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Hoping for a Better New Year


One of the things I've missed most during the pandemic is "Group Power," my weightlifting class at Timberhill Athletic Club in Corvallis.  I stopped going before they actually had to shut down, and bought my own set of weights to use at home.  What was the use of going if we had to wear masks and couldn't smile and greet each other and chat, one of the big benefits of working out in a group, as opposed to alone, in your own guest room?


When covid numbers improved in the summer, I made it to three maskless classes before it began to look dicey again.  But we're all constantly weighing our risks and benefits, right?  At some point in the fall, fully vaxxed and boosted, I decided it might be worth it to exercise in the mask, just to get out of the house and see some  people I wasn't related to.


Good call, because it turns out the experience of working out in a group of masked women of a certain age, doggedly determined to keep our strength up, has been  a real upper.


This vacation week, I got the bonus of running into my grandson's beloved second grade teacher, Jennifer Rodriguez, at this class. Please understand that Nolan being assigned this talented, empathetic and experienced teacher has been one of the best things that's happened to our family recently. The first time he came to the farm after school had started, he happily put it this way: "My teacher has a such a good way of seeming to understand exactly what I want and what I need."  I said, "Really?  So what do you want and what do you need?"  He thought a moment.  "I don't know." Then he grinned. "But SHE does!"


So, on this last bleak day of the year, with our covid numbers rising across the nation and right here in our own county,  I navigated the icy roads to the gym in a decidedly gloomy mood.  As I loaded weights onto my bar next to Jennifer Rodriguez, I said through my mask, in what I now fear was probably a pathetically downer of a tone, "So are you feeling okay about having the kids back in school Monday?" This lovely woman didn't miss a beat.  She said, "Oh, sure.  I'm just gonna go for it!"


What a gift, this spark of optimism! No wonder Nolan loves her so much!  I think I'll try harder to talk optimistically to others myself!


Happy New Year, everyone!  It's just  gotta get better, right?       


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