The Lessons of Quarantine

I had a long talk with an old friend of mine this morning. I needed some advice, and I needed perspective. I have reconnected with a lot of friends during the quarantine that are not in my usual sphere of influence. We have long been friends, but once the world shut down, we had more time to chat and make time for each other. In fact I think I’ve spent more time talking to friends who have long ago disappeared from my daily life than the ones who are currently in it. It’s a pleasant change.

It’s not the only change in my life. In fact, my life is almost unrecognizable from the one I lived in March. I have a television. I communicate more through video chat than I do text. I go to the grocery more than I go anywhere else. My kitchen is often scented with fresh-baked bread and pastries which have long been off the menu. My checking account has a balance at the end of the month. And I learned to cut and color my own hair.

My company asked us to take unpaid furloughs in April and May, and I opted to take my two weeks together. We couldn’t do any work or talk about work with anyone. The first week I sort of numbed out with TV and baking. I took some online baking classes and birthed a sourdough starter. I started running again and worked out with Jessica in Tulsa via Facebook Live. By the second week, I had really started to relax. I noted how different I felt when the stress of work evaporated. “I could get used to this,” I told myself and then quickly said “I don’t mean it” just in case the Universe was listening. But I liked this slower pace of life. I realized how much money I spend on things that I truly don’t need. I fell in love with my home.

Almost everyone I know whispers secretly, “I’ve actually liked my time in quarantine.” There is a lot of pain and hardship going on around us that we must honor. It’s a bit insensitive to say we’ve enjoyed it. But many of us have. It has forced us to slow down and evaluate what is important. I don’t know if I want my life to go back the way it was before quarantine. I’d like to keep the bread-baking ritual, the extra money at the end of the month and my expanded schedule. The perspective that the downtime brought me is definitely worth keeping. And maybe pants really aren’t necessary for happiness. I’m going to have to buy new ones anyway.

What did you learn in quarantine? Is there anything you’d like to keep?

The Practices of Healing

I feel like writing but I don’t really know what to write about. Maybe if I just start, I’ll finish. It is the practice, after all, that makes for a habit. It’s not the skill. A guy I talked to the other day kept saying he was anxious to “get better” at meditation. There is no “getting better” at meditation. Yes, the mind eventually will begin to heal and settle with hours of continuous practice. But the mind is born to wander. It thinks. That’s literally it’s main deal. It can’t “get better” because it’s already good at what it does. It’s just a bit wild. So we practice to mold that mess into a strength.

Yoga is the same way. I remember early on in my 20-year yoga practice apologizing to a teacher about my lack of practice. “I know I need to do better,” I said. “I feel like a failure at yoga.” She replied, “That’s why they call it a practice. There is no perfect way to do it. Just start again.” I have many times used that as a touchstone as my practice time ebbs and flows with my desire, energy and available time. It’s not about hitting goals or getting the pose right. It’s about stepping into the practice to learn whatever I learn.

All of these practices – writing, meditation, yoga – are healing for me. They alleviate stress and nurture me when I feel I have nothing else to give. I avoid numbing out because of my propensity for addiction, so I lean in. I explore what is going on inside me by staring at my feet in Uttanasana or following my breath in meditation. I take the remnants of my worries, hopes and dreams and mold them into a digestible story with my writing. These practices help me to identify the root of my demons and sit with my beautiful mess with compassion and love. The practice is transformative. By accepting whatever I’m bringing to my practice, I find peace. Anxiety dissipates or diminishes. Obstacles melt. I can rise to meet the day.

I don’t remember why I was drawn to yoga and can’t explain how writing became a salve for me, but I know that when I need something or I feel out of sorts, these practices are the path. I step on my mat and settle into child’s pose. I close my eyes to observe my breath. Or, like today, I just start writing and all of the troubles of the world fade into the background. The peace may not last for long, but it lasts for a moment. And being kind to myself in that moment is the practice that changes my world one breath, one foot placement or one word at a time.

This Beautiful Lake

I can be standing on the sand at the edge of Lake Michigan in less than a mile from my house. The distance has gotten a tad shorter due to the winter storms, high water level and lack of ice build-up this year. The water has chomped at the sand all winter long, biting off huge chunks of beach, taking it back into its stormy sea. The lake giveth and the lake taketh away.

In Southwest Michigan we live and breathe the seasons. We have four seasons, and each has a distinct character. Summer features calm waters, cool breezes and temperate sunny days. We have the occasional storms but mostly the lake is a gentle giant in the summer. It is the season that Michiganders hunger for during the long winter and the fickle and stubborn spring. Fall brings lovely crisp temps but raging storms that whip around my house with hurricane-force. Sometimes I wonder if my house will hold. Being almost a hundred years old, I suppose she’s seen more than her fair share of Lake Michigan winds.

Winter, of course, is most of the time raw. The winter before last was so cold that it killed fruit trees across the region. This winter I never shoveled snow at all. The lake never froze over. It was a winter that lay sleepily at our feet. But the winds of fall only escalate into the ferocious winds of winter. It is wild watching the snow blow and the waves crash into the ice banks that typically line the shore of Lake Michigan for as far as you can see. While it’s dangerous for people to walk on those banks, people still do it anyway. They seem so small amid the frozen hills and valleys that inevitably form as waves crash and freeze. Thousands of ships have gone down in Lake Michigan in the winter. She shakes her fist at us.

Spring can be long and sleepy. Winter reluctantly sleeps but keeps waking up to show she’s still alive. I was wearing a parka to walk my dog less than a week ago, and yesterday I could have worn shorts. Winter and Summer spar during spring. Stubbornly, flowers make their way past the fighting. Foliage bursts into view. Yesterday was the first day I noticed the forest here full of green. She had a slow, long start this year, but she is here – just in time for the first day of summer.

One day Lake Michigan is beautiful in her anger, and the next day she rests like a sleeping baby. I can hear the waves a mile away when a storm is brewing. I was running the other day, and the surface of the lake was smooth as glass. She is so easy to love when she is quiet and still. But isn’t she much more interesting when she is taking charge and pushing her boundaries? I love an angry sea. My heart beats faster when the wind is whipping my hair and the cold bites into my skin. I scream in awe at the majesty of her wrath.

I’m not even a water person. I’m more of a land-loving mountain goat. But this lake sits here in such close proximity, and she’s just so damn interesting. I wonder what she thinks of us humans who dare to think we can tame her or keep her in her place. She must be inspired by our love and angered by our disrespect. Or maybe she doesn’t care at all. After all, she was here long before we got here and will be here long after we are gone. We are but a speck in the sands of time.

Pay Attention

A creative writing professor told her students to pay attention to what is happening in our world today. This will be the defining event of our lives. No one alive has ever seen anything like this, and writers will write about it. Scripts for films and documentaries will detail how this unfolded. Music will be composed and sung. Art will show death and life and chaos to those who bore witness and for those who will only imagine it. It is important that we take this in. We must pay attention. We must bear witness.

I spent some time this week perusing the New York Times obituary section. Artists, film-makers, scientists, heads of state and musicians are being wiped out in these moments. Many are old. They have seen much in their lives, and they made history or recorded it for us. They paid attention. Their art and craft helped us make sense of the world around us, feel our feelings and pay attention to our own mundane but exceptional lives. They are the storytellers, the poets and the prophets. They wove the tapestry of our lives.

The legends I knew growing up are leaving this earth one by one. It seems like every day we lose some beautiful, talented soul who marked my life. And, now with this virus, we are fast-forwarding through the list. One day they were young and vibrant, living hard and fast. The next thing I know they are old and frail, some living their best lives and others are a shadow of their former selves. The speed at which we live and die is breathtaking.

I watch Goldie Hawn cook bone broth on Instagram. She dances and giggles just like the young and ditzy star she always was. I ran across a YouTube interview of her with Johnny Carson early in her career, and I was stunned to see a woman who acted very much like a little girl beholden to the male power player on the show. I was shocked by how much women have grown into their own and how much women like Goldie have seen in their lifetimes. What does she think when she looks back at the self that felt like she had to apologize for being independent? Or does she even remember? Was she paying attention as her experience was changing?

Our world is changing right now. I flew to Orlando right after 9/11. I was one of three people on a 747. Just a few weeks earlier, airports were packed with families seeing loved ones off. It’s hard to believe we could all walk through security to say good-bye or meet somebody arriving at the gate. Security was a cursory check with no need for elaborate screening. Airport shopping malls were packed, and corridors resembled busy streets. That first trip into that empty airport felt really strange. The world I had known had ended, and we Americans had lost our innocence. We gave up freedoms to be safe, and we adapted because we lived the consequences. I remember paying attention that day in the airport. The loss and fear are forever etched on my soul.

The world that we knew before March 2020 is gone. Some things will come back, but much will never be the same.We have lost even more of our innocence. I wish I had paid attention more during the first of the year or over the holidays. Had I known that grocery shopping would require masks, my coworkers would literally disappear from my day-to-day experience, and all of my favorite haunts would close, I would have hugged people a little longer or enjoyed a more leisurely lunch at my favorite cafe. We don’t know what tomorrow holds.

How long til we gather like this again?

My blogs on my daily adventures in coffee shops and restaurants remind me of the past. We have the music and art and science that the victims of this virus have left in its wake. We will pay attention and document this pandemic and its aftermath for future generations because it’s what we do. Sharing our art is not a task that we take on. It’s the life that we live. It’s who we are. Our documentation and our lives detail what is lost and what is gained when the world turns upside down. Pay attention.

What are you paying attention to at this time?


Today I am at a three. It’s not good, but it could be worse. I’m just going to ride it out and hope for an upward climb tomorrow.

I walked a bit today but probably not enough. It is what it is. I watched a really cool movie called One Day, video-conferenced with two of my gal pals and ate some ice cream at my favorite summer ice cream shop. I know better than to eat the ice cream. I know it, but I ate it anyway. When I’m a three my defenses are not very good. So there you have it. I’m not sorry.

Bella is not hissing as much at the kitten. Ashok doesn’t seem to mind having him around at all. There is progress there. My floor needs to be swept, and I need to cook the fish in my refrigerator. It will all have to wait until tomorrow along with the laundry and the other undone things.

Today Lake Michigan was a lovely Emerald Green, shining in the sun. The lake doesn’t know there is a global pandemic. The sun shines like it’s a normal day. Wild orchids bloom. The grass grows. The virus stalks us. The sun sets. Tonight we sleep. Tomorrow, we repeat.

Kittens, Tea and Making the Best of Things

Meet Luna, my newest family member. Bella says, “Kill Luna.” “Huh… what is that?” Ashok asks. Let the acclimation begin. I took in two kittens early in the week. I meant to choose one, but when they arrived I couldn’t decide. One was feisty and curious, so, of course, I really liked him. The other was shy and hiding. I didn’t want him to lose out on a home because it took him a little longer to warm up, so the foster told me to keep them both until I was ready to decide.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a kitten. It was fun to watch them fling their small bodies across the room and run and romp. But I quickly realized that they would be much more enamored with each other and and would not bond with the older members of my fur-family if I kept them both. Ironically, the shy one is the one that captured my heart. He was much more cuddly, and I thought his nature might sit better here with my angry and resistant Bella and reticent Ashok.

Tiberius is still up for adoption!

It’s been a great distraction during the great pandemic of 2020 to have a kitten running around while I try to navigate the blurring of home and office and stay put as much as possible. Let me be clear, I am grateful for everything. I have my health, and I am working. My company is rolling out reasonable cost-cutting measures that will cut deep but not kill. I don’t know what the future holds, but today I’m okay. I have a growling kitty in my lap, a dog snoring gently nearby and a rambunctious baby resting at my feet.

I experimented with eSalon hair color this morning. It was time to touch up the roots and, of course, nothing is open for this task. A couple of months ago I took advantage of one of their specials and the kit was in my closet ready to use. Emergency rations of hair color come in handy in a global pandemic survival kit. Who knew? It was a messy and frustrating effort but my roots are touched up and actually look pretty good. I’ll let it dry completely and give it a few days before I pass final judgement. It’s custom color, so I guess I can tweak it for the future if it’s not right. If you want to try it, here’s a special for you. Maybe now is the time to try it on your own! We are all learning new things.

I did much better this week with my “very limited sugar” consumption. Yesterday was the first day that I had really intense cravings and was tempted to go buy more ice cream for my freezer. I opted to make some more of that delicious movie-style popcorn instead and watched The Two Popes on Netflix. Both were very good. Yes, I would have preferred to have Rocky Road ice cream, but I definitely preferred a full night of sleep and a lack of anxiety much better.

One of my decadent treats during this time has been my morning London Fog. I bought Earl Grey tea from a Michigan tea maker earlier in the week. The packaging was lovely, and they even included a card welcoming me to the family. A little milk, sugar-free vanilla syrup and a strong cup of Early Grey is a warming treat. Last weekend I made banana bread, and it pairs quite well.

It’s raining out today, and the temps are in the 40s. We had a 58-degree evening last night. Spring has yet to come, but there is evidence it is on its way. The night before last I wore a coat to walk Ashok, and I’m still running the heat in the house. But last evening I noticed a beautiful patch of wild orchids blooming in the grass. If the temps could just rise an additional 10 degrees, that would be phenomenal.

This week I got in two Daily Burn workouts, and I plan to do another one this weekend. I took some long walks with my dog and practiced yoga once. This is a definite improvement over the first few weeks of doing basically nothing. I’m not back to running yet, but I hope to get a warmer, sunny day soon to encourage some tentative steps. I need to allow myself some short runs as a start. Setting too big a goal to get out the door is a barrier. I ordered a ball chair this week. I’ve used one in the office for over 10 years, and it is super helpful for my core and saving my back. Now that I will be working from home for a longer period of time, I need a better chair. It gets here Wednesday, and I can’t wait.

I’ve been feeling okay this week, but I have to admit I was pretty down last night. It wasn’t just the lack of ice cream and the changes at work. I feel really sad that we are so isolated now. When I went to pick up milk at the gas station last night, there was a big plastic screen between me and the cashier. People are starting to wear masks, and I just feel like we are becoming more and more disconnected and afraid of each other. Everybody is on the other side of a screen or a layer of fabric in addition to being six feet away. Will we ever be able to touch each other again without fear?

I feel better this morning. A warm cup of London Fog, a hissing Siamese and freshly colored roots is a good start for a Saturday. I may run out and grab some pizza from Caffe Tosi today just to have an excursion. Otherwise, I’d like to read a little, chat with some friends on video chat and drink more tea. But I’m NOT going to watch The Tiger King. I want to watch something light and funny, but most of the interesting-looking shows on Netflix are described as “dark”. Why is everything so dark? Let’s just lighten up a bit. Maybe I’ll find some of my old favorite comedies!

What do you like to watch when you need to smile?

It’s a Monday During a Global Pandemic

Today’s Daily Burn Workout

I’m feeling a bit better today. This morning I woke up and practiced a Yoga with Adriene yoga practice. Adriene has compiled a Yoga for Uncertain Times playlist. It felt good to stretch and get moving before I sat down in my straight-back chair rigged up for work. I made myself get up and stretch or move a little between each meeting. I ate a salad for lunch and a healthy snack in the afternoon. It was harder to drag myself into my workout room to do a Daily Burn workout. But, like a badass, I did it. I hated every minute of it from the time I put on my clothes til the last stretch. But, I feel so much better now, and I broke the ice. The 2-week hiatus is over.

Last week I threw away my ice cream when I noticed it was impacting my sleep and my anxiety level. Before I went to the grocery on Sunday morning, I made a list of healthy snack ideas that would keep me satisfied but provide less sugar. I bought whole wheat tortillas to make banana-chocolate-peanut butter burritos, some truffles made with dark chocolate, apples and bananas and Endangered Species dark chocolate. I also got some popcorn and decided to make real, movie-style popcorn with coconut oil and real butter. If I can’t have sugar, I should be able to splurge on something yummy.

So, I put on the movie Judy, and popped my Amish popcorn in coconut oil. I salted it with pink sea salt and cracked pepper before dousing it with melted ghee (clarified butter). OMG. It was DIVINE. I’m not sure I could ever eat the fake movie popcorn again after eating this stuff. I question the decision I made on the movie. I’m not sure I was in the mood to watch Judy Garland spiral to her death, but the decision I made on the popcorn was sound. It’s is my new decadent treat. And there was no inevitable sugar crash!

My sister texted me this weekend and told me that animal shelters were begging people to adopt animals. She suggested that maybe I consider a kitten since I lost Buster recently. I normally wouldn’t get another one so soon, but, since there’s a need, why not? Oh, who am I kidding? When there’s an opening at my house, I like to fill with a new warm, cuddly baby. After all, I’m providing them a good life. Why wait? It’s weird to think that when I adopt this baby, with any luck at all it will accompany me into my 70s.

On a sadder note, Joe Diffie died from complications of this stupid virus. I love his music, and, he’s only a few years older than me. I hope we aren’t going to see a bunch of our heroes and legends dying of this thing. There just seems to be no rhyme or reason on who does well and who doesn’t. Twitter was full of tweets today about friends, sisters, and spouses dying. These are really terrible times and grief is hanging heavy in the air. But all we can do is be gentle with ourselves and try to do the best we can. This truly is a time to just keep doing the next right thing.

I hope that you are faring well this week. If not, I suggest you go out and buy some coconut oil, ghee and some great popcorn. You know what to do. If you like country music, put on some Joe Diffie and give him a proper send-off. If that doesn’t work, have a good cry and be kind to yourself. This is going to be a one day at a time, one moment at a time sort of thing. None of us is going to do it perfectly. But I know we can do it.

Doing the Next Right Thing, Quarantine-Style

I’ve been interested in what other people have been doing to try to piece a life together during this crisis. Those first few head-spinning days I watched all of my fitness gurus switch from promotions for their gyms to offering free online programming. Restaurants immediately moved to promotions on Instagram and Facebook. My direct reports’ conversations turned to Shipt delivery dates, where to find toilet paper and how to entertain kids while they work. Of course, everything and everybody featured reports on how they are dealing with the virus, how hard it is to keep parents grounded and blame for just about anybody for the crisis we are in.

One of my favorite mantras is “Do the Next Right Thing”. When lots of things are coming at me at once and messages are conflicting, it helps me to focus on what is before me. I can’t tell the future any more than I can erase the past. But if I’m standing in an aisle in a grocery store during a pandemic, and I’m faced with the lucky circumstance of a full shelf of toilet paper, I can consider my choices. Is the next right thing to hoard the toilet paper in front of me? Or is it to take what I need, trust that this same circumstance will repeat itself in the future and know that this is a small thing in comparison to feeding my greedy impulses?

I know what the next right thing is in most cases. Sometimes it is to follow the instructions of people who know more than me. Sometimes it’s to let people meet their own consequences. Often it’s to consider a relationship over being right. And it’s always to be honest, be aware of my motives and take a few breaths if I need them. No harm has ever come from those actions.

In my current situation, the next right thing is to follow the instructions of those who know more than me. It means to be discerning over what I consume – food, media and conversation. When someone is afraid or sad, I try to offer support instead of telling them how to feel or to suppress their feelings. If I’m afraid or grieving, I focus on the next right thing in front of me and try to keep my head out of projecting my fate. I am trying to be more available to chat or talk on the phone and am favoring video chat so we all get to see other human faces. Essentially, I’m okay at the moment. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The bigger challenge is finding the next right thing if boredom is my issue. So I’ll share some of my favorite things at the moment. There are so many things available at the moment that didn’t even exist two weeks ago. So, enjoy and please respond with whatever is interesting to you these days. Pick one of them and do it!

What I’m Reading:

I love the New York Times. This morning I read this lovely article about this elderly lesbian couple and the crises they have endured.

My current open novel is A Little Life. It’s really good, but I’ve been so distracted by other stuff that I am preferring light, short content. However, today on this stormy day, I hope to get back to it. Click here for the book review.

I bought a new cookbook on vegetarian cooking from Runner’s World. It’s definitely food for thought as I make my next grocery list. Avocadoes are definitely on there!

I’m reading Eating Well Magazine and the content on their website. It’s sort of weird to be reading last month’s magazine, and there is absolutely nothing on the coronavirus. Times have changed so quickly.

What I’m Listening To:

I’ve discovered Audm (another NYT product) and have been enjoying listening to long-form journalism on a variety of topics. One of my favorites was a Rolling Stone story about a woman trying to get her Boomer parents to social distance (Why Don’t More Boomers Care About Coronavirus? E.J. Dickson). Since then, a number of people have described to me their own adventures with their disobedient parents.

One of my favorite podcasts is Left, Right and Center. The balanced opinions on the show help me understand other views and, generally, there are times I see myself nodding in agreement with an alternative view. It also helps me understand that journalists are people with varied experiences, opinions and charms. That is the truth whether you are on the left, right or center.

Other podcasts I listen to every day are The Daily from the NYT and NPR Politics Podcast. I love Nocturne for unusual and well-written storytelling, Michigan Runner Girl for fitness and local running tips and On the Media for commentary on how the media is covering the current circus.

Brene Brown just launched her own podcast called Unlocking Us. Beware those of you who don’t like talking about feelings or like living in denial of reality. Her first one on FFTs (Fucking First Times) helps us walk through our first time in a pandemic as well whatever new things we are learning during this time.

What I’m Watching:

I binge-watched the first season of Virgin River on Netflix. I cannot wait for the next season!

I’m watching celebrity videos on Instagram. They are all casual, homemade and quite charming. I love seeing their spouses and grandkids. And, of course, they are the celebrities of my time. I love Goldie Hawn, Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone and Keith Urban. Urban’s Monday night concerts are adorable with Nicole Kidman dancing around like a star-struck teenager.

What I’m doing:

I’m exercising to Daily Burn exercise videos, practicing with Yoga with Adriene yoga videos and meditating to the Calm app and 10% Happier content. I just signed up for a two-week trial for MyYogaWorks. A friend says it’s great. As an FYI, the Daily Burn has a 60-day free trial going on right now. No loss if you just use it during this time!

I’m also considering content from my local gym (the RAC) that has come online and yoga and fitness classes from my friend and life-long trainer, Coach Sprenkel. I just have to #getoffmyass! Coach Sprenkel has free yoga classes on Facebook on Sunday, other content on her blog and workouts on Instagram and YouTube. It’s free. Check her out!

I’m frequenting as many small businesses as I can for other supplies, but Michigan is under a strict quarantine. I noticed today that my favorite local grocery, the Sawyer Garden Center has made curbside pickup available. I’ll choose them over anywhere else at the moment. I want them to be in business when this is all over. I’m also eating take-out from Caffe Tosi whenever I get the itch. Check out their Facebook or Instagram accounts for the menu. This weekend it’s Chicago Dogs!!

Social Distancing Day 14: Striking a Balance

So here I am sitting on my sofa with Bella and Ashok snoring beside me much like the person who began this social distancing journey two weeks ago. I think I may have even eaten the same takeout from Caffe Tosi’s complete with Creme Brûlée for dessert. But I’m not really the same person on the inside. At that time, I didn’t know what this would be like. Toilet paper supply dwindling, I thought we might fall into a great crisis and, by this time, the world would be at its end. I’d be using Runner’s World magazine pages as combo reading material/toilet tissue. Or, maybe it would be over as quickly as it began with everybody making fun of the dire predictions that turned out to be ridiculous.

Caffe Tosi at the beginning of the crisis… Caffe Tosi in the middle. If it ain’t broke…

Thank heavens I purchased some at-home hair coloring so I can touch up my gray roots. On Instagram, all of the stars are lamenting their mistake of not getting their hair colored or cut right before this started. Alec Baldwin is about to start cutting his own hair. To be honest, he does look a little rough. I am almost out of dark chocolate, and my favorite supplier is closed. I sit at my dining room table every workday in an uncomfortable straight-backed chair. I am sick of back-to-back meetings. It seems like work is actually busier during a stay-at-home pandemic.

One of my friends made a sign for our webinars at work…..

The benefits have begun to rack up as well. I’m saving lots of money since I don’t really have any place to go. Two spring trips were canceled, so I pocketed that cash. I try to get groceries only when I really need them, and online retailers are running lots of specials. I’m talking to lots of friends and having fun teaching them how to use video chat. Everybody is learning something new. My alumni group – composed of many senior citizens – have flatly refused using webinars for meetings. But, yesterday, I got an email from one asking if we could hold our next meeting via the web. Gone are the excuses about looking bad on video or not having time. Nobody cares what they look like in this day and age, and time has become plentiful. We just have to look presentable from the waist up unless we take a walk outside.

I’m watching free Keith Urban concerts on Instagram….

The lack of a routine has turned me into a lazy bum. I try to walk most days, but I can’t seem to muster up the energy for anything more intense after sitting around all day. Today, I had to drop Bella off to get her teeth cleaned, and the vet is offering curb service. After taking my charge card over the phone, a vet tech brought my cat out to the car. Ashok looked at us like we were crazy. It must seem really odd to her that my life is spent completely at home now and almost completely sitting on my ass.

There’s curb service at the vet, but my babies are doing fine….

With the extra money I’ve accumulated, I’m trying to be more generous with the people that I interact with for deliveries and services. I’m also stocking up on necessities like quart-size bottles of hair product and generous amounts of supplements and pet food. If we do start having supply issues, I want to have the necessities without having to fight crowds. I still have another week’s supply of food, so I hope I’m good for a bit. The toilet paper, though. is a problem. The generosity of strangers is getting me through.

One of my employees is making masks for the hospital. (Don’t even ask me what I think about the local hospital not having enough masks at the BEGINNING of the crisis.) Several of them have kids at home, and they are now regulars on our webinars. Me and my supervisor are single, and we spend our time pulling our hair out trying not to go crazy on our own. He is panic-decorating, the decor in his office improving as each day passes. As for me, I ate ice cream for awhile but then had to throw it in the garbage because I could draw a direct link between my insomnia and panic and my ice cream consumption. My lack of tolerance for vices is driving me crazy. You’d think I could tolerate at least one bad habit during a global crisis.

Trying to eat healthy for my immune system

I’m staying in gratitude for my health except for the occasional panic attack that strikes me as I lay my head down to sleep. At those moments I worry about what would happen if I got “it”, or, even worse, if everybody else got “it” making the world an awful place to be. Oddly enough after my experiences with being laid off over the years I’m not too worried about the economy. It always seems to rebound in time. And, if something like that came to pass, there’d be a whole bunch of us in the same boat. People are pretty resilient if they can keep their health. My acupuncturist gave me an immune-boosting treatment last week and sent me home with immunity-strengthening herbs. There are no guarantees, but if I go out, it won’t be for a lack of trying.

How are you making it? Are you afraid? Making the most of the quiet time? What do you miss the most about the good ole days?

Day 9: Social Distancing

I guess it depends on when you started taking this seriously but, for me, this is Day 9. I went out a couple times this week for takeout from Caffe Tosi and I went to the grocery and pet store to stock up on food on Thursday. Last Sunday I walked around Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids. Otherwise, I’ve been at home. The weather has been nasty and cold, so I really only got out for a few walks. The only time I felt uncomfortable was when I went to the grocery. Just too many people coming in and out, and I had to touch so many things that I’m sure other people have touched.

We are supposed to get an inch of snow tonight. But the sun is shining, and the temps are supposed to rise into the 40s. I have to get out. I know this will be another week where I’m glued to my computer as I meet with people isolated in their own homes. Oh yeah, and it’s 26 degrees right now. C’mon sun, warm us up.

Indoor adventures….

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day. Some of it was grief. Some of it was fear. All of it was somewhat debilitating. I walked downtown and to Silver Beach. But I couldn’t pull myself out of the funk. Then, in a move that was totally unproductive, I ate a cookie and a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Good in the moment, sure. Good in the long term? Uh…. no. Self-sabotage 101.

I finally finished binge-watching The Ranch yesterday. The last two years of it were horrible. I found myself screaming at the computer screen about the idiot characters. Colt began as an immature asshole and never matured. I just don’t find that funny. Wife Abby kept forgiving him and then acting like the dutiful co-dependent wife who continues to give trust to an untrustworthy narcissistic person. The season ends but I can tell you how that would all end. I laughed out loud at the chronically relapsing heroin addict who went to treatment for a week and was miraculously cured. It’s no wonder people are so clueless about addiction and codependency if this is the story lines they consume. Addicts don’t get better because they see the light. They get better because they get effective treatment and they work their asses off to stay sober. Of course you can’t really put a bow on that at the end of a thirty-minute episode.

Our CEO, Marc Bitzer

I decided to check out my local news this morning, and my company has used our procurement resources to source masks and medical supplies for our local healthcare system. I have been so proud of Whirlpool’s measured response to this crisis. We have offices in Italy and China, so we are definitely impacted. Last week our CEO and our Medical Director gave messages to the whole company that made me extremely proud. Not only is he committed to supporting our employee base, but he feels we have a public duty to provide essential equipment to clean clothes, dishes and refrigerate food during these times. I would follow our CEO into the abyss. He doesn’t spin the message, he believes in doing the right thing and he’s not afraid to buck the system. THAT is a true leader. I wish he was our President.

It’s a gorgeous day today….

I’m trying to stay in the moment. I’m very lucky that I have a job where I can work from home. I have health insurance. I’m not on the front line facing this crisis. I’m worried about our health care workers and wish there was something I could do to help them. I guess the best thing I can do is stay out of the way of this virus and remain healthy. It’s hard to believe that doing nothing is doing something profound. But that’s the irony of these times, isn’t it?

How are you coping?

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