Saturday, January 15, 2022

This house is clean!

Not my actual house. My actual house is a wreck, but at least it’s not a teeming petri dish 
COVID is fucking weird. The house is cleared, everyone’s testing negative, and no one had a single symptom. We never would have known if Eli hadn’t been doing sports. I can’t tell if I’m relieved or if this just makes me more nervous…


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Poorly practicing frustration tolerance

 "This is a great opportunity to practice frustration tolerance!" 

I used to have a supervisor who would say that, and I loved it. What a great reframe! Something sucks? You're angry? Traffic is moving too slow? What a great opportunity to practice frustration tolerance! It's even better if you say it with a huge grin and enthusiastic hand motions. 

I would like to publicly apologize to every human I've ever said that to. Including my husband, who has repeatedly and loudly informed me that it's the biggest load of bullshit ever. But that's not my point. Today. Today is... not a great day.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of petty things I hate today:

Delayed shipping. The bright side of the pandemic is that we've all learned how easy it is to get things delivered. I've done a lot of personal work to remind myself that it's not always reasonable to expect immediacy and that waiting 2-3 days is perfectly reasonable. But now?! Now I'm waiting 2-3 weeks and no one cares because apparently "guaranteed delivery" is really "arbitrary number we attach to your receipt" and no one gives two shits that you needed your thing yesterday and thought you were doing the right thing by not going out shopping in person with all of your toxic face germs. 

Conflicting/confusing policies regarding quarantine. It's only been two fucking years. How is it that we still have to comb through policies with a fine tooth comb to figure out what we're doing? Why do I have to go digging for anyone's decision-fucking-forests? 

The phrase "Decision Forest." Decision trees are designed to make decision making easier. If I wanted a forest... Nevermind. I don't want a forest. I want clear and rational guidelines one way or another. 

Seasonal coffee creamer. I'm looking directly at you, Maple brown sugar oat creamer. You made me love you in October and now it's January and I'm trying to figure out how to hoard all the cartons before we're back to ridiculous boring flavors like "vanilla" and "hazelnut." It's a fucking pandemic. Nothing is fun anymore. All I have left is my coffee. 

Shoes that make noise. WHY? Why do they make noise? I can't go to stores anymore. I certainly can't spend enough time in a store to walk around in the merchandise to make sure that they don't make a weird squeak or that one doesn't click when I turn left. 

Meal planning. I am SO TIRED of trying to figure out what to eat. I want Jetson's-era food pill machines. I've already moved to having my groceries delivered but ugh. Also, my grocery delivery keeps getting screwy so I had to order Costco three times last week just to get my dog food. And I'd hate to make someone shop just for one thing at Costco so it's not saving me money OR time at this point. 

Drink packets and other food wrappers. They're everywhere. It makes me nuts. If I pick up one more sad, depleted applesauce pouch I may commit a felony.  

Automated messages with robovoices. This is stupid. It takes 10 minutes to record an actual human, any actual human. If the robovoice can't even pronounce your company or school name correctly, get a different system. 

Things I don't hate: 

Getting pictures from my stir-crazy teenager who still isn't too old for the occasional costume

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


 Another one down. C tested before school on Monday and promptly got kicked out of work. Same as Eli, he’s completely, 100% asymptomatic. The girls continue to test negative. This thing is so fucking weird 

Update: Dude. I just came across this article that says that having fought off a cold has been found (in a VERY small study) to be potentially protective against COVID infection in home exposures. We were convinced that all of us that got sick over Christmas but continued to test negative just had sneaky COVID, but now I'm wondering if that's why only the boys have tested positive? They're the only ones that didn't get the bug over the holiday. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

And…we’re hit

 Two years. Eight million masks. 14 shots. Countless declined invitations and awkward conversations. So, so many nasal swabs. 

Our school district handed out home tests this week and Eli took one yesterday, in advance of a wrestling tournament this weekend. He tests 1-2 times per week for wrestling, so he’s old hat at this. It’s a formality and probably over cautious since all the wrestlers would get tested at weigh in, but since it was an away match the coach figured it would be better to test before everyone traveled. Spoiler alert: we are not at a wrestling tournament. 

We’ll test everyone else tomorrow. For now he’s holed up in his room and wears an N95 anytime he leaves, but looking at the school quarantine rules, that might be unnecessary since the girls might have to stay home the same amount or maybe even longer. He’s going stir crazy. Quarantine isn’t fun or novel anymore and we’ve watched all of the things by now. 

I am grateful that we’re all as vaccinated as we could be. I wish I’d jumped on boosters sooner. So far everyone feels fine, which is simultaneously frustrating and reassuring. Part of me hopes that everyone tests positive tomorrow so we can be done running from the unknown. The other part of me knows how lucky we are and that we shouldn’t press it. I laughed at the CDC’s new guidelines but now I’m definitely benefitting from them. Trust the scientists, right?  

I worried that this would feel like a failure and I’m surprised that it doesn’t. I’m glad that it doesn’t. I hesitated to put anything out there, but I also hope that other people won’t feel like their efforts were wasted if they get hit too. We avoided infection clear up to the “highly contagious but mostly mild to no symptom” variant, which is the one I’d pick if I had to pick one. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Good intentions

 I often find myself saying the same thing to several people at work, suggesting that there are messages that lots of people need to hear. One of them is this: If you want to build a new habit, the first step is to make it as easy as possible. You basically want it to be easier to do the new thing than to keep doing the old thing. So for example, when I wanted to work out in the mornings, I slept in my gym clothes. At that point it was easier to just go than to justify sleeping in a sports bra for no reason. It's weird, but it works!

I'm not doing resolutions, but I have decided on a few personal challenges The first is that I want to work on reducing my use of disposable things. I've got reusuable silverware in my office and my purse, so that's easy. I'd really like though to get away from plastic shopping bags. It's so dumb  that I pay .10 to crumple it up under my sink, occasionally use one, and then throw them all away in a giant fit. I own lots of bags. I have a laundry basket in the backseat of my car for the sole purpose of corralling purchases. I don't even do my own shopping that much anymore, so why, why, why is it so hard?! If anyone has any tips, I could really use them. In the meantime I'm embracing my inner abstainer and only allowing myself a store bag if it's paper, since I use those for recycling. Which is how you found me walking out of the drugstore this morning juggling a handful of sinus meds and tampons. 

My other intentions, I hope, are easier (and less cringy). 

I'm giving myself a challenge for January to spend the couple of minutes before class working on my handstands. I'd LOVE to be able to do a full handstand at the end of the month, but even if I don't I will definitely be more comfortable upside down. 

I am challenging myself to back into parking spots (so far so good!) 

I'd like to work on reducing my orders from Amazon and I think I have a plan. My goal isn't really morally driven (Jeff Bezos created a brilliant company and I guess if he wants to be an asshole he can) but it hurts my wallet and my soul to get packages on a near daily basis. My thought is that if I have a designated "check out day" that I will be less inclined to hit the "Buy it now" button and maybe make more thoughtful purchases while also reducing the number of boxes that get delivered since the orders will be combined. 

And a goal. I would really like to publish an article. About something. Somewhere. I don't have anything more specific than that yet, but I do have an accountability partner and some ideas of what I might write and...that's about it. But I've now stated it out loud so my chances of success just went up and hopefully it'll be easier to keep moving forward than to justify why I didn't. 

I'm definitely only making eye contact with 2022 out of my peripheral vision, for fear of inciting something that none of us are prepared for (see: welcoming 2021 ridiculously and where that got us). But if you are setting any goals or challenges for yourself I would love to hear them and support them in any way that I can! I don't have a word for 2022 but if I did, I think I'd want it to be "Encouraging." 

Friday, December 31, 2021

What I Read: 2021

 This year I set myself a goal to read 60 books and ended the year with 67. This is a really unsatisfying number, but I also didn't love 66 and knew I wasn't going to make it to 70. So 67 books it is. Discomfort makes us grow, right? 

Non-fiction for people who don't like non-fiction: I have come to accept that while I love a historical fiction, I do not love a non-fiction or a memoir. And after years of trying, I'm just accepting that some people like different things. And then here come a couple books that prove me wrong. So if you typically don't like non-fiction, I'd still try these out. The Soul of An Octopus: I was gifted this book from a friend and read it on the plane.  It's beautifully written and fascinating, even if you don't know that you love octopuses (yet). Also, you can use your octopus trivia to impress your friends when we can eventually be around people again. Broken: This originally was a DNF, but I picked it up later in the year and devoured it. So I think that means that this is one of those books that you need to have on hand and ready, but you also have to be in the right mind space for it. 

Books with clever premises: I think cleverness is my favorite strength. I love when something is so unique and interesting and makes you rethink what you thought you knew. These books were all so clever and fun in their own ways. Miracle Workers: A Novel: I tried to tell people about this book as if it was a show I was watching (it is a show now, BTW, but I haven't seen it.) The premise is hilarious and the characters are awesome. This was a quick read and super fun The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter: I stumbled on this one accidentally while I was browsing in Barnes and Noble and OMG. SO GOOD. The main characters are all the daughters of classic horror monsters. It's the first in the series and the only reason I didn't keep going is because book 2 is about seven million pages long. It's high on my list for 2022 though. Outlawed: I love a story that tells a historical event from a different perspective or with a twist and this one did not disappoint. I loved this one so much that I gave it to my sister for Christmas. 

Books that lived up to the hype: There were a lot of books this year that "Everyone is reading!" and to be honest, lots of them fell short for me. These are not those. These books got a lot of attention and 100% deserved it. The People We Meet on Vacation: I really hope they make it into a movie. The Vanishing Half: Amazing. Beautifully written. I was rooting for everyone, even when they were terrible. The Midnight Library: This was one of the top three checked out books at my library and I get it. This book was lovely and sad and inspiring all at the same time.  

Books that made me question reality: You know this is my all-time favorite genre. I just love a good mind fuck. A few times this year I found myself staring at my To Be Read shelf thinking "I just cannot do another weird right now." The Upstairs House: Dude. That was a weird one. Little Eyes: If you watched Ron Gone Wrong, this is that but with add in some toxic manipulation and weird sex stuff. I'm also surprised that these aren't a real thing yet. You'll Thank Me for This: Coming from a small town where things seemed normal and now seem like TERRIBLE ideas, I could relate to "Hey! Let's drop all the kids off in the woods at night and see how they do!" Mirrorland: I love when a book makes you wonder what's real and what isn't and this one did it so well. 

Delightful books that I'd recommend to everyone: Usually the "feel good" category is my sparsest, but I guess maybe being on year whatever of the apocalypse made me reach for these more often. The Dictionary of Lost Words: I love words and this was such a lovely perspective. It made me want to read The Professor and the Madman (currently on my hold list). Mary Jane: Oh this was lovely. The author wrote an adolescent protagonist so perfectly. Florence Adler Swims Forever. I cried real tears reading this book. The Family Fang. Another one that needs to be a movie. This one was fun and silly and still poignant. 

So there you have it! And this is year FIVE of a yearly wrap-up, which feels like an accomplishment. If you want to check out my previous wrap-ups, you can find them hereherehere, and here. I always go back to my old ones when I start to write this and it was fun to see how I'd organized previous lists and how my numbers fluctuated. I really do think that the 60-70 range is my sweet spot so I'm going to stay there for next year. I plan to incorporate more audio books, especially on my commute. Now that I've discovered the secret of listening at 1.5x or 2x, I find that they hold my attention much better. I also want to make more of an effort to read my BOTM club books in a more timely manner. That TBR pile is getting kind of out of hand.  

I was originally inspired to do this by Sarah, who reads an INSANE number of books and does a really nice monthly wrap up that I always reference when looking for something to read. If you do anything similar, please comment with your link! I'm always looking for ideas on what to read next.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas 2021 (photo dump)

 Merry Christmas :) The holiday was chaotic (but I also watched three movies and ate my weight in cinnamon rolls) so it seems fitting to leave the pictures in random order. I hope your day was fun and your cinnamon rolls perfect!