3-fer Thursdays

Speed Trap

Well.

I ended up taking an unanticipated blog-break last week. Because . . . last week? It was A LOT.
Just . . . A LOT.
(Any way you slice it.)

I feel like I've been holding my breath for a really, really long time now. I keep thinking that I'll be able to (finally) let it out again. But, no. Still holding it.

I had a blog post nearly ready for last Thursday, but my heart just wasn't in it. So here it is today. . . a Three-on-Thursday on a Monday.

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Many, many years ago, Tom and I took the kids on an Epic Family Vacacation Through the American West, with an ultimate destination of Bozeman, Montana (where Tom had a conference to attend). We hit as many National Parks and Memorials as we could along the way, enjoying the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Devil's Tower and Bighorn Canyon. (We won't talk about one kid pushing the other kid into the Lamar River in Yellowstone. Or how tempted we were to drive away from a raging kid in the parking lot at Devil's Tower.) (Long family car trips. What can I say? ) We have a lot of fun(ny) family memories. And that's what it's all about, right? Anyway. When we finally drove into Montana, we were greeted by a speed limit sign that looked a lot like the one in the photo above.

Reasonable and prudent.

I thought this would be a good way to continue . . . my yoga post from last Monday. Because after I wrote that post - and inspired a lot of you to give yoga a try - I had conversations with several of you that made me realize I maybe should take that yoga post . . . a little bit further. So, in the spirit of Three on Thursday, here are three more thoughts about . . . yoga. . . and watching for speed traps . . . on a Monday. (Please bear with me here.)

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  1. Be Reasonable and Prudent about developing your yoga practice! There are many benefits to doing yoga. So many. And you can reap these benefits . . . by establishing a regular and consistent yoga practice. Now, what "regular and consistent" means is totally up to each of us individually. Kind of like that "reasonable and prudent" speed limit sign we encountered in Montana. Sure, Adriene touts doing yoga-every-day, and she comes up with a nicely packaged 30-day program each month so it's possible. BUT . . . that doesn't mean we need to DO yoga every day. Last Monday, I explained that yoga has made a huge difference for me as I deal with rheumatoid arthritis. And - until quite recently - I only did yoga once a week! My regular and consistent yoga practice . . . had me going to a studio yoga class once a week, every week -- for years. 

    So if doing yoga every day doesn't work for you -- because you already have a fitness program and you're just looking to add a bit of yoga to it, for example, or because you're working or have kids at home (or both!) and can't fit an every-day ANYTHING into your life, or because your body needs time to recover after a yoga practice - then be . . . "reasonable and prudent" about what's "regular and consistent." Maybe your 30-day program takes 30 weeks of once-a-week yoga. That's just fine. You'll still get the benefits -- if you keep practicing, regularly and consistently. It is absolutely not necessary to do yoga every day to get the benefits of yoga! (And it's absolutely okay to ignore the words "30 day" before any "challenge.") (What is that about, anyway?) (But I digress.)

  2. Start at the beginning! Although Adriene claims that this particular new 30-day program is designed for anyone, I have a feeling that if you've never tried yoga before, well . . . it might seem to be too much. Maybe a little intimidating. Perhaps trying yoga at a slower pace might give you the confidence you need to stick with a regular and consistent practice. Here are some links to Adriene's beginner level classes that might be worth checking out:

    Yoga for Beginners - Here are six classes from Adriene that move at a slower pace, provide beginner-level instruction, and demonstrate more modifications for poses (and ways to ease into them) than the current 30-day program does.

    Foundations of Yoga - Adriene has also done a series of shorter videos, each featuring the "foundations" of various yoga postures. This is a great series if you want more specific instruction in some of the basic yoga poses (or even some of the more advanced poses). It's ideal for when you're trying to figure out just what you're "supposed to be" doing to get yourself into all these poses.

  3. Modify! Although Adriene does talk about modifications in this new 30-day yoga series, she doesn't demonstrate them quite as much as I hoped she might. Here is my modification advice for you:

    First, don't force anything! Only bend or reach or twist as far as it's comfortable for you to do. (If you keep up with a regular and consistent practice, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be bending or reaching or twisting further.)

    Second, keep a small pillow or rolled up towel nearby and use it to . . . prop whatever seems to need propping. And keep a dining room chair nearby to hold onto whenever you feel wobbly or out of balance. There is no "cheating" in yoga -- only supporting. Meet yourself where you are - and make good use of your props. (Again, as you do yoga regularly and consistently, you'll notice yourself reaching for props less often.)

    Third, try everything -- but rest when you need to. You can pause the video, or you can just let it continue on while you rest until you're ready to jump back in. It's not "cheating." It's meeting yourself where you are. And that's what yoga is all about.

So, if you tried the yoga thing last week and you were finding it a little bit too much for right now - either schedule-wise or body-wise, maybe you'll consider trying it again. Just a little slower.

Like . . . at whatever speed seems reasonable and prudent to you!

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And here's to a good, safe, and non-eventful week for all of us.
(I'd really like to exhale, y'know?)


In The Blink of An Eye

Like many of you, last week we had a week-long stretch of unbelievably wonderful fall days here in my corner of the world. Just day after day of blue skies, warm temperatures, and open windows . . . unheard of in November in Michigan.

Tom and I took full advantage of this weather by taking care of some lingering outside chores, taking the dogs on neighborhood walks (where they enjoyed crunching through the leaves gathering at the curbs), and . . . sitting out each night for drinks-on-the-patio.

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Such a glorious weather-week.

And . . . over in the blink of an eye!

On Tuesday night, a cold front moved through. And now? November is back, and all the remaining leaves dropped from the trees in one night. So today, seeing that it's a Three-On-Thursday kind of day, I thought I'd share three wonderful colors-of-fall in my garden - now gone, sadly. But wonderful while they lasted!

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Until next year, fabulous garden color!

"In the garden, Autum is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."
            --- Rose G. Kinsley, The Autumn Garden, 1905

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Be sure to hop on over to Carole's today for more Three on Thursday posts.

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And do let me know in the comments if you'd like to join us for our first ever Read With Us Zoom meet-up to discuss The Women of Brewster Place -- Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00 pm Eastern Time. (You can also send me an email; address in the sidebar.)

 


Fall: It's Not So Bad

Every year, I whine and moan over summer ending. I hold on to the summer-feeling for as long as I can. (I'm still wearing flip flops most days. And I think a warm, wool sweater looks great with cut-off shorts.) (Don't you?)

But, eventually . . . I give in.

And then I remember how much I love fall!

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I love watching the colors change.

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I love sitting out on the patio . . . with Mr. Heater (*) and a glass of wine, covered up with a wool throw and reveling in the "fall" of it.

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I love finding . . .  the unexpected . . . along familiar paths.

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Fall . . . is pretty great.
I'm not even missing summer anymore.
(And . . . any day now . . . I'll break out the socks.)

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Head over to Carole's today for more Three on Thursday posts.

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(*) The Story of Mr. Heater: A Special Bonus

Several years ago, I wanted to get a heater for our patio so we could extend the outdoor season and stay warm while enjoying our evening "cocktail hour" on the patio. I, of course, had one of those rather elegant tower-style heaters in mind. Y'know . . . the ones you see at outdoor restaurants or on the more put-together home decks and patios. Tom was quick to agree that a patio heater was a great idea -- and he volunteered to pick one up for me when he went to Lowe's.

He came home with . . . Mr. Heater.

NOT AT ALL what I had in mind. Mr. Heater . . . is designed for hunting camps, ice fishing shacks, pick-up pond hockey games. Absolutely functional. Totally portable. All you need is a propane tank! He keeps things toasty, for sure.

But . . . not the elegant tower-style patio heater I had in mind!

Several years later, Mr. Heater still accompanies us out on the patio (spring and fall). At this point, friends and family all know Mr. Heater. It's a good story. We get a lot of laughs. And Mr. Heater is a perfect example of how Tom (Mr. Function) and I (Ms. Form) . . . complement . . . each other. Every year, I plan to replace Mr. Heater with that elegant tower-style patio heater I originally wanted. And then I don't. 

Because Mr. Heater? Well . . . he's part of the family now.
(Besides, outdoor patio heaters are the new toilet paper when it comes to pandemic must-have items this fall.)

 

 


Adapting: A Three on Thursday Story

It's been almost 6 months now since I set foot in my gym. On March 12, I went in for a strength training session with my trainer, Jeremy. The gym was eerily empty. The big TVs were all tuned in to the lead-up to the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament -- where the final pre-tourney games were being played with no fans in the seats. It was weird and surreal. My gym, which is affiliated with a hospital, was already quite geared up for the coming storm: floor staff were constantly walking around spraying and cleaning all the equipment, hand sanitizer stations were everywhere, the water fountains were closed, there were signs all over the gym with various warnings about hand washing. (No one wore masks then. Not yet.) The next day? CLOSED!

And you know what? Here in Michigan, the gyms are still closed! 

What's a committed "gym-rat" to do?

In the Before Times, I went to the gym nearly every day. I took cardio classes several times a week. And spinning. I did strength training classes, worked with a personal trainer, and sometimes did a kinda-sorta-yoga-ish kind of class there. I had gym-pals. I liked the instructors and my trainer. I thrived on the energy and enthusiasm and motivation of my gym!

I couldn't imagine . . . life without it.

And yet. Here I am. Six months later . . . living without it, and not missing it at all!

Really, this is one of the biggest shockers of Pandemic Times for me. Because I never worked out at home. Never. I went to the gym. Period. And it took several weeks of safer-at-home living before I adapted.

It took a few (painful and grieving) weeks, but I did adapt much quicker than I expected to. At first, my gym tried online workouts, but they were awkward and filmed-at-home and . . . not really very good (although I appreciated their attempt). When my gym started offering outside classes and set up (essentially) an entire gym outside this summer, I didn't even consider going back.

I'm still working out all the time. I've just shifted my thinking -- and my basement floorplan (!) -- to accomodate working out at home. What have I done?

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1 -- We invested in home fitness equipment. Yep. We're now Peloton People. (Tom uses it, too.) I love the Peloton. It provides a great cardio workout -- right in my own little home-gym in the basement. Yep. It's pricey. But, for me, it's worth it because I use it all the time, and it enables me to work out as hard as I did in the gym. (Plus . . . I'm not paying high gym fees anymore.) We also purchased a home-TRX system, a "body tower" (for pull-ups and dips), more dumbbells, and some REALLY heavy kettlebells (for Tom). We're looking into adding a rowing machine. (Because winter will be long . . . )

2 -- I've started doing online workouts. I've already explained about my now-daily yoga sessions with Adriene, but I'm also using the Peloton app for strength training. (There are hundreds upon hundreds of non-bike class choices on Peloton. You don't need a bike to purchase the monthly classes/app.) I'm surprised by how much I like working out this way, although I do miss the energy of the gym.

3 -- I walk. I mean, I used to walk the dogs in a more casual, focus-on-the-dogs way. But now? I WALK. I walk and I walk and I walk. JoJo and I have logged hundreds of miles since the Pandemic Times began. JoJo has never been in better shape!

So. I've adapted. I actually like being able to work out on my own schedule. That's a very nice benefit to working out on your own. Of course, that also means I need to be completely self-motivated. Would I prefer the gym? Absolutely -- if it weren't Pandemic Times. Might I return someday? Maybe. We'll see how things go.

For now, I'm happy. Sweating on my own in my basement!

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How about YOU? Are you finding it harder or easier to work out these days? Have you made adjustments to your fitness routine? What's working (or not) for you? Share your tips and tricks (or woes and frustrations) -- and I'll share them here in future posts!

Also -- stay tuned as I check back in with some of the people I've highlighed in fitness posts in the past. I'm interested in seeing what kind of changes they've made in their workout regimens 6 months into the Pandemic Times.

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Be sure to check out more Three on Thursday posts over at Carole's today!

 


Shake Things Up Once In A While

We have a little patio right off the kitchen at our house. In the summertime, it's a true extension of our house; our outoor living room.

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(Here's Jenny, giving you a warm welcome earlier this summer.) It's comfortable and easy and there are patio lights hanging for evenings. Tom's grill is out there; my herb garden borders one side of the patio, and there is a garden path on the other side leading to a large garden bed.  Because it's on the east side of our house, it's shady in the afternoon and evening, and - somehow - always comfortable, even on the hottest days. Tom and I meet there every evening for a drink on the patio.

But the other night? We shook things up!

You see . . . we have another patio in our garden. It's in a more remote corner, and far from the kitchen (although easily accessible through a slider in our basement). We call it "Tom's garden" -- because Tom built the brick patio and put in a small retaining wall to make the space happen in the first place.

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It's kind of a ... secret garden.
Secluded and private -- and cool and shady, there under the "umbrella" of a golden redbud tree.

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Earlier this week, we decided do something different . . . to meet in "Tom's garden" for drinks instead of on the patio. It was so nice back there. Such a treat to shake things up -- just a little bit.

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(Yeah. Tom built a fire pit. But we don't really use it.) (Long story.)

Sitting there, relaxing, we realized we were seeing our yard from a whole different perspective. It got me thinking about . . . what we do out of habit and routine. And how a shift of location - even just a slight shift - can help you see things in whole new ways.

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Like . . . I had no idea you could see our tri-color beech tree from that back patio! Such a lovely surprise in the very early evening light.

Anyway. This is a long and rather drawn out way to say that -- especially these days - it's important to shake things up however we can. Use my patio story as a reminder to . . . 

  • break out of your daily patterns and habits
  • try something just slightly different: move to a different room -- or chair or corner
  • see things from a new angle

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Give it a try! Shake things up!

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(Can this really loose ramble of a post qualify as a Three on Thursday post? Maybe?) Be sure to check out Carole's blog today for more Three on Thursday fun.

 

 

 


Walking In My Neighborhood: A Few Oddities

It's been another week of walking here.  JoJo and I have logged another 25 miles or so.  Same streets (although our routes do vary by mood and distance).  I'm trying to approach my routes with "fresh eyes" every day, which is actually pretty easy right now -- with spring finally unfolding here.  We've got trees blooming and leaves popping and landscape projects going on all over the place.

Last Thursday, I shared three little libraries I see on my neighborhood walks with JoJo.  This week, I decided to share three other things I see on my walks:  Neighborhood Oddities!  You know . . . things you don't really expect to see in a typical, suburban kind of neighborhood.  

Like . . . well.  We have a barn!

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Yep.  We have a big old barn just down the block from my house.  We walk or drive past it every time we leave or return back home.  It's pretty unusual, actually, sitting there among all the neighborhood houses.  But it's also kind of cool.  Apparently, my neighborhood used to be a farm -- I think an orchard of some type.  When the farmer sold the land to developers, he got to keep his barn.  (And now we all have a cool background for family photos and senior pictures, etc.)

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We also have tennis courts!  But not public tennis courts. . . 

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(It is so much harder than I thought it would be to take decent photos of tennis courts. . . )

There are two houses quite nearby that have their own, private tennis courts.  Full size.  Fenced.  Well maintained.  But . . . in the nearly 17 years that we've lived here, I've never seen anyone actually playing on either of these courts.

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(This is the other court, just down the block from the first one.)  (Sadly, with an equally bad photograph.)

Maybe there were tennis-playing kids in these houses at one point?  I don't know.  All I know is that we have two tennis courts that are completely unused just down the street.   (I did notice yesterday that one of the courts has its net up now.  I'll be on the watch for any volleys.)

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And . . . we have a mega church!

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My kids always called this architectural oddity "Fort God."  It used to be a big Episcopal church -- I believe it was a "headquarters" or something.  But the church needed to sell the property and building, and a mega church bought it -- and then built that huge industrial-looking portion of the building to the right of the original "Fort God."  They also paved that giant parking lot.  It's not so bad to have a mega church as a neighbor (especially because they agreed to divert all traffic AWAY from our neighborhood streets -- and they hire local police to manage their traffic every Sunday), but . . . the grounds used to be very beautiful and park-like when the Episcopal church owned the property.  It was like having a neighborhood park, actually, as the Episcopal church shared their grounds (which included a wonderful labyrinth I used to walk).  That all changed with the mega church, though.  It's now a big parking lot -- and it's gated. (As in KEEP OUT.)

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How about you?  Any oddities in YOUR neighborhood?

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Hop on over to Carole's today for more Three on Thursday post.

 


Walking In My Neighborhood: The Little Libraries

JoJo and I go walking in my neighborhood every day.*  We don't have a destination in mind.  We just head out along the quiet streets and see where our mood takes us.  The fresh air is a treat, and it feels so good to get out of the house and move around.

So far, since I started keeping track on March 13, JoJo and I have clocked 125 miles together!

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And, yeah.  It gets a little boring . . . walking the same streets, day after day (after day after day).  I usually listen to a book or a podcast while we walk, which helps make the miles go faster.  And it's fun to watch spring unfolding in the neighborhood.  Walking these familiar streets also gives me a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness and pay more attention to the things I see all the time.

For example, I discovered earlier this week that we have THREE Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood.  I've known about two of them for a long time now (because I pass them often on my more "regular" routes), but on Monday we took a path I don't usually follow . . . and discovered another!

I always wanted to have a Little Library of my own.  My house is on a corner, and we get a fair amount of pedestrian traffic - especially when school is in session.  A few years ago, I even looked into getting one set up -- downloaded some plans to have my dad help me build one and everything.  But before I could get started . . . a neighbor just down the block put up this one:

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It's a cute one -- and the bench is a great addition (although I've never noticed anyone sitting on it).  The location is kind of out of the way, and doesn't get as much traffic as my corner, but oh well.  They beat me to the punch!

A few blocks away, there's this very creative and well-used Little Library:

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This Little Library is in a PERFECT location (much better than mine would have been).  It's on a corner on the main road into our neighborhood, and is right on the way to the neighborhood elementary school.  I (used to) see kids stopping on their way to and from school all the time to switch out books.  This one changes over quickly -- and has puzzles and games in addition to books.  Since the stay-at-home order, there is also a neighborhood food swap going on here.  (At Christmas time, this Little Library was all decked out with lights and greens.  It was so cute!)

So those were the 2 Little Libraries I already knew about.  The other day, I changed my route and walked around the neighborhood elementary school and found another one -- right there on the school yard:

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How fun is that?!!  Little Libraries everywhere!

How about you?  Do you have any Little Libraries nearby?  And have you ever thought about creating one of your own?

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Be sure to stop in at Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts!

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* Jenny is not completely left out of the dog-walking fun!  Now 13, Jenny can't really manage much of a walk anymore.  She's deaf and (we're pretty sure) blind in at least one eye and she moves pretty slowly these days -- but she still wants to come walking with us.  Tom takes her on a leisurely walk around the block every day (we start out all together, and then JoJo and I veer off on our own) and Jenny LOVES it.  At first, she could barely make it a few houses down the road before Tom had to take her back home, but now she's making it all around the block and getting stronger all the time.  (See?  Exercise IS really good -- even for old folks!)

 


Traffic is Light

I'm trying not to whine these days. I'm trying really, really hard to look for joy. To maintain my optimism. To be cheer-filled and hopeful.

But. Ugh. It's so hard some days.

(Especially when you get an attack of diverticulitis in the middle of a global pandemic and have to take a 10-day course of TWO antibiotics and can't have even a sip of alcohol for the duration.) (Like . . . not a drop.)

So today?  I'm just gonna whine.  

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Here are three things I miss the most while self-isolating:

1 - My car.  This one surprises me.  But last weekend, I got into my car for the first time in almost two weeks to deliver some groceries to my Dad (I can't visit, but I can leave a grocery delivery).  I got in my car, checked to make sure I had my disinfecting wipes handy, buckled myself in, pressed the START button -- and cried.  I guess it's not my car that I miss so much, but the freedom it represents.  And how casually I used to just . . . hop in.  And take off for . . . anywhere.  I really, really miss that!

2 - The gym.  This one does not surprise me.  I'm working out every day here at home.  We have a little gym set up in our basement, and I go on long walks with JoJo every day, and thank-you-Adrienne for your yoga videos . . . but it's just not the same.  I miss the equipment and the energy and the discipline that comes with my gym. My phone still reminds me of my gym classes - "traffic is light" (no kidding) - which makes it worse.  I suppose I should just remove all those reminders. But I'm not quite ready to let go. (Sigh.)

3 - My art classes.  This one doesn't surprise me, either.  I don't NEED to have a class to be able to "art" -- and I have space all set up here at home to draw and paint and dabble to my heart's content.  But I miss the camaraderie of my classmate and friends.  And the structure of going to class and doing the "homework."  And I really miss the inspiration of my teacher's tutorials and assignments -- and the work everyone else is doing.  And you know what else?  I haven't painted a thing since my last art class.

(I'd include my local library, too . . . except I haven't missed it yet.  I'm still working through the stack of books I picked up the day before it closed. This might be the only time I've been happy about having all my "holds" become available at the same time.)

How about YOU?  What are you missing most right about now?

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Note: I almost didn't share this post today.  I thought long and hard about just trashing it . . . because I know the things on my list - and probably the things on many of your lists, too - are minor inconveniences in the life of a highly privileged person lucky enough to be self-isolating at home during the pandemic. I know there are people all over the world missing so very much more than trite things like their car, their gym, and their art classes right now.

But in the end, I decided to hit "publish" anyway.  I see this blog as another way for me to journal -- to capture and remember what the days are like for me.  And today?  This is where I am. 

In upcoming days, I'm planning to talk a lot more about comparative suffering (something I really learned about while going through cancer treatment), and also suggest a few ways we might be able to help others who are suffering through this pandemic without resources.

So.
Let's just take a breath, support each other (wherever we are) . . .  and collectively whine together!  


Out of the Fog

I don't know about you, but I have been living in (what I've taken to calling) my "pandemic trance."  

Just kind of . . . almost floating . . . through my days.  
Feeling disconnected.  
Going through the motions.  
Not much focus.  
(Concentration?  What concentration?)  
Nothing that I thought would interest me right now interests me right now.

(I'm sure this is grief.)  
(I'll write about that another day.)  

Time seems to have folded, somehow.  I always used to feel that the saying "the days are long but the years are short" resonated perfectly with my perception of time.  Now, that seems completely upside down!  My days fly by, but the weeks just creep along!

Yesterday, Tom reminded me that we've only been at this social distancing/self-isolation thing . . . for two weeks!  It feels like so much longer than two weeks.  And yet, my days - filled with nothing much, really - are zooming past.  Flying by, really.  So. Weird.  So very weird.

Anyway.

I'm ready to come out of my "pandemic trance." 

I'm sick of living this way.  (I'm talking about what's going on in my head; not the social distancing thing.  I'm In It To Win It when it comes to the social distancing.)  I need to take charge of my life again.  I need to fight my way out of the fog.

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So yesterday I started looking at "tools" that might help me plan my days and structure my time in more productive ways.

First, I reminded myself of Elise Joy's 3-simple-things method.  It's not complicated - basically coming up with 3 simple things you want to do each day.  (And I mean SIMPLE things - unload the dishwasher, put away the laundry, make dinner.  That kind of simple.)  I used to do my own version of this when Erin was a newborn.  And again when I was in chemo.  It works -- because it helps you create a "normal" structure in days that no longer seem "normal" or structured.  It helps you get the little things done . . . which may lead to getting the bigger things done.

Next, I looked for some bigger-and-bolder tools for de-fogging my brain and (maybe) becoming a productive human again.  

I found this:  The Sequester Checklist from Black Cardigan Edit.  It's a daily planner page specifically designed to help users find forward movement in these challenging times.  It's definitely more . . . laid out and prescriptive than what I'd usually go in for, but I think it might really be a helpful tool for me right now.

And I also found this:  A "daily page" format from artist Nicole J. Georges.  (If you follow the link, it will take you to the artist's Patreon page.  You'll need to scroll down to the heading "Recent Posts by Nicole J. Georges" and click on the drawing, then click on the side arrow for page 2.  Kinda complicated, but worth it.)  If you don't want to follow the link, her illustrated "daily page" has the following sections:

  • 5 things I'm grateful for
  • What is out of my control today
  • What is in my control today
  • What will I do for my body today
  • How will I connect with other humans
  • Can I help someone or be of service today? How?
  • What 3 songs will you listen to today?
  • Draw a quiet time.
  • Free square (basically, anything else you'd like to say)

I like the planning/journaling combo in Nicole's "daily page."  It's a little more ... free-flowing, and I think it could work for me.

So.

There are 3 things (see what I did there?) that I think might help me . . . find a way out of my fog.  Maybe . . . they'll help you, too?

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Be sure to hop over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts today.  AND . . . make sure to visit Bonny, too -- because she is collecting happiness!

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And from the Look for JOY desk today . . . 

Be sure to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium!  The actual aquarium is closed, of course, but you can treat yourself to their Live Cams.  Jellyfish!  Rolling ocean waves!  OTTERS!