Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - Feed the flame 'cause we can't let go

1. I start most mornings outside now and I freaking love it.

2. Outside is the true quarantine MVP. 
3. Outside and dogs. 
4. I wrote this post yesterday about struggling with productivity outside of work most days and fucking killed it today from the start. If that's what it takes, I'll write a post like that every damn night. Just kidding. I know I am working in cycles right now and today's triumphant return to productivity is not the standard, it's just the lucky day.

5. Me: I hate everything cherry flavored except sour cherry dots. Also me every afternoon without even realizing it:

6. Nails: Essie One Way for One. Love the color, meh on the name. 

7. It's been a long time since I've seen gas under $2.

8. Good stuff is happening too. The sectional for our shore apartment that it took us four years to decide on and buy at the end of February that was supposed to be delivered March 20 finally got delivered this week. The shower replacement (cracked shower pan and virtually nonexistent sub-floor that MFD patched up which lasted through last season on a wing and a prayer) we put the deposit on in the beginning of January and some other plumbing work necessary in a 120 year old house got (mostly) done this week too. The sectional takes up a ton of space in the apartment so everything will be reorganized down there in the coming months and I'll do before and after pics of that space and the bathrooms but this is it for now. Also why are the pillows that come with couches always so butt ugly?

9. Reminder: There's always time for feminism. Maybe more acknowledgement and recognition of unpaid labor will come from this. Also if you disagree or want to immediately interject with "men do stuff too," bye, forever. I'm not wasting the energy with you.
10. E-cards...

It's the last day of April. Not too sorry to see this month go.

The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Circles by Post Malone

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I was once a productive person

I started writing this in my head a week ago. I actually thought I wrote it this weekend. I figured I'd do it this morning when I got up at 6:30. Here we are after 5. It may or may not say what I sat down to write. The grammar is probably questionable even for the conversational style I adopt here. My typical writing and posting times and checks are a little off I guess.

What the hell is NOT off?

Raise your hand if that sounds familiar in your Corona Land.

Even if what sounds familiar is just something being off. We're all coming to this quarantine or essential worker pandemic shitshow party with different thoughts, beliefs, fears, support systems, health, living situations, responsibilities, expectations, experiences, bank accounts. None of us is going through this coronavirus pandemic in the same way. We keep hearing and saying we're all in this together but we're not. I'm not sure if we all recognize that aspect.

I have it good. I am healthy. I can work from home. I have a home to work from that is fully stocked with food and necessities with all utilities on and current and of course dogs. I have a yard I can sit in, a neighborhood safe to walk in, a car I can escape to nowhere in. My husband can't work by order of the governor and the summer at the shore is up in the air rental-wise and my creativity has done a runner which makes working and writing difficult but by and large we are in a good spot. We have a lot to lose. 

Me being me and knowing myself and how I have always operated through everything life has thrown my way, at the beginning of this I was like cool cool, I'm going to get all the house projects done, and then all the shore projects done, and cook all the meals, and do all the beauty treatments, and catch up on all the correspondence, and clean all the corners of the house, and do all the work stuff I want to do but never have time to do, and exercise every day, and do so much writing on this blog and so much writing I am not ready to share with anyone yet. I am productive as fuck when I have very little spare time so the amount of things I was going to be able to do filled me with a small bit of glee. Okay, corona! This is your silver lining. That, and I will read eleventy billion books because all I have is time.

Two days into this quarantine and I realized that silver lining was rusted the fuck out from go because all I have is time in which I cannot focus on, well, anything. Even including the things I want to do, the books I want to read. I miss devouring books. A lot. And I'm pissed that the thing that keeps me from doing that is my own brain.

I am so used to being productive every day and reading two to three books a week that I feel like I'm living in a foreign body. At home, MFD and I have switched roles. He's prodding ME to do things. What planet is this? I am typically the driver of projects and the household motivator for a lot of things. He is probably doing the same amount that he always does but it feels like so much more because I have to force myself to do the smallest shit unless it’s lie on the couch eating candy from the candy cabinet I now have to replace cooking and nutrition. 

Over five weeks later I still battle many days to get through the day with some sense of something done. Most weekdays it's all I can do to work, then I'm exhausted and can do nothing at night. I seem to be in a three good days two off days cycle (that's the hell zone cycle I referenced here) unless the weather is gray or rainy for a sustainable period. The good days are good, and there's usually good even on the bad days but in non Corona Land I operate on a balanced, even keel and this shit has my boat overturned and I'm swimming for shore and getting whacked in the head with the oar every third day.

What is wrong with me? I have it relatively good, so much to be grateful frustrated with myself. Well, it turns out stress and the looping fight or flight reaction sequence from this entire situation is what is wrong with me, the same thing that's wrong with you if you have identified with any part of this post so far.

If you have, you might like this explanation from Alexis Rockley. You might also like her talking about this in more detail in this IG live video. It's 14 minutes, I listened to it while working, and it made me feel better about my inconsistency because it is what is helping me get through this even if it makes me feel very not myself.

She also shares temporary suggestions for getting through this (really, I recommend watching the 14 minute long video) which are 1) extend our timelines (leave room, let things happen more slowly) and expect you are going to be inexplicably tired - your brain is working hard to safeguard you in these unprecedented times (can we never hear that phrase again, thank you) and you need more rest and sleep simply to achieve baseline functionality 2) lower your expectations and celebrate when you meet the minimum, and 3) practice emotional first-aid. 

This was an a-ha for me. Valuing accomplishment and productivity in a space where accomplishment and productivity are hard to reach is a conundrum. My brain not clicking into the lower expectation gear is making every day harder on myself. 

All of the above are temporary suggestions just to get you through if you are feeling some kind of way that is not yourself and can be lifted or altered at any time as circumstances change. 

Because they will change. It might feel like it's been forever and maybe it feels like it will be forever more, but ready or not, we're going to open up again. Sooner than many think we should. Not soon enough for many.

And then?

I am worried about the impact this will have on us. Will my brain come back online to operate like it used to or will things from this time linger? Will I be able to get shit done again? Will MFD be able to grieve his mom by hugging people he needs to hug and be hugged by?

I'm even more worried for the people who already live like this all the time. People who have much less in this world than I do and who regularly worry about having access to things depending on money or location or opportunity or race or all of those things. Many of us have gotten a taste of what it's like to be facing a very different economic present than we typically face, whether it's because we're down an income, or suddenly without healthcare that was tied to a job, or because we're shopping in stores with bare shelves and feel cut off from what we have gotten so used to having access to that we have confused a lot of wants with needs, or because we've been told we can't access programs and places that we think should be available to us. That has worn us to the bone, quite quickly. Imagine living like that day in and day out, not being able to get what you need because you have no money or opportunity to make money, because you live in a neighborhood no one found worthy to invest in and it's become a food desert or you need a service that isn't accessible to you. Or imagine being out working as an essential person right now, day in and day out, having that mindfuck on top of the general quarantine mindfuck, and getting no hazard pay. Especially our essential healthcare workers. What are we doing? Imagine these things with the backdrop of corporations paying $0 in taxes, government posturing instead of working and all of their salaries added up from top to bottom, billionaires not paying their share, etc etc. It's too much. We can do better. We have to do better. I want to return to a new normal. Not the old one. The old normal was only working for some people.

We have to do better for ourselves and our neighbors. Right now we don't live in a world where everyone knows they're going to be okay no matter what happens because our communities and our government have safety nets for us as citizens and treat us better than they treat corporations. But we could live in that world. What is truly fair and equitable? Truly? Put yourselves in the shoes of other people and think about that question. How can we get to a place that is fair and equitable? How hard are we willing to work individually to get there?

Never too early to think about. Doing...those of us who find ourselves without the productivity we are used to can do more when we can feel productive again, of course.

For today? Right now? Just be human. Be kind to yourself.

Monday, April 27, 2020


Friday MFD called after work and asked if I wanted to pack food for recovery houses at Caring for Friends. He's been putting in a lot of hours daily in volunteer service over there and I've been meaning to get over so I said sure. It's less than five minutes from our house so I hopped right over. I should have known it would be a MFD special in which I agree to do something and it takes three times longer than I assume it will. LOL and any of you who have been on one of MFD's three hour tours, you're probably LOLing also. It was fine though, we packed food to 80s tunes for over 350 people for five hours with an extra pair of hands helping the last hour. I hobbled my ass home at about 11, drank a shit ton of water and fell asleep around 1. Anyone interested in helping, Caring For Friends needs volunteers daily to pack and get food out to people it regularly serves as well as the influx of food and need due to Covid-19, shifts are 9:30 and 1:30 I think. Friday night is recovery house packing. Drivers needed to drop off food to home-bound people. 
Saturday My 43 year old body was feeling the effects of standing on a warehouse concrete floor for five hours in totally un-supportive athleisure shoes. I was up early then back to sleep for a little. I continued old person activities with sorting my vitamins for the week. Seriously though Saturday is the best day I've had in a long time. I did a few loads of laundry, hung some out, and spent the majority of the afternoon in the sun with the dogs alone at the house. I didn't worry about a bunch of shit I can't control or argue with (too many) people on the internet or try to do too many things and  It was glorious. I even saw a cardinal, which I never ever see. MFD came home and grilled burgers. I made fries in the air fryer with almost expiring potatoes and played 80s movie trivia with the fabulous Pola Frost on facebook live. 
Sunday Gray and rainy. I kicked the day off with sour cream based lemon blueberry muffins. We had an all household member clean event in which Vincent and I worked on the top floor and MFD the basement and everyone pieces of the main floor. I read and snacked after that and rounded out the weekend with Frank's facebook live concert to raise money for Food4Staff which was great. I had my phone propped up as I was doing the dishes and felt like crying a little because it's so nice the way people have come together virtually but it doesn't replace seeing and hugging people. I was up late watching some MFD special show in which there are battles and kingdoms and shit like that. 

I meant to do this post this morning but got busy working early. Also quarantine posting schedule. How was your weekend? 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thursday - I came in from the outside burnt out from the joy ride

1. I painted my nails rainbow with a three finger pot of gold at the end. I've got nothing but time on my hands...and scaly skin. I am the Crypt Keeper because my water intake is so down and I wash my hands so much.

2. I did finish a book I was reading (or not, I guess, since it took me eight fucking days) and am halfway through another. I was on the uptick, then my mother in law passed away, and that threw a big bookmark into things. I saw this and it felt true.
3. I've seen this initial tweet everywhere, but not the follow up comment describing the hell zone. I stole this from Ali's Instagram. This absolutely nails how I have felt this whole time. I am an even keeled person and this has been a bitch to adapt to.

4. Lots of couch time this week. I'm exhausted. The dogs haven't minded. I finished Love is Blind last night and feel stupider for it. I don't even like reality TV but I did not dislike zoning the F out to this shitshow. This is Quarantine Me talking.
5. One of these things is not like the other...S'mores cereal is something I never imagined liking and cannot get enough of. I have ordered four boxes in the past month. I like to toast bread, apply mayo or dijon mustard or both, and then sliced hard boiled egg with pink himalayan salt on top. Yesterday my Mom brought over brownie bites, mexican mac & cheese, fresh rye and chicken salad and egg salad and pickles. Thanks Mom! 
6. We also got hand delivery of this gorgeous thing from MFD's Ferko stringband family.
7. When someone is sober and someone else could take or leave a drink and usually leave it, this is what your quarantine stash looks like:
8. Idiots are gonna idiot.

9. Reminder: I parked next to this person at Target Tuesday. It set the tone for a nice experience in which I freaking scored a big mama TP and also off-brand Lysol. That's winning the lottery these days.

10. E-cards...this spring needs an enema so we get another stretch of warm, sunny days.

How are we doing out there?

The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Almost by Hozier

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Things that have arrived in the mail

The brown boxes arrived regularly at my door long before corona times. If it was needed and could be delivered, it's been delivered here. I did grocery delivery before it was cool or encouraged - then went back to physical grocery shopping which is now both regrettable but also the surest, quickest way to get groceries - and have bought the 20 pack of TP for delivery and coffee for delivery and dog food for delivery etc etc on and on you get the picture for quite a few years. I don't like to waste my time in stores unless it's the small shops in any small town or the home section of Marshalls/TJMaxx. Now that I have nothing but time, I am forced to do delivery with the exception of my regular TP delivery...fucking forget it. What has arrived since mid-March (Amazon links are affiliate links), falls into one of three categories: 1) make house more comfortable/functional since we are always in it 2) food 3) try to salvage end of birthday month. These are typical buys for the most part, except by this time of year I wouldn't be sparing a thought or spending a dime on this house, all energy would be on the shore house for upkeep and improvements. And I would still be ordering my toilet paper and keeping a good stock of it instead of hunting for it in stores like a rare jewel, thankyouverymuch.

A basic wall-mounted coat rack for MFD's dressing room specifically to hold his hoodies

Six bags Dunkin' Donuts original blend medium roast (subscribe & save standard monthly delivery, three weeks late due to stock)

One big ass bag Dunkin' Donus original blend medium roast (due to lateness of above)

Outdoor solar hanging lanterns for the backyard

Colavita extra virgin olive oil two pack

Conjure Women by Afi Atakora and a few other books from Harrietts Bookshop - if you have the means to purchase books, please do it from small bookstores when you can! 

Health & Beauty items we ran out of: toothpaste, NYX Micellar water, Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, Metagenics vitamins - I typically get them from my acupuncturist but I haven't been in so I had to order through her link

Dog items we ran out of: Dry food, wet food, treats (standard Chewy purchase with about 10 extra days for delivery)

Household items we ran out of: Mrs. Meyers mint hand soap, EO hand soap, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap so I can make my own soap, essential oil for wool dryer balls, Seventh Generation dish liquid

Dry food goods from Target we ran out of: Four boxes of Honey Maid S'more's Breakfast cereal, organic sugar, regular sugar, Hellman's mayo, unsweetened baker's chocolate, Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing, Easter candy 

Books from Target to meet a $35 minimum order threshold when I was ordering dry good groceries: The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams and The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben

Birthday money purchases: Pranayama Wrap from Athleta in fuschia (it was 50% off, not into paying $89 for a freaking wrap), Buxom lipstick in Dolly Dreamer, aforementioned books, Birkenstock flip flops from Dick's 

Four plants from Bloombox (delivering to eight counties in PA)

Weather stripping adhesive foam strips

Clothes pins

Coming this week: an O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop and Bucket Cleaning System (have you all seen @gocleanco on Instagram? child, they will have you cleaning and looking forward to it)

Has anything arrived at your house? In the norm or outside of it? I typically don't buy books as much as I have this past month+, but everything else is standard except if I'm buying hand soap instead of making it, I usually buy it from Homegoods/TJMaxx.

Monday, April 20, 2020

TWTW - Q5 - funeral

Thursday I was working and by 9 I had showered, thrown a few bags in the car, and took off toward Cape Regional hospital where my mother in law passed away (that's my instagram caption, my personal FB one is longer but I'm not re-writing either here). I met my brother Stephen at Farley to get something I forgot in the rush to get out of the house, and MFD and I went to North Wildwood to get my MIL's paperwork. After regrouping and refueling, his siblings went home to get what they needed for the weekend/services. 
Friday I worked and MFD spent the morning arranging food donation pickups for recovery houses in Philly. He finally got a few hours of mental health fishing in. His siblings arrived back, and Mindy brought our dogs with her. Dogs know things, and Mae has not been okay since. She loved my mother-in-law. Sarah and I collaborated on dinner, and the kids went through pictures and paperwork. We did a zoom call with Frank, Amanda, Evan, AJ, and Chris and got a lot of much needed laughs. Thanks to Maureen for this MFD mullet photo.
Saturday I never imagined a funeral service like the one we had, especially in relation to my inlaws who have large extended families and longtime friends and kids with friends who have known their parents for a million years. To shrink that down to 10 people in the immediate family was wild. Godfrey Funeral Home in Ocean City was very nice and allowed 12 with her mom and brother going in for the first half hour as part of one household and leaving, then the rest of us (10) for the second half hour. I could do an entire post describing just that one hour experience in the funeral home under these covid circumstances. I know it was really hard for loved ones who could not be at the funeral, and hard for her kids to not have family and friends around. That will come in the future, when gatherings are allowed again in a larger capacity. It was as good as it could be under the circumstances. We consoled ourselves with chips and dip and bread and BUTTTTER after. My company sent food, and Lynn's BFF Patty brought us lasagna, fabulous bread, and flowers for the funeral. She also brought bubble wrap. My MIL was a well-known lover of bubble wrap so it was a totally appropriate sound she would giggle at under any circumstances but especially these and something only a best friend would think to do. Thanks Patty!
Sunday MFD and his brother went fishing and Mindy, Sarah and I went to my mother in law's to clean out the fridge and open pantry items. Everything still has to be dealt with so this family will be spending I'd guess the next month or two in some capacity doing that. We cleaned up a bit and I left with the two old dogs at about 7:45. I had packed in a huge rush and simply could not wear the same lounge pants one more night. Not like I could go out and just buy another pair and the main drawback of our house at the shore is no washer/dryer. I got back to Philly, started laundry, and chilled out with the old dogs. 
Weekly food prep: dinner tonight is asparagus, mashed sweet potatoes, and chicken in the air fryer. I have no idea what's ahead. I think we are planning to go back to the shore Wednesday.

I don't even know what we're doing right now. I need to try to envision how the next few weeks are going to play out. This post reads disjointed because my brain is caught between writing about this from the heart as a writer would and trying to process this new reality and map out what I need to do to support my husband the best that I can as him and his siblings do the tough work ahead. I can't do both this morning so I have to just hit post on this and leave the writing for the future to concentrate on the latter. 

That was not how I expected to return to the shore. MFD made sure to talk to our full time neighbors so they didn't think we just all of the sudden decided to buck the governor's request for people to stay in their primary residences and have people stay with us to do the same. They were all great about it. This is when it's good to  have a good relationship with your neighbors so they know you and your intentions and don't think you're an asshole doing whatever the hell you want. Covid turns a hard situation into an impossible situation, to half relocate to a place to deal with the closing out of a life, which still needs to be done regardless. Everything feels like the wrong thing to do. Dealing with someone's death and effectively closing down their life does not end when the service ends. It actually just begins then. It's not easy any time but it's definitely going to be harder for MFD and his siblings and all of us as a family under the auspices of coronaland. Of course made infinitely harder when it leaves you without parents as they are now. Keep them all in the light. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - been down one time, been down two times, I'm never going back again

1.  The middle finger socks in every color Debbie sent for my birthday have come in super handy this week in quarantine.
2. I know we're not going back to normal as we knew it, but it felt so great to get a coffee from a drive thru yesterday and stand around with my BFF Michelle having socially distant coffee.
3. Driving has also helped me a lot. I just get in my car and go for a drive out of my neighborhood every day. I was at the river the other morning. I am perplexed about why people wear masks when they

4. The best thing to do with leftover ham is to put it in homemade mac & cheese. I will never think differently. I thought I had a photo of the amazing mac & cheese I made last night but your imagination will have to suffice.

5. Seeing the sun at the end of the work day means more to me than I ever thought it would.

6. PA republican house and senate members voted this week to reopen the state ahead of scientist and doctor advice because they value money over people. There is no other explanation for voting to do that when no tests are available. Guess what, we all want to get back to some semblance of a new normal. We can't without tests. Ask your federal government where the fucking tests are, all the big beautiful plentiful tests that were promised. Also where is the PPE for all the healthcare workers? Then don't open shit without either one.

7. To be crystal clear, I don't think the stimulus only sent to some people is enough by far - every other country on this planet has reacted to this crisis better than we have and cared for the physical, mental, and financial health BETTER THAN WE HAVE and we are absolutely a negligent shithole country right now thanks to the federal government and that includes democrats who I don't think fought hard enough for the people - but the stimulus check, the additional money in unemployment, the unemployment that is supposed to be coming to's democratic socialism just the same. I'm sorry people did not learn things in school or have forgotten them because Fox News told them to. Also yes, people who do not consider this bungling idiot their president will cash the checks that are not from him even if he insists on putting his rotten fuckup name on them. It's not his money. I'm tired of this shit.

8. Please show me a photo of a time in this country where black people - mostly men- have assembled on the steps of a state capital against officials or government systems and laws made by the same with guns of any type but especially the big ones designed to intimidate on site - and flags that are not this country's (the confederate flag is not visible here, but it was there aplenty) - and been given space to stand for assembly. Given space to stand and not been brutalized by the government and its military and police forces. Show me. Go look for photos associated with the Ferguson protests. Tell me white men with guns are treated the same as black men without. You'd be lying to me and if you believe or spout that you've been lying to yourself.

9. Reminder:

10.'s been bad here

How has your week been?

The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac - check out this live version. Rumours has been in heavy rotation this week
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