by an organization of respected men, initially by warriors, then military servicemen, and now those who have done exceptional things in their lives. Kiowa men wear red and blue blankets commemorating the Kiowas at war; the red commemorates war against the Spanish and the blue commemorates war against the U.S. Cavalry. This dance is not a part of a competition and is performed separately from the other dances.”
  • Women’s Jingle
    • “According to the Ojibway, an old man, on what his family believed to be his deathbed, dreamed of his daughter and three friends dancing in a style of dress he’d never seen before—cloth covered with small metal cones. Spirits explained how to make the metal cones to be sewn to the cloth. Later, after a miraculous recovery from his illness, he instructed his daughter and her friends to make the special dresses, and dance was born. These dresses traditionally are decorated with rolled metal cones made from snuff-can lids.”
  • Women’s Northern Traditional
    • “This stately dance involves a slow-moving or no moving bouncing step, rhythmically dipping and swaying to the beat of the drum. The dresses of buckskin, wool or other material are heavily decorated with beading, quillwork, elk teeth, bone or antler, or shells. The colors for this dance tend to be more subdued than in other outfits.”
  • Women’s Southern Cloth/Buckskin
    • “This dance style is danced by women of the Southern Plains Tribes. The Southern Buckskin/Cloth style of dance is slowly rhythmic and elegant as the women move gracefully about the dance arena, dipping and swaying to the beat of the drum. The buckskin dress is decorated with beadwork and sometimes shells or silverwork. The cloth dresses may also have designs printed on the hem of the dress. The remainder of the outfit includes matching headbands or crowns, hair ties, purses, moccasins, chokers, earrings and shawls.”

Gathering of Nations Powwow Souvenir Program Book 2021, page 16

The competitions honor all ages with groups from Juniors to Golden Age/Elders. They raise up future dancers by having youngsters dance in full costume, and these young ones captured my heart. Then they honor the elders by having a competitio for them.

ANOTHER GREAT FEATURE

Each year, they crown Miss Indian World at this event, with contestants coming from all over the Native world. Each contestant wears a costume from her tribe. Again, the unique and colorful costumes and beautiful women are a breathtaking!

So, for 2022, mark your calendar for April 29 & 30, and come and enjoy one of Albuquerque’s most beautiful traditions.

Have you ever gone to a powwow? If so, where? Did you enjoy it? (Scroll down a little farther to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · My Thoughts

Did the Coronavirus Change the World?

Way to change

Change is the only constant we can depend upon. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the consistent year-after-year happenings lulled me into complacency, making me believe 2020 would be a duplicate of 2019, a little different but with unknown adventures and a lot of the same ole same ole!

         As you know, 2020 and even the first quarter of 2021 have been grueling. I now look at the world and my past as pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus. I’ve had over a year to labor long and hard over how I would allow this to affect me. Many others in the world have pondered this too.

         By now, you know me—a poem is brewing!

Growth & change

Growth and the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 18, 2021

Growth and 2020 in the same sentence

         Seems like an oxymoron.

                   Such contradiction

2020

         The worst year of my life

                   Yet growth?

                            Really?

I faced it

         I worked through it

Often I succumbed to outrageous emotions

         Fear

                   Anger

Then heartwarming feelings

         Empathy

                   Love

And went on.

So as I evaluate what happened,

         I can say,

                   “Yes, I grew! I’ve changed!”

                            Like so many of you.

Forced to stay at home, isolated

         I stopped my hectic schedule

                   I listened to life

                            I embraced nature

                                     In a deeper way

                                               I met me,

                                                        In a fresh way!

Yes, nature became the conduit of healing

         Lin’s luscious garden

         Birds attracted to his many feeders

         Jesse, my cat, and

                   His allegiance to me and our routine.

         A daily walk

                   Which feeds my soul

My God in all of this.

I didn’t want

         To grow

I didn’t ask

         For it

Thrust unknowingly

         On me

                   On our country

                            On our world

So what happened to me? What changed?

         I listened to

                   The meticulous flapping

                            Of the hummingbirds’ wings

                                     Hovering over bright red penstemon stem.

                   The hectic dinnertime feeding

                            At the bird feeders

                                     Wings fluttering,

                                               A storm of color and commotion

                   The quiet afternoon breezes

                            Singing through the piñon trees

                            Bouncing our chimes, creating a heavenly melody.

Yes, it happened.

         Did it happen for you?

*****

Let’s focus on the positive change from the pandemic. I found an article, “15 Reasons to Feel Positive about 2020” on the internet.

https://www.openarms.gov.au/about/news/2020/15-reasons-feel-positive-about-2020

Topping the list is “Nature is thriving—Sightings of wildlife have increased worldwide and a reduction in air pollution is giving the planet a chance to rejuvenate.” I love that because it coincides with my top idea—many people took up gardening, bird-watching, outdoor activity, and seeking refuge in nature.   

Look at how change occurred in our home!      

SpringWatch - our change in the world

SPRINGWATCH 2020

            Besides Lin’s gorgeous garden, we connected with nature when we found SpringWatch 2020, a TV show featuring wildlife and nature of Great Britain. Their 2020 version really focused on the effects of the pandemic on wildlife and encouraged people to find solace in nature. Originally SpringWatch airs on the BBC, but we watched it on BritBox.

            “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 series, starting on 25 May, did not come from a central base. Instead each presenter appeared from a location near their home, respecting government guidelines on social distancing.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springwatch#Series_16_(2020)

            We thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous photography, witty story telling from the four main naturalists who hosted each episode. But our favorite part became the Mindfulness Ninety Seconds, where they encouraged the viewers to put down any distraction and simply enjoy the scenery. Then, for ninety seconds, we heard nature sounds and saw beautiful landscapes with a variety of animals. So refreshing!

            The show weaved a variety of topics through the hour-long presentation. One particular episode focused on the healing power of nature. Chris Packham, the primary host, suggested a book, The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell. Of course, I bought it and read it and learned a lot about nature’s curative powers.

            When SpringWatch ended, we didn’t want it to end, but we found out about AutumnWatch and WinterWatch. So we continued our celebration of British wildlife and nature.

GARDENING

            Chris Packham on SpringWatch2020 and the other Watch shows commented often about the uptick in gardening in the UK, but it was worldwide.

            “Within six months, the home garden industry saw a quantum leap in sales and new customers, with revenues magically levitating 60%, a seismic event in a tranquil nonindustrial industry.”

https://www.mcall.com/opinion/mc-opi-gardening-popular-2020-covid-20201215-xdo63kfl2jdpljbnjinstfnvda-story.html

         I’ve told you before about Lin’s gorgeous garden. Well, he has expanded his garden, a change against my wishes. He promised when he first started gardening that he would limit the size of it, but every year I watched him edge out more and more. This spring he made a decisive step and has enlarged it to more than double. How can anyone be upset with having more flowers to look at? And he loves it so.

WALKING

         I started walking January 1, 2021 because of my lethargy in 2020. Usually I’m physically fit because of all my dance activities and exercised, but I became a couch potato last year. One night after showering, I looked at my legs one day and saw bumps. Gasping, I thought, “Cellulite!” For most of my life, I have kept active, but the cellulite bumps sprung up overnight.

         What to do? My answer—I had to do something, so walking was my answer. I started slowly and increased my time. I have the pleasure of walking a country road, free of noise, pollution and people. Today my butt cheeks hurt after my daily walk. I’m up to 45 minutes a day and going over 9000 steps daily. I know the optimal number is 10,000 steps a day, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Zoomin’

THE WAY OF WRITING WITH NATALIE GOLDBERG

         March 6, 2021, I started an eight-week writing workshop online with one of my writing mentors, Natalie Goldberg. This was a dream come true! I first read, Writing Down the Bones, her first book in the late 80s then collected and read several more of hers.

         We met twice weekly—for three hours on Saturdays with Natalie and one hour on Wednesdays with her assistant. What a rewarding experience I’ve had.

         Natalie lived in New Mexico for many years, and I attended day workshops of hers, but I couldn’t afford her longer ones. This online class was very affordable and doable. Another change to my life from the pandemic and staying home.

MEETINGS

A big change came for all of my regular face-to-face meetings: recovery meetings and the board that runs the Albuquerque Square Dance Center. Zoom saved the day. I easily made the change to Zoom meetings and added some special ones like monthly chats with a roommate and friend from Colorado. The three of us hadn’t been together in thirty years. I’ve also had family reunion meetings and more. The sky is the limit with Zoom.

JESSE, MY CAT

Jesse, my cat, enjoying the change
Jesse, my cat, ready for a night of TV!

         When we danced and traveled so much, we had few rituals that Jesse knew. Now nightly, Jesse crawls up on the arm of our loveseat on my side, positioning himself for watching TV with us. Each morning he snuggles as close as possible to me during my Quiet Time. Daily at breakfast, he supervises our Cribbage game. Jesse has convinced Lin he knows who will win the game by where he lays—near my side or Lin’s.

         The world has changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Too horrible to mention in many ways, but I wanted to highlight some of the positive changes.

         How about you? Have you had any positive changes this last year? If so, what were they? (Keep scrolling down to make comments!)


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller cover

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~One-Year Anniversary of the Release of Flippo’s Biography! Join me to celebrate on May 10, 2021 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM Email me at larada@icloud.com if you are interested!

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · My Thoughts · square dance

Will Square Dancing Survive the Pandemic?

Lin and Larada square dancing
Lin and Larada Square Dancing!

To date, the coronavirus has taken 555,296 lives in the United States. Losses continue to mount; loved ones have died. In the wake of this horrible pandemic, will we lose square dancing too?

In my heart and in conversations over the phone with friends, I’ve lamented the future of square dancing. I’m a firm believer that square dancing with survive, but in what form is the question. Before the pandemic, we saw pockets of successful growth across the square dance world, but our numbers have fallen off in most places.

Many years ago, CALLERLAB, the international association of square dance callers, created levels of dancing: Basic, Mainstream, Plus, Advanced and C. Each level adds new calls to the level before, enlarging the calls at that level. The push for years has been to move up to the next level, then the next, then the next, leaving Basic and Mainstream to be introductory stop overs for Plus, Advanced and C.

I’ve seen big beginning classes come and go and the retention of the dancers at any level has statistically been sad.

Now change can happen, a strange opportunity because of this year’s interruption.

In preparing for this post, I canvased several square dance callers/leaders on the subject, purposing this question to them, “Will square dancing become another casualty of the pandemic?” and this is what they had to say:

Jerry Junck: Nebraska & Arizona:

Jerry Junck, square dance caller
Jerry Junck

I do not believe square dancing will be a casualty of the pandemic. It will be different, to be sure, but square dancing is too good an activity to come to an end because of Covid 19. There is no doubt it will be smaller, as we resume dancing again. To be sure, there will be clubs and callers who will leave the activity for other forms of entertainment.  

However, there are many dancers anxiously awaiting the opportunity to resume dancing, and renewing old friendships. The need for social interaction is strong, and something we have all missed. The pandemic may actually have given us an opportunity to reflect on what we have been missing during this hiatus. My hope is that we will resume dancing with a kinder and more gentle spirit. That we will be more appreciative of what we had and make a sincere effort to make everyone feel welcome.  

*****

People of all ages will hunger for any form of social interaction—square dancing fits the bill!

Jon Jones & Deborah Carroll-Jones – Texas:

Jon Jones & Deborah Carroll-Jones, square dance caller
Jon Jones & Deborah Carroll-Jones

I believe the square dance activity will come back real strong in the Fall of 2021. People have been staying at home for more than a year and will be looking for an activity they can get into that will be fun. Square dancing does just that and it is the very best mind changer for the dancers as they cannot think of anything else while dancing.

Deborah and I both believe the Social Square Dance Program (SSD) is the way to go. It is and easy program to learn and provides good variety in the choreography and it does not take very long for the new dancers to join a club. We believe this is a golden opportunity for the activity to grow. If the Associations, Clubs and dancers will advertise with demos and publications, we will see good participation.

*****

After 2020, we all need a fun activity.

To learn more about the Social Square Dance Program (SSD), go to the CALLERLAB website:

Also, visit the Social Square Dancing Facebook page for active back-and-forth conversations about the SSD program and its effect on square dancing’s future:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/319491818505954

Daryl Clendenin – Oregon:

Daryl Clendenin, square dance caller
Daryl Clendenin

“Will Square Dancing Become Another Casualty of the Pandemic?”

I certainly hope not. Will SSD become the activities “cure?” I have serious doubts. Actually, the patient was terminal long before contracting the pandemic. It was on a steady decline that in my recollection, began with the introduction of the Plus Program. That, in essence, not only divided the dancers, but the callers as well. 

The SSD Concept is not just a program, it’s a solution. Many folks think that following the SSD guidelines to the letter, is essential. I don’t agree. The concept, as I see it, identifies the problems, and leaves open a variety of ways to apply them.

The SSD concept is not new. The pandemic may have made it, to some folks, more acceptable. That acceptance in itself, is a positive. Square dancing is not a “goner” yet. It can be revived.

*****

I totally agree with Daryl that we can revive square dancing!

Noah Siegman – Wisconsin:

Noah Siegman, square dance caller
Noah Siegman

Square dancing (as we knew it pre-2020) will definitely be a casualty of the pandemic. In order to rebuild and get it started again, there will need to be a shift to a simpler, more easily attained style of dancing that doesn’t require 20 or more weeks of lessons. Coming out of the pandemic, many people are looking for something to do to be social again, and I believe square dancing is something that fits the bill perfectly to satisfy their craving for community!

*****

The social aspect to square dancing needs to be emphasized! Yes, we take lessons, learn to dance, and I’ve made lifelong friends all over the world through square dancing!

In Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, “Flippo’s statement, ‘We took ten lessons, and we were square dancers’ demonstrated the evolution in square dancing.” We need to return to that mentality.

Tom Manning – Iowa:

Tom Manning, square dance caller
Tom Manning

I don’t believe square dancing will be a casualty of the pandemic. Square dancing has been on the decline for many years, and I believe this is our chance to renew it. I have said publicly that square dancing would have to die to survive. Many of us in this activity, including myself, have been involved forever, 50 years last month, wanted something bigger and better from the activity. Wanting more of a challenge, more nights a week, more conventions and plus weekends. Now is our chance to get back to the basics of square dancing, fun and friendship. I can see by using the Social Square Dance program, we can bring new people into the activity, show them a good time, and have our drop-out rate diminish. Show the dancers a good time using the SSD program and not rush them to other levels.

I have been using this program for the last 3 years. Our group went from maybe having one square every Tuesday night to having four to six. Along with the program, it does take some promotion, arm twisting and begging to get people in the door. I have kept in contact with all these new dancers over the last year, and it sounds like they are all ready to return to dancing when this thing is over. I think square dancing will survive, but now is the time to make some changes.

*****

Sometimes change has to come to make something better. I love statistics and Tom’s movement from one square to four to six using the SSD program is exciting. If your club experienced the same ratio of growth from the SSD program as Tom’s, and prior to the pandemic you had four squares, you could have twelve to twenty-four squares! How about that for an increase! Even worst-case scenario, you could increase to double figures.

Mike Seastrom – California:

Mike Seastrom, square dance caller
Mike Seastrom

I’m excited about the future of square dancing after the pandemic. We have all been deprived of social connections during this pandemic, and square dancing is one of the best activities to socially connect.

It’s long been known that the key to happiness and to keeping from being depressed is the quality and quantity of our social connections. Square dancing is a perfect activity for being connected to people, fun, and exercise.

With our new Social Square Dancing Curriculum and the ability to start our new dancer programs 2-3 times a year, we can open our doors and make it easier for people to join us and bring their friends. 

This is a perfect time for our forward-thinking leaders and callers to seize the moment, reboot, and grow our activity!

I’m excited!

*****

Mike’s enthusiasm is contagious. He stresses the social connection of square dancing and how we can increase the frequency of classes because of the SSD program which means more dancers!

*****

What a variety of responses I received from these caller/leaders from all over the United States. Social connections, fun and the SSD program weave their way through many of them.

I’ll leave you with a parting comment: Are we as dancers more interested in saving our level of dance or saving square dancing? Or can we do both? As a person committed to the activity for years, I pledge my support to the activity, not to the individual levels I enjoy. I want square dancing to continue and flourish for generations to come.

What’s your thoughts on this? Do you have a favorite hobby/activity that the pandemic has threatened? What is it? What’s your prediction for its future?


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller cover

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ MARCH MADNESS SALE: 20% Discount my Etsy Shop for select paperbacks & digital copies: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts

Waiting for the Vaccine?

Photo by destiawan nur agustra from Pexels

Are you waiting for the coronavirus vaccine? I am but not very gracefully! I want it NOW! My nerves feel frayed. I vacillate between understanding the delay and wanting mine now, no matter what!

Because of a suggestion of an older friend, I registered at the New Mexico website and received my number several weeks ago. My husband drug his feet, thinking he’d wait for the Johnson & Johnson one shot treatment.

Then he had a phone call with his primary care physician on another issue, and the doctor quizzed him, “Have you gotten the vaccine yet?” He questioned him because Lin has been reluctant to take any of the vaccines until this doctor convinced him of the importance of the flu shot, specifically.

In response, Lin said, “No, I’m going to wait for the Johnson & Johnson shot.”

Our doctor responded sharply, “New Mexico has bought the two vaccines. There’s no guarantee they’ll buy the third one. Sign up!”

When he got off the phone, I signed him up. He’s eighty years old and within a few weeks he received a text to set up a time. He did and has taken the first shot at the Pit, the basketball court for the University of New Mexico.

When he went to get vaccinated, I rode with him, just in case he had any reaction. He didn’t and was really impressed with the efficiency of the operation there. They set up his second shot for mid-March, so he sees a light at the end of the tunnel!

As always, I turned to poetry to express my exasperated feelings:

Waiting for the vaccine
Photo by Serkan Göktay from Pexels

I Hate Waiting!

February 28, 2021

 Here I sit
             Waiting
                         Waiting
                                     Waiting
                                                 For the coronavirus vaccination!
 I’m 67 years old
             Old enough you’d think
                         But
                                     In a nebulous zone
 Caught between
             Not old enough
                         For the first priority group
             Not young enough
                         Not to worry
 
Shortly, we face a year’s anniversary 
             Since this pandemic started.
Quickly the talk of the vaccine began
             Questions arose
                         Too soon?
                                     Too quick?
                                                 Too everything?
 Tests held
             Thousands of willing guinea pigs
 More questions
             More waiting
 Then the day came!
 
 The vaccine roll-out started
             In the UK
                         December 14, 2020
             In the USA
                         January 14, 2021
 Yahoo!
             Yet I had some misgivings
                         At first
             Total acceptance
                         Now
 And I keep waiting!

 I’ve been obedient
             Watched my P's and Q's!
                         Social distance
                         Shelter-in-place
                         Mask
                         Wash hands religiously
                         Quarantine
                                     After trips to Colorado
                                                 To safeguard Lin 
At first,
             Obedient
             Patient
             Recluse
                         Against my gregarious nature
             Fearful
             Cautious
 Now,
             Impatient
             Questioning
             Tired and exhausted
 
 I see the vaccine
             As the pathway
                         To normalcy
             As the pathway
                         To perhaps
 
Instead I sit here
             Waiting,
                         Is it tomorrow
                                     I get the long-awaited text?
                         Is it this week?
                                     Or the next?
 Waiting to go back
             To go forward
                         To do something proactive
                                     To undo what’s been
                                                 Ongoing a year!
 I realize
             The vaccine is not a panacea!
 We still have to be cautious,
             But when we both are vaccinated
                         We can think
                                     Of possibilities
                         We can dream
                         We can stretch
                                     Our shrunken imaginations
                                                 To venture forth.
 Will the new world
             Demand I show
                         My vaccine card
                                     At dances?                 
                         For sure on airplanes
                         For sure to travel
                                     To foreign countries
 
 Is this new sought-after card
             My entry
                         Back into life?
 
 I’m waiting
             Waiting
                         Waiting
 
 A possible silver lining
             For my wait!
                         Maybe
                                     Johnson & Johnson
                                                 Will be available
                                                 When my time comes—
 That means one shot
             Instead of two!
 
 So, the waiting
             Once again,
                         As is so often,
                                     Maybe the reward!
 I’ll wait and see! 

Right now, in New Mexico, I have to wait for Phase 1A and 1B, because I’m in Phase 1C—60 years old and older. When I look at the list of people in the two phases above me, I shudder, because there’s many crucial people who should receive it before me. See the document: https://cv.nmhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2021.1.28-DOH-Phase-Guidance.pdf

So I will wait!

In closing, my turn will come. My life will change when it happens. Will yours? Are you getting the vaccine? Have you got it? Are you impatiently waiting like me right now? I’d love to hear from you.


Did you miss one of my blogs in February? Here’s a chance to see them:

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~My Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for all my books:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

 

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · Goals · Marshall Flippo · My Books · My Thoughts

What Does 2021 Hold For Us?

2021
Photo by Vladislav Murashko from Pexels

2021 is here! Yahoo! Happy New Year! Whew! I thought it would never come! Closing 2020 with a quiet bang, I look to opening up 2021 with enthusiastic gusto!

But like so many others, I reminisced about meaningful past New Year’s Eves, and one repeatedly came to mind. In 2017 many square dance callers and dancers met in Green Valley, Arizona to witness Marshall Flippo call at his last square dance on New Year’s Eve 2017.

Flippo’s Last Dance 2017

Many national callers came out to see their mentor and friend end a 60 year+ career. Numerous dancers traveled from far and wide to hear Flippo call one last time. I felt the magic in the air that night—sadness mixed with deep love and appreciation. I will never forget that evening nor my dear friends in attendance.

This year, we celebrated a quiet one. We watched “Bells of St. Mary” with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman and cried at the ending even though we had seen it before. After the movie, we prepped an elk roast and vegetables to cook in the crockpot overnight for our New Year’s Day dinner. Then we ended the year watching the celebration on the plaza in Santa Fe, NM—what a New Mexican party it was. I loved that they sang, “Las Mañanitas!” to bring in the new year!

So, let’s talk about this new year. 2021 is an empty book, a new chapter, today a blank page in my life! What will I do in 2021 with still so much uncertainty? Yes, we have the vaccine, but not many people have been inoculated yet. So, we need to be cautious and use those familiar safety suggestions:

  • Masks
  • Social distancing
  • Wash, wash, wash our hands

That just reminded me of a hilarious experience Lin and I had on cruises we have taken. Greeting us at the door of any restaurant onboard, two ship employees sprayed our hands with sanitizer and sang, “Washy, washy.” What made this so hilarious was the enthusiasm they did their task with—smiles and pure joy! I wish most Americans handled all the safety suggestions with such joy and enthusiasm!

So, as I ponder 2021, I think about a day in this year as being a blank page—the nemesis of many writers. I love the sight of a clean page, a new year, a new beginning. I choose what’s written there. I choose my attitude with which I face each day. I choose to be positive and proactive.

So, I spent part of yesterday and today reading book marketing ideas to prepare for this new year as an author. I jotted down several new ideas to incorporate into my plan for 2021. I also thought about how I want my life to be different, especially incorporating what I learned in my solitude in 2020.

2021 Goals
A Word Cloud of My 2021 Goals

So, here’s my list (more than book marketing stuff):

  • Publish a new book, Bitter or Better: My Year’s Coronavirus Journey
  • Do my daily Quiet time
  • Dance
  • Attend recovery meetings
  • Dance
  • Promote my books, especially the Flippo book at dance events
  • Dance
  • Exercise
  • Dance
  • Spend time outside in nature
  • Dance
  • Connect face-to-face or virtually with family and friends
  • Dance
  • Recreational Reading
  • Dance
  • Visit our family ranch in Colorado
  • Dance

As you can see, dancing tops my list of activities I want to add back this year.

As I face 2021, a year with possibilities, adventures and people, I wonder. I know I thought 2020 had all those possibilities. Will this year be different or more of the same? I’m sure the first part will feel very similar to 2020, but hopefully mid-year 2021 will take a turn towards normalcy.

What do you think?

I do want to end with some 2020 humor. This was shared our Next Door app before the end of the year, and I thought it was hilarious:

2020 – A YEAR IN REVIEW!!! I hope everyone can get a chuckle from this!

  1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.
  2. I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone He asked me what I was wearing.
  3. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people.
  4. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors! 5. This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog. It was obvious she thought her dog understood her. I came into my house & told my cat. We laughed a lot.
  5. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well.
  6. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?
  7. This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home!
  8. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are! 10. I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.
  9. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room.
  10. Appropriate analogy. “The curve is flattening so we can start lifting restrictions now” is like saying: “The parachute has slowed our rate of descent, so we can take it off now.”
  11. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask & asking for money.
  12. The spread of COVID-19 is based on 2 things:
    1. How dense the population is;
    1. How dense the population is.

~Visit my Christmas blog posts:

Just Another Square Dance Caller cover

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY FOR A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR A LOVED ONE OR YOURSELF?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~ END OF THE YEAR SALE: Visit my Etsy Shop for 25% off individual paperback titles & bundles. Good until JANUARY 15, 2021. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft