I have a friend who has traveled to visit me virtually every year since I moved back to Pennsylvania from Vermont in 1999 (with two exceptions: last year due to COVID and 10 years ago, the year my mother died). We met because we taught at the same small (now-defunct) college in Vermont, she as an English professor with a special interest in the medevial period and me as a Psychology professor, and both of us owners of Basset Hounds. A local college sponsors an annual Shakespeare Festival with a mix of equity actors and students, and each year we have gone to a production at the festival as well as had time to catch up with each other and what has been going on in our lives.
So this week was my friend's annual visit, from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning. Her visit prompted me to actually do greater cleaning and decluttering of several areas of my house than I have done since her last visit in 2019. I can actually see my dining room table top for the first time since March of 2020! Once we entered the COVID shut-down in mid-March 2020, my dining room table became my work station as well as my CFP exam study area, with extra piles for mail that needed to be dealt with.
The decluttering was only superficial--there are ten banker's boxes in the living room with papers cleared from the dining room and other assorted surfaces. Some of it will be kept, much of it will be recycled; at least it is now coralled to be dealt with gradually.
Thursday after she arrived, we spent an hour on the porch chatting over glasses of iced tea. The performance at the Shakespeare festival ("A Midsummer Night's Dream") was outdoors. It started at 6:30 and ended just as dusk was starting. One of the chores I had not had time for before my friend's arrival was grocery shopping, so we ate out beforehand at a Greek restaurant that we have previously eaten at. That restaurant had had a fire in June of 2017 and had been closed since then, finally reopening last December. We had missed being able to eat there in 2018 and 2019, so it was nice to get back to our usual pre-theatre restaurant.
Friday morning I was able to run out to the grocery store before my friend woke up. I had pulled together a list of local activities we could do and my friend chose to go to the arts trail in the next town over. We walked the trail, stopped for an ice cream at the small upscale mall/condo area where we had parked, then drove over to the local indoor Farmer's Market and browsed around there. We got home around 1:45 pm, had some sandwiches for lunch, then headed back out to explore the shops on Main Street in my town. By the time we got home, the Achilles tendon I injured a couple of months ago was throbbing, so we took an hour for me to ice my tendon while my friend worked some puzzles on her iPhone. Then I pulled out the sous-vide machine I bought myself last month and my trusty Instant Pot and made dinner (zucchini-fennel soup, salmon, potatoes, green beans and mushrooms, with chocolate truffles from a store at the Farmer's Market for dessert, as well as Sauvignon Blanc with dinner).
This morning, we went out to breakfast at a local cafe before my friend got on the road to drive back to upstate New York.
It was great to catch up and have some real time to spend with someone.
In general, I still am very much "unwinding" and refocusing my perspective after having been laser-focused on the CFP exam since last October. Today, I may go back to an old favorite coffee shop along the Delaware River, which I have not visited since pre-pandemic. They have tables outdoors along the canal towpath, which provide a nice place to sit and write. That is, I'll go there if I can summon the nerve. I have driven so little since March of 2020 that this undertaking is a real endeavor. (Actually, when I took the CFP exam, I had to take it in King of Prussia, outside of Philly, and I was actually more nervous about doing the 55-mile drive down and back than I was about the exam.) Other than my trip to take the CFP exam, I haven't been more than 12 miles from home since sometime in 2019.
Now that my "goal #1" for 2021 (on my sidebar) has mostly been achieved (though I am still working on timeliness of meeting preparations), I am turning my major focus for the rest of the 3rd quarter to Goal #2 and building/rebuilding (new) habits to better support my health. I also want to continue with the home decluttering--now that the surfaces are cleared and the excess coralled, I want to sort through and winnow down what is in those boxes. I have a nearly-empty file cabinet sitting in my living room that I inherited from work when we went paperless and I have a general file system structure that I developed with the help of an organizational consultant a few years ago. Now I just need #1 systems and routines for better dealing with incoming material as it comes in (and systems and routines for maintaining my health) and #2, a chance to deal with the backlog.
"Refining systems and routines" is really my focus for the rest of Q3.