Sunday, July 12, 2020

A Life With Covid

With trips cancelled and covid the norm now here in Arizona, we've been in isolation.  I hate TV so much.  It's SO boring.  I'd be outside gardening but it's HOT.  Today, our temps will reach 114 degrees!  Last night we had our first rain storm which was rather exciting.  So, what's a birder to do? After years of not tackling our ceilings and walls, I am now forced to do so!  There is a silver lining to it all even though I'd rather be birding in Panama. 

My exploration days have come to a halt for now.  A lot of the money that I would have used for travel is now being invested into projects that I needed to get done. I have had a lot of projects sitting inside my brain waiting to get done from over the years!  When we first moved into our place I had electrical work done in 3 rooms.  And we removed popcorn from the ceilings!  Well, ONLY now, some 13 years later, I am forced to deal with those ugly cuts in the drywall!  

It began with this room.  I couldn't travel to Panama so I worked on the place that inspires me, my office. This is the place that transports me to all of my favorite Spanish speaking countries.  And a tin ceiling went up and covered the ugly patchwork.  Then it was onto Covid Project 2, the Eared Quetzal and laundry room. 

Our laundry area, in the hallway, had a nice spot for some of my photography BUT there was an ugly ancient intercom that blocked part of the wall and didn't allow for a nice framed picture.  I took the non-functioning intercom off the wall which revealed a huge hole, patched and stuccoed it all.  Once that was done, I pulled out my paints and found the right green tint and touched up the white areas.  Meanwhile, as I finished ceilings and walls, I worked at night organizing pics from my work that I wanted to hang on the walls for Covid Project 3. 

Gotta include butterflies!  This is the Western Tiger Swallowtail from the Tijuana Slough
 It is absolutely time consuming, but the end results are amazing.  It's trying to pick a balanced group of themed pics for each room that is the challenge.  It can't be all birds.  I will say that the Eared Quetzal was an exception.  It will probably mark the ONLY highlight of the 2020 birding season.  I have added 3 lifers this year so far and I'm okay with this reality.  

Now I'm working on Covid Project 3, the other bedroom.  As you can see in the above pic, there are cuts in the ceiling that I want covered.  

So I have been working on this project now.  This material is trickier as it is vinyl planking.  This room will be the coastal room.  It will have lighter elements mixed in with the darker insides of a lighthouse.  I love lighthouses and this theme works well in super bright Arizona.  In some cases, the darker rooms are very important and necessary to let your eyes recover from the blinding light outside.  Some of the photography that will be used here are not Arizona birds!  Instead, I'll be using work from Maine, California, Wisconsin and Wales. 

Northern Gannet-the white against the blue
It's really difficult to choose wall art.  Or at least, it's difficult to pick a favorite because of the lack of wall space. While I was in Wales, I fell in love with my friend Bonnie's place.  Her home is so cozy and happy.  Every inch of her walls are covered with wonderful birds.  If you can't travel, you can bring those experiences into your home. 

A pair of Atlantic Puffins
 These works will be arriving soon and I can't wait to put them up on the walls.  This room attaches to the catio that opens up into our beautiful garden.  I still have much work to do in the other rooms.  The dining room will have grouse.  

Crested Caracara-still trying to figure out where to put this one
 The living room will have a Madera Canyon theme utilizing hummingbirds and a very special owl, the Mountain Pygmy-Owl(still titled Northern Pygmy-Owl, but it's not the same species-calls and looks are different).  It is my absolute favorite owl of Arizona.  

Ruffed Grouse is one of the grouse that will be featured in the dining room
 It's hard to pick and choose a favorite, but there are some birds that make me smile more than others.  Grouse and sparrows are my favorites.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to put together a sparrow collage!  

Mountain Pygmy-Owl
This is what happens at night, these endless nights.  I put together canvas works and remember these amazing experiences. I measure spaces on the wall and am excited about how the wall will come alive with MY work, not someone else's stuff. In a way, it's a good pause in life to reflect.  In many other ways, I find myself going stir crazy!  At least I'm being constructive and not giving up.  

The coastal room will include these amazing birds PLUS lighthouses, sea lions and other coastal delights.  

 Then I think about why I'm putting these themes together.  Why the hispanic room(rain forest)?  Why the coastal and montane themes?  Because I think these areas, including the grasslands, are some of my favorite places to bird. 

Marsh Wren
 These projects haven't been too expensive.  Each room is around 500 dollars, including the photography, paint and ceiling materials.  I get into my OCD mode and am a perfectionist.  I can't stand looking at unfinished work so I push myself to get it done.  Then I take a break from the projects until I'm ready for the next one.   

American White Pelican
 If you've never been inside of a lighthouse, you'd be surprised by how dark the inside can be.  The top is beautiful with bright and open airy windows. I'd love to have my office up in that room.  But the bottom floor is also very cozy and dark.  It reminds me of a cave, except you can hear the waves crashing against the shore outside the building. 

Now onto the official news. During the last week of June, we contracted covid.  It was hell.  The coughing and breathing were real issues.  Non-believers called it the flu, but I lost my taste and smell so I knew it wasn't the flu.  For one week, we both slept away our lives and lost lots of weight.  Here in Arizona, we are the hotspot of the world.  I don't know how we got it, but it was nasty.  We are mostly recovered now as the infection rates continue to rise in the state.  Our governor is an idiot, but not as stupid as the one in Florida. Even the Texan governor looks a tad more intelligent than Ducey and that's not saying much.  We badly need a change in our government here in the US.  We are finally beginning to see people switch sides against this current administration.  They are all about the money and could care less about human life.  Welcome to the Republican Party.  November can't arrive fast enough.  In short, we don't trust anything our state or government officials are saying and have to go to real sources, like the CDC.  Meanwhile, the death rate continues to climb as do the infections. And people are still ignoring the recommendations.  It's such a strange time. We just lost someone to covid in our family this morning from Micheal's side.  I continue to isolate.  I am so grateful for the love and support from our family and friends.  I work inside the house and dream of birding. But I am back to feeding my birds and watching them from our windows.  Today we had a Brown-crested Flycatcher visit our fountain. Stay safe everyone wherever you are.  And let's hope for a cure by the end of the year!  Until next time, I'll continue working on birdy home projects:)


  1. First of all, I'm glad you are both doing better. Scary virus. So many different ways it affects people. Take care!!

    Your photos are amazing and using this time to make your space so special will pay off for a long time. Enjoy!!!

    1. Thank you so much. This is such a bizarre time. Sick, trapped and better but still trapped? It's hard to figure out how we proceed. So we have to do the best we can. Thank you for the well wishes. I'm glad it wasn't worse. Now to work out all the other stuff to come!

  2. I am so sorry to read you and Micheal have had the virus - it must have been a terrifying experience and I do hope you are both fully recovered soon.

    Pleased to see you are keeping yourself busy in these awful times. Your projects are wonderful and the work you have done looks super. I especially love the idea of the coastal room as I love lighthouses.

    1. It was scary that first week. Micheal almost had to go to the ER. I was worried I would lose him one night and couldn't sleep making sure he was breathing. That was scary. It's a weird virus too. The second week, I'd feel like a superstar and then the next day, I was back in bed. It's a roller coaster of a monster. We are good now. Micheal looks better today than he has in awhile. The projects kept me sane and my mind off of being trapped inside the house. It's also good to have a garden. They distract as well.

    2. Lighthouses are amazing. I've always been fascinated with them. I love them all because they are in such scenic areas. Wonderful things.

  3. Eeek! so sorry you guys caught the virus but thankfully you are recovering. My condolences on your family loss too. This rotten virus is non selective.

    1. And we were being so careful!!! I don't know how in the world we got it. Stupid virus. I don't want people getting this at all. And yet, I see people walking around outside without masks. They are playing with fire.

  4. So sorry to hear that you both had that terrible virus, Chris. I understand that it can take a long time to recover, so do be careful and don't overdo the physical work with those wonderful interior designs! It sounds and looks very inspired to me!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

  5. It can and does take a long time. One day you are feeling wonderful after the initial horrid coughing, fever, dizzy spells, body aches and breathing issues. However, sleep is amazing. I have loved falling in love with sleep. It's pretty magical. The second week you can feel like a superstar and be symptom free and then the next you're back in bed wondering what the heck happened. We lost our taste and smell. I didn't know if I had to change the kitty litter or not. And lost weight because food lost its flavor. That was kind of nice:) Vitamin C, D and zinc were my friends and really helped with the recovery. So while we were in quarantine, I pulled out the projects sitting in the wings:) It has been fun and challenging work, but I feel like our home needed a little TLC and might as well be constructive instead of sitting around looking out our windows:) Stay well and be safe. This virus has mutated and it seems like I got it via the air inside a shopping center even with my mask on. There are still those who refuse to wear masks. I do not want to get reinfected again.

  6. Oh my, I am saddened to hear you were both so sick and glad you are recovering. Do love what you're doing to your place. Keep finding that silver lining.

    1. Thanks Gaelyn. Day to day during these times. It will definitely be it's own chapter in this life our ours.


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