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Best Laid Plans…and a Whine.

I feel like all I’m doing lately is planning. Revamping routines. Trying to figure out how to do things more efficiently and get my day-to-day life under enough control that I don’t feel so…adrift.

It’s my way of dealing with the stress of this crazy year. Control as much as I can ahead of time so that when the out-of-my-control issues hit, I’m more mentally able to deal with them. I’m telling you right now…it’s only partially working. I still feel like I’m in a constant state of adrenal overload, and when those other things hit, it’s just one more thing on the all-stress, all-the-time channel.

Most recent on the “more stress” report (or maybe just more disappointment, for this one), we got a ton of snow this weekend (the “broke records/up to my knees” variety). It’s not going to be melting anytime soon either – cold and more snow are forecast for the whole next week. We normally get snow in late October, and often on Halloween (it rarely even sticks), but this is early, and the record we broke for the snowfall amount was set in 1949.

I like snow, and it’s really not that cold, but our landscaper was going to try to get started on our front yard mid-October…which is now. Or next week. Regardless, they can’t work on the yard (or dig it up) if it’s covered in snow. Unless the weather is really nice in November, we may be looking at spring before our landscaping project gets done. Dammit.

And of course we’ve done zero decorating in the yard for Halloween, because…landscaping. We can’t do any decorating until the landscaping is done, or until it’s officially pushed back to spring. So we’re too far behind to do anything big in the decorating realm, which is about the most annoying thing ever with Halloween actually being on a Saturday with a full moon this year.

We will still be handing out candy bars (full-size) to anyone who comes to the house, but the decorations may be extremely sparse because…2020. Yes, we’ll be wearing masks and gloves.

*sigh* Two and a half more months. Will things start looking up at the turn of the new year? One can only hope, but I’m betting more on next July.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here futzing with plans and tweaking routines and working to find something to blog about other than plans, lack thereof, and the cyclone that is this entire year. There has to be something more thought-provoking I could share/opine on.

In fact, that will be my next planning challenge. More interesting blog posts from now until the end of the year.

Though I can’t promise no planning posts in mid-late December. Because…resolutions.


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Weariness, Planning, Hair, & Granola Culture

I think it’s safe to say we’re all tired of the pandemic. I’ve heard from more than one person lately that they’re just tired of it all, tired of thinking about it, tired of the mask thing, tired of staying away from people. They’re ready to throw in the towel and go back to just living life normally, letting whatever happens, happen.

We humans do tend to have a painfully short attention span, unfortunately.

I’m tired of thinking about it too, and tired of masks, and constantly analyzing whether my sneezing fit is caused by smoke and fall allergens, or if it’s the dreaded Covid monster. I’m not really tired of staying away from people, but I am tired of having to think before going to dinner, or planning a night at the movies three weeks in the future – will our infected rates be going down or up by then?

But, I’m not going to stop taking precautions just yet. Yes, we have some very promising treatments, and the mortality rate has gone down quite a bit. We are less likely to die from it now than we were a few months ago, just because doctors and scientists are more informed, and have several really good treatment options they can employ right away.

Thing is, they still don’t know what causes some people to react worse than others to the virus, and the long-term effects are still a possibility for anyone. And frankly, I’d rather not put my body through that if I don’t have to. So as tired as I am of all of it, I’ll keep masking up inside and around large groups of people. And I’ll keep evaluating case loads and numbers before I decide whether or not to do something. Because it seems like the responsible thing to do, both to avoid getting sick, and to avoid giving it to someone else who may be affected badly by it.

If you think that’s “living in fear”, well, sure it is, to a point. I’m allowing fear to make me cautious. And in this case, I’m okay with that, because the potential threat is still largely unknown. That’s what our innate fear response is for – to keep us safe. I’m merely listening to mine, because it seems logical/practical to do so.

Last week I posted about focus and planning, and I’m happy to report that on that front, really good progress was made. Every night, I took 15 minutes and made to-do lists for work and home, and then I scheduled all the things I needed to get done (and could reasonably expect to do) for the next day. Not only did that make my entire day a lot easier and less stressful, I was far, far more productive, even with a million different interruptions. It felt good, and I’m definitely going to keep that up. It was so…refreshing to be able to just know what I wanted to work on when, and be able to kind of just put the rest of it out of my mind because I *knew* it was already scheduled, and that I’d left plenty of time to work on it, so it would get done and I didn’t need to stress about anything.

I did, however, fail to do any planning whatsoever for the weekend, and…that kind of hosed me up as far as productivity goes. I’ll be more mindful of that for next week, and actually schedule those planning times on my to-do list so that maybe I can have a little more control over my weekend as well.

As for my hair-growth project…it’s kind of stressing me out. It’s at the point now where it’s just going to be difficult to manage for the next few months, and my confidence is waning. I’m having trouble with the idea that it might affect the way I’m treated, both at work and in other social situations. I’m excited at the prospect of having more versatility again, but there’s this voice in the back of my head that’s afraid to just ignore what people obviously respond well to (my short hair, in this case), just because I want something different.

I just remember how things changed for the better when I cut it off, and I’m afraid all that will revert as my hair gets longer (especially in this stupid grow-out stage when it’s just going to be unruly).

We’ll see, I guess. I can always chop it back off, if I find that I just need that coiffed-pixie look again. When I cut it off before, it was mainly for other people. Now I’m growing it out for me, but I’m keenly aware of the perks that come with keeping it short. It’s…difficult to do what I want when I know that the option that serves me better both socially and in the workplace is something different.

I guess it’s like my tattoos all over again, in a way. And I maybe just need to keep reminding myself that once it gets past my shoulders, I can just wear my hair up whenever I need that “short-hair” boost, and then be free to leave it down for myself evenings and weekends.

Am I superficial for spending so much brain power on my hair? Sure, I guess. But honestly? I’d rather worry about that right now than all the other more serious things I could be anxious about.

For my next personal change of 2020 – I plan on buying some flannel shirts, and re-embracing the granola culture I spent my college years in. Not because I want to go back to college (definitely not), but because it’s comfortable, and it feels more like “me”.

I can’t decide if I’m “devolving” or “evolving” given that I’m basically going back to who I was in my 20’s. I guess the real question is, do I care? The answer right now is, not enough to stop. We’ll see what happens as the months go on.

Rest assured that whatever happens, I will never wear socks with my Birkenstocks. And I don’t even own crocs. I do still have *some* standards.


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Re-calibrating

While a good portion of my Facebook friend list has been baking their way through this pandemic thing (something my waistline really can’t afford), I’ve been doing the Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH) thing, which is fun, relaxing, and easy on the blood sugar. But…hiding in video games comes at a cost too, and as in all things, there comes a time when healthy boundaries become necessary. While I may not be gaining weight, I am dealing with neck soreness, pinched nerves in my back, and eye strain that’s threatening to become more serious if I don’t get away from the screen more often.

That’s not to say I’m giving up ACNH. Not at all – I love the game. But it’s time to re-calibrate and start moving forward again.

I’ve started writing again, which is one of the most important things. A few sentences at a time, longhand, but whatever works is what I’ll do. The weather is getting nicer, so I’m getting out to walk the dogs instead of sitting on the couch all evening (good for my neck/nerves, and also for my eyes if it’s not windy). I dyed my hair, because after waffling for a few days about whether to do so or just let it go natural since I can’t get it cut, I’m just vain enough to not be ready for the salt & pepper look yet.

I trimmed my bangs up out of my eyes – I’ve always had bangs, because I have a high forehead and can’t stand not having it at least partially covered. So that’s not a drastic change for me, it’s just general maintenance, no matter what length my hair is.

I changed my earrings (the clovers were a bit “over”), did curbside pickup for my comic book pull list, and created some new routines based on my projections of “life going forward”. I realize I have that luxury because my job is the same as it always has been, and I’ve been working all along, so my life really hasn’t been impacted nearly as much as others have been.

I do see less people now, but honestly? That really doesn’t bother me. I see my husband, of course, and the two people I work most closely with at the office. Other than that, I see a few random strangers that I automatically give space to like normal (I have a huge personal space bubble, pandemic or no), I still walk the dogs late to avoid all the people walking dogs earlier (normal), and I talk to my mom on the phone once a week or so (I’m not a “visit/talk to mom all the time” kind of daughter – I need my space). I have no issue with being home in the evenings, and not having anywhere to go. That’s my preference by default, so…I feel for the people who are itching to get out and do stuff, but I’m not that person. I’m perfectly happy with this state of being. If I didn’t want to pick out my own produce, and the dogs didn’t love going for a weekly ride so much, I’d have my groceries delivered too and see even less people.

Alas, it’s good for me to interact with strangers in person at least once a week, because the biggest issue I have with this whole staying home thing is getting “too” comfortable. I have to force myself to be social on normal days, and I have to keep interacting with people at a certain level regularly in order to be comfortable with it. So being “allowed” to not be social is a bit dangerous, in that the longer I get to do that, the more uncomfortable I’m going to be the next time I have to be around more than one or two people, in person, again. That will actually be far more stressful for me than staying home and keeping to myself. Not due to fear of a virus, but simply the stress of social interaction. So that bit of re-calibration is going the wrong way, but…it can’t be helped at the moment.

Next week, we’ll get back to the new blog format again. I haven’t been taking many pictures, and honestly, I’ve just been playing too much and being lazy about things. But I’m working my way into a “new normal”, with new, more productive routines, so…stay tuned!


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