Covid and Me: My Journey With the Virus

Okay, I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this or not, but I felt I needed to as it may help someone else navigate through this Covid 19 environment and come out on the other side still alive. I have lost many friends in the past year and a half and frankly I’m tired of the loss.

On Friday July 30 I tested positive for Covid.  Back in April I decided to go ahead and get the vaccine.  I don’t need any debates on it, it was a choice I made for myself and my choice does not affect or hurt you in any way. 

Now onto my story.  I started feeling like I was coming down with a sinus infection on Wednesday July 28 of that week.  I did go to work because symptoms didn’t start until mid-morning and I didn’t think much about it, I deal with sinus issues now and then.  I stayed home on Thursday because I was feeling a lot worse and was fatigued and slept a lot; Thursday night I developed a fever over 102 so I knew something was up.  Friday I went to the clinic and was tested for the Flu and for Covid.  I was positive for Covid.  I had an exam and my lungs were clear, so that was great news for me. I’m pretty sure I know where I picked it up because, from time of exposure to symptoms was four days. 

As soon as I got home from the doctor, I placed an Instacart order and got some soup, Gatorade and other easy to prepare foods to last me a couple of weeks.  I also had my shopper pick up Vitamin D, and Zinc and since they didn’t have any Vitamin C I had him get orange juice.  I stayed inside (taking my trash out was a treat) and slept, tried to stay as active as I could when I was feeling up to it.  My symptoms were, sinus drainage, dry coughing, slight headache, fatigue and I lost my sense of smell.  My sense of taste was intact and fine, but I could not smell anything.  As of today I do have it back, which is great!

Here is my take on all this.  Covid is real, it’s not a conspiracy it’s a pandemic which the world has experienced over and over as long as man has been on earth.  It’s a virus so I’m smart enough to know that there is no true vaccine to get rid of it, but I’m here to tell you that it did help me; yes, I know some have died even after getting the vaccine, but underlying conditions were probably the reason.  I’m not a doctor and neither are many of you.  I don’t play into news media as I don’t watch any source of news, I read it instead.  I have heard the arguments, that they are going to micro chip us with the vaccine (that one still boggles my mind), they are committing genocide with it, it’s not FDA approved (more on that in a bit) and the list goes on and on.  I know people who are legitimately unable to get the shots, because their doctor said they shouldn’t, so I’m not worried about them, they are smart enough to do the right thing with their own health. 

I myself didn’t want the vaccine in the beginning because I don’t get a Flu shot because I always get really, really sick after taking it.  I got the Mumps prior to a Mumps vaccine and then got them a second time after I received the Mumps shot.  I got a Measles shot and still got the Measles, and even the Polio vaccine is 99.9999% effective (kind of like a birth control pill).  Illnesses change and mutate with time; science tells us this.  So I made the personal decision to get the Covid shot.  Now about that FDA approval thing.  Do you watch TV? Do you listen to the information about the medications on commercials? Are these medications FDA approved?  Yes, they are!  Do you pay attention to the LONG laundry list of side effects which many times include death?  Okay, how many of you take prescription medications for some ailment you may have?  Have you read the list of side effects from those drugs?  I have two major drug allergies so I know all about this. Some people have had side effects from the Covid shots, and some have possibly even died, but I wonder how many people have committed suicide from taking anti-depressants that have the side effect of “thoughts of suicide”?  I wonder how many have died from the side affects from high blood pressure medications, there is always that risk.  I read the ingredients that are in the injections to make sure there was nothing in them that I might be allergic to, there wasn’t so I felt confident in the decision.

Just today, I had someone give me a perfect scenario for why the vaccine is a good idea.  What if they came out with a pill or shot that wouldn’t stop you from getting cancer, but you wouldn’t die from it.  You could still get one of the many cancers that are out there, but you would live, would you take that medication? What if it had side effects that could possible be harmful to a handful of people?  Something to think about. 

As I said I’m not here to debate on your choices, it’s totally up to you on getting the shot, but think about your immune compromised friend that maybe can’t be vaccinated, or your elderly parent.  Please wear a mask for them if you don’t want to be vaccinated, (again not here to debate your choice) Be kind to people, and please pray for our overworked nursing staff and frontline doctors who are dealing with Covid daily and are just ready for it to all be over. 

As a side note, I’m not going to hell for getting the vaccine, in fact God gave me a brain and I talked with him long and hard before I received my shots because it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I have peace in my decision and I do not need your judgement (if there is judgement God will deal with me when I meet him). My decision does not affect you in any way except that I will continue to mask up in public to help keep you safe (no debates on this either). I know you may not agree with me, but all I ask is that you respect my personal choices on living my life. I am here to live another day because I was vaccinated.

The New Addition

In my last post I talked about the loss of my male cat of 12 years Harpo and introduced you to my new female Shai. I have been debating on adding to my kitty family. I always regretted not getting a playmate for Harpo when he was little. I felt he was more timid because he was just bonded to me and was not great with other people. So with this being said, please help me welcome Sherman to our home.

As of right now he is about 13-14 weeks and is a diluted orange tabby. A friend of mine in Ocala has been trying to capture her feral parent cats for a few years. This is her third round of ferals and she wanted to bring me this cute little male. When I got him he was so scared and just wanted to hide. On the third day he started to purr in my arms, and was eating with me holding him. I immediately took him to the vet because I had him quarantined from Shai. After 2 weeks due to an infection he had Sherman and Shai met. Shai is an older cat and it’s taking her some time to get used to him being around. They are becoming friends and she tolerates him and has actually played with him.

He and I have fully bonded and he follows me every where. For such a baby he has learned our routine and is on a feeding and bedtime schedule. I cannot get over the fact that he actually sleeps all night.

He is quite the character and I understand how he got the name Sherman, because he plows through everything. He is very smart and is learning the rules fairly quickly. It’s difficult to believe he was so scared his first few days. Things like the vacuum totally freaked him out, now he follows it around. His confidence is through the roof and I’m happy to see that.

My Harpo was a very large boy and this one I believe will also be a very large cat, which I’m thrilled. Shai is topping out at 10lbs and is on the smaller side.

I am so happy to have my two kitties here, both rescued from the scary outdoors and both are just gems.

Since we are opening up I should be doing more shooting so I hope to be posting a lot more often. Until the next time behind the lens.

Back At It!

I have neglected this blog way to long, but with Covid19 and just doing nothing but working and staying indoors, I have been so uninspired. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. I have a blogging friend who lives in Canada and he has posted pretty regular even during his country’s lockdown and is such an inspiration to me when it comes to getting out and shooting. You can check him out at https://robmosesphotography.com, Thank you Rob for the past few years of inspiration!

I had a few photos to edit from my Photography group Meetup; we went to Ave Maria and photographed this beautiful church. It’s a wonderful little self contained town in the middle of nowhere, built by the owner of Domino’s Pizza. After, we had a nice lunch at a small pub with lovely outdoor seating.

I needed to get outside today and wanted to write. It’s a beautiful day with a wonderful breeze and I am the only enjoying the outside of the Starbucks seating area. It feels good to just be outside working for a change.

Photography work is picking up and people are getting out a bit more, so I’m hoping for more “outdoor” time with taking more photos and just enjoying my life.

UPDATE: New cat Shai from my last blog post. She is officially mine and is just delightful, well behaved and a wonderful companion. Although I miss my boy she is filling that love void in the best possible way.

With Happiness, There Can Also Be Sadness

I found out last June that I was going to be a grandmother for the first time, thanks to my first born son and his wife. I had to keep it a secret (which was very hard to do) until they made the announcement. Well on January 21, 2021 We welcomed Jaxson James into the world and I immediately made plans to visit them in Arizona. Around this time my beautiful Tuxedo cat Harpo got deathly ill and I almost lost him. Thanks to my wonderful Vet he recovered and with all test results he was cleared and on the mend, or so I thought.

As I began to plan out my trip, purchase tickets, rent a car and figure out what to pack, my boy would have good days, great days and a bad day now and again. I had medication which I gave him regularly and made plans for my son to house sit and take care of him and my outdoor feral cat.

I left on a Friday and met my grandson for the very first time! He is beautiful and my heart is so full of joy over having him! I was so blessed to be able to spend time with him. I was going to enjoy him as much as I could for the ten days. He made me a Nali! While out there we went sight seeing, had a couple of beautiful meals out with family and friends and just an overall great time!

Jaxson James Owen

Unfortunately the Sunday evening after I left, my boy Harpo was gone. He was sick that morning and my son did everything he was shown to do, but Harpo stopped eating and his body slowly gave out, my son had to make the call to his mom from 2000 miles away. We both cried, me, more so for the fact that my son is the one who found him and had to take care of his final resting. I knew for me, I had a week to spend with my beautiful grandson, and his parents, so my attention was on them a hundred percent, but I knew upon returning home, the cold reality would hit me; My Harpo of almost 12 years was gone. The grief is strong, I miss him every day.

Rest In Peace my sweet boy, I miss you so much.

As I stated there was a feral I had been feeding outdoors, a very young (*less than a year old kitten). She and her siblings hang around because my neighbor feeds them. The Day Harpo got really sick was the day she decided she wanted to be “my” cat. I kept her outside because with Harpo already sick I didn’t want her to bring anything in to him, but the would chatter and “talk” through the windows. The day before his passing I saw on my kitchen cam that he jumped up on the counter (he did the rarely), but he was “talking” to his new friend. I would like to think he was having his final talk with her to let her know he would be leaving and to take care of me after he left. When I got home from the airport on that Monday, she came running to me! My heart was breaking for my loss, but I knew this was Harpo’s final gift to me. Let me introduce you to Shai (pronounced Shy) her name means “gift”. She chose me to love…and I feel Harpo told her to be kind and to not bother the birds and to sleep at night instead of play. Last night was her first night inside all night, she was excellent. Our adventure begins.

This is Shai (pronounced Shy) Her name means “gift”

*UPDATE: Shai had a chip and has been spayed. Vet’s office had to try and contact the former owner however, no one responded, and one more thing she is not a kitten, she is seven years old according to her chip information. As of yesterday she is now officially mine, she has become an inside cat and was given a clean bill of health and received all her shots and tests.

When the soul calls

Today I had made plans to go to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and take a look at the birds that may be out and about.  I woke up this morning after a sleepless night and almost decided NOT to go.  I was talking myself out of leaving the house with my camera in tow and just stay home.  That’s been the problem with this pandemic, I have become house bound except for work.  I then decided not to go to Ding Darling, but to go to Six Mile Cypress Slough, I needed green, I needed to walk in the outdoors.  My soul was not calling me to stay in my car and drive and get out occasionally to shoot waterbirds, it was calling me to walk, to smell, to enjoy the cool breeze and to become one with nature.  

“Falling in love with the Earth is one of life’s great adventures.” – Steve Van Matre 

As I was getting ready to leave my house, I still wanted to just simply stay home…after all who would really know if I went out or not? Well to answer that question, I would know!

I arrived and and began my small journey through the cypress boardwalk.  Not too many people, but enough to be a slight disturbance with their talking.  I knew I wanted to take some photos, but I also knew I wanted them to be deliberate in nature; I wanted to enjoy my experience, to breathe in and enjoy the calmness I was feeling.

“You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait, something happens.” – Henry David Thoreau 

Sitting down on a bench I realized how much I missed this.  I missed the beauty, I missed the putrid smell of decaying debris, I missed the colors and I have missed the silence. I walked and filled my lungs with clean fresh air.  There are days I crave the silence of the woods over the noise of humans, today is that day.  

“ My heart is tuned to the quietness that the stillness of nature inspires.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

That short hour and a half was enough to sustain me for a bit longer in this crazy world.  My happiness has returned.

“One’s happiness depends less on what he knows than on what he feels.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey

What A Year!

Happy New Year (We can hope anyway)! This blog is based on my work and photography, and since there’s been a standstill in Event, concerts and Weddings, I’ve not had much to write about. So far I’ve stayed out of the Corona virus’ way and have stayed healthy. I hope you reading this have done the same and are looking forward to a New Year with new adventures back outdoors and doing what inspires you.

I belong to a photography group on Meetup.com; we call ourselves the South West Florida Shutterbugs, and even though we were not able to meet in person, our lead organizer and I have kept it going all spring, summer & fall.

2020 started with me moving to a larger home, a girls weekend trip to North Carolina with my best friends, where we stayed in a beautiful cabin and played in the snow. This was in February and within two weeks, the virus reared it’s ugly head and had everyone in a panic and the begin of a shut down for businesses, people not going out and staying at home, which made me thankful I had moved to a place I could fully enjoy.

March found me working from home for a few weeks, and very thankful I had the space to create an office, where it was quiet and functional. April & May were much of the same, carrying masks, going to work and trying to stay safe. In June a few of my friends came down with the virus and one passed away. AJ was a wonderful human, and is missed terribly. June was my birthday month and I self isolated in a beautiful condo on Fort Myers beach for a long weekend.

Fall came and went, but I got to spend time with my sister who came to visit me, had a few visits from friends and did much of the same, stayed home, went to work and did limited shopping in stores (only when I had to). November my Meet up group SWFL Shutterbugs decided to do a live meet up after months of online and virtual meetings, we met at a local park where we could meet safely, following social distancing guidelines. It was wonderful to see the members and we are slowing introducing outdoor events once again.

Thanksgiving was spent alone, and Christmas my youngest son came over to have dinner and celebrate. I also got to face time with my sister and the rest of her family, I missed them so much.

I will add some photos showcasing my time during this past year. Let’s all pray for this virus to go away and that the world can return to some normalcy very soon. God Bless you all and have a Happy New Year!

Pandemic Madness 2020

When all this started, I thought okay, now the nation will come together and rally around each other and ignore party lines and simply get along. Has this happened, NO it has not, in fact the ugliness continues even worse than it was before. There are folks wishing people dead, having a field day with name calling, and if you don’t think like they do or act like they expect you to, you are ignorant, stupid, uneducated and worthless. Just wow! I promise I will never be this naive again to think people actually care more about each other than they do their political party.

I know this is not my normal lovely post about my photography, but this hate filled social media world has me to the point of not wanting anything to do with any of the negative nellies. Everyone seems to be making this pandemic all about politicians and what one side is doing and what the other side wants done. Here’s a great example. I have heard nothing but, there’s not enough COVID19 testing we need more, we need it to be free, we need the results sooner. etc., etc. So our area has added more testing sites with no cost and no doctor’s prescription needed and less than 24 hour turnaround on the results. Do you think people are happy…..OF COURSE NOT! It’s totally sickening and honestly I’m over it, I’m over those who turn everything I post into their political agenda, I’m tired of the name calling; which by the way for you doing this, you are no different than the opposite party you so badly hate, why? Because you are nothing more than a keyboard bully. I promise I will never be this naive again to think people actually care more about each other than they do their political party.

America is in a time of need as are so many other nations. People are hurting, they may lose their homes, their cars, their jobs (many have already) businesses may never bounce back and so many people will be on the street, families with children will go hungry. So why can’t we play nice? Because many would rather bash instead of help.

I will continue to social distance, I will continue to visit parks without wearing a mask because fresh air and sunshine are healthy choices for me; and when in stores I will wear one for you. I will continue to build up my immune system instead of softening it with excessive cleaning and indoor only activities. I will not take a vaccine because my body won’t need it just like it doesn’t need a flu vaccine every year. It is my body, my choice, right?

Sorry, I needed to vent, and I promise I will be back to the regularly scheduled posts next time.

Stay safe and healthy and you do what you need to do for you and your family, and I will do what I need to do for mine.

Working From Home

I have now been working from home with my regular job for 2 weeks, and going into the office one day per week. How is this working? Pretty well actually, I’m getting things accomplished, and staying on track with email, invoices and other busy work. I miss the office interaction and of course I miss my Sandee my office cat, but I do have Harpo checking in on my now and then.

I’m used to working from home because of all the photos I’ve edited and spent hours working on. However, this is different. I’m on a set 8 hour schedule Monday thru Friday just as if I were going to my employment, but home alone. I wanted to share with you a few tips that are working for me.

  1. I wake up early each day to give myself time to shower, make my bed and get dressed. I dress casual, but nice and put on a touch of make up, just to make myself feel better.
  2. A nice protein rich breakfast keeps me going. Then I wash my breakfast dishes and put them away, so I am not tempted to do them when I should be working.
  3. I created a designated office space where I am not in front of a Television or any other distractions.
  4. My water bottle is filled so I can stay hydrated throughout the day; for me this is very important, it keeps me from getting tired.
  5. Difussing essential oils helps with focus.
  6. By 7:15am I log into my work station and let my boss know I am ready to have the phones transferred.
  7. Going over my daily Passion Planner helps to set up my day and I add anything new that’s come up (My Passion Panner is set up the night before).
  8. My workday begins at 7:30am with checking email to see if anything needs my immediate attention, if so it gets added to the planner.
  9. By keeping my scheduled lunch break at noon, I’m able to keep on my daily schedule. I chose a heathy option for lunch and refill the water bottle
  10. Since I’m home I keep a Yoga mat behind me so I can periodically stretch, I find this keeps my brain more focused and gives me a “move” break.
  11. Keeping track of my daily tasks by making a bullet list of the items I accomplished helps me see what I have done and what needs to be carried over to the next day (I’m not 100%, but working on it).
  12. Finally as my day ends at 4 pm. I make sure I go over my planner and move items which did not get accomplished to the following work day.

So there you have it. Are you working from home? Do you have any tips to help get you through your day? If so what are they, please feel free to share them with all of us.

Until next time, stay home, stay healthy and WASH YOUR HANDS!

The New Normal

As of this past Thursday, Our state is in a mandated shutdown. Because of my job, I’m considered essential so I am still working. However, after work and on the weekends I am sheltered at home.

During my “normal” life I am a full time employee and my spare time I’m an event photographer at a local event arena. With COVID-19 all of that has dried up. I really don’t mind the sheltering in place, but I really miss working with my camera. I decided to just set up somet things and play around with my 50mm and my 100mm Macro. I will be doing more of that on the weekends along with more writing and some artistic painting.

What are you doing during this shelter at home? Let’s keep social by having conversations on how you all are coping. Just know this too shall pass. Until next time…….

Life Interrupted

Well, life has changed once again. As I write this we are experiencing a Pandemic in not just the United States, but throughout the world.

Personally I am still working my day job; who knows how long, however we have made drastic changes and have limited who walks through our door. I don’t have as much human contact as I once did. I go home and again no contact. I may be an introvert, but I miss being with friends, but most of all I miss shooting the concerts and events which have all been postponed or canceled. This is my busy time of year too so now I’m doing basically nothing. I am adjusting, but also have been on an outing or two, with social distancing. I did that his Sunday with a friend. Kati and I met at our destination, stayed a reasonable distance apart, yet was still able to talk to each other, be outside in the sunshine and fresh air and photograph some of the cutest Owls on the planet; burrowing Owls with their young. I have starting doing Yoga at home which helps with the stress, and I bought supplies to paint again. Listening to music also helps.

I don’t buy into fear mongering, I’m doing what I can to keep my hands washed and my place clean. I know I’m not the only one feeling this impact upon our lives, so share with me what you are doing to get through this trying time in our lives. Are you self quarantining? Are you still working your regular job or are you working from home? Are you in the service industry? Let’s hold a conversation and get each other through this trying time in our lives. Just know this too shall pass. We are all in this together, God bless each and every one of you.