It’s the first Friday in June – wow!
Memorial Day passed without the Holiday ~ no parades or BBQs, somber or otherwise. Lock-downs continue, with “social distancing,” face masks and the like. I’m in Michigan where businesses are just now beginning to re-open but haircuts are banned (you can’t make this up).
Here are 5 randoms from my world view ~
1 ) Daily walks – what started in winter has continued and daily walks have saved my sanity. I get away from the laptop to admire landscapes, pets and flowers while enjoying podcasts as I meander the neighborhood.
2 ) Lifelong learning ~ In addition to podcast learning and regular reading, another AHA lesson of late has been realizing AGAIN how much I love being home and how compatible Hubbs and I are. We have our little rhythm going; part of the day is spent together, part not, and we like and need both the connection and the time apart. I can’t imagine what this “stay at home” time would have been like had I been sheltered in place” with someone other than him. 🙂
3 ) Ch-ch-changes I feel my body changing, adapting to and craving daily exercise. My FitBit registers the “jump” in activity, from 5-6K/daily steps to 12-13K daily. On rainy days I use my rebounder inside. As a result, no “Quarantine 15” for me – actually, the reverse – I’ve lost lbs & inches, some due to exercise but most due to intermittent fasting, otherwise known as “time-restricted eating.” No longer noshing throughout the day, I drink black coffee/water in the morning, open my “eating window” when my body signals that it’s hungry, usually somewhere around 12:30 -2pm. Later, I enjoy dinner, listening for the “sigh” (your bodies’ signal it’s satiated) and stop, “closing” my eating window around 7-8pm. Since I give my body a daily break from constantly digesting, fasting is healing and restorative. Think of it as letting the cleaning lady in to do the heavy lifting for you – she clears the junk away ~ As a result my clothes are bigger, I’m smaller, and my eyes, skin & hair are brighter.
I feel ah-mazing! The best part? It’s. Free. 😀
4 ) Dogs & cats ~ 76 days in and I’ve yet to see one dog unhappy with the “stay home/stay safe” order. I see cats in sunny windows; everyone is adapting. Below is my pal, Chief, a favorite from my walking route:
5 ) In Summary ~ the first half of 2020 brought us Russia-Gate, impeachment attempts, COVID-19, Murder Hornets, Civil Unrest & Riots ~ this about sums it up:
So, how’re you doing?
Crazy times we’re in ~ and that’s the understatement of the year! New buzz words pepper our vocabulary ~
- Mitigate spread
- Prepare, prepare , prepare
COVID-19. Pandemic. Confusion. Fear.
We are tucked in, with Hubbs battling a viral bug and me not far behind. We’re on the mend and thankful for a stocked pantry with enough paper products for a while ~ no hoarding here.
Self-care is foremost including:
- Hand-washing and cleaning
- Fluids and plenty of rest
- Slept 11 hours Friday and took a 2 hour nap Saturday
- As Mom would say, “You must have needed it”
- Slept 11 hours Friday and took a 2 hour nap Saturday
- Reading, reading and reading
- Turning off news after a while, usually in evenings.
- It’s hard to sleep after all that.
- Updates bring more anxiety
- Moving around and stretching
- Laundry, washing jammies and sweatpants and blankies, because that’s what we’re using most
- Cooking a little, enjoying eggs, fruit, tea and toast
Sending good thoughts to all ~ We’re thankful our boys & their girls and all of our littles are well and at home.
Yep, we’re doing our best to “control our controllables” – and praying for patience for all ~
So ~ how are you doing? Be safe and please stay home!
It’s Sunday, mid-July, and here we are cruising down hill towards August. Time for 5 Rapid Fire Randoms from my world. Ready? Set – Go!
1 Aging apps – friends on Facebook are posting results of an app that ages you by 40 years. Here’s one to try- ha!
2 Dog days of Summer – Our West MI Summer took it’s sweet time arriving. Our first 80F day was June 20th. But now that we’re into July – with more than 3 weeks of warm weather behind us – folks are already CRABBING about it. I was doing fine until that sweltering sweaty muggy stuff landed last week ~ the hot, humid, dank weather that steals your breath away at 6am. The humidity so high that you sweat AFTER a shower. Our local AM radio host cheerfully announced, “The heat index – with the humidity – is already over 90F.” I turned up the fan and suppressed my crabbiness.3 Grand Dames – I read a recent interview with actress Shirley MacLaine. Always liked her. Classy, smart, sassy … takes no prisoners. This quote resonated with me:
“I have what I consider just a perfect life … I eat what I want, I sleep when I want. Not that much bothers me. I think attitudes are a choice. Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm – which is what I’m good at – is a choice.” ~ Shirley MacLaine
I wanna be Shirley MacLaine when I grow up!
4 Stopping when necessary – As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at stopping what doesn’t work for me. Try something new but don’t like it? Don’t keep doing it. Order a new food that disappoints? Set it aside. The same goes for books – I LOVE to read, as in l-o-v-e to read. Summer = reading for me. But just recently I started a book with characters so awful – I had to stop. The female character allowed herself to be manipulated by a narcissistic and cruel man, a man who enjoyed the “game,” playing with her emotions and physical safety like a cat with a mouse. I could see where the story was going after reading just a few chapters. Yes, I knew she’d probably become her own kind of hero but I just couldn’t sit through the abuse.
So I stopped reading it.
I didn’t give it away, I didn’t turn in for re-sale or donate it.
I threw it out.
You might be empathic if …
5 Heading to a corporate conference this week ~ practicing self-care now – there – and thereafter!
- Ever stopped doing what didn’t work for you?
- Does Shirley’s quote resonate with you as well? Why?
- How do you practice self-care?
At the cusp of a new year I like reflecting on the past one. I find it cathartic to look back at professional and personal accomplishments, lessons learned, and think about what’s working and what’s not.
I ask myself these 3 questions:
- What do you want more of?
- What do you want to get rid of?
- What’s holding you back from either one?
And then I read this and smiled. Because, more than anything else this year, I showed up. Growth happened, some with growing pains. Manifestations abound; intuition sharpened.
C’mon 2019, I’m ready.
- What do you want more of?
- What do you want to get rid of?
- What’s holding you back from either one?
I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted. I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.
The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”
I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men. I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers, Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps. And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.
Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more. I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.
I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so. I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere. But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.
I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.
- I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
- I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
- I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
- I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
- I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
- I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
- I never sleep on flights.
- All windows and doors are locked ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
- On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
- It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
- I’m not thin anymore; extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
- I never use parking garages, valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
- I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
- I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
- At company functions I employ the “Irish Good-bye” – excuse myself and don’t come back.
- Can you relate to this post?
- How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
- Any tips or thoughts to add?
“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Somehow me – and some others – are still here. We’ve been impacted but not “touched” by “re-organizations,” “alignments” and “employee optimizations.” It gets challenging to do your work well when your wide range of contacts becomes more narrow.
Opening the office yesterday, balancing my lunch, coffee and backpack while punching in the alarm code, I took a moment to stand in the quiet and take this in. We’ve dropped from 28 to 7 in a matter of weeks. Department consolidations, moves, staffing changes. Some left, others moved, some took different positions within the company.
I’ve been traveling during most of these changes so I’m a bit late to the (non) party. It’s like I woke up from a dream and the horizon shifted.
The new normal is office doors open – everyone listens for the doorbell – not just the cube-dwellers. The cubes are empty.
The new normal is driving 7 miles to spend the whole day by myself. Yes I can work at home and I sometimes do but all of my files and materials are there. And I like having an office to go to – I can access everything easily – make copies, send a fax and conference someone in if need be.
The new normal is closing my office door for conference calls only to emerge and find everyone gone.
The new normal is – as expected – me and the other female employee – ensuring the coffee pot gets turned off, lights are shut down, and that we don’t run out of supplies.
The new normal is weird. I don’t care for the new normal.
I’ve been through many re-organizations ~ too many to count. What’s your experience been and how did you cope?
As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.
As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.
As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways. As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones. Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day. Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries. It’s the little things ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice. And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.
In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.
You see I learned it from her: My mother was a strong woman and my role model – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats. She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board. She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her! Not much ever did!
Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired, take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to. I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy. I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.
Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort. The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables. The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it. That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.
I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.
God, I miss her.
So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:
- I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
- I wish you dreams in technicolor,
- I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
- Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.
I don’t know about you but I’m OK with saying good-bye to this year. It’s not been all bad, but it’s been far too rushed-stressed-scheduled-manic-busy for me. I don’t foresee that the work pace will slow but do I feel a shift in how I’m managing it: I’m speaking up more and saying “no thanks” where I can. I no longer feel responsible for everyone and everything. (No one asked me to do that, by the way, but that’s just how I rolled). The surprising part? No push back. Huh – should have done this long ago!
Having (most of) this week off has allowed time for reflection. To think about what I’ve done, what I’ve learned, what I want and where I’m going – here are my Random 5 thoughts on the cusp of a new year:
1 Traditions can change and you can, too. Everything about this Christmas was different – everything. What day we all got together. What we ate, how we managed gifts, who was here and how we spent our time. I loved it! Fewer decorations went up and came down sooner. We stayed in more. We rested – we cocooned. It was wonderful, magical, soul-restoring.
2 Family – this was our first Christmas without Mom and we all felt the pinch. My sister called late one night, her voice cracking, and as we connected our tears fell. She was just “having a moment” she said. “I get it,” I said. We told our stories and cried and laughed and gave thanks for a Mother so joyfully recalled.
3 Gifts – the best gifts are those that cost little but take time and effort and come straight from the heart: this year I made our boys a family recipe book. It’s not perfect and it wasn’t professional but the joy I felt as they sincerely reveled in it was my gift. I teased that I chose a red binder for a reason – likening it to the President getting the Nuclear codes – and that they’d best guard it closely. They assured me they would. 😀
4 Epiphanies abound, case in point: When we go out socially, I yearn for interesting and fun conversations. When those don’t happen I withdraw or get frustrated. Crap – I’m a conversation snob!! Hubbs and I can have hours-long meandering conversations and I shouldn’t assume they’re available everywhere.
5 Here comes the New Year. We’re heading out tonight for Japanese Hibachi dinner with a host of friends. I’ll find something sparkly to wear and hope for good conversations. I’ll take a breath and look around and give thanks for the chance to do it all over again next year. ~ Happy New Year all!
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce