Posted: Thursday, Apr 30th, 2020

By Visit Ventura

The Silver Lining: One Venturan’s At Home View

by Debbie Cvijanovich

  During the nationwide COVID-19 crisis, homebound Venturans are doing the best we can. We swapped our flip flops for house slippers. As the “pause” button is hit on our lives, we surprisingly embrace, or better put, welcome this reset. Or have we? We simply don’t have a choice. Uncertainty is upon us, yet we seek the silver lining. Goodness abounds…
Sunset Ventura Harbor California HYUNSANG JO

Photo by Hyunsang Jo


It’s become a time of reflection, reconnection and rejuvenation. Discovery does exist within the walls of our home. We are in Learn mode. Chill mode. Project mode. Or maybe…Survival mode. Things put off are actually getting done. Accomplishment! To-do lists are written (mainly a plan not to binge-watch Netflix, but that’s quite alright if we do!) and tackled. Home makeovers come to life. On a simpler note…we just be. Bored? There’s almost TOO much to do. We have nothing but time. I daresay…maybe we needed this “breather”?


Board games make a refreshing comeback. Puzzles too. Family meals take center stage as there’s no competing with sports, activities nor work schedules. New roles are established: teacher…making the bond closer. We savor these precious moments…like we’re offered a second chance for family connection. Stopping the clock? A rewind, perhaps. Ventura City Hall california


Old school techniques emerge. Ahhh…the joy of cooking. New recipes tried. Home-cooked meals are served around the table with a heaping side order of conversation. Quality family mirroring our childhood days. Kids are forced to spend time with us parents (haha!). Nesting at its best. Oh…and the Art of Baking has risen (pun intended!). Besides being known for its therapeutic qualities, the method and the results (food in our pantry) are as important. Locals were scrambling for flour and (much coveted) yeast…grocery shelves were bare. Sourdough starter is a big hit! Music soothes us…as we break out the old CD’s and thumb through classic albums sparking cherished memories. The same for organizing overstuffed boxes of old photographs. What was once forgotten, becomes appreciated. We organize, purge and surge! Homes are spring cleaned like never before. On the flip side…


We read. Piles of books on our nightstands dwindle. We write. Journaling actually happens. We s-l-o-w down. We meditate. We ponder and think. We take a break from being productive (or not). It’s permissive. Reset perhaps…with the hopes of creating new habits that stick. Good ones. “IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD” Our glorious Ventura weather beckons us outdoors. We stay close to home walking within our ‘hoods. Likely, many of us never did before. Our neighborhoods look different from the sidewalk, up close, and personal. Something seems to change. Awareness? Senses are heightened and engaged. Spring blossoms, fresh-cut grass, butterflies flutter by. Traffic diminished, the air is cleaner and sounds of nature are intensely acute. Birds sing sweeter and crisper. Children adorn sidewalks with inspirational chalked messages and cool art. All somehow takes on new meaning…and more importantly, we notice. Life is breathed back into neglected backyards as they get TLC or simply a “fresh look”. Perhaps…just being enjoyed. A steaming cup of coffee, a mug of tea, “coldie” or a delectable meal savored al fresco (outdoors). A good book. All enhanced when accompanied by nature’s symphony. A welcomed daily ritual indeed. Gardens are beautifully tended to or newly landscaped. A truly relevant quote by Audrey Hepburn…“To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow”, “Why haven’t we done this before?” is a recurring thought.


New skills are learned while we reacquaint with old pastimes. Passions renewed. We dust off sewing machines to make masks. We pick up a guitar and learn via video tutorials. We paint on canvas. We knit those colorful balls of yarn shoved back in the closet. We scrapbook. We become artists. Technology brings inspiration and connection into our homes: online cooking classes, college courses, yoga instruction, workouts, etc. Even parents get into the Tik Tok dance craze. We’ve become tech-savvy with Zoom video conferencing too. Sharing and challenging others. Inspiring others. Helping others. Reminding others…they are not alone. Locally, talented photographer Stephanie Hogue of Latitude’s Gallery takes us on daily themed Virtual Tours of “Ventura’s finest” she’s beautifully captured; our talented pool of musicians (Karen Eden and others) performs LIVE on social media channels; gifted storyteller, Bonny Goetz sweetly and calmly reads Children’s Books live daily to her Facebook audience. Just a few notables among many bringing happiness into our homes! Ventura Harbor Village


Having experienced strong community bonding during the disastrous Thomas Fire of 2017, #venturastrong re-emerges. We’re old pros. If anything we do well…it’s take care of our own. The world may have stopped, but we haven’t. We consistently help our restaurants survive by ordering takeout meals. Takeout Tuesday is established by our Visit Ventura team. Many locals stepped up to the plate…To volunteer. To give. To share. We show our valued Senior Community they matter by showering them with handwritten sentiments. And of course, Totally Local VC, a non-profit organization led by Kat Merrick who repeatedly kicks into high gear whenever needed, utilizing her vast arsenal of resources/connections to make things happen on a grand scale within our community. A fantastic new page appeared on Facebook: Ventura Free Barter and Trade. Wildly popular! A thriving community bulletin board for sharing. We rely on each other to meet our needs. Where backyard oranges and avocados are swapped for seedlings and plant cuttings; highly coveted flour and yeast for hand-sewn masks. Anything goes! A clear reminder…“We are in this Together”. Home Safe Home. We’ve been given the gift of time. How will we use it?  

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