Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - As I peer through the window of lost time looking over my yesterdays

Focusing on one day at a time, which was a thing in our house long before I got on board. It is totally foreign to the planner in me, but I am having a hard time looking months ahead at this point in time so I have been working on one day at a time. Via The Whiteboard, of course.

Feeling like my house is both a sanctuary with more than enough room to hold three adults and four small dogs, and a cage.

Grateful to still have a job especially because real estate was deemed non-essential by the governor so MFD's ability to earn money has been kneecapped for two weeks already and at least through April. He's still working with people planning to buy, getting them in a position to etc, all the up front work he regularly does, but the listing and the showings are on hold for all real estate agents, buyers, and sellers right now. There are a lot of people in that boat in that field and so so many others deemed non-essential across the nation right now. Lots of people laid off and furloughed too, unemployment claims nearing seven million in the past day. Not to mention the health concerns across the land. Hang in there, everyone. No one is alone out there. No one.

Writing this today. I usually pre-write blogs and edit them the night before and morning of. I'm back to my old ways from when I started blogging in 2011 and writing them the morning of.

Sharing Why You Should Avoid All that Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure

Adapting into a new normal. I no longer feel panic immediately upon waking up, and have begun figuring out how to see people. The sun is shining and my mom and I are socially distance walking today. Mind your pets though, people - even though they love you, you being home 24/7 if you weren't before is an adjustment for them.

Picking up paint.  Sherwin Williams is doing curbside pickup if you need paint and paints are 30% off right now.

Getting a perfectly put together birthday gift box from my BFF Debbie in the mail at the exact right time to lift my spirits. Loved everything in it, some things more necessary than originally planned for, I'm sure. It's nice when long-standing poop jokes among friends leads to a resource worth more than gold at this time.
Buying used paperbacks and books from small bookstores like Harriett's Bookshop. Please support small businesses if you can.

Listening to everything because music is soothing. When I wrote this this morning, it was Reflections by Diana Ross & The Supremes

Driving to do a Target pickup (the best, they just put it in your trunk) and drop stuff off to my brother last night. Driving feels illegal. Seeing other people feels illicit.

Forgetting to write down that when this is all over I need to get my car inspected. It was due in March but they extended it. I will surely forget. 

Avoiding the dog bathing but not the subsequent dog rage. Get you a partner who does the grooming without asking for help.  
Setting up a new work space today. I've been hopping around and still will because I seem to need the change of scenery throughout the day but my second monitor is crucial for what I'm going to do next week so I want to make that stationary somewhere that is not the dining room table.

Reading still reading The Boy From the Woods, fangirl screaming when Harlan Coben liked my post about it it on IG.
Reminding you everything you are feeling or not feeling is okay. It's a process. Let yourself go through it. Be there for each other. We're going to be okay. 

Laughing because we have to, always.

Linking up with Kristen

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Standing still

This is my favorite tree in full, glorious bloom.

It's across from my house and I usually have 10 seconds a day to look at it as I dash to my car to make the train. On mornings when I'm extra rushed and digging for my keys, I forget to look up at all.

By the time I get home at the end of the day, I just want to get inside, change, do what needs doing. I forget to look.

Weekends? I’m at the shore. When I pack and unpack my car, I'm focused on other things. I forget to look.

With nothing but time here, now, I’ve been going out to look at it with my coffee every morning. I make it a point to look. I've forgotten how much joy I can derive from a few moments of standing still and looking.

Being in a hurry to go and get and do already seems so far away.

Going back to some version of that also seems far away, and in this corona life I find myself not being able to look more than a few days ahead.

Today, this morning, this’s right here. It's what we have. It's the only thing 100% true and knowable.

The fact that it’s not gray like it’s been for four days feels like the most amazing gift.

I can’t only think about what we’re losing and missing through all of this. I hope you think outside of that too. The slow down can have bright sides too.

Happy April. Stand still and look.

A version of this message originally appeared on instagram

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

In search and wellness

I don't know about you, but I want to do things that are almost diametrically opposed during this global pandemic: eat as much candy as I can and also focus on eating healthy; lay on the couch for as long as I can moving as little as possible and also walk as much as possible. I mean I have a freaking candy cabinet right now. Woosah.

I am appeasing both my slovenly and healthy physical selves by doing a little bit of everything.

I'm not young enough to slide all the way down to the bottom of my candy cabinet for two months and rebound well, plus I need to be doing basic maintenance physically so I can to keep this vessel going when I'm older. That thought hasn’t left my mind since starting. In times of stress, I wish I was the person who turned to serious as hell exercise, but I'm not. My focus areas:

Get My Water In
The first few days of this it was like mainlining coffee was my job. I am a solid water drinker but it's like I forgot myself. Understandable with life changing completely at the drop of a hat. 

When I forget water, I get headaches which I think are virus symptoms, in addition to looking super haggard and feeling like I'm drying up from the inside out. If I don’t have enough water in my system, I am sluggish, tired, weak, and I overeat because I think I'm hungry but I'm actually thirsty. I am not okay when I'm low on water intake. Water makes up a large portion of your body and is vital for a lot of the processes that it completes to keep you healthy. My goal is 100 ounces of water every day minimum, and that's straight water.  That has not changed during this time. I go for more if I'm doing strenuous activity or losing more fluids than usual because it's hot AF.

If you are someone who doesn’t like drinking tap water and tends to buy bottled, pleaaaaaasssssssse reconsider. What about a water filter? Using this water filter, I know the water I'm drinking is filtered and I don't need to worry. 

If that's a no-go, how about a gallon of water vs the individual bottles or a water cooler with a five gallon jug that is recycled?

Gentle Exercise
As I mentioned above, I have never set the world on fire with a burning desire to exercise but I also want to be able to lift myself off the toilet at 70 so some movement is required. I like zumba but classes haven't lined up with my schedule the past few years. Zoom classes happening right now are cool. I also walk at home with Leslie Sansone and of course walk outside as much as possible. I also do light arm weights while sitting.

Am I eating more candy than ever, baking like I work at a bakery, and also dabbling in other junk food? Yes. In a more than a treat yo'self way? Yes. Am I doing that while still trying to keep my diet balanced and healthy-ish? Also yes. I focus a lot on trying to pack in fruits and vegetables. I'm not going to get on my case about food in addition to the weight of the world at this time, but I'm trying to be cognizant. 

I am extra interested in not missing a day of my normal regimen, which includes a multi with iron, fish oil, D, and magnesium. I also take elderberry extract and some turmeric.

Mind the Mind
I am worried about the lasting effects the stress over this life stoppage is going to have on people in the long term, myself included. I am trying to create space inside where this topic doesn't live. I'm good at compartmentalizing and I'm thankful for that. I am asking people around me to be mindful of my stressors-also known as don't poke the bear. 

Acupuncture, massage, chiropractor are all out for me right now, and they are huge parts of my mental wellness even though they are technically physical things. I'm using some neck massager thing and doing my stretches from my acu & chiro. It's not cutting it totally, but it will do for now, and it’s more about the commitment to my wellness at this time. 

Most importantly for mental health right now is limiting news and doing what I need to get myself through.

Never in my life have I been relieved or happy to see my birthday month end. There's a first for everything.

How are you doing health-wise through this? 

Monday, March 30, 2020

TWTW - Q2 like quarantine weekend two is that how we name this now IDK

Friday glorious weather to sit outside after work. I'm trying to keep a semblance of normalcy and end around 4 like I would if I wanted to escape the office on a Friday which I can't imagine wanting to do again soon. I sat out back with the dogs, then out front to read by myself while MFD and Vincent were volunteering packing up food for home-bound people. I did a zoom call with Debbie, Mom, and Lori. Melissa was supposed to join but was still working. I assed out on the couch early.
Saturday I watch TV again on purpose. I watched all of No One Saw A Thing and the first season of A Discovery of Witches in its entirety. To start MFD made breakfast. In between I read and made a standard packet dip plus dinner - roasted broccoli, asparagus, and grape tomatoes with egg noodles and sauteed onions and garlic. 

For those who will ask - I read the first book (A Discovery of Witches) in the trilogy - I liked the story but did not like the writing enough to continue on to the other two books. I like the show a lot. For those who did not read it, I don't typically watch shows that come from books so I'm not sure if my enjoyment is colored by previous knowledge or not. 

Both No One Saw a Thing and A Discovery of Witches can be streamed on Sundance Now and they're doing a free 30 day trial instead of their usual seven day - I think the code is SUNDANCE30 but it's on their facebook page if that's not it. 
Sunday was another gray day and the gray days are harder. Especially when another 30 days of quarantine come down and even though you were expecting it you still don't feel okay with it. I had to go to the store in the morning, which is a task now. Came home and wiped down items, threw clothes in the wash, took a shower, did a mask and eye mask, read, messed up the kitchen and used up sweet potatoes that were turning to accompany steamed broccoli and chicken thighs in the air fryer, then pulled canned peaches from the pantry to make peach cobbler bread. I sunk lower into quarantine and watched quite a few Love is Blind episodes. Who am I? Also finished Parable of the Sower - a world ending dystopian novel is maybe leaning too far into this global pandemic that has us quarantined in our houses.

Weekly food prep: Getting deep in that pantry and the freezers this week. Let's see what happens. 

Week three on the interior. Hanging our Keep Calm Stay Home signs in the front window today. I want to get out of my fucking house which requires other people to take this seriously. 

How are you doing? 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Things that are getting me through

A few years ago in February I found myself feeling suddenly exposed and vulnerable after MFD decided to run for office. The path chosen by someone else, the power out of my hands, financial ruin a definite possibility, the fear of losing everything, people actively working to punch holes in your, I fucking raged and railed. It was my very own winter of discontent.

In an attempt to feel like myself, I tried a bunch of my standard self care things and everything fucking failed. I could not get out of my own head and what was constantly running in my head was the problem. Yes, it was caused by outside events, but inside my head was what was ruining every day for me. Eventually I got out of my own way and listened to my gut. We intrinsically know what is soothing when we need soothing but think we need to come to some intellectual conclusion on what that is. No. The only trick is to repeat what feels right and abandon what doesn't - immediately. Your body knows immediately what quells panic - it doesn't need to be told, it just feels. Sometimes we don't do things that make us feel better because we think we must be wrong, no way that could make us feel better...listen to your gut. If it's not harming you, have at it. Listening to my gut and going with my body's reaction is why meditation and yoga appear on a lot of lists but not on mine - they make my mind race, and continue racing.

Since the entire world is now in a distinctly uncomfortable place on a path that they did not choose, the power out of their hands, financial ruin a definite possibility (for Americans at least, other countries are going a long way to ensure that doesn't happen), and outside forces who won't stay the fuck home for non-essential activities actively working to punch holes in everyone's life, I'm back to focusing on what gets me through the day and thought I'd share here. A few of my soothing techniques are out - hugging and going to the shore/insert your happy place here because the shore and probably your happy place are closed right now like everything else). What's left?

Knowing my problems are the least right now. I have a BFF healthcare worker on the front line without PPE - I'm sure most of you do. This is hard for all of us, but it is 100% harder for some. It’s easier to stay home, only interact with your household, and act right when you know not doing so puts healthcare workers under even more stress and danger and they have no more to give at this time. 

Signs of spring. Life feels stopped but the earth continues. It reinforces that we will too.

The only routine is a new routine every day. This is 100% a gut over head thing. In normal times, I live daily by what needs to be done followed by what wants to be done. Now I let my mood dictate what I do when, not some order I come up with in my head. If I feel the need to drop everything and take a walk, that's what I do. For some reason varying my schedule makes me feel better. Some mornings I start working at 6, some at 10. Sometimes I start at 8:30 like normal but I take a three hour break in the middle of the day and work later at night. Luckily my job allows for flex time all the time.

Shift and variance. My focus is lacking overall. I move from thing to thing much more than I would normally. I allow for that as much as I can in order to follow mood over routine.

Doing laundry. Constantly. Towels mostly. Small loads of clothes. Putting it away is not soothing or a focus lol. Some things do not change. 

No more press conferences. I get the gist from other places - specifically the daily update here in Philly - quick in and out. I can’t hear endless talking and the POTUS gives me fits and rage.

Music. What it is changes based on mood but it drowns everything out especially my own brain and ends up relaxing me before I even realize it.

Control what I can control. I cannot control assholes or a virus. I can control the organization of my pantry. I can write obsessively on a whiteboard and become the Whiteboard Czar and love it even if it means nothing.

Dogs. Always.

Sleeping where I fall asleep. That's been on the couch in the basement or living room some nights and I'm not fighting myself on it like I normally would. Rest is more important than a standard night routine.

Things I’ve already seen. My 80s movies are at the top of this list, but some old shows are doing their part too. I’ve watched Tiger King but am unsure about my ability to focus through a new show or movie at this time.

Reading, but different. I am reading at a much slower pace and cannot get into certain books. I'm giving myself a wide berth here.

Walking. A bittersweet throwback from campaign life. Man, Bruce and I walked so many fucking miles that year. Not for fitness or anything - just to walk off what's in my mind or making me jumpy and ill at ease. I'm back at it now.

Walk at Home with Leslie and friends doing fitness. I like to move some but not much, I'm not an exercise person and never have been. The purpose of this is the movement, not distraction, so I don't want anything complicated. I love Walk at Home with Leslie and PinkyFit is putting some stuff out there. I subscribe to both on YouTube and throw them up on the TV.

Fresh air. I need to be outside daily regardless of weather. This is my life line most days.

Flowers. We've made one big produce run so far and flowers are a part of any grocery store delivery/run.
Dark humor. Always. If you are posting this shit, I love you. Thanks to Kathy for sending me The Breakfast Club one.
Candles. Burning through them like wildfire to zen my shit up.

Connecting with people. My people were my lifeline during campaign time - then, I tightened my circle way the fuck up and let no one in. They are of course still my lifeline now. Always. But before this situation, I only accepted FaceTime calls from my brother to see my niece and nephew. Now in addition to my circle I'm like hey! we haven't spoken since kindergarten? FaceTime me and my three chins. Now accepting all calls. What is this life.

Thinking about other people. Making phone calls demanding PPE for healthcare workers. Making phone calls to check in on seniors. Sharing or getting supplies for neighbors or family who are not well.

Nutrition and cooking. Eating as much produce as possible. Upping my vitamin C. And just plain old eating and cooking. Snacks too - have I mentioned I now have a candy closet? - but mostly eating for wellness and making sure my vitamins aren't missed.

House projects. Dining room progress.
Learning something new. I've been taking some online free classes.

Peppermint tea. Every day. Sometimes more than once. Times may vary.

Letting myself relax and be. This is heavy.

On Instagram I asked how people have been soothing themselves. If you're looking for something and none of mine rang your bell, hopefully one or five of these will:
  • Epic quantities of butter
  • The Food Network
  • Sharing what I'm cooking
  • Audiobooks while I work on menial WFH tasks
  • Lower news intake
  • Books!
  • Cooking!
  • Working out (yoga and cardio every day) and reading
  • Yoga with Adriene
  • Virtual happy hours. I don't drink, but it's fun as hell and I feel like I'm with friends so thumbs up
  • Zoloft
  • Starbursts
  • Talking on the phone or video calling with friends
  • Books, Scrabble on my iPhone, wine, and audiobooks
  • Wine
  • Sitting on the patio with the dogs and bird watching
  • I hate to admit this but...playing Sims 4
  • Animal Crossing
  • Morning workout routines
  • Tiger King
  • Brene Brown's new podcast is so good. Her voice is welcome on long dog walks. 
  • Walking, cooking, and listening to our sensible governor
  • Subversive/Star Wars and Harry Potter Cross Stitch
  • Baking has helped me a lot. And I'm learning to 1/2 or 1/3 batches so I'm not making too much
  • Just sitting outside when it's nice and listening to nature
  • Weed. Ariana Grande videos, looooong walks with my old dog, books about people I want to get to know better, and checking in with you and your mom every day
  • Doing the bunny hop around my house
The only way through is through, friends. It doesn't have to be pretty but it has to be done.

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