Summer in Pandemic

It is so blazing hot here I feel like a cheese slice cut into the shape of a woman and melted onto my couch.  We don't have AC. Usually we deal with the heat fine because we're used to it but Humidity has decided to come for a visit. What the fuck Humidity? Haven't you heard of COVID?! You shouldn't be traveling. We don't want your sticky germs and sapping damp, thank you. Just because you don't have to wear a mask doesn't make you cool. Besides, this is California. We don't DO Humidity. (We do fire season. Duh.)

That's something about the pandemic no one thought about... there would be nowhere to go when the weather turns hot! No movies, no malls, no inside dining. I could wander around Target for a couple of hours but even that has it's limits. I'm sure someone would yell at me eventually for standing in front of an open freezer door and breathing on the ice cream. Plus, I bet everyone without AC will have the same  idea. (Because let's face it, we have limited options and we're not that original.) And then as hordes of people come in to beat the heat, there will be socially distancing chaos at the Target!     

I guess I gotta go old school on this... find a kiddie pool, fill it with ice, and park it in the front yard with my lawn chair and inappropriately short clothing.  That way I'll have the appropriate amount of space between me and my disapproving neighbors when I wave. All I need is wine in a cracked jelly jar and some watermelon seeds to spit. I'm looking forward to it already.


Bow Before My Flashing Spoons

My family does not appreciate my prowess for organizing dishware. Now I know I've said on this blog many times that I am NOT a domestic queen... I'm not very good at cooking, laundry is a chore, I especially don't like to clean (and yet I seem to be doing the majority of it every damn day!!). I'm just not into much of the traditional domestic duties unless it involves sugar. (Mmm, cookies.)     

However, as far as silverware is concerned I've got mad skills! MAD SILVERWARE SKILLS!

Of which skills, my family seems clueless. Let me break this down. I've got three particular techniques in this arena that are amazing. Number 1! I know how to load a dishwasher. You know that thing where they say men are better at packing and unpacking than women? Totally not true with the dishwasher. I can get more in a dishwasher, in a manner that will make sure everything gets washed (i.e. no blocked water spouts, nothing flips over, no cumulating gunk, etc.), than anyone else in my household.  And from what I've seen, some of my friends, too. (Sorry friends.)

Number 2! I only organize the silverware once and I do this at the beginning of the process. See I believe most people do it at the end. They rinse/scrub the silverware, throw it willy nilly into the silverware holder  of the dishwasher, and then when everything is clean they have to sort the spoons from the knives and so on. All while trying not to smudge the clean shiny goodness of the washed utensils. I, on the other hand, sort the silverware as I'm putting it into the dishwasher! Revolutionary, right? I have designated spots for sharp knives, butter knives, forks, cooking utensils, tiny teaspoons, etc. Because this is the thing... I usually have more time to load the dishwasher than to unload it.  With my method I can unload in a jiffy. My process REDUCES unload time! (Clearly, this makes it superior.) 

Number 3! Wait, there's more?! Yes! Because I have also developed the practice of organizing the spoons by size in the drawer!  See, we use a lot of teaspoons. Like a LOT. Like, I bought another set of silverware at an estate sale once just for the teaspoons.  And then we discovered sundae spoons! With the extra long handle! Just perfect for jars of sticky stuff you don't want to get all over your fingers. So we have those, too. And actual teacup sized spoons because they are adorable and surprisingly useful. Anyway, I got the brilliant idea to put all the small spoons in separate slots and the soup spoons in another! So you always know what you're grabbing! You practically don't even have to look! Mad skills, right? MAD SKILLS! 

But does my family understand this? No. Do they even notice the genius that is my spoon organization? I'm not sure! And as I pass on the chore of unloading to household members (especially Chance, because if he thinks I'm following him to college to do dishes for him he's got a rude awakening coming) do they follow the clear, obviously superior spoon system? NO!!!

But, you know, it seems kind of petty to mention something as silly as spoon alignment. Even though it drives me crazy. Right? Like maybe verging on OCD level? And so. not. important. Right? So... I really should just suck it up and actually LOOK at the spoons when I'm grabbing one? Even if it reduces my spoon retrieval time.

I'm not anal. I'm not anal. I'm not anal. 


The Slug Life

I feel, simultaneously, like I'm getting a lot of long-neglected things done AND I am the laziest person alive.  Motivation has slowed down as much as our economy has in this shelter in place era.  Which on the one hand, I would never ever wish these circumstances or anxiety on anyone, and on the other, I am very well rested.  I've read some good books, watched good shows, and played a game I'm enjoying very much on my phone (you can do it Lily, you can save your garden!).   It's amazing what the step back has put into perspective.  It's hard to get upset over much of anything that isn't life threatening right now.  Traffic? Meh.  Social media snipe? Who cares?  Politicians? I just turn off the TV.

However, this also means there is no sense of urgency.  I'm working on my second book now.  At the beginning of each month I tell myself, "This month I'm going to write a 1000 words a day! Woohoo me!"  But it actually turns out like this...

"Redecorated" front room (i.e. packed up Easter stuff (a couple of weeks late)). Words written: 70 words a day 

Cleaned up yard/garden garbage, which has been accumulating 2-5 years. Words written: 50 words a day

Ordered new window shades, which I've had on the back burner for three years. Words written: 0

You can see the alarming pattern right?  Now in my defense, my house and garden are looking pretty darn cute, but I've got to make a change. 

Today I ordered curtains for the bathroom...

and... I blogged!

OH MY GOD, SHE'S ON FIRE!!            - wg takes a bow

 

P.S. Why isn't "slown" a word? I.e. things have slown down. Or maybe just "slowed/slowing down" had a baby and its name is "slown"? My motivation has slown. Life's been crazy so I'm gonna slown. I'd chip in for the cake but my income is slown.  That makes sense, right?

P.P.S. Aw shit, I just looked up slown and apparently it means slut clown.  Now I'm just offended as a feminist.  


Goofiness is Contagious

Well, I've reached the point of the shut in where I'm breaking into spontaneous song. ESPECIALLY if my son is playing video games! There is just something about a teen concentrating ferociously on a screen that brings out the jazz hands in me.

Me (dancing in front of the screen): Hey, whatcha doing? Am I BOTHERING you?

Chance: Mom! Stop it! I've got to kill the thing at the time in the place for the team! 

Muted voice from his headphones: Tell your mom you like big butts!

Chance: Shut up! I'm not telling my mom that!

Me: Ha! You like big butts! JAZZ HANDS!

I know I'm not the only one breaking out the tunes. I have to say it is pretty refreshing to see people letting their goofy flags fly. Suddenly we can't walk around in front of each other with our fancy leggings and hot cars and social status so there is no reason not to be a goofball! Plus, there's that whole world wide epidemic going on, so you know, perspective. It's like everyone realized that being cheerful and silly and posting a video of it is WAY more fun than anything on the news right now. 

So THANK YOU!  And... dare I say it... maybe we're even being closer to our true selves? Quirky goofiness and all? Maybe we're being brave in a different way in this often scary time?

I hope so. Everybody boogie! 


My Attempts at Youth are Backfiring

I've changed over to a new face cream, one that's "age-appropriate" for my current circumstances.  Those circumstances being that I am NOT the 20-something my heart and emotions and even dreams feels that I am, but I am, in actuality, ooold...er.  Let's just say my insides don't match my outsides. However, my outsides have argued that hormone fluctuations are really wreaking havoc on my skin so I decided to try the next phase in skin care and forgo the cream meant for younger selves that I have been using for years and still really love and move on to the more intensive, "age-defying" cream.  (I'm so down for denial and defiance.) 

But instead of feeling plumped and refreshed and oozing in collagen I find myself walking around with a slight, never-ending headache that at first I attributed to a neck kink or fire smog or the stress of watching 13 Reasons Why (because I finally stopped avoiding it like a pussy and watched and cried and now want to hug every teenager who comes my way, except that's ultra creepy even for a mom, and I want my son to watch it but if I push too hard HE WON'T WATCH IT AT ALL! and it's important! so strategies to get a teen to watch, anyone? anyone? Bueller?) but it turns out I'm having headaches because I think I'm allergic to the freaking face cream.  Like the scent that I didn't think much about, lightly perfum-y but doable (and it should fade throughout the day right?), just insiduously burrows into my skull.  So again, instead of being renewed with a youthful glow I'm walking around with a little furrow between my brows and a slight scowl of pain and an overall tired expression that is basically aging me as we speak.  That was not advertised on the bottle.  

(Or again, it could be watching 13 Reasons Why. Which I can't quit even if I wanted to.)

Back to 20-something face cream and teen dramas.


Today's Theme Is Do What You're Avoiding

That's why I'm writing this post. I've avoided my blog. I've been avoiding writing in general. Not all summer. I had a good run in the beginning. I've had a lot of introspection and a lot of deep thoughts but it's been scattered.  I've been writing in pieces.  That might sound confusing if you're not a writer. You're writing, so that's good, right? But when you're writing in pieces that often means you're not finishing. It's a lot of jumping around.

There were some deaths this summer. People I knew, people gone much too soon. There have been shootings. Everything all in a row like it always seems to happen. I've been sad. Not depressed or distraught, just sad in a deep way. Just heavier. Sometimes there is so much going on in your head and your heart that you can't get anything out.

But it's hard because it feels like you owe it to get it all out. Owe to whom or what I don't know. Maybe that other person who might be going through the same thing?

So... I knew the victim of a workplace shooting. I lost a family member to sudden cancer. I know a family who lost their child to cancer after years of fighting. There were all too young for what happened. I don't often talk about these types of tragedies because they're not my stories to tell. (And I feel very strongly that I don't deserve attention for other people's pain.) But in this cycle of avoidance that I've been in, I suddenly feel like I should speak my experience. Especially in the wake of other mass shootings. It's been utterly heart-wrenching. Those days where everything just seems very heavy and seeped in sorrow. Those days where anxiety rules and won't let go. Those days where nothing seems to improve. I feel it, too. You are not alone. You are never truly alone, even when it feels like it. 

And yet... I still believe in people . I still think the world is full of amazing things. I still have faith.

Perhaps the greatest weight is that the world holds both all the time. And we have to hold it, too.

I'm not saying anything new here. I'm not offering any solutions. I think I'm just saying... I've been sad. It's OK to just be sad. It's OK to grieve that life is hard. It's OK to still smile, too. To keep going.

(I thought I was avoiding writing. Funny how that happens, huh? As all these feelings crash down.)

Love you guys.        - wg 


I Don't Want to Jinx Myself...

It is the end of the school year!  Usually by this time, there have been so many events and and extracurriculars and end of year of projects (besides getting up at the ungodly hour of 7:00 o'clock every morning for months!) that we're all a little bedraggled and ready for a good summer rest.  Summer plans are made but the day to day is vague and heavily reliant on "nothing".  But I don't know, this time it feels different.  There is energy in the air.  It feels like something is about to HAPPEN.  I don't know what exactly, but it feels like purpose is stirring. 

*shiver* Ooh! It's all vague and oracular and delicious feeling.  (I should totally write horoscopes. But not, you know, ones tied to astrology because I don't know anything about that.  Except my ADHD and talking shit is so Gemini.)

Maybe I'm just not as tired, maybe I'm ramping up with the sun.  I feel like writing a lot.  I think about writing all the time.  So perhaps, this summer, will be... extra productive?  (Don't jinx, don't jinx, don't jinx.)

Fingers crossed please.


Remember Kids... Don't Google and Blog

I seemed to have tweaked a muscle in my collarbone.  I wasn't even doing anything, just sitting at a meeting and when I moved it felt funny.  I didn't think pulling that particular area was even possible.  I mean, I can't flex my breasts like Dwayne Johnson can.  Especially not both girls separately.  He really gets them going so that seems like he would pull a boob eventually.  (I suppose I should call them "pecs" but that just seems silly.  We all know he's boob popping.)  I figure there must be a gene that lets you isolate those muscles.  One I don't have.  (I had to immediately go google that by the way.  If the government is really tracking all of our google searches then I bet there's a file on me somewhere that is a real interesting read.  (Google results were, sadly, inconclusive.  But don't worry Google, even though you let me down, I still love you.))  I also don't have that gene for rolling your tongue into a straw.  But despite that I HAVE taught myself to sort of whistle weakly!  Like an airy, tuned hiss.  I am very proud of that.  I can do two, maybe three notes.  I might, someday, be even able to do a limited variety of bird calls!  A girl can dream.

I guess I'm kind of addicted to internet searches.  I google stuff all the time!  Sometimes I go to bed and then something pops in my head and I have to look it up or I can't sleep.  Have you ever tried to sneak google so your family doesn't catch you?  (Me too!)  I'd like to say I can quit at any time but I'm not sure that's true.  I blame it on my parents and the educational system.  I collect knowledge like a magpie.  Then I promptly forget that knowledge because I'm old and I have to google it again.  It's an addiction that feeds itself!  Well, I do remember random juicy facts like platypuses only have one working ovary and toilets come in different heights.  Because I totally need to know both of those. (Actually, the toilet one comes in handy. I'm short.)

Anywho, if I've really pulled a muscle in my collarbone a quick search says I need to stick rice on it?  Wait, no, that's an acronym, R.I.C.E.  Yeah, that's too much work.  Did I mention that I have a short attention span?

Holy shit, I just googled the rolling tongue gene and it's been debunked!!  Our educational system LIED!


The Evil Laugh Goes, "Mauve Mauve Mauve!"

Ugh!  I did not mean to let so much time pass between posts.  Things got real busy real fast.  I got called for jury duty right about the same time that I realized I needed to plan whatever we were going to do for the summer, and also at the same time that I needed to get a bathroom remodel going because, oh my god, our bathroom is falling apart. 

I mean, it's functional.  It works, you can use the toilet and take a shower and all that.  Just try not to pay attention to the dripping faucets (3), broken drawer (1+), the mineral buildup that even acid won't eat through anymore, and the mysterious stains that look unmysteriously like (ahem) mold.  The last time it was updated was somewhere around '89/'90 so...  You know when people say things like "My bathroom/kitchen/bedroom is perfect! I love it! I'm going to keep it this way for the rest of my life!!"  Well, I can tell you from personal experience, 30 years later a lot of stuff is going to be broken.

But I gotta give it to the previous owners... lasting 30 years shows they bought quality stuff!  However, I am over 80s mauve and colonial blue.  SO. OVER.

For those of you who don't know what mauve is... behold!  This is almost the exact shade of our bathroom tile. Everywhere you look.

Image result for mauve

As part of the compendium of hideous mauve items you can also enjoy a mauve skinny tie or skinny jeans.

Image result for mauveImage result for mauve

The jeans are a slightly more palatable shade. However, I don't think those hips are real. Or maybe her waist. Something was definitely photoshopped there.

Here's a beautiful cake in mauve! But let's face it, out in the end, it's not gonna be pretty.

Image result for mauve

In fact, when you type "horrible things in mauve" in google, Barney the dinosaur pops up!  Although technically, Barney is horrible purple.  Mauve as well were quite a number of bridesmaids dresses that are just trying too damn hard.  There is also a book, "Mauve:  How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World"!

Um... my bathroom thanks you?


Keeping Menopause Classy

I gotta tell you I'm not digging this menopause thing.  It's painful, lumpy, awkward, and odd.  There are also smells.  Years ago, I put together a whole list of the Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze, all the silly, gross, funny details and shared experiences of pregnancy.  I'm half-tempted to start a new list for menopause.  Except I'm really hoping it'll be over before I have enough for a list.  Really, really hoping.  Who I am kidding?  I've already got enough; I just don't want to relive them. 

The symptom I'm currently enduring is my boobs growing.  Because, apparently, one out of five women's breasts get bigger during menopause!  Who the hell knew that?!  It never even occurred to me that could happen.  I believed that once you were done growing, except by pregnancy or purchase, your boob size was set.  But no!  At first I thought my girls were just bloating, like maybe I ate too much salt.  Then I thought my bras were worn out, that's why everything felt weird.  Then I got mad at the manufacturers for changing the design of my favorite bra because it used to fit!  Damn you bra manufacturers!  Just stick with the design already.  My ta-tas were sore and sensitive, too.  That's when I realized it was hormonal and I thought, "oh, well, the swelling will go down soon".  But it hasn't gone down.  I bought bigger bra sizes and they still didn't feel great.  In fact, some days I don't want to wear anything at all, except now I've got flotation devices bobbing all of the place.  Then I went and got professionally fitted.  It was the fitter who casually mentioned breast growth during menopause.  I still didn't think that was happening.  But my hooters kept swelling, everything kept hurting, it all just seemed out of place.  Finally, digging through the internet, I read up on it.  

One out of five.

The worse thing is how blind-sided I felt. It's not like they went over this in that puberty class in 5th grade. "As your body goes through hormonal changes you may experience sore breasts, mood swings, acne, possible weight gain, and painful cramping. Oh, and by the way, you'll go through all of that again when you have kids. AND when you go through menopause. Enjoy!"  That would have been helpful.  Or any class on menopause would be helpful!  How about just an informational luncheon? Older ladies coming together to share a new chapter of The Talk.  "Well, dear, things may start falling out of your twat now. Or it'll dry up. It's hard to tell. "  It's the stage that no one covers.  You'd think there would at least be a pamphlet on menopausal breast growth because one out of five is, you know, kind of significant.

And that's just the tip of the tender iceberg.  Everyone hears about hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, but there's a whole slew of other symptoms that I, at least, had never heard about.  Enough wacko symptoms to make you think you're going crazy.                

So if you've got a menopause story, feel free to share it. I'd love to be crazy with company.

            - wg


Music for the Mid

Things have been alternately busy and pokey lately, in that way that culminates in having too much to do one day and not caring to do anything at all the next. On the busy end, my kiddo (who is suddenly much too grown up) finished his play for drama and his drum show and then went off on an 8th grade D.C. trip during spring break. Whoof! (Yeah, a whole lot could be unpacked there but I'm putting it on hold lest I go maudlin.) And in two weeks he has auditions for high school! (Oh, my heart.) In between all that we have a bathroom remodel coming up and I'm trying to organize summer plans. 

And then there are those moments where I just stare for way too long at this game on my phone that involves making matches and hatching dragon eggs. Come on, everyone needs a dragon.

So while I sort out where my head has gone while my legs went in another direction I'll leave you with a bit of music.

This is Vola Tila, with New Behaviour.  Cheers!

 


Writing Slowly but Surely

I seem to be in a good writing groove at the moment (knock on wood, fingers crossed, step on a cat... wait, no). I've hit a pocket of ideas for the second book that I'm exploring and it's turning into some interesting copy.  I have a rough outline and an idea of the big story arc, but I'm still definitely in the experimenting phase.  I actually really enjoy this part.  All the small details start to come out but it's still very open and organic. I begin recognizing layers of themes; ones I intended but also surprises that develops as I write.  It's always fun to see what your unconscious comes up with when you're not paying attention.  (Sneaky, sneaky unconscious.)  I get to play while I'm writing and that's always more fun than "hurry up and finish and/or fix".

I'm still not the fastest writer but I'm happy if I'm steady. I find I waffle between being furiously jealous of "fast writers" and slightly disappointed in the results of said fast writing.  I mean, a lot of the time when I read someone who says they're a fast writer it's still really good (then, oh the jealousy).  But sometimes, sometimes I'll read something and it feels... well... rushed. 

But I'll be honest, the envy still wins out.  If I could get to twice my current word count and still feel like I'm playing... I'd be very, very happy.  ♥


Mark Your Progress and Take a Deep Breath

I wrote this a year and a half ago...

    "Occasionally I come up with mottos for my life. It's entertaining and sometimes pithy. Or maybe they're just mottos for the moment, since I keep changing my mind and creating new ones. But one of the overarching lessons I keep running into through my trials and tribulations is this one: Stop holding back, Girl!    

    Which is a little scary because I'm not exacting a shrinking wallflower.  And maybe that is the point because I think I need to scare myself a little."

I never posted it; it's been sitting in forgotten draft mode this whole time.  It's interesting to see where I was then.  That unfinished post was about my tendency to curb my gut instincts.  It was about letting my fears get in the way of starting things, of second guessing that I knew what I was doing, or that what felt right was too strange, or what I wanted to accomplish was too much.  It's funny how often the strength of our power and the strength of our doubt mirror each other.  I was essentially afraid to trust myself. 

But part of me must have remembered that motto because since then I've finished a novel and I'm starting another.  I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone a number of times.  I've tried new things.  I was successful at some things and not others.  I've been proven wrong when I thought I knew something and I learned because of it.  It was hard, but it was great.

Lately I've been getting a lot of messages from the universe that seem to boil down to an entirely different motto...

Let go. 

I just got used to not holding back, to getting things done, to just do it!  I accomplished quite a bit in the last year and a half.  I've gotten real good at being in control of all the details to accomplish things!  I became the master of my own destiny.  Except now I'm supposed to... not be the master.

*groan*  I'm not sure which motto is scarier.  And have no doubt, I am scaring myself, I am uncomfortable.  I know (with the gut instinct I've learned to trust) that in another year or two there will be more progress, there will be more accomplished, there will be more learned, and there will probably be another step and a new motto.  I know this!  But I gotta ask... why does every incidence of growth require so much dang discomfort? 

(Until then, breathe and repeat... "May I open to my experience just as it is. May I open to my experience just as it is. May I open to my experience just as it is." Taken from the Self Compassion Pause.)

                 - wg