Observations by Susan Lyons

During this last year, everyone has been taking up new hobbies to beat the COVID blues. That has been a current topic on social media, and it was also the topic of our last sorority Zoom meeting: Share what you have been doing for the last year during COVID.

You see, I am a member of Preceptor Omega, and we have been meeting over Zoom for the last few months, waiting for warmer weather when we can then meet outside. I didn’t get the chance to make the last meeting, so I didn’t get to share just what I have been up to during the COVID blues, as I like to call it. So, when I read the minutes of the meeting, I got thinking about my own personal time of solitude and thought I would share with all of you.

• Puzzles — that came first. I have done about seven, and I know that is not a lot, but I really only work on them on weekends or the middle of the night when I can’t seem to sleep. That has been my therapy: a chocolate martini and working mindlessly on a puzzle after a crazy day.

• A little baking — very little, really, and I have read three books.

• One of the bigger things, though, is working on my photography and getting more serious about that again. But that is another story.

• I went through and organized all of my sweaters and ended up with an entire bin of ones that had a stain, were worn out, out of style or I will never ever, ever fit into again. In the end, I still had 32 sweaters on the shelves. Now, that is including lightweight spring sweaters, but still a lot of sweaters.

Looking around the closet, I realized just how many clothes that I have that have not been worn in a long time. You see, when COVID started, no one was coming into the office. There were only five of us, out of a staff of 14, who were continually working in the office — very spaced-out. After the first couple of weeks, I came in one day in sweatpants. Darin took one look and said, “Well, I guess it is Sweatpants Friday.” And I said, “Yes, I believe it is.”

For the next six months, I wore nothing but yoga pants and jeans to work, and sneakers. [Editor’s note: We presume our esteemed publisher also had on a shirt, and perhaps some socks.] Why dress up? I didn’t even wear jewelry, not even earrings. Can you just imagine, going out in public without earrings?

I will have you know that I have earrings that still fit me from high school! OK, I admit to stealing that one, as it is on a plaque that Mechele gave me that hangs near my jewelry, but I had to share it with you.

Then came the sweater clean-out. That does it — a new challenge! I somehow always need that in my life, and it had been missing for a while. Well, except for the one about trying to keep a newspaper publishing in the middle of a pandemic. This was going to be much more fun.

How long can I wear a different outfit to work without wearing the same one twice? Challenge accepted!

Currently, I am in week six — 27 days of not wearing the same outfit.

This first part has been a cinch. Now it is starting to get a little more difficult. I have gone through all my winter sweaters and a few suit jackets. On days that I am pretty dressed up, I get comments like “What’s up, is the governor coming today?” “Must be going to a funeral.” “Did I miss the memo?” Other days, in jeans and casual, it’s “finally going to clean out that office.” LOL — that will never happen.

Anyway, like I said, the challenge is now under way. What I have left in the closet is the section of “the size I was before COVID” and the section of “stuff I really love but need to lose at least 20 pounds to fit into,” then “kind of out of style but better keep it because it will come back in another year of two,” and, last but not least, “evening wear.”

So, what I am really down to is out-of-style and evening wear. This is where it is going to get interesting.

If I can just get through this next month, then I will have an entirely different wardrobe to wear, and I can keep on going to at least June, and then comes summer with sundresses and tank tops. Heck, I may be able to get to September!

How extreme will I go? Could I be seen wearing an evening gown to work during the month of March? I don’t think so, as I can’t wear high heels anymore and a gown just never looks right with flats. I don’t care how cute they are.

This morning, I tried on five different combinations until I found an entire outfit that actually fit and that I have not worn. I’m going to have to start figuring this out the night before, as it is taking way too long in the morning and making me late.

Spring is only 13 workdays away. I think I can make it!


Publisher Susan Lyons is a native of the area and has dedicated 38 years to community journalism. She stays active in the community that she loves, along with her husband, three children and eight grandchildren.