Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How To Make Things A Little Less Shitty

Hi, it's me again. Just popping in randomly and exactly when you thought (hoped) I was gone for good. Nope. Even though I'm erratic, I'm still around complaining about 2020 like everyone else. All those memes, WTF?  Like when people say, "2020, stop throwing things at me. Leave me alone." As if the year 2020 is attacking you personally. It's attacking the planet. All of us. 

I've been working very hard on letting things go. It's just too much. All the sad stories. All the depressed people. The fires. The protests. The economy. The cancelled trips and races. 

My son losing his job, then finding another one but working remotely out of his Phoenix-based bedroom to make a living when he should be out working in some fun office making friends and having FACs. 

My daughter struggling with finding out college kind of sucks right now because while she is in an apartment and technically enrolled in school, she's not able to meet new people, party, dive off of fraternity fireplace mantels into waiting drunken crowds (not that I ever did that), be stupid and enjoy those Wonder Years that college is. 

My parents who are 81 years old and had extraordinary travel plans to countries I can't pronounce that are now upended and might never happen. 

Myself who got into the field of social work to interact with people and to help, whereas now I'm meeting people through my computer screen on Zoom while my cat jumps up and attacks my hair bun. Essentially I am and spending way too much time having conversations with my Golden Retriever and smelling my newest Yankee Candle.

These are the things I am desperately trying to let go of. I am 53 and a chronic worrier. Just ask Ken. He hates it. If there is one thing I have learned in my years it is that if you are worrying about something and can do something about it you better as shit do it. But, if you are worrying about something and it is totally out of your control (hello, Covid) you better as shit let it go because what.is.the.point? It will make you sick and you will find yourself awake at 2 a.m., your heart racing, your palms sweating (or if you are pre-menopausal like me your body from your big Morton's Toe to your butt crack to your pierced ears sweating). It's not fun and not a way to live.

Easier said than done.

And, what I will say to you runners is we have a magical thing to do that rescues us in some way from all of this bullshit and we are lucky. Not everyone gets how restorative and healing running is. They think it's all heavy breathing and sharting and muscle aches, but we know it is so much more. I can shart and breathe heavily and ache but I am still feeling 76% better after a run than before it.

So, I run on. And I bike on. And I swim on. And, sometimes I climb 14,000 foot mountains in the snow in September because....well, just because.

That little person is Ken

I bet my sky is bluer than yours

I am basically climbing Mt. Everest in my mind

Some people don't feel motivated to run right now because there are so few races. I will run whether I am training or not. It's survival for me and one thing that helps me to feel normal. I will continue to run through any temperature, any weather element. I will run not really looking at my watch because I don't really care how fast or how far. I care how it makes me feel and that life after a run looks a bit brighter and manageable than life before a run. I will run because I get a perspective on life that I can't really get any other way. After my runs I often think, "It will be okay. I have this. I have the fresh air. I have my health. I have strength in my mind, body and spirit."

If you're not a runner, of course that's fine. But I hope you have something that can give you this boost too.

The other thing I do? Instead of fixating on all of the cancelled plans and things we can't do right now, I look to the small things that make me happy and aren't going away soon (except for Schitt$ Creek. Almost done with the series. Sigh. Ewww David!):

  • That damn Yankee Candle (Home Sweet Home scent)
  • Reading something inspiring/thought provoking/calming every morning and carrying that sentiment with me throughout the day.
  • Wine
  • Schitts Creek
  • A good book read on the back porch in the sunlight (I'm currently reading A Place for Us. Very good. Also just finished Untamed. Some solid nuggets in there)
  • Strong coffee with half and half (I prefer Peet's Major Dickason's dark blend)
  • A new recipe to try that actually doesn't taste like dog feces (I just tried Triple Berry Cheesecake Muffins because why not? And they were orgasmic)
  • Wine
  • A cozy comforter ordered from Amazon for the winter months (this one. I'll let you know how we like it)
  • A long phone call with a dear friend (hey Julie, Clair and Erika)
  • Getting a huge breakfast burrito every Saturday morning from a local spot. Benny's Tacos rocks.
  • Wine
  • Riding our cruiser bikes to a brewery on a nice night
  • Planing an adventure (here's what we were going to do but we only made it one summit due to snow)
This is today's mantra

What I want is for us to not give up on life because of all of this. Don't let Covid be an excuse for you to hide from things and whimper into a corner. Do what you CAN do and enjoy what you CAN enjoy. Because some of those things still exist. They might not be grandiose like your dream vacation (γεια ελλαδα - Hello Greece) or seeing your favorite band in concert (see you next time Hoodoo Gurus), but there are still things there to appreciate. You just have to notice them and DECIDE to appreciate them.

So now, and for everyone reading here, tell me one thing in the comments that you do each day to make your day somewhat brighter or at least A Little Less Shitty (ALLS). Sometimes all we can hope for is ALLS.

Thanks for being my friend (or, I hope you don't mind I assume we are friends),


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Ripping Off The Band Aid

Do you ever realize that the more you put things off, the bigger the snowball becomes and the harder it is to just start?

I've missed blogging and this community. But, there has been a part of me that is simply shut down to blogging and to this type of writing. It's not really because I don't want to. I just think my creative juices (sounds dirty) and motivation have been stalled. I could blame it on Covid because Covid sucks ass and it's become easy to make it the scapegoat for everything that is not right. Because honestly, no part of life is not affected by this beast of a virus that has cancelled races and weddings, sidelined vacations, sent countless people into fear-based living and mask wearing. I don't think it's a hoax. And I do have a mild crush on Fauci, although I'm pretty sure I can throw a baseball better than he does.

Side note: Did you know he used to be a marathoner, and now at age 79 power walks 3.5 miles a day?

But, let's be real. I stopped blogging long before Covid stole the show. I've asked myself many times, "What happened that girl who was so tuned into writing that she did it with fervor every day for so long?" Truly I'm not sure. Maybe I burned out. Maybe I thought no one really cared anymore about what I did. Maybe I felt blogging had lost its touch and was slowly fading away. So many bloggers I know don't blog anymore but a have become podcasters and Instagram stars. I am neither (although I do think I could put on a hell of a podcast if I could find the time. It could be all fart noises, hot flashes and swearing). Whatever the case, I just felt BLAH about it all. And, if I'm honest, becoming apathetic and complacent and in a place where I let life just happen to me scares me the most.

So THANK YOU to a few of you have who reached out to ask "Where the hell are you?" (I'm here in the same chair at the same desk) and to those who have showed concern, wondering if I am still running and shitting my pants (yes, occasional sharts), curious if I still like my Sleep Number bed (no, just traded it in for a king-sized bed - a Casper) and if I'm healthy (yes, aside from being 53 and dealing with the beginnings of menopause and a few more aches and pains).

It was you guys giving me a slight kick in the ass that made me want to rip off the band aid and say "hi" after not posting since early December 2019.

The truth is, I miss the blogging world and the days when I connected with so many people that way. I looked forward to reading several blogs a day because it felt like checking in with friends and now I hardly read any. I'm not a big fan of the blogs that want to tell me the best foods to eat for runners or how to prevent injuries. I can read that shit on any running site. What I love about blogs are the personal peeks into a person's daily life beyond the superficiality and abbreviated blurbs of Instagram. What I've also missed is the chance to write freely, unedited content where I am writing solely what is true and honest for me and not trying to impress a certain audience.

Here is what I look like now in case you forgot.

Taken in June in Tabernash, Colorado on our 25th wedding anniversary
And now a few updates:

What has changed in my life since Covid?

Everything. Emma (age 19! If you've been reading forever you met her when she was 9!) came home from San Diego State mid March and is still here. She had online school through May and has been working at a kids summer camp. She is returning to San Diego for online school and is moving into a ridiculously expensive apartment with there others. I don't love paying out of state tuition for online (WTF! stupid), but we are really trying to make sure she continues to have somewhat of a college experience. Nothing is normal right now and we are all doing things we would not normally do or find acceptable!

Sam (age 22! If you've been reading forever you met him when he was 12!) graduated in December, got a really cool job then lost it a couple of weeks after Covid started. He was unemployed for a few months, but started a job remotely thee weeks ago. He came home for a bit from Phoenix when the cases started to get really high there. He's been here for a month and probably going back next week. Ken's got a new job, thankfully, cause he hated his past job. I am still doing my same social work job but it is now 100% remote, at least for now. No one has been sick and w don't know anyone who has been. My parents are 81 years old, and are doing well. Fingers crossed.

The fam - ASU 12/2019 - before shit hit fan

Am I still running?

I started running way more when Covid hit because it was all I could do. It was the mental and physical release I needed. But, I got sidelined with some weird ankle pain and it even hurt to walk. I didn't see a doc because our insurance sucks right now and if they ordered an MRI, etc it wouldn't be covered. So I took three weeks off and now I'm fine. Go figure. I self-diagnosed on Google and it is either the Bubonic plague or peroneal tendinitis (No, not perineum tendinitis - that's your TAINT people, not your ankle). Anyway, I've been putting lots of miles on my bike and swimming too, so, you know, forced cross training.

How's my mental health been through all of this?

Up and down. The ups are having my kids home, still having a job, being healthy and still getting outside a lot. The downs are the obvious things like - all the unknowns about life as we know it, all the negativity and divisiveness out there right now, not being able to be with friends like normal, no races to look forward to and our cancelled 25 year anniversary trip to Greece (with no refunds! No, I don't want a voucher, I want my f$cking money).

What I'm doing with my time beyond exercise:

- Netflix/Amazon Prime - The Imposters, Ozark (omg the ending of Season 3!!), Jeffrey Epstein (low life scum), Babysitters Club (makes me feel happy, that is all), The Wall (best game show ever), Tiger King (don't judge me), Little Fires Everywhere, Waco, Too Hot to Handle (don't judge me again) and many more.

-Books - American Dirt, My Dark Vanessa, Big Summer, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, The Dutch House to name a few

-Cooking new recipes - Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce, Fresh Spring Rolls, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Coconut Curry Ramen, Shrimp Enchiladas

-Cruising - as a gift for our anniversary, I got Ken and I cruiser bikes (see below from Retrospec). Free shipping and only $199. We've been cruising around town to breweries, lakes, etc. So fun.

Definitely doing my next Ironman on this baby

So, this is a good start. I've had fun. Have you?

I'd like to know:

-One word to describe your Covid experience? Mine is shit-fest (is that a word?)
-Have you are anyone you know been sick? No
-Best book you've read lately/best show you've watched - see above
-What is your best advice for these times?

My advice?

Keep a positive mindset and know that this situation is temporary, but also know life will likely feel pretty different for a long time. But, does that have to be bad? No. We just have to adjust expectations and make do what you CAN do. Don't give yourself permission to totally check out, eat Fritos all day and die a slow death while watching Too Hot to Handle (<oh, wait, that's me). But seriously, keep your head up and do the best you can. That's all.

I've also found it helpful to drink


PS: And I've kept up on Instagram, follow here for the most fun you've ever had