The Marking the Day Bit

All quiet this year on the Lair camping front…

We’ve probably all been establishing new habits in these Covidian times, right? I sure have – but I’ve also noticed one long-standing habit has all but disappeared. I don’t check my calendar each morning anymore.

Because my schedule – is – open.

I do still flip over the wall calendar page every month just to get a new picture to see day in and day out. For August, I have Black-eyed Susan flowers! I also have two melancholy reminders of what my August was supposed to look like…

First, I should have been heading to Northern California for my fifth time spending a week camping at the Lair of the Bear in Pinecrest:

Inviting Pinecrest Lake!

I love new adventures – but one of the pleasures of this getaway has turned out to be knowing exactly what to expect! And when this year started, I marked the week on my calendar – confident I’d later be getting a dose of pristine scenery, rejuvenating hikes, crackling campfires, fine wines, good spirits (pick your definition), and delightful catchings-up with friends!

But as everyone in the wide world knows, life doesn’t always go as planned.

So instead of being off on my annual trip (camp was properly canceled), I’ve ended up with time to do things like clean, dust and practice clutter management here at home. I’m not saying I’ve actually done these things – but, you know, the time has been there. 

Although in fairness, I have taken a pretty good run at organizing. And it’s absolutely astonished me that in delving into the nooks and crannies of an apartment that’s not all that big, I’ve discovered an incredible amount of redundancy!

Padlock-wise, for instance:

Locks – 13 of ’em.

It appears I have a habit of going out and buying a thing when the need arises instead of checking to see if somewhere I already have it. Unfortunately, this accidental hoarding clearly isn’t driven by practicality. When Covid first hit and store shelves were picked clean of certain items, I saw my toilet paper inventory plummet to a dangerously low count of three rolls – while my supply of off-black pantyhose remained a robust twenty-three pairs!

I’ve since gone ridiculously overboard in paper product restocking, but hey – it’ll all get used! Far less certain is what I’ll do with those twenty-three pairs of off-black hose (don’t even get me started about the beiges and the tans…). I mean, I rarely wear them – plus, I’m only ever gonna have the two legs.

Still, during these financially tricky times, at least I can now rest easily knowing my 2020 Christmas gift list is covered. Yup. It’s padlocks for everyone!  Each will arrive complete with the kind of Christmas “stocking” I bet no one’s expecting – and it’ll be decked with cream or gold ribbon from this persistently purchased palate:

Ribbons – and ribbons – of gold!

Ah, gold. That brings me to the other event that was set in stone on my now “Lost August” calendar:  I should have been watching gold medals being awarded at the Tokyo Olympics…

Yes, long before “Fortnight” was a game, the Olympic Games were taking place over a fortnight. And as I’ve shared before (in “The Citius Altius Fortius Bit” and “The Bit About My Favorite Fortnight”), it’s a cherished event I grew up enjoying with family – and still look forward to today! 

Over the years, some dear friends have fed my passion for all things Olympic with mementos like these:

Olympic pals from Nagano, Beijing and London!

One gift even shows this isn’t the first year that the Olympics didn’t go off as planned – or at least not as planned by some:

From the 1996, um, Athens Summer Games?

Greece!  Birthplace of the ancient games and first host of the modern era games in 1896! That’s when the “youth of the world” were called upon to assemble in Athens just as Greek citizens had in days of old for athletic competition in the spirit of fellowship and good will! Heading into the centennial of this revival, Greece must have figured it had the hosting gig in the bag – so much so that they put it on a shirt!

Guess the Olympic Committee didn’t see the symmetry there. They awarded the 100th Anniversary Games to Atlanta – not to Athens.

Beautiful Panathenaic Stadium in Athens – where plenty of seats were available in 1996…

In bringing up how the Tokyo Olympics aren’t going as planned either, I could actually be talking about now or about eighty years ago. The city was also chosen to host the Summer Games of 1940 – but as the event neared, external concern grew over Japan’s war with China at the time, as did internal interest in conserving domestic resources to feed that war. So Tokyo wound up forfeiting.

1940 hosting duties next went to Helsinki, Finland – and Mum tells me her Finnish immigrant grandparents immediately and excitedly made plans to attend! Not only would it be a chance to see the Games in the country they’d left fifty years before, but they’d also be reunited there with a son they hadn’t seen for decades!

It wasn’t to be…

Finland’s large-looming neighbor Russia decided to invade them in 1939 – and then one country after another became caught up in World War II. So the Helsinki Games were canceled along with the 1944 Summer Games which were to have taken place in London. These wartime cities ultimately did take their turns as Olympic hosts:  London in 1948; Helsinki in 1952; and Tokyo in 1964. Also, Athens got its shot again in 2004!

Cut to 2020 where the Tokyo Games have been pushed to next year as we wage another war – this time against a virus. The youth of the world are still assembling – not for sport – but to insist that society’s playing field be a level one. In the midst of all this, afraid I can’t feel wholly confident that even a year from now the world will be ready for (or entirely interested in) an Olympic return.

But I’m marking the Games on my next year’s calendar anyway! Because I’ve always believed in their ideals. And despite some tarnishing, the Olympics have managed to endure as a showcase for moments of sportsmanship, excellence and grace that remind us just how amazing people can be.

My heart goes out to all who are struggling right now. It goes out as well to the athletes who trained so long and so hard to be at their best right now. I hope each one will still be able to claim an Olympic moment – and maybe even claim one of these:

At Selänne Steak Tavern – where an Olympic medal came with dessert!

This is Mum who got to borrow the Olympic bronze medal won (along with tournament MVP) by the great Teemu Selänne as a member of the Finnish men’s ice hockey team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia! (Where, incidentally, the host hockey team failed to medal – just sayin’.)

Realistically, that’s as close as I’ll ever get to one of these splendid awards. Because the official Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius isn’t Latin for “Older, Slower, Spending More Time on the Internet”.

Nope – it means “faster, higher, stronger”. But especially these days, it’s more the Olympic creed I like to try and live up to anyway:

“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

I may have stopped checking my calendar for now – but it matters to me that the Olympic Games are still on it. I’m looking forward to seeing that Olympic torch arrive in Tokyo!

In the meantime, I’ll be continuing my at-home journey of “shelf” discovery – where apparently, the important thing is not to have purchased adhesive tape, but only partially to have used it before going out and purchasing more…


Cheers – and stay safe!



  1. The number of hose had me laughing out loud. You have been keeping the economy going. I want to minimalize my stuff to a point, but there is no place as far as I know, to take the stuff to-unless the thrift stores are open now.
    I do feel for the athletes who planned to go to the Olympics this year or in the past, because it consumes all their time getting prepared.
    I imagine they need to lighten up in their routines and put the pressure on at some point before next year so they don’t overwork themselves and burn out or get injuries.
    I like the campsite in the woods by the lake. I have been to one like that and loved waking up to a view of the lake. The national parks are slowly opening but I did see garbage left behind on trails. Some back country areas are overwhelmed by an influx of random campers who are making one heck of a mess with excrement and garbage plus trespassing on private land. Disgusting.

    1. Thanks very much for the great comments! I agree on the athletes – I imagine they’re trying to adjust as best they can and hope their target doesn’t move further. And yes – unfortunately, there’s probably more pressure on the parks that are open, and I agree too on the bad behavior – grrr! Thanks again for reading – and all good wishes!

  2. What says “I love you” better than a padlock? Those gifts will be cherished!

    1. Right? SO glad you feel the true sentiment there! 😉

  3. Carol Coe Pugh · · Reply

    Laughing at the hose!!! And when was the last time you wore hose of any kind?? One of those things that makes me feel old….glad you are well and healthy! ❤️

    1. Ha! I know – I wasn’t even sure what to call them… Hose? Stockings? Nylons..? So glad to hear from you, Carol, and wishing you and yours all the best!

  4. Hello.

    Thank you remembering Helsinki. I watched with my father in 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. I have also entrance tickets here. I have considered to show them someday with some other old stuff. My wife worker in Finnish Olympic Committee few years.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Wow – I think those tickets are treasures! I got to visit the stadium in Helsinki and imagine the great Paavo Nurmi’s running up all those stairs to light the Olympic cauldron! Kiitos for reading – and best wishes to you!

  5. What a fun post! Here in New Zealand there is no social distancing, restaurants and shops are open and life goes on almost as normal. But we were supposed to go to Canada to see my brother and have a holiday.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I understand things have been well in hand in New Zealand – that’s terrific! Unfortunately, I’m in California where matters are quite different – but we’re trying to manage. Best wishes – and hope you can enjoy that holiday soon!

  6. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. It may not be what we planned, but, we must muddle through and do what we can to stay interested. I’m with you on the calendar thing. It is even more empty than in our normal retirement. If it wasn’t for the news, we would not have a clue what day it was. Stay well Amy. Fingers crossed for next year. Allan

    1. You’re so right about plans! And yes – I think it’s a matter of rolling with the punches and making the best of things. Thanks for reading, and for the good wishes – best of health to you and yours!

  7. “I’ve ended up with time to do things like clean, dust and practice clutter management here at home. I’m not saying I’ve actually done these things – but, you know, the time has been there.” This had me hooting! Know the EXACT feeling.

    1. Brilliant minds – no question!

  8. LOL Thanks for the chuckles.

    1. Just stating the facts… 😉 Thanks for reading!

  9. Jonathan Spencer · · Reply

    With me it is chargers/power supplies for electronic devices with which I have long parted company. But what if one day I find I need to charge up that Panasonic camcorder?

    1. I get it – you want to be prepared! And if you’re worried about theft, do let me know – I’ll shoot you a padlock!

  10. Enjoyable post. Informative too! Heres an idea for your stockings – make them into a mask! Could be a new internet trend, itd break upthe sourdough monopoly 😉

    1. Thank you! And interesting thought on the stockings – maybe a good layer of insulation!

  11. Interesting and fun read- with the padlocks though it feels bad buying so many, it means you don’t have to spend anywhere near as much time shopping around for Christmas presents!

    1. Yes – I’m trying to take my poor shopping habits and look on the bright side… 😉Thanks for reading!

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