Join me for a cup of coffee?

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Hey there, nice to see you! It’s been a minute, huh? What’s new? What’s in your cup? Mine is plain old coffee with almond milk. Not even fancy creamer or sweetener today. Yes, my purple is almost 100% faded out and I’m back to blond. It was a fun experiment to get me through some of the monotony of quarantine, but isn’t feasible or healthy for my hair to keep up.

What did you do to get through the monotony? Did you take on anything new? Tackle the never ending to-do list? Learn a new language or pick up a new hobby? It’s great if you did…but it’s also really fine if you didn’t.

I actually don’t hold judgement on what you did or didn’t do during the last year because it’s not my place to really care. And I don’t…but for the people out there like me, who have a lot of anxiety about what isn’t getting done, learned, or mastered. Who may be upset with themselves because a year later, they feel like nothing got done!

I’ve seen the post too many times. Some variance of “A  year later, my to-do list isn’t any shorter” or “I didn’t get any of those things I thought I’d get done if I just had more time at home.”

What if I suggested that all the things you thought you’d get done while home during 2020? They weren’t ever likely really going to get done. Sure, it’s fine to try new hobbies, but how many of us really had extra time, mental or emotional bandwidth to actually learn something new or get that list of to do things done?

Hear me out.

Many of us spent the first part of 2020 in a state of uncertainty, questioning, confusion, and possibly panic of some sort.  We couldn’t even get toilet paper for crying out loud.

The second part was about adjusting, getting the hang of the new rules and way of doing things. We could get toilet paper, but other random things were M.I.A.

It was done with not only full-time work for many of us but learning a new way of working. Everyone was adjusting to remote learning of students in some way. Even if you didn’t have kids home learning your coworkers, clients, or consultants did. Many people who had to physically leave the house to GO to work every day expected more from those of us who were working from home, because well, you’re home all day, what are you doing? (Truthfully, I think a lot of us who were working from home expected even more from ourselves, too.)

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a whole lot of energy left to do something new. I read a lot. I crafted a lot, but only things I have muscle memory for, I went outside when I could.

So my list of “Things I’d do if I just had more time at home” didn’t happen. It’s okay. I didn’t fail. You didn’t fail. But even if you did “fail”, the time home wasn’t what you thought it was to begin with.

Thinking about the coming year

24597043Last night, Nik and I were sitting on the couch in front of the fire with Mazzy sleeping stretched out between us. (Man for such a not-as-big-dog-as-she-could-have-been, she takes up a lot of space!)

The flames were flickering and Dolly was on Country Christmas Radio (again) but we had fallen into a comfortable silence.

I asked him if he was one to set goals or resolutions for the coming year. He’d never talked about it or shared any with me previously, but I don’t know if I’ve ever asked. They’re kind of a really personal thing that some people don’t talk about with others.

Instead of a list of things he’d like to do or accomplish, he told me that he wanted to do the same thing he sets out for every year: To make the next year easier.

So for 2021, he wants to set things up for an easier 2022.

It’s simple and complicated at the same time, but as an overall concept I like it. We work hard try to make decisions which support the life we want to build, but this is another layer of consideration. I’m also not sure how to implement this one, but maybe he’ll help me figure it out.

I’m still working out what I’d specifically like to focus on for 2021, but this is a really good place to start.

Man, he’s a smart bug.

Join me for a cup of coffee?

164757813 We’re back to full remote learning…and working. Frankly, I’m a little surprised we were able to stay in school as long as we were. Some schools didn’t make it, but we got a full 3 months in!

Also yes, I have dark purple hair today. There’s so much out of our control these days and this was something I could control to make my very routine life these days a little different. And it makes me smile.

My therapist called the other day because I hadn’t been in touch. She was worried I was too overwhelmed to reach out. (Her point is valid. Historically, it is kind of my MO.) Nope, I wasn’t, I just hadn’t realized how much time has passed. The old adage seems even more true in the pandemic. “The days are long, but the years are short.” It seems like just yesterday we were meal planning for NYE 2020! That was a great night of food! Spicy shrooms, chicken scallopini, scallop scallopini, buffalo chicken dip, salad, chicken fried rice, and a bunch of snacks. Sigh, good food. (I’m hungry now.)

Anyway, like everything else, it’s very different this year. I think it’ll just be Nik and I with something yummy for dinner and Mazzy chasing her toys or chewing her stick on the couch. (Not that it’s a bad way to ring in the year, it’s just not what anyone has envisioned. I think many of us wanted to celebrate 2020 being over in a bit way. It’s just not in the cards.)

You know what hasn’t changed? My coffee intake. How about yours? Most days I have regular coffee with almond milk but sometimes I shake it up with some peppermint mocha or sugar cookie in the k-cup. I try to keep it about 2 cups a day, but sometimes it’s more. I know you don’t judge how much java I drink. And yes, I’m drinking water between each coffee!

What have you been up to? I miss our check-ins. Has this past year flown by for you? Or has it plodded along like a 6 yo who doesn’t want to brush her teeth and go to bed?

Coming soon, a post of the good things 2020 brought to us…

Guy friend gratitude

Growing up, as I started to choose my own friends instead of being friends with my parents’ friends’ kids, I tended to lean towards male friends instead of female friends. I had a few core female friends, but as I worked in different places, met people through different experiences, and connected with others, with few exceptions, I tended to stay in touch with the guys.

I often remained friendly, if not friends with guys I briefly dated too. Sometimes the best people aren’t meant to be ours, you know? (Most of them were the “you’re cute/funny/smart/interesting” on both of our parts and a few dates later, it was clearly not a good match.)

Between co-workers, casual dating, and random people I met in the most random places, I have a great set of guy friends. Really, some of the best possible people on this earth.

And now, as we’ve grown-up, spread our wings, and lived some life, I have a simply wonderful set of girl friends because of those guys. Most of the guys I’ve cared about forever and kept close to my heart have wonderful wives and partners who I’ve noticed I’m holding equally close to my heart.

It makes sense really, they’re friends with fabulous me for this long, why wouldn’t the people they’re spending their lives with be equally fabulous?

Good job guys! I appreciate you finding your loves, so I can adore them too…some of them more than you, but you knew that would happen 😉

Sometimes…

Sometimes, I do it right and am worthy of their hugs and love. (My heart explodes with every one.)

Sometimes, I get an email thanking me for the work I do. (My work isn’t essential, but it is important.)

Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of why he thinks I’m pretty. (This is so hard.)

Sometimes, I can really be there when someone needs my help. (Other times, I’m really a sounding board or an outlet.)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m as good and wonderful as people (and Mazzy) think I am. (Not usually, big, big, big imposter syndrome going on here.)

And sometimes, I have to remind myself that anxiety and depression lie and that even my phoning it in on most of my “stuff” is better than some people’s best.

I’m not better than anyone else, but damn it I try like hell to do my best even if today’s best isn’t as good as yesterday’s or last week’s. (I’m really not, regardless of what people may think. What I am is wired differently and struggle with my own shit that renders me less than able to accept less than 100%.)

Made it Monday – Back to the office

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It was hot. I’m in the shade. I can see the pool.

After almost 3 months of almost exclusively working from home, I’m back in the office.

We’re only in part time, on a rotating schedule for the time being and some people are home indefinitely.

Technically this is my fourth Monday back.

It’s weird. It’s fine. It is what it is.

It’s sort of a ghost town around here. Like the days you come into the office in a storm or before a holiday weekend. I don’t really see anyone most days, but that’s pretty par for the course around here. I don’t mind, really, I’ve kept in touch with the people I’ve wanted to  while we were out. It’s pretty much the same people I talk to in the before times.

One of the things that is different from the before times is that we have to wear our masks when we’re in public areas of the building.

There are a couple of things that are pretty okay about being back in the office. First, it’s nice to be in the Albany area a couple of days a week to run errands, have lunch, and go grocery shopping. Second, I can print out my work and research on the fast printers with the office’s ink, not my own!

Other than that, it’s not much different from working at home. I was praised for being so adaptable, but really? Where I physically sit for my work doesn’t matter.

Sometimes it’s even by the pool.

Kindergarten school work will NOT break me! Right?

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For the record, I can spell “Bark”.

We’re in the home stretch of crisis schooling. Cuomo willing, we’re inside a week! We got this!(?)

For the most part, it’s fine. It has been a delicate balance of work, school, work, school, late nights, some early mornings etc.

N is largely self sufficient with her classes and work and only has the occasional question. E needs a lot of support. She can do everything just fine, but she can’t read the lessons or instructions on a paper so…

Yeah.

Please let me start by saying, I adore E’s teacher. She is supportive, flexible, kind, and funny. She clearly loves her kiddos and her job. She’s young, but is a great teacher and was sort of the only thing E liked about kindergarten most days other than being bossy and coloring. She has a lot of calm energy about her and the communication was pretty good from what I could see. I know a bunch of the kids in the class from and she had her hands full!

All of the wonderful things I will say about her aside, I don’t know if I’ve ever been as let down by a teacher as I was by E’s on Thursday morning. Tuesday, she said that the writing assignment for the day was the last one! Thursday, there was another one!

Ga! My face fell. My heart hurt. I may have thought about crying, but I wasn’t going to let this break me. Okay, maybe it broke me just a little.

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By the way, we LOVE Jack Hartmann

I’ve done a lot of really hard things. Things I didn’t think I could do, things I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off, things people didn’t believe in me about, but to say that E’s writing assignments challenged me in ways I didn’t know I could be stretched is an understatement.

There’s a few things I’m sure played into this. First of all, kindergarteners cannot spell. Nor can I. So that was, um, fun.

Also, last week, we discovered E likely needs glasses. If so, it’s not helping things and might explain a lot about her writing and reading dislikes.

E has truly wonderful stories rattling around in her head and a gift for telling them. I’m trying to cut a deal with her to draw the pictures and tell me the stories on video and I’ll do the typing.

She said, “We’ll see.”

Stay tuned.

 

Join me for a cup of coffee?

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My glasses aren’t really that tilted.
At least I don’t think they are?
Anyway, I needed this cup to remind myself that I can do hard things.
Especially now.

Thanks for meeting me today! Since I can’t even pretend we’re meeting in person, how is it where you are?

It’s cold and dreary here so there’s nothing like a warm beverage to feel a little cozy. And a space heater.

Days like these make me long for an overstuffed chair with a book, a cozy blanket, and a hot mug of something.

Today it’s coffee. Lately it’s been all coffee, all day with water mixed in for good measure.

Right now, I have some regular coffee in my cup with some almond creamer, but if I make another one I might have some tea. We’ll see how the day goes. 

How have you been? Really. This whole situation is so messed up, but we’re still making the best of it.

Day by day. Sometimes hour by hour.

Nik has finished the chicken coop which he built in the old barn. Hopefully the kids will paint it this weekend so it can be hosed down when needed. I’m thinking of making labels for the chickens’ roosts. Even if they don’t use them, I think it’ll be cute . They’re going to be moved in there soon. They’re getting so big.

(I still don’t want much to do with them, but they’re sort of cute, I guess.)

Mazzy is a love. A total jerk sometimes, but a love mostly. For her 6 month birthday, we got to have x-rays done of her digestive track because she got ahold of my pin cushion. (She was fine.) Then Sunday night she got ahold of something that made her sick for hours on Monday. So much doggie vomit. Poor girl didn’t know what was going on with her and she was so confused. Eventually, she fell asleep on my lap watching Criminal Minds. (She’s been fine since.)

And the kids are doing well. They’ve adjusted mostly to the new normal of half the week at their moms, half the week here during the day. We have a schedule that’s working for us in our home and we’re all learning a lot. (Academically and otherwise!)

So far, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I was absolutely correct in my choice not to be a primary school teacher, but middle school is alright. Also, that I do better working from home many days than I thought I would.

What have you learned lately?

This is a little all over the place, but I’m more all over the place than normal.

ExhaustedNo, that’s not a black eye there, that’s allergies and mental exhaustion. Yay super pale skin that shows everything.

Who’s with me on the mental exhaustion? I thought I was doing pretty well with everything, considered, but I was talking to my super fabulous coworker about how messed up my dreams are and how it’s jacking up my sleep in weird ways.

I mean I had one the other night about how someone gave me a horse with a broken hoof and I wasn’t allowed to give the horse away to someone who knew what they were doing. I had to take care of it and heal it. I kept misplacing the horse, which made it worse. I felt like a terrible person the whole time because not only did I not really want the horse, I couldn’t even take care of it. I didn’t even know the person who gave it to me either!

I’m sure there’s all sorts of symbolism to unpack in that little gem, but I’m not particularly in the mood to figure it out right now.

After getting a chuckle about my dream about the horse, my super fabulous coworker asked if I was feeling stressed. No, not more than usual actually. But then I realized that while I might be okay awake or THINK I’m okay awake, clearly my subconscious has other ideas.

Jerk subconscious.

I have a few dreams like that many nights. They’re not the kind of nightmares you wake up screaming from, but the kind that sit with you for a long time and make you feel bad, sad, confused, or hurt. When they don’t make you feel icky, they leave you with a feeling of “What the hell just happened?”

Anyway, I’m working on the mental exhaustion and underlying stress, feeling trapped at home, and all the other less than wonderful feelings right now. I’m doing my part so the front line has a smidge of an easier time with theirs. I’m trying to focus on the stuff I need to get done, but focus is even harder than usual.

I’ve done some etsy shopping to support others, bid on a piece of art a friend was selling (and it’s coming to live with me), watched some online music shows from friends, walk a lot with Mazzy, bake, and am trying to do creative things.

I’ve been trying to keep in touch with friends, and other things I’m told are good for me – like squats and planks. Sometimes I do interpretive dance to the song playing. 
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Some days are better than others, but I just keep reminding myself that I’m doing my part. I’m doing my part. I’m doing my part.

I know I’m incredibly lucky to be working where I am, to have some reserves, talent, and outlets.

I also have some things in the works which will make me smile more. A surprise flower bed for E. (Rainbow gladiolas that likely won’t be in ROYGBV order, but I think she’ll like them. I’m going to love them.) We’re working on getting the garden started and the chicken coop painted with names for the chickens. We have to start some new seedlings for some of the plants, it’s been cold and they aren’t doing as well. Frankly, some of them are kaput.

(By the way, I’ve made some super cute markers for the garden! I can’t wait for my laminator to get here to put them out. I do a post about the things I’ve been making soon.)

Hopefully, we’ll be getting a swing for the front porch and the flowers will come in, the chicks will produce eggs, and the garden will be bountiful giving me lots of other things to focus on.

If I have to work and be home all summer, it’s going to be as lovely, peaceful, and happy as I can make it. Damn it.

How are you doing? Any crazy dreams? How are your stress levels? What are you doing to stay sane?

 

Checking in.

Chickens
Oh, we got chickens too. G-d help me.

Well. Hi there.

Life is different now. I think you know that though? I’ll do a recap of March in the next few days, so let’s skip the recap part.

I know it’s late, but I haven’t felt like putting fingers to keys lately.

‘Rona, you’ve done us dirty.

Historically it seems like it’s time for something like this to happen, but we know better about these things so we should do better.

It would be helpful if people would do what they’re supposed to and stay home (for the most part) I get that it’s not fully realistic, but unless you HAVE to go somewhere? Please don’t!

The ironic part about my plea? I’m pretty sure anyone reading this is abiding by the “April distance brings May existence” motto.

(Thanks dude from fb who posted it first.)

You’re not the ones who need to hear it the most.

How much distance is needed though? There was a fb post about people not going for drives. But being on nature trails is okay? Go for the drive. Stay in the car.

I think the bigger problem is the hording, the government using human lives for political gain etc. That’s just yucky. Then again, it’s always felt yucky.

But I see a lot of good too. People helping, sharing, and making what needs to be made.

Maybe that’s why I’m okay. Or I was when I started this post 10 days ago. Stuff has changed in 10 days. I’m still okay, but it’s a weird okay.

Yesterday was harder than today, but today was more lonely. Some days are really hard. Some days less so.  But hey, that’s my usual, right? It just seems lower on the lows lately. Different (sometimes odd) things are triggering.

The loneliness is real.

I’m glad most of my friends are location independent, but it’s just not the same. There’s no hugs, no impromptu dinner with friends you run into at the pizza place – there’s barely a pizza place. There’s no scheduling dinner dates to sit and chat for hours. Yoga is closed and may not reopen at all…but I’m healthy and working so that’s good.

Most days I just feel like I’m going a little batty not being able to pop out to the store or meet friends for sushi, but we’ll have our time. Hopefully.

I’ve been working from home for 5 weeks now and it’s going decently well. I like it and I’m not as distracted as I thought I’d be. I also have the added bonus of better snacks and music than at the office and roughly three hours of my life back every day most days.

That part has been really nice.

I’m incredibly blessed in the job department currently. I got home from FL, went to the office, helped a couple of people get their remote stuff set up, and haven’t been back since. That was March 18th. Tomorrow is a full month that I’ve been home. There have been some bumps in that road, but over all, it’s been good.

I don’t know where I was going with this post other than to say that I’m okay. I’m keeping my world as normal as I can, helping with the kids half of the week, getting showered and dressed every day (you can see my outfits and coffee mug of the day in my Instagram Stories), and driving Nik nuts.

See? Pretty normal other than having to wear a mask when I leave the house and not going anywhere, ever.