Pandemic Ponytail and Other Changes in 2020

Well 2020 is almost over. It’s been a year filled with one event after another. I pray 2021 is calmer.

As a result of this insane year, I found it necessary to make changes in my everyday life.

Changes I’ve Made This Year

Where I Shop

Shopping more at the Dollar Tree. There is one down the street and I will stop in there before my trip to the grocery store. I usually get rice, dried beans, canned goods, condiments, organizational supplies, and whatever else I find. Oh, I got these really cute lights for my pantry, just push the center to turn them on and off.

They run on 3 triple A batteries and supposedly last a long time. You do not have to take it off the wall to change the batteries, just unscrew the white part. They can also be hung on a hook.

Because of our mandatory mask mandate, I only go to a grocery store based here in Ohio once or twice a month. I can’t breath in masks and therefore have 10 minutes to get all my shopping done.

So Amazon Pantry gets a chunk of my paycheck and the grocery store headquartered in another state gets my meats, milk and produce order which I pick up at their curb.

Photography Blog

I did not get out and take any pictures for my photography blog, OgleOhio. Every time I went to a park, people were wearing masks. Everyone needs to understand that fresh air is always better for you than a mask. I would just drive on by, no sense in taking a chance on a possible confrontation since I do not wear a mask outdoors.

Decorating For Christmas

I’ve not been decorating much for Christmas in past years. Just a few things in my office and putting the handmade manager scene up on the china cabinet with a light angel on top of the cabinet. But this year I am breaking out the ceramic tree that belonged to Joe’s mother and also the wooden angel light given to us by his oldest brother.

This decorating brought me more joy this Christmas season. For years, I did not really care. I understood the meaning and gave thanks for Jesus’ birth but my overall excitement level was about a 3 on a scale of 1 -10, at least till Christmas Day when I was with Joe’s family. Having multiple kids running around means unlimited joy.


I have unfollowed numerous people and sites this year. One was my go to blogging resource and one of the others was my go to photography site, but when you tell the world the United States is a troll – bye-bye. Funny thing is, I do not miss them or any of the other sites and people I’ve stopped following.

Panera Picnics

When the weather permitted I would stop at Panera, get a salad and drink and head to the cemetery for a Panera Picnic with Joe. It’s been about 8 years since I spent a lot of time out there. My routine is to take a silk flower arrangement out about mid-March, put it in the vase and make sure the marker survived the winter. The only other time I would go out is after a nasty thunderstorm to make sure the wind did not blow the flower arrangement out of the vase. Finally in late October or early November I would take the flower arrangement out and make one final check of the marker before winter blew in.

However, this year I went out to the cemetery more because I know Joe does not care whether or not I wear a mask and neither do the other people coming out to check on their loved one’s grave. Spreading a blanket and enjoying Panera while breathing in the fresh air was wonderful. I also did some reading and writing there as well.

This tradition will continue next spring and summer as we will probably still be under a mandatory mask mandate.

Pandemic Ponytail

After 25 years of cutting, coloring and styling hair, my hairstylist now delivers mail. She realized that since the government shut her down once, they will do it again. She knew she would not survive another shutdown. So she switched careers.

I am proud of her for having the guts to change careers but I do miss her helping me keep my hair well coifed. Therefore my hair is now long and styled most days into what I call a Pandemic Ponytail.

It’s driving me nuts. I am ready to get my pinking shears and cut if off. Sounds like an excellent New Year’s Eve project. My hair is thick, dry and brittle so it falls out easily. Plus I have become extremely lazy at washing my hair.

Sometimes, I will wear it down like this:

So those are some changes I made this year due to the virus.

Next post will be on Thursday, 31 December when we will review how the words for the year – Believe, Abide, Stand and Bloom impacted my year – and look forward to 13 January 2021 when we celebrate 10 years of JoyReturns.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.