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  • 1.  Emerging from the Covid rut

    Posted 03-31-2022 15:12

    After two years working from home, sitting in front of my computer for eight hours a day, making many very unnecessary trips to the fridge or pantry, and barely going anywhere or seeing anyone, I feel reinvigorated and refreshed!

    Well, ok, that's absolutely not true. I'm very much in a rut. And I know I'm not alone. We're all muddling through, right?

    To get through my muddle and out of my rut, I decided to do something different and unusual – to really step out of my comfort zone. So I signed up to become a TreeKeeper through Openlands, a conservation organization that protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois. TreeKeepers are ambassadors for the urban forest of Chicagoland, volunteers who care for, plant, and protect trees to help cultivate a stronger urban forest. But you can't just hug a tree and call it day. To become a TreeKeeper, you must take 8 classes (a total of 25 hours), pass a written exam, and complete practical exams on tree planting, mulching, and pruning. You also have to pledge 25 volunteer hours within the year of graduation.  

    Typically I would say, well, I WANT to do this, but, hey, I'm too busy working full-time, juggling family responsibilities, and just trying to keep my head above water. Instead, I took the plunge and am learning about mycorrhizae, anthracnose, urban soils, and bipinnately compound leaves, as well as trudging through forest preserves trying to apply proper pruning techniques to unsuspecting trees.  

    While I truly love trees and wanted to learn how to better identify them, I wasn't in the market for such a hefty commitment. But I'm all in now, hoping this class and its obligations going forward will help pull me and my compacted roots out of my Covid rut.   

    So tell me, what are you doing – or plan to do – outside of your comfort zone to emerge from your Covid rut?



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    Maria Mooshil
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  • 2.  RE: Emerging from the Covid rut

    Posted 04-01-2022 09:20
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 04-01-2022 09:21
    @Maria Mooshil that is so tree-mendous! You are really branching out and putting down new roots. (I hear the groans, make him stop.) Bad puns aside, this is great. Ever since I did a story on the Harvard Community Garden in Harvard, Illinois, I've wanted to be a master gardener. Those folks are cool. But it's a considerable commitment. While you need no advance knowledge, there is an interview screening process, an 11-week training program costing $300 at one of the University of Illinois Extension sites (there IS one near me) and a 60-hour volunteer commitment your first year as an intern. It's 10 hours of ongoing education and 30 volunteer hours a year after that. Oof. Maybe when I am retired. If that peeks anyone's interest, here's their link.
    In the short term, I think I'm going to hook up with @John Kent to get community garden projects going. @John Kent sign me up once you find the plots!! maybe we can start a volunteer call here on Connect?​​​​​

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    Arnie Grahl
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  • 3.  RE: Emerging from the Covid rut

    Posted 04-01-2022 09:42
    @Maria Mooshil this is such an interesting way to look at it! As an introvert, I have been pretty A-OK with not interacting with people (actually, it's been a little concerning to me about just how very OK I've been with it!). So, pulling myself out of the pandemic rut has been a slow process.

    However, one new thing I started doing this year which is completely different for me is attending​ a dance class called 5Rhythms. It's like a meditative movement class but also a great workout. Sort of like yoga, except dancing! I absolutely love it. I've been doing several different classes on Zoom, and am planning to go to my first in-person class this weekend. I had kind of planned to attend in-person last weekend and then...didn't.

    So now I'm proclaiming to the Connect-o-sphere that I'm going this weekend :) There's time at the end of class where people sit around and chat about whatever comes to mind after the dance, so it's definitely a social interaction experiment for me!

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    Maria Liccardo
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  • 4.  RE: Emerging from the Covid rut

    Posted 04-03-2022 01:07
    I hope the dancing went well.....(& you made it) It is a great way to do something different. I ended up getting into Hip Hop dancing many years ago now. Son at 5 started dancing & at his first show there was a "Mummy's" dance group, so he thought if other Mummy's could do it, so could I....... Totally out of my comfort zone, as no issue with speaking in front of 100's of people (Rotary does that to you) but dancing in front of that many........aghhhhh Well, you can guess what happened, I joined the "Mummy's group" & haven't looked back. Takes me longer than others who have had previous dancing experience, but have to admit love it. It challenges me, makes me do something I wouldn't normally do & I have met some great Mum's along the way.

    Sure is helping getting out of the Covid rut, as hoping with things finally settling down here in New Zealand, we will get to perform in our July show........

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    Leanne Jaggs
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