Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 and Social Distancing

We all have our stories by now, surely.  I've decided it's time to share some of ours, as follows:

This past Saturday morning the phone rang and Jeannette said, "Come to the balcony."
There they were, Jeannette and Femke, our two best friends who live a 5-min. walk from us.
They, like us, are married and don't need to distance themselves from each other...only from us.
For 15 minutes we caught up on each other and, as you can see, SMILED.
I'm still smiling about it!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Yesterday our senior community here celebrated the life of Lena, age 79, who lived beneath us.
After a totally unexpected heart attack, followed by a cerebral hemorrhage last week,
she died in less than 2 days.
Because none of us could attend a funeral service, if there even was one in today's lockdown,
we made a collective decision to hold a memorial service in our courtyard yesterday.
We all were totally aware of needing to distance ourselves from each other,
especially since there were 18 of us.

We were told to bring a flower with us,
which we placed in the vase outside her apartment following the service.

Afterwards, we headed to our commons room for koffie and cookies,
a common practice at funeral/memorial services here in the Netherlands.
Again, we kept our distance but grieved and communed together.
No one cared we had to use paper, disposable cups. 
It was what we all needed.

I was pleased that my collage was printed for the community,
for all those who didn't attend.
I had played Rummikub for my first 7 years here with Lena.
We all knew her and are still in shock about her passing, even though not caused by COVID-19.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

How many things have you had to cancel or postpone, I wonder?
Doctors appointments, teeth cleaning at the dentist, etc., etc.
Our biggest postponement is our 2-week trip to Croatia starting at the end of April,
now rescheduled for a year from now.
We also have a trip to England in July, which may also need postponement.

And so it is that we are now living in a new normal.
As daughter Amy says, things will never again be the same.
Will even climate change be affected positively...less smog in China, cleaner water in Venice....

A tear and a smile.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Astrid's "Grand Finale" Gorinchem Citadel Run

For the past 10 years, living inside the citadel center of our city, Gorinchem, Astrid has run the 5 km citadel wall hundreds of times.  It's been one of her exhilarating joys in life (think endorphins).

Yes, that's it, and lucky for us, that's where we live!

Since buying her new race bike a year ago, however, her thrill of exercise has moved more to long-distance rides out into the boonies around where we live, to the point of making a decision to no longer run the citadel wall.

It was still in the back of her mind to stop when she found out there would be an organized event for a 5 km run of 5 citadel walls here in the Netherlands, of which Gorinchem was one, and all with medals.  It became a no-brainer for her to make that her "grand finale" Gorinchem citadel run.

It happened this past Sunday, and because it was her last 5 km run, I made sure I was there to document it..."for the record," as I always say.

The Gorinchem race started and ended at our water port, where the water taxis are,
and where our city's war memorial stands (woman with child).
The water bottles provided include the names of the 5 cities cooperating in the 2020 citadel race.
Each race has it's own medal but if you do all 5 throughout the year, you also receive a GRAND medal.
All Astrid cared  about was the Gorinchem medal.

As you can see, it was a misty, rainy, overcast day,
but it was easy to find Astrid in the crowd because of her orange jacket!

These 4 images were captured by online/Facebook photographers for the event.
And online she found her official time:  38 min. 19 sec.
Not bad for a 65-year-old, right?!

This is the medal Astrid wanted.
The shape is of Gorinchem's citadel wall, including its major landmark, the Grote Kerk (big church).

Do you notice how she's smiling in every capture of her?
That's how she always looks when she returns home after a run or bike ride, seriously.

So, the long citadel runs are done.  However, she'll continue with short runs to the water port
where she does an exercise regimen on the beach with their jungle-gym equipment.
In other words, it won't all be just long-distance bike rides, she says.  She wants to stay fit.

["I declare, Woman!  You are something else!!!" says the wife sitting at home.  :)]