Quarantine Quiet

It’s been a very busy and exciting few weeks. So much traveling and so much entertaining! Just kidding. No real traveling. And the only person I consistently entertain is myself. But it has been busy. Let me catch you up.

4 weeks ago I was going around saying things like, “gee I’m never alone” or “what’s it like to be alone?” and “I don’t think I’ve been alone since last March”. Well as the universe does, it heard me and gave me exactly what I wanted. Immediately.

3 week ago we got a call that a family member tested positive for Covid and we needed to go take care of them. It threw us into a tailspin. How do we do this? What do we do? Well, what we did is that I moved in with them for 10 days of quarantine. My job is fully mobile and all I needed was an internet line to make it work. So I packed a bag and within hours moved myself in to help out. Here’s what I learned:

  • PPE works. I wore two masks and a face shield and thoroughly washed my hands and surfaces. After 10 days of quarantine, we both left the house Covid free (2 tests to prove it)
  • Besides work calls and family check-in time, I was completely and utterly alone for 10 days. I had lots of interactions with my jailbird, but most of the time I had to keep my distance, so the conversations were short and quick.
  • I did miss my family. But it was an amazing respite for 10 days. Lots and lots and lots of alone time. I didn’t hate it.
  • My jailbird is as strong as an ox. It’s amazing how resilient we are as humans. He was luckily asymptomatic the whole time, but it’s hard to be trapped in a room (although a comfortable one). He did it like a pro. No complaints. No trying to breakout.
  • I went for long long long walks. I went in the morning. I went at night. I went if it rained. I went if it snowed. There was nothing else to do. And I loved it. Even though the path was small and I felt like a hamster spinning the wheel, it felt so good to be outside every day. I posted some of the pics from my walks below. There’s even one of me wearing my very sexy headlight. Not sexy maybe, more Blair Witch Project, but you get it.
  • Although I got points for taking care of someone like Florence Nightingale, it felt like a selfish indulgence. It was quiet and calm and peaceful.

Thank you universe for hitting me in the face with exactly what I asked for. What should I ask for next? A billion dollars??

Speaking of ox – it’s the Lunar New Year! The year of the ox. Strong, reliable, resilient. Like my jailbird.

2 weeks ago I came back home with a renewed sense of calm. I feel like I should rent that time out to people. It could be a new thing. I could call it Quarantine Quiet Time Spa! Without a deadly disease being a part of the experience, it would be perfect.

Last week went back to “normal”. Family, work, etc. I’m still walking. Let me say just a few words about the walks. The walks have been very impactful. The walks get me out of my head. They get me away from screens. They get me outside, in the very cold air. Sometimes I talk to people on my walks. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or Howard Stern. And because it’s me, never do I listen to music. I’m a weirdo. I know. I usually walk alone. Even when I walk with people I walk alone. I’m a slow walker. I’m also short and my stride is smaller. That’s my story.

Since Christmas Eve, I’ve walked atleast 10K steps a day. It’s what the kids would call a streak.

Who knows when it will end. I’m not worried about it. I’m worried about 1 million other things, but my walks and my time alone are not one of them.

Happy new year. Happy weekend.

That’s a selfie with a headlight- you’re welcome
This was when I went for a walk with family and they left me behind to be murdered

I’m a poet, you just didn’t know it

Goodbye Christmas lights and holiday sights.

Goodbye cookie baking and prime rib making.

Goodbye gift buying and bow-tying.

Goodbye White Russians for lunch, I really loved you a bunch.

Goodbye to my Santa mask, which was really up to the task, It made people smile and kept me safe all the while.

New Year’s Eve was so fun, I love a good Cosmo clearly. Thank goodness for our pod, I love them all dearly.

Resolutions were made and good wishes shared. We brought in the new year with people that cared.

So here we are in the new year, and it’s not that great so far, I fear

But I’m still thankful and full of hope, see sometimes it comes in handy to be a silly dope

So let’s keep our friends close and our naysayers at bay, and make sure you do something good for someone else today.

Things will get better, they always do, but even without the news, it’s easy to be blue.

So thank you Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max too, Bridgeton and Cobra Kai will help get me through.

So I’m sending you love and hugs Covid style, I hope this little ditty helped make you smile 😊

Vacation me

I’m off work for a few days, and it’s magic!

This week… from Christmas to New Years is amazing. A black hole of nothingness.

Why didn’t anyone tell me how great this was??

Vacation me is such a gem. She’s relaxed, and happy and almost light hearted! Almost.

I mean this isn’t my first time off this year. I took a week in July but that was different. Other people were working and I was still checking emails. Still working from the side of my vacation.

But this week. This magical week. No emails, no missed meetings, no nothing.

Listen – in general I’m not saving lives at work. What I do day to day in no way impacts the world. It should be no surprise that me not doing the work is totally inconsequential. It’s a non-event. And I couldn’t be happier.

Vacation me is mellow. Most likely because vacation me day drinks, but who’s judging?

No alarms. No schedules. Thanks to Covid no plans at all.

In the past I’d have to figure out how to visit family and friends – but not this year. Nope. Vacation me and pandemic me are a perfect match.

Am I cooking big family meals? Nope! I’m saving restaurants by not cooking and only ordering in. You’re welcome!

Am I schlepping to my relatives houses and dragging my kids along? Nope! I’m saving lives by not seeing anyone, including my own kids. Kidding.

Vacation me is so funny. Not a care in the world. Well that’s a lie, but you know what I mean.

I hope you’re taking time off. I hope your heart is getting lighter. I hope you are letting go of all the crap 2020 laid on us. It’s not easy, I know. Do what I do. Take a deep, slow breath and exhale it all out.

Vacation me has all the answers.

Vacation me thinks all will be well.

Let’s go with that. Xoxo

Winter whine

I’ve been off work for a few glorious days. I hope you’re taking some time for yourself too. It’s been great.

I started rewatching a lot of videos from my favorite self-helpie stars. Gary V, Simon Sinek, Brene Brown and even a little Tony Robins for old times sake. I’ve been desperate for positivity and optimism. My new favorite is Tabitha Brown (that’s yo bizzzness).

I love reading and watching their pithy, no nonsense advice. I can feel myself getting smarter and more zen by the minute. It’s great. Check them out if you haven’t already.

But this isn’t an appreciation post. This is a complaint.

Yes… I spent vacation getting enlightened and I’ve got some issues. Ok just one issue.

Each of them has a quote or a video or an article on why you shouldn’t expect things from others. The basic lesson is that the reason you’re (I’m) let down is because of the expectations set for those around us. Stop doing it they say. You’ll be happier they say. You’ll find it easier to get along with people.

Well duh.

Sooooo I’m not supposed to expect anything from you? Or you? Or me?

Fuuuuuucccckkk that.

Excuse my French.

Here’s the thing. I expect a lot from myself. I expect kindness, and patience, and tolerance, forgiveness, and so much more. I expect shit from myself. I am not allowed just to be my sloth-like, bitter self. No sir. You deserve better from me. And I know it!

So why oh why can’t I expect shit from you??

I don’t want to go around wanting nothing from people. That’s what I was taught growing up. It was MY job to make things right. It was MY job to make sure people felt good. And I was up for the task. I worked hard at all my expectations. I did done good.

But after all that I feel very comfortable saying that I expect shit from people. I just do. You don’t get a free pass. Ok, maybe you did for 20 odd years while I came to terms with the fact that I deserve what I give. All of it. And if I don’t get it? Well, bye girl. On to the next one.

This notion that we shouldn’t hold others to standards and aspirations is bonkers.

I’m not crazy. I know not everyone is thinking and acting like me. That’s fine. I’ll keep doing me. But I can limit the exposure I have to people who choose to not give a shit about me or the ones l love. I don’t have to eat their selfishness. I can bucket it. Give it the two or three minutes it deserves and move on.

There are people in my life that hold themselves to the same standards – sometimes higher! There are people in my life I aspire to be. That’s what I want.

I do not want to be complicit in this idea that I can’t demand the people around me be kind, and tolerant, and patient and demanding.

Why can’t we expect things from people? Why can’t we want to be treated and loved as we treat and love?

I’m no longer interested in passive, vapid relationships. I did that for a long time. Cause I’m nice. And I don’t want to hurt your feelings. And I’m a coward. Let’s be honest. I’m a chicken shit and I don’t like to make trouble.

But trouble is real. And if I’m real, I can admit that I expect things from you.

By the way, I’m not talking about birthday cards and phone calls. I’m horrible at both.

I have friends I don’t talk to often, some that I haven’t talked to in years. But they send a quick note if they hear things are bad.. or good. I get a text or an IM with a good wish. I try to do the same. Is it mandatory? No. Is it something I want in a friend? Yep.

I also have friends I talk to daily. My expectations of them are totally off the charts! Different than the folks I just text once a year. But I want them to hold me to a standard too. That’s how it should be.

What is this free-flowing, expect nothing relationship that’s so great for us? It’s a hoax. Doesn’t exist.

Everything isn’t easy. Everything isn’t a meme or a tweet. Real things require commitment. Require bending. It’s ok. It doesn’t mean you are losing or somehow inferior.

Expectations aren’t negative shackles – they are goal posts. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, from people, from situations, and from yourself.

You’re not a delicate flower. And the people around you aren’t either.

I’m sorry Brene, and Simon and Gary. I love you all but I’m not buying the whole “expect nothing and never be disappointed” vibe.

I’d rather be disappointed than dead inside.

It’s a conspiracy stupid

This is not a political post.

This is a post about the hundreds of thousands of people who believe deeply in conspiracy theories.

Remember The X-Files? Mulder and Scully traveling the country to solve mysteries and fall in love?

The truth is out there!

One of my childhood favorites. I was a believer like Mulder. Scully was annoying and didn’t smile enough, but I liked that she went along with things. My point is – I get it. I’m into this notion that we may not know the truth about everything.

This year I’ve read and heard a lot about conspiracies. But those are just the big ones – pizza gate, etc. Those are the stories that made the news channels and headlines. For every crazy story that made it through – there’s 10 that didn’t.

Let me digress here for one second. I’m not on Twitter. I love social media, I always have. I love Instagram and Facebook. This year TikTok came into my life, and China be damned, I’m loving it. And I consider YouTube an essential learning tool. But Twitter? I don’t get it. No pictures? No videos? I’m like a toddler, I’m out. Seems like just a cesspool of angry words. No thank you. Take me back to the synchronized dancing family on TikTok.

People love Twitter. My kids spend the majority of their time on it. And truth be told, with all the news about Facebook, maybe it’s better? Maybe not. You know who else loves Twitter? Conspiracy theorists. On Twitter, something even Breitbart rejected as shady, gets lifeblood.

Here are two stories that raged on Twitter this year…

The Mole Children of NYC

Back in April when New York City hospitals were worried about capacity to care for Covid patients, they put some large white tents. Some of these hospitals are near Central Park, so the tents went up near or in the park itself. So all of this is real. Another nugget of truth are the underground tunnels. They exist. You can take a tour at Halloween. So these are the factual parts.

Here’s the kookoo bird part. There are thousand of people on Twitter that believe that those tents were a part of a Pentagon rescue mission. A department called The Pentagon Pedofile Taskforce rescued 35,000 children that were enslaved in underground tunnels in Central Park. Mole children who had lived their whole life underground after being abducted and captured. Some children, they claimed, were born underground so deformed and malnourished that they looked like little moles. This particular theory is unusual also because it’s a happy tale. The task force not only saved the children, but also killed and blew up all the captors (who apparently lived down there too).

This story had over 14,000 shares on Twitter. Thousands of comments about where to send money to help these mole children. There was no video, no photos, nothing.

Let me put my Scully cap on for a bit, since the Mulder in me wants to atleast give this a moment of thought.

Logistics. 35,000 children is a lot. That’s a college. Now, add to this that most are blind and weak. Probably can’t walk fast or run. Have you ever seen a concert let out? Or a sports event? People and chaos everywhere. It’s organized chaos, but it’s not quiet. How did they do it? Even if the media was told not to cover it – wasn’t there some nosy dude walking by with a camera? It’s New York City, you’re never alone!

But that’s the story. What happened to the kids? Why didn’t anyone hear the explosions underground? No answers.

There was so much noise on Twitter that Reuters did a whole fact check article on it. Can you guess what it said? Ok good.

Here is one more… this one is scarier to me because it’s not just internet yammer. It’s a believer who took action.

Train derailed by engineer in Port of Los Angeles

In April, apparently a big month for kookoo birds, Eduardo Moreno derailed a train in the Port of Los Angeles.

Eduardo was an engineer for the Pacific Harbor Line. A well liked and hardworking guy, according to the company. A “normal” guy that was convinced that a ship called Mercy that had just pulled into the port was up to no good. Specifically- it was being used to either spread Covid or cover-up the truth about Covid.

He detailed the train off the tracks, went through a concrete barrier, then through a parking lot – which was luckily empty- and came to a stop before it got near the docks. He jumped out with a flare in his hand and ran toward the ship.

Trains are big and he wasn’t going that fast. When he derailed it, it slowed to a speed that allowed nearby police to arrive on the scene. They arrested Eduardo standing there with the flare, yelling at the ship.

He told the arresting officer that he couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. He had to try and “save us all”.

He told the officers that the flare was for them – to get their attention so they could help him. He cried when he told them adamantly that he had “one shot to do this and failed.”

The ship Mercy was a cargo vessel that was carrying steel and stone to Canada.

Eduardo Morena is waiting trial so I’m sure we will hear a lot more details soon. I want to know how he heard about the ship? What started this all?

I don’t really care about the people who sit in their basements and believe in mole children. I really care about the Eduardo’s of the world. The ones who are crazy enough to put their plan into action. And there is still a part of me, my Mulder part, that wants to know the truth.

Is he just crazy? Is he just caught up in our world of too much content? Maybe neither, maybe both. Or maybe the Cigarette Smoking Man got a hold of him (Google it).

*cue closing music*

2011 in 2020

Way back in 1995, we were gifted a very special ornament from a Pier One collection called Li Bien. These are hand painted from the inside (which is what li bien means in Chinese, from the inside) and each one has the year on it.

This started a tradition. Our first tradition ever.

And a collection. Every year since then we are gifted another one. Sometimes two. I love them. I have dreams of my kids taking them to their homes. And the packaging! For me it’s all about the packaging. These little beauties come in a velvet box.

This year, since we’re all trapped at home together, the kids and my husband helped me decorate the tree. A job that usually takes me 2 hours was done in 15 minutes. Mostly because the crew wanted it over and done with. Still counts as family time right?

As we were unpacking the ornaments, I was telling the kids – for the millionith time – about how much these mean to me etc. I was also telling my 17 year old son who is all arms and legs to be gentle, delicate. As I said this, I went and dropped an ornament. A Le Bien ornament. 2011 to be exact.

I was devastated. I wanted to throw-up.

I know there are bigger things to be upset about. I tried to pretend it was ok. My husband, who is usually one to make a big joke out of a mistake like that, stayed silent. He knew.

I took a deep breath and shook it off. It’s just our ONLY yearly tradition. No biggie. It’s just the ONE thing we have that connects us to family through time and space. It’s fine.

Cut to last night. When my husband brought in this little gem.

He went on Ebay, found the old ornament, and got it for me.

And I cried.

When people ask me how it’s possible that I married someone I met at 19 and never looked back – it’s because of this story. And a hundred others like it.

He knows me, from the inside.

Gobbled 2020

Happy Sunday night! I hope you all had a good/weird Thanksgiving. Doesn’t it feel like it was a year ago? Tomorrow it’s back to work. Which isn’t so bad, but it’s not as good as sleeping, let’s be honest.

You know that line from Elf? The one where he says, “smiling is my favorite.” Well for me, sleeping is my favorite. Oh I love it so much. My bed. My pillow. My very unsexy pjs. Love it all.

Two friends of mine both just recently recommended CBD to me. Independently. They just started taking it at night and now they sleep like a baby. Lucky for me, I’ve always been a big baby. No sleep issues here.

I’m always worried when I hear that excessive sleeping is a sign of depression. I mean… what’s excessive? That’s a very broad word. Like when they say, “that’s an excessive amount of wine.” Tomato, tOEmato.

This blog wasn’t supposed to be about sleeping. I digressed.

Anyway, our turkey day was great – I started it by digging into the apple pie, which I had with my morning coffee watching the Macy’s Parade (sad spectacle). I decided since it was 2020 and we need to do literally anything to makes ourselves happy right now, that I could cut right into the store bought pie with no feelings of guilt or weirdness. I was wrong ofcourse. Guilt and weirdness are like my home-base. I end up there whether I like it or not. Pie was still delicious.

The rest of the day was a blur of activity – not as quiet as I thought it would be. But Kera and I squeezed in a walk. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, Bucks County. It’s got the best of all worlds all around it. Philadelphia, New York City, the beach and everything in between. You wanna go to Target, go left. You wanna go to the Delaware Canal, go right. It’s amazing. So we walked. Never in a million years – pre-covid years – could I take a walk on Thanksgiving day. So I guess thanks Covid? It was great.

It was just the four of us that night at dinner but it felt full and complete. I missed our other family, but sitting at a candle lit table with just our little humans was just as good. Food wise? Let’s see – I ran out of turkey for reasons to be explained at another time. The mac and cheese and stuffing both were over cooked and dried out. But my husband crunched his way through dinner and the kids were sweet about it. It’s fine. It wasn’t our last meal.

I hope you had a good day and a good weekend. Now, it’s time to take some CBD, have a piece of pie or give yourself a heavy pour of vino. This holiday is a wrap, but no worries, there’s another one right around the corner.

Goodnight.

Always go to bed angry and other sage pieces of advice

I met my husband when I was 19. It was my 3rd week at college. I had just had cream cheese for the first time in my life the week before (true story, on a NYC bagel). It was a good month. We started dating and married a year after I graduated.

To say we were unprepared was and is an understatement. This was pre-internet and pre-therapy being a cool thing. We were on our own. All I had was Cosmo magazine and Oprah to help me.

My husband and I are opposites. Two very different people. Like super different. I’m glass half full, he’s glass… someone stole his glass! I usually think things are going to work out, and he routinely plans for disaster.

When we first got together, we fought all the time. It was nuts. And I read all the magazines and did all the quizzes. He’s a Cancer, I’m a Gemini – it’ll never work out! He’s emotional, I’m abrupt – it’ll never work out! I’d listen to all the couples on Oprah and all the advice Dr. Phil (before he was Dr. Phil) would dish out. I tried it all. I made him try it all. Some of it worked. Most didn’t.

Know what works for us? Going to bed pissed. Yes. If you’re having a huge fight and you’re at your wits end – go to bed! It’s fine. Sometimes we go to bed pissed for like 2 nights – maybe 3. It’s ok. Tensions ease. We slowly forget what we were so passionate about. Not everything can or needs to be resolved all the time. There are many arguments that have been forgotten rather than resolved. I’m no therapist, and I’m guessing some crap will come back to haunt us and it’s probably not healthy – but you aren’t here for health right? Anyway try it – it’s worked for us for 28 years and counting. Instead of counting sheep, count grievances. Lol.

Here’s something else. Ours is not a 50/50 relationship. It never was. It never will be. We are not equal partners. Now, before you lose your undies over that statement let me explain. I’m not talking just about money. And I’m certainly not talking about someone being subservient or less than. I’m talking about ebbs and flows of a long relationship where one person bares the brunt of what it takes to keep us going. It can be emotional. And it can be physical. After I had my daughter, at a very young age, I fell into what I thought was a funk. But now I know that it was postpartum depression. Nothing too serious but I was having a moment… a moment that lasted about 7 months. I was lonely in New York City, where most gals my age were still single and partying. I had just decide to quit my job and stay home full time, which was such a luxury but only added to my isolation. During that time I was useless. I took care of our baby girl but nothing else. No laundry. No cooking. Nothing. He did it all. He worked. He paid all the bills, shopped for grocery’s etc. He let me get through it. When I had my son 5 years later, I quit my job again and stayed home. This time I was full of energy and creativity and decided to start my own wedding planning company. He was commuting 2 hours a day to a job he hated, but he let me do it. We begged and borrowed help with the kids and I planned weddings. We have never ever “counted” who does what. Who makes what. Who did what. We don’t do it because it’s not even-steven. We don’t do it because there will always be a winner and a loser. It’s certainly not fair, but who said it would be?

One more … we do a lot of stuff without each other, or we used to atleast – before Covid. Now we’re attached at the hip, god help us. In all seriousness we have never been a couple that couldn’t do things alone. Part of this is that my job involves travel – or it used to. Beautiful, solitary, airport-bar filled travel. He’s used to me being away and I’m used to me being away too. Absence and hotel rooms make a heart grow fonder. It’s true.

We are still a work in progress. Still have lots to figure out. I’m not gonna lie, it was and is hard. But there was a no escape route. We never had one and we never wanted one. We may be very different in many ways, but the fundamental things we are totally agreed on. How we want to live. Who we want around us. What we want for our kids. There’s never been confusion there. Here’s something else we’ve known since day one, he is my person and I am his. I’m the lid to his pot. The cream cheese to his NYC bagel.

Not following advice since circa 1991

Yesterday

Here’s what I did in an effort to not watch the news…

I baked a cake. Alison Roman’s Sticky Apple cake. Google the recipe – it’s so good. I know lots of people don’t like her now. She was a popular NYT food writer and had a ton of cooking demos on YouTube. Then she started getting popular and said something snarky about Chrissy Teigen in a magazine article. Chrissy responded. The internet blew up and long social media story short – Alison was “cancelled”. She lost followers. Lost her job. Had to write a public apology. Then had to write another because the first was deemed not sorry enough. Then people started accusing her of appropriating recipes, for example her very popular The Stew, which people thought was really just an Americanized version of an Indian dish called Chana Masala. Was it? Kind of. But I didn’t agree completely. There’s no coconut milk in Chana Masala. And her recipe didn’t have the one main thing that makes Chana Masala Chana Masala – garam masala! The combo of spices that makes it smell and taste like the Indian dish. It did have turmeric – but so what? Do Indians own turmeric? Don’t answer that. So now she’s a pariah and had to work her way back quietly into the world. It’s all too much. I like her. I like her chickpea stew. And I really love this apple cake so apologies for spending so much time on Chana Masala.

Then I got my hair did.

I had taken half the day off from work just so I could be trapped in a salon, covering my greys for two hours. This is the first time in my adult life that I have a hair dresser. A woman who I consistently go to and who I can call my own. For years I bopped from one salon to the next. There were also years were I went to one of those fast food type hair places – you know what I mean. $18 cut. You might get Shirly who has done hair for 20 years, or you might get Wendy who just got her license last night. I’ve also gone to the places in NYC where no less than 5 people “work” on different parts of your haircut. I’m happy to never go to either of those places ever again. All in all it was a good visit until the end. She said, in her cute Mexican accent, “I’m going to put a little extra hairspray at the back because you have fine hair”. Fine hair? Excuse me? Ummm no. No I don’t. I have thick, healthy hair. All my life hair dressers have commented on how very thick and healthy my hair is. I’m from a culture that sells hair to the entire world. That’s what I wanted to say, but I didn’t. I just smiled and died inside. Fine hair. Ok ok, it’s just a comment. Nothing to obsesses about. No big deal. I immediately drove from the salon to CVS to get these hair vitamins. Sigh.

At least I’m predictable. I’ll let you know if they work. Good news – during all that time I was getting my hair done and getting emotionally wounded by my hair dresser, I was…..drumroll…not watching the news!

I worked the polls! It was my first ever civic-minded volunteerism. I liked it. I didn’t love it. I mean it was a bit….disorganized…they could have used a project manager or an admin or something. I was there for 3 hours trying to help people who were actually just fine. They just wanted to get in and out and back to their lives. But I tried right? More importantly, it was 3 hours that I wasn’t watching the news!

After all that – at the end of the day, I did watch the news. We went to a neighbor’s house (someone we’ve been in a quarantine pod with) and watched some of the live action, ate some food and had some booze. It was just what the doctor ordered. I did want to share something funny I noticed as we were watching the results.

Do you know the app Calm? It’s pretty cool. It’s a meditation and stress relief app that I’ve been using since last year. It has everything from quick breathing techniques to bedtime stories that are peaceful and…for lack of a better word, calming. Anyway as I was watching the “countdown” to our country’s finale, I caught this. Calm sponsored that portion of the night. Genius! Give that marketing department a raise.

We didn’t stay long. That night my husband sent me this picture he’d taken earlier of the sun setting behind our house. I had spent the whole day avoiding being here because I thought it would cause me stress and anxiety. But looking at this picture gave me the most peaceful feeling I’d had all day. Dorky but true.

So that’s what I did yesterday.

Today was another day. Back to work. Back to life. Back to stress, and back to the news.

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