Februblah

After 1st snowfall of the month.

This month has been rough.

We had three major snowstorms and the temps remained so cold that after all this snow fell on February 1st it is STILL on the ground here on February 28th. It’s been melting a lot finally over the past few days, but it’s been rather surreal having snow on the ground for a solid month. Everything being white and grey and cold has really taken a toll on me – and our bank account.

  • 1st – snowfall
  • 2nd – more snow – continuation from previous day – really slow moving storm started Sunday and finally let up early Wednesday morning after a mix of snow/sleet. Total 14 inches. It was an 8 inch layer of powder over the rest being crusty, snowy, ice.
  • 11th – more snow – only 3-5 inches expected – we got 10!
  • 15th – Water company, who had been working on replacing the water lines in our neighborhood for a month came to the door to say we were being switched to the new system now. Two hours later we noticed our heater wasn’t working and there was a moat in our basement. Both the hot water heater/ furnace died on us and a severe cold snap was two days away.
  • 16th – Nearly $3K later both water heater/furnace were fixed
  • 17th – insanely cold weather
  • 18th – more snow – another 8 inches
  • 19th – 1st vet visit for Yuki, who has been limping since January. Nothing seemingly wrong, so an anti-inflammatory drug was given and makes Yuki bounce-of-the-walls bonkers. Her limp doesn’t get better because she’s crazy.
  • 25th – 2nd vet visit with x-rays and blood work taken – Dr said nothing is showing wrong, so maybe it’s a pinched nerve in her back or slipped disc since she’s showing no symptoms on her legs at all. Change of medicine so now she’s in a coma all day versus cracked-out hyper. Total vet costs + meds: $900+.

I’ve not run even half as much as I did in January. The brutal cold of this month wiped me out mentally/emotionally that I had no desire to even attempt taking care of myself physically.

Although we took a huge hit financially this month, my personal spending was next to nil. I spent around $26 buying breakfast sandwiches/donuts/coffee for Z and myself earlier this week after dropping off Yuki for her x-ray visit. I don’t really count “joint” or “family” related expenses against my personal account since these are issues that would have to be taken care of no matter what. They are necessary expenses and are paid for by our joint account. The breakfast expense is going against my No-Buy since we really didn’t need it. It was an instant-gratification-EFF-this-awful-month meal. We also bought pizza this weekend, but Z paid for that.

Having our water heater and furnace die on the same day and going a night in the cold was really upsetting. I can’t say we were in any dire situation like the people in Texas at the time, who had no power nor even water for much longer than us, but the pervasive cold weather after our little crisis here kept me on edge. I’ve felt like I can’t get warm no matter how many layers I put on. It’s already back up to 80F in Texas. It finally reach 40F this week and felt like a damn heat wave.

We don’t blame the water company for what happened to our hot water heater. We may very well have had a small leak already and the water pressure change being switched to the new system was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back in the case of our heater and caused the leak to get much worse. The fact that the furnace died the same day seems like the two are completely related. That being said – there’s nothing that indicated in any way the water affected the furnace because all of the wiring, circuit boards, etc are elevated in it and weren’t touching the water at all. The only thing we can think of is the fact that both were replaced by the previous owners at the same time so both are around 10 years old, which is near expiration territory. Z still thinks somehow the incidents were related and one caused the other. The furnace just needed a new power board, which the heating company charged $900+ for when the board itself only costs around $170 (Z looked it up online). He was pissed off he paid so much for what amounted to a 15 minute visit when he knew he could’ve replaced it himself. However, we were in a time crunch due to the next storm heading our way and we didn’t want to another night without heat and risk our pipes freezing. Since we didn’t have any guarantee we could get a circuit board as fast as the heating company could, we just bit the bullet on it financially.

It’s been raining all day here and although most of the snow is melted, it’ll probably be a few more days before it’s all gone. I really hope this is it for this winter and we don’t get any freak storms in March or April. Historically, that’s been known to happen with winters like this. Every 5 years we get dumped on – repeatedly.

I’ve also had a lot of work stress as well with projects. It’s been an incredibly crap month all around.

Calming Inspiration

So far 2021 has felt like 2020 version 2.0, but with a new anime season airing. I’m trying to find relaxing things to do in my off time. Bujo-ing has been part of that because I’m writing most days. I’ve also been crocheting more. I’m determined to finish my scarf – even if it’s past winter when I’d actually wear it. I’ve got a few crochet projects and will finish at least one of them this year. (Mini goal)

Aside from that I’ve become a little addicted to watching relaxing videos on youtube about homebodies, singles & marrieds in their home life, sewing videos, cat spa days, wild terrariums, and various crafts. It’s inspiring to see what people can make with very limited tools and a small budget or a lots of fancy tools and a garage/workspace. I also learned how to make drip coffee – the proper way. I’d been sort of doing my own thing, but after watching some videos and changing my methods I think I’m getting much better at it. What new/different/odd habits have you picked up to cope with?

Channels I’ve been watching for those interested:

XiaoQuianFeng – She makes lots of things that aren’t necessarily practical, but definitely fun and obviously makes her happy, which is a huge part of why this is so entrancing. I think she’s Chinese, living in Netherlands.

nyangsoop – This channel started my downward spiral into youtube videos. It’s very calming. Basic, everyday life in South Korea. It seems very rustic, but of course has all the niceties of modern life.

Choki – This is just like the above, but in Japan in an apartment complex. I think the above one she’s got a space attached to the main residence b/c she says she lives with her family. This one is more about really living alone.

Hayao – Same as above, but from single male perspective.

Her 86m2 – Vietnamese family living in Germany. Everyday life, some DIYs, wellness type stuffs.

DinLife – Sewing. It’s extremely soothing to watch and makes me want to be better at sewing. I’ve got a list of projects mapped out to work on this year.

Hanabira – Miniature maker. I’ve almost fallen asleep due to how relaxing this is and even the youtuber has asked, “fallen asleep yet?” in some videos because they can be long. The final products are really amazing.

Bear Soongnyoong – Cat spa videos. These are hilarious and cute and make me sleepy in a good way as well. The mother does all the acting with the cats and the daughter films, edits, and adds witty/funny comments about the scene or her mom.

This is just a sampling of the videos I’ve been watching. I like these the most because the majority of them do not have people talking in them, only music or ASMR ambience. The exception is the cat spa videos because the mom talks throughout them, but in a very hushed tone. Plus she’s really funny.

For an American, it seems I like a ton of asian videos and again, that’s mostly because they don’t have people talking and use subtitles. The background family noise doesn’t bother me because it’s not the focus of the videos. Most western style videos of the same vein have people explaining/talking/justifying everything and I find it tedious to listen to when the action in the video speaks for itself. If I find more western style ones without so much talking I’d definitely watch them. I’ve watched Girl in Calico, Fairyland Cottage, etc… but I end up muting them or turning them off part of the way through because all the talking kinda ruins the soothing aspect of the videos. My enjoyment from all of this started more in the ASMR area where you listen to everyday life happening in these videos. It really helped calm me down during some stressful times last year. At some point I noticed a lot more music being put in them, but I didn’t mind it too much because it was soothing as long as it was instrumental. Sometimes the vocal music is a bit jarring though and I wish it wasn’t there.

If anyone has videos to recommend, let me know!

Habits (are hard)

So far so good this year. We no longer have a Tyrannical Orange Nightmare Clown in charge and even avoided civil war – barely. I read an article this morning stating had social media sites not kicked the TONC’s accounts to the curb we’d probably be facing a very different country right now and I’m inclined to agree. It’s rather scary to think about.

I also got good news from my mom (finally). She’s been acquitted on almost every charge and the remaining ones were kicked back to the lower courts to duke out. Since those were based off a lot of information in the other charges she was acquitted from, which can no longer be used, prosecution has a wet paper to work with for rebuilding a case. Also, the head prosecutor is no longer working so their main bulldog is out of the picture as well. While this may sound like smooth sailing, we are still holding our breaths. This has been going on for 12+ years and everything that had gone wrong – did. So while this seems like the light at the end of the tunnel and the heavens opening up and shining down – we’re still only looking through clouds at a speck of light. That speck may flicker for another couple years as well since we don’t know what the DOJ will try pulling out of their sleeves, let alone how long they’ll take to do it.

So 2021 is… hopeful. That’s about all. I saw a meme of a crop duster plane with a caption of what people in 2021 need. The white powder coming from the plane was captioned “Xanax”. So true.

For now, I’m enjoying WFH again. I’ve been doing so pretty much since Thanksgiving. We had a spike in covid cases at work, so I flat out NOPE’d going back into the office anytime soon and my boss is ok with that. While he gets on my nerves about a LOT of things, I’ve always been grateful for how lenient he is when it comes to personal life and doing what is comfortable for people around him. He checks in with me, but otherwise lets me work at my pace and do my own thing.

It’s been really nice being able to take breaks and walk in the (frigid) cold around the neighborhood. I also take “bake breaks” and will whip up something quickly in between conference calls.

I know this won’t last forever, so I need to soak it all in now. Savor every moment of it until the old-fashioned corporate world says: “Get back here now!” I foresee many annoying cross country business trips in my future already.

Like many others, I’ve been treating 2021 as a sort of “new start”, although it feels more like the steamed towelette fancy restaurants give to patrons before a big meal. It’s warm and nice at first, but it’s just a formality and in order to keep the momentum of that good mood is going to take a lot of personal effort. Here is my list of personal efforts:

  • I’ve started a BuJo. I’ll admit, I had no idea what a real bujo was until I properly looked it up. I thought it was a fancy art journal because a lot of people have turned bujo-ing into a lucrative art form and/or popularity contest via ‘gram and/or youtube. Once I understood there truly is a practical purpose behind it, I figured I’d give it a try. I’d been using a Hobonichi Techo for 2020, which I greatly liked, but wanted to start anew. Creating my own planner format was daunting, but I’m really liking it now. I’ve already gone through a few certified bujo methods, but am realizing I’m making up my own more and more to suit my needs. I have my weekly sections and then use the rest for my long-form journal writing and then will start over each month. I thought I’d miss using a pre-laid-out planner, but I hardly miss it at all. I’m also using a rather unorthodox journal – it’s completely blank. No lines. No dots. No grids. I’ve not gone crazy using a ruler either. I know my writing slants a certain way and it’ll be messy, but having my bujo be so free-form – literally – has been the best way for me to start. It’s been emotionally liberating to see my slanted, sloppy entries and think: This is how I am and that’s ok. I think using a bujo will be the easiest habit for me this year.
  • I’m really doing a No-Buy year. No really. It’s for real this time. I won’t forget. I’ve made a page in my bujo specifically for tracking any errant purchases with monthly totals and even wrote out the rules of what’s acceptable or not on that page. I have already broken it, but I think the purchases I made will be my Best Purchases of the Year and it’s only January. That’s because they have nothing to do with frivolity and everything to do with improving my standard of living. I bought a 3″ foam topper to replace the flimsy 1.5″ egg create style one we’d been using. I also got a padded cotton mattress cover to go over the topper. I now sleep on a marshmallow and it is wonderful. (The new, thicker linen sheets I bought in 2020 add to the luxury aspect.) I’m not sweating like a pig anymore with the old “waterproof” mattress cover I grabbed without thinking at Target years ago. It’s crinkly and polyester and it slid all over so the sheets were always bunched under me. That doesn’t happen now and I feel much more supported. Last November I caved into the rampant advertising on my social media sites and bought Italeau boots that were on backorder. I finally got them in 2021 and didn’t like them at all. So I returned those and then bought the bed items. The boots alone were over $200 (even with a lot of sale coupons) and the bed items cost $130. I think I’m still in the clear for my No-Buy year if I look at it purely from a numbers side because with the return I’ve got more money coming in than out for 2021. Any other little items I’ve wanted that are under my No-Buy rules have been bought under gift cards I’ve received, so that’s an exception. I’m also now scrutinizing my purchases quite heavily so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my gift cards.
  • I’m running again. Right now it’s just on the treadmill, which I hate, but I’m making more of an effort. I have a mini Midori habit tracker and mark off each day I exercise and each day I run. The goal is to run at least 3 miles per week. So far, I’ve averaged 4 miles per week, but this is only week 3 of the year. Some days I’ll run 2 miles and then run one more day to get my 3 done for the week and sometimes I’m motivated to run as much as possible each day. The first week I ran 7+ miles. My current total distance for the year is 16.2 miles.
  • I’m also making an effort to use my NuFace device at least 5 times a week. I don’t expect to see dramatic results because after all the research I’ve done on it, it’s really not too much in the grand scheme of things. That being said, I do like the tightening I feel in my skin afterwards. It’s not a dry tightening, but more like a bouncy muscle kind if that makes sense. I know that at the least it’ll improve the natural contours of my face, which is what I’m after. I don’t expect wrinkles to disappear or to suddenly look 10 years younger. It’s clearly a routine you have to do consistently – for life – to reap benefits from. It’s like brushing your teeth. You may not always like to do it, but you do because you need to in order to keep your mouth in good shape. You also don’t see the benefits of brushing your teeth per se, but they are there. (I treat exercise the same way. If I can spend 2 minutes brushing my teeth for mouth maintenance then I can spend at least 30 minutes exercising my full body for maintenance.) One immediate plus I’ve noticed is the little bumps/blackheads that always plagued my chin area are gone already. I’ve read the gel is fantastic for skin and some people nix the device and just use the gel, which I can understand. I’m not sure if I’d get the same results without the device, but I’m not going to try experimenting with that anytime soon. The goal is to use the damn expensive device I purchased over a year ago that pretty much sat idle for most of 2020. A lot of people also complain about how expensive the gel is, which makes me laugh a little when people are willing to spend $200 on a 3 oz jar of some popular cream that lasts 6 months, but spending $200 on a year’s worth of 2.5 oz gels is considered highway robbery. (I don’t know the exact numbers, so I’m guessing there.) I’ve not had to get a new bottle since I started yet and I think I use less than recommended amount, but I plan on buying more and tracking those purchases. They will not count against my No-Buy because they are for personal maintenance. That being said, I will look at how many I buy at the end of the year to determine if the maintenance is worth the cost.

All of the above are dependent upon my current lifestyle of WFH. I won’t deny the convenience of everything I’m capable of up keeping right now due to that fact. Once I’m dragged kicking and screaming (again) back to the office I’m sure productivity on these things (and a few other little ones I’ve not listed) will tank to some degree. Having to get up earlier in the mornings to get ready and travel time will make me feel the pinch of my days slipping out of my grasp. I noticed it the last time I went from WFH 5 months last year to going back into the office only part time towards the end of the year. The pain of going back will most likely hit me again. I’m hoping to turn these habits in more muscle memory type of things I do so that when the transition hits I won’t be hating life.

The above photo is one of the first ones I’ve taken in 2021. All the others above were from 2020. For breakfast on NYD I made apple cinnamon rolls. Prep was all done the day before so we just had to do the final rise/bake that morning. I used the Alton Brown cinnamon roll recipe I’ve always used. For the apples, I used a corer/slicer that give up to 16 slices and then I sliced them all again. I used two apples and then put them in a pan with cinnamon, butter, and maple syrup until they were tender and flimsy. This made layering them and rolling them in the dough much easier. Plus I have to make sure the apples are fully cooked through because of Zach’s allergy to most fruits.

Happy New Year everyone.

Meep

While I’m not in sweatpants, I am dreading a future in the office again. And again.

I WFH from March until July and then was working hybrid Mon/Fri at home with the rest of the week in the office. My office is in a separate building from the main one, but I’d still have to walk down to the main one for specific daily meetings. Two weeks ago we got hit with a wave of COVID-19 in the office and on the shop floor, so I decided I’d not go back to the main building. And since there’s no point in my driving in to my office when I can remote in for the meetings I’d rather stay at home. So I’m home for the rest of the year. I did go get a test and it came back negative. When I was in the main office I was vigilant in wearing my mask while surrounded by people who only wore theirs half the time… and ended up positive. Watching people wear masks until they speak and then lower them grated on my nerves. I yelled at my boss in the middle of meetings to wear his mask properly.

I hated doing the hybrid routine so I’m glad to be full time WFH again. Z and I are lucky in that our home life is very easy going and we only have to worry about our cats being a bit unruly at times. I think Yuki likes having us home so she gets more pets and play time. Her routine now is to start screaming for her playtime from 10-11 am and 3 pm. She’ll roam the house, going to each of our “office” areas to see who will give her attention. All of the memes I’ve seen of cats wanting their owners to go back to the office… doesn’t quite match up with our overly social cats.

I’ve not written here in so long I don’t really know what to say anymore. What did I talk about before? Apparently I wrote a lot about clothes and while I do still like reading blogs about what people wear/buy I don’t feel as motivated to share much of what I’ve bought this year. I was supposed to start a ban in March, but totally forgot about that in the summer when I bought a lot of dresses. I have dresses now! That’s news (for me). Some of them I think were duds and I may get rid of, but most of them I like and will look forward to wearing again when it’s not 33F outside (like right now). I am wearing a fuzzy warm skirt I just got from Uniqlo and woolen tights. Oh, I wear skirts now too (more news!). I suppose when a vaccine gets out in distribution and I’m dragged kicking and screaming back to the office regularly I may share more of what I wear. I try to make sure I get dressed properly when I WFH. I at least put on day clothes right when I get up (most days). It takes me until around 10 or 11 am before I actually do something about my bedhead.

I’ve been cutting my own hair and while it’s choppy and crooked and ridiculous I at least still have my short hair to some degree. When it gets too long I start to feel off so I lock myself in the bathroom and chop at it until it becomes somewhat likable again. Right now I have a hilariously awful chopped bit in the back, but I know no one is judging so who cares…

I also stopped wearing makeup – even after I was working hybrid. I realized I didn’t need it and it only added to the time it takes me to get ready in the mornings. Since I am Professionally Lazy when it comes to getting up and going to work this time-saver was a nice revelation for me. I wash my face, put on my basic acid toner and some sunscreen. Done.

In other generalities: I’ve been journaling a lot more, which has been greatly helpful for me emotionally. I’m addicted to collecting washi tapes and stickers now. It’s hard to be all emo when writing while I’ve got dancing bears and kitten stickers on the page. I also started running again. While I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be, I’m still trying. I was doing really well until the weather turned too cold. I even improved my pacing by a full minute – after a month of work. I force myself to do sprints on the treadmill because long runs on it are nerve-wrecking for me. I play Animal Crossing New Horizons – a lot. I’ve got over 1K hours on the game and have changed the design of my island many times. I’m up to design 10.2 now. I think I’m addicted to creating new island design ideas and trying to figure out how the terraforming in my head pans out. I also don’t know what to do with a lot of the space on my island. My current design has a huge lake to take up part of it and a big weedy meadow.

I’ve no idea if this post will show up ok or not. WP has changed since I last wrote and I’ve no idea how to use it now. It took me five minutes just to figure out how to access my library so I could add a photo.

I hope everyone is doing well.

This is fine.

mornings

I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head and originally thought this post might be the longest post I would ever write. Then I uploaded photos from my camera and realized I had better things to write about. All of the swirling thoughts disappeared and what became important was right in front of me. So I’m just going to talk about these photos with a few random thoughts thrown in for good measure.

The above photo is my messy desk now. Every day I seem to have less space on it. Actually since this photo is over a month old, there’s even more stuff on my desk now. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about here. In this photo is a mug of cappuccino. I start off every work day now with a homemade cappuccino of coffee from my favorite roasters and unsweetened almond milk. I put in a teaspoon of sugar. It’s my new ritual after I’ve logged in for the workday. It’s one of the most comforting things I do daily during the week now. I usually use the spoon to stir the foam down a bit as I drink the coffee and then use the same spoon for my oatmeal + blueberries + honey breakfast.

blossoms and bokeh

These blossoms are already gone from the tree outside our dining room window, but I’m really glad I got to capture them this year. It was a beautiful day outside. In fact, the majority of all these photos in this post are from April 28th.

swirls

Even the weeds and annoying plants in my yard are beautiful.

puffs

When the dandelions started popping up everywhere Z would pick up the puffs on our neighborhood walks and blow them or have me blow on them. Now, we sneeze too much due to allergies to even think about doing that. I’ve had two sneezing fits while writing this entry.

lily of the valley

I got to capture these fleeting beauties on the side of our garage that faces a fence. We hardly ever go to that side of the garage since it’s next to the properly line and there’s not much there. But these lilies of the valley grow back every year and sometimes we’ll get wafts of them through open windows or when Z is doing car work outside.

azaleas

This azalea bush was 1000x larger than it is now. It took over that whole side of the garage and hid the lilies from us the first two years we lived here. When we chopped the bush down we realized there were lots of pretty flowers in the back and now I keep this bush trimmed down. I’m also not a huge fan of azaleas in general. They can be pretty, but they’re everywhere and can be very unruly if not cut back regularly.

Mr Bento

This was the day I walked Bento on a leash in the backyard! I did not renew my wordpress plan so I’ve got the basic one again and therefore can’t add videos, but if anyone would like to see me walking Bento, let me know and I can email the quicktime video Z took on his phone. It wasn’t far, but after so many years of trying to get him to go outside and walk he finally did it on his own!

All of these things we got to experience because we are at home. We have more time now to enjoy them. Z power washed the siding of the house that was getting moldy and cleaned the windows. He also washed and waxed my car! I’m still very much working every weekday so I don’t have as much time as Z to do things. Some days are more busy than others. On the days that are less busy I keep an eye on my email while playing Animal Crossing. Last week was a bit brutal and this week already feels like hell even though it’s a short week. I had two rather stressful conference calls today – Wednesdays are the worst. That being said, I still have time each day to take a few walks in the neighborhood as long as the weather is decent. I do a morning walk after the first round of work emails (if there are any) or before I need to start a project. It helps clear my head. I try to walk around noon and then mid afternoon as well, but usually some work stuff builds up by then. I’ll also try to take an evening walk, but am starting to transition those into my running time since the weather is getting warmer and it’s easier to run in the cooler evenings.

When I drove to work during springtime in the past I always lamented I couldn’t be at home taking a walk in the neighborhood or go to a park – after leisurely waking up without an alarm clock and eating a nice breakfast. The cool morning air, the silence, and the emptiness is comforting. I’ve been able to experience that now (generally – I still have to use the alarm clock so I clock in for work at a decent time) and I can honestly say: I’m fine with this.

Am I fine with the general state of affairs in this country? Fuck no. Of course not. There’s plenty going all sorts of wrong right now, but that’s not what I wanted to focus on. I have more time for myself, for my husband, my cats, my own well being and not going bonkers in the office or dealing with sexist, racist assholes I can’t stand there. Sure there’s stress every time I see Z leave the house with a mask and gloves to go grocery shopping and quite honestly going to a park nowadays is more if not just as dangerous as going to a store. Aside from that, which is the new “normal” at the moment, I realized I’m very fortunate right now to be able to enjoy all of this extra time at home while I can – so that’s what I mean when I say this is fine.

What is fine for you right now?

Abnormalize

tea

Z: Are you ok with a crowded desk for a while?

Me: I have to be.

This past Wednesday I went into the office to go get my plants and grab an extra monitor to use with my laptop at home. My personal computer is an iMac and I can’t get licenses for the software we use at work on it (limited & expensive) so I’ve been mostly using my little work laptop and only using my mac for the web-based email. Now I have another screen and my once nice desk area now looks crowded and cluttered with another monitor and my laptop precariously hanging off the edge. But this is what I have to do to work and I’m very lucky right now to be able to do so – so there’s absolutely nothing to complain about.

This is a time for letting our self-righteousness go and having people STFU with their entitlement. Forget aesthetics and minimalism and sustainability and all the other pop cultural keywords of the past decade. Right now, the only thing we need to be worried about is surviving. We are all in this together if we expect to get through it.

dumb people

A friend posted the above image on Facebook and I laughed. Use this argument if you come across any dumb people about the coronavirus. In fact, I really hope the government mandates a nationwide shut down and even enforces a curfew. It’s going to be the only way to truly “flatten the curve”. It may sound Draconian to our privileged, 1st world entitled sensibilities, but being harsh and realistic and strict will be the best way of getting us out of this crisis. It’ll help end the spread and relieve our overworked emergency services so they can focus on keeping alive those most at risk.

There’s nothing normal going on and nothing will be after this. So we better get used to it fast and figure out better ways of functioning as a society for the better of ALL people. I whole-heartedly agreed with Leah‘s post about this.

 

 

Upheaval of every kind

Everything is closing or closed. The markets are scary looking ghostly places with empty shelves. There was so little traffic this morning I felt a chill. This was slower than a holiday. It truly seemed post-apocalyptic in a way. 50, no, only 10 people are allowed to congregate now! But, what about business?

Tomorrow I get to work from home, but maybe not Wednesday or Thursday. I’ve already scheduled off Friday. All of the managers are confused and have no idea how to handle this or what to do. The day shift at the shop has 100 people working in it. Will we have to close? We have measures in place to stop people getting in (sort of), but what about those already inside? My office is in a different building up a slight hill from the main shop, but I can’t go to the main building for meetings: A) because I’ve recently been ill and B) I’d scare the bloody hell out of anyone down there who heard me coughing. People are skittish now and on edge.

Even our home life has been thrown into disarray.

coffee table dinner

Behold, our dining room table for the past three days. It’s our coffee table.

We were notified our new cabinet doors would be installed March 17th, so we only had this past weekend to accomplish one thing: paint the cabinets. Since we are not getting a full remodel – only new doors and some drawers put in – we are responsible for making sure the kitchen is ready. Saturday my recovering ass was put to work. Z did the majority of the heavy lifting by sanding all of the cabinets and painting the upper areas. My job was to help with a little prep (taping, wiping things down) and sitting on the floor to paint the lower cabinets. That little bit of exertion wiped me out and I slept better than I had all week. Sunday I did a thorough cleaning of the kitchen, which had me utterly exhausted by night. The cabinet company emailed customers today saying they will honor their appointments – unless the people don’t want them coming into their houses. We want them to come! We want our new doors so we can have our house back in order!

kitchen

This is currently our kitchen. We put some things back in for ease of use for the past 48 hours, but all of this needs to cleared out because the installer comes tomorrow from 8-9 am. The drawer on the right side of the photo is the old, yellow-ish color. We put the utensil drawer back in temporarily.

mock kitchen

This is our dining room where everything in the kitchen is being held. It’s been strange to look at a cabinet and know something should be there, but when I need a spice or dish I then have to stop and remember where I placed everything in the dining room.

glassware

All of the glassware is on the bureau, which I realized later was a bad idea. Bento loves that window sill and even though it’s covered, he’s found a way to jump his big butt up there and then carefully jump down. Whenever he does the glasses jingle and I’m stressed out waiting to hear them crash to the floor. Since our floors are old and creaky and uneven, even walking past this room makes all of the glasses jingle.

roses

Tomorrow I work from home, but the installer also comes. But I have a lot work to get done because today felt like a bust just trying to figure out what to do about everything and hear from the managers. But I know I’ll be distracted by the installer and need to give input for the hardware we bought for the new doors. But what about keeping Bento and Yuki out of the kitchen?

I went to the store to buy onions and a loaf of baked bread to have with chili I made tonight. I couldn’t help myself when I saw these roses. I needed something cheerful and calming. I also bought Z a dark chocolate Lindt bunny and bought myself a cute large iced bunny cookie.

It’s the little things right now.

A different kind of illness

I am still sick. I’ve been sick since last Friday. I don’t have the coronavirus (that I know of), but what I can tell you is this is one of the worst sinus infections I’ve had in many years. It crept up on me very suddenly and that scares me. We had little to no winter at all this year. No snow and the temperature barely stayed below freezing for more than a day or two at a time before jumping up again into the 40s or 50s.

Considering I have acute chronic sinusitis this scares me because I can’t afford to have illnesses this severe as I get older. It’ll take longer to get over them and they weaken my immune system. Right now, I am highly susceptible to getting COVID-19 because of how ill I’ve been this week. Am I worried about getting it? Not really. Other than the morning hours on Tuesday where I holed myself in my office, I’ve hardly been outside at all. I went home midday Tuesday and worked from home yesterday. When I talked to my boss about possibly coming in late today he said, “Don’t come in at all! Stay home!” He said I sounded horrible – I do. He then told me to stay home and don’t come in at all this week. I’ve been banned from the office. I am still getting work done though since I have my laptop with me.

Aside from the super stuffy sinuses, which has made breathing its own sort of game of chance (especially when trying to sleep at night), it’s now in my chest and the congestion is making me cough all time time. My throat is now more sore from coughing than from the post-nasal drip. I still can’t hear all that well due to the pressure in my head. I’ve experienced this all before, but it’s very easy to take for granted that it won’t happen again when I’m feeling better.

I hadn’t been listening to any news, which is what I normally do on my drive in to work each day. When I dragged myself in on Tuesday, I heard that the stock indexes were at their worst the day before. Everyone is worried about recession now. Interest rates on houses have plummeted to the same when Z and I bought our house (we got ours just before the rebound upswing). One of my emails was about the cancellation of the largest orthopedic conference in the world, AAOS. It’s a show we always exhibit at. Last year I was in Vegas at this time and spent nearly a full week there talking with clients, staying up late for business dinners and happy hours. Z told me two of his spring events were postponed to the autumn. Events are being cancelled all over. E3 was cancelled, so there was no news or teasers of games.

It’s strange how a different illness – one of paranoia – has taken over. Z went to the store to get some cough medicine for me and noticed a sign on the door: They are all wiped out of masks, rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer. It seems like we are all in a sort of lock-down of our own free will. But is it?

I’ve read about people prohibiting hand-shaking. My coworker said she heard of business people giving each other “welcome kicks” instead, which I said was a liability in itself. How about we just respectfully bow to each other the way the Japanese do. I would like to see that sort of shift away from the happy-go-lucky, touchy-feely American way going to something a bit more respectful of people’s personal space and unnecessary touching.

To end this dour stream-of-consciousness post, another form of illness I have is definitely addiction. It’s in the form of Animal Crossing because there’s 9 days left until New Horizons is out. Then, I won’t care about being self-quarantined. It’ll be heaven to stay in and hang out on my virtual desert island.

animal-crossing-new-horizons.900x

State of the plants

elephant plant

This weekend was supposed to be full of house cleaning and eating at a wonderful tea house and then wandering a beautiful greenhouse with it’s own arboretum and me using my gift card on some hanging pots and a princess philodendron.

None of that is happening because I am horribly ill. Like clockwork my throat got sore the moment I got home from work as if to say: You want a nice weekend? HA! Here’s another dose of shit stress! Be sick!  Between the drastic swinging of the democratic primaries, the COVID-19 freak outs, general work stress and my boss proposing more upcoming trips, the general malaise I feel from tapering off my meds and the generally dour news from mom,  my body decided: NOPE. At first I thought I was getting strep throat again, but I’ve not had a fever so it’s mostly due to weird allergies. We’ve not had much of a winter this year at all so people are getting sick all over the place. The weather ranges from 30F one day to 55F the next so allergies and pollens are all whacked out. It was 34F with rain when I got home on Friday and today it’s 60F and sunny. Ugh.

So instead of being out where I want to be I decided to take photos of my plants again. I’ve added a few more because I have a problem with buying plants and the Flower Show this year had some really interesting kinds I’d not heard/seen before.

serissa flore-plena

Serissa flore-plena – Double Snow Rose: This is a miniature rose plant that’s usually used in bonsai. I didn’t realize that until after I bought it (and a few others) and kinda freaked out because I’ve never had good luck with bonsai. There were two little white roses open when I bought it and many more have opened or are budding and about to open. No idea if I can keep this beauty alive, but for now it’s gorgeous.

serissa mt fuji

Serissa Mt Fuji – Variegated Snow Rose: This is a variegated version of the plant above, but smaller so it’s not grown any buds yet. The white on the leave got me. I’m a bit of a sucker for variegated plants.

pilea microphylla variegated

Pilea microphylla – Variegated Artillery plant: This is a type of miniature pilea that has green, pink and white marbled leaves. It’s ridiculously cute!

The above 3 plants are technically used for bonsai or miniature (fairy) gardens. I’ve not had plants like this before, so we’ll see how well I can keep them going.

plant topkokedamawatering

Kokedama – Japanese moss ball plant: I think the ivy-like plant on top is a hoya but I’m not exactly sure. I’d read about kokedama’s online and thought they were really neat sort of plants. There’s also a display of them at one of the nurseries I like visiting. It’s generally known as a “poor man’s bonsai”. It’s a moss ball with a plant stuck on top of it. To water it, you soak the moss ball in water for a while (online says 10-15 minutes but the guy who sold it to me said I can leave it in water all day at work and take it out when I get home). Then you squeeze the excess water out of the moss ball and let it drain somewhere for a bit before putting it back on whatever display it was on or in a hanging device, which I think is the most common. Mine came in a tiny Japanese pottery bowl. It’s very strange to squeeze the water out because it really feels like a sturdy sponge and I freak a little seeing the moss bits fall off, but apparently that is all normal. I don’t think I can keep this one in the kitchen window sill for much longer because I don’t want the sun to scorch the moss too much.

study junglesatin silver pothos

I moved some plants from the kitchen window sill to my study to make room for the new little plants. Now, my entertainment stand in the study looks a bit jungle-like. I plan on repotting the lemon-lime philodendron and the satin silver pothos in slightly larger hanging pots and put them up in the study. But those plans were dashed away from me this weekend. I’m really happy with how both of them look, especially the satin pothos.

jade stalks

My jade plant is 3-ish years old now and starting to get it’s woody stalks. This makes me incredibly happy. Over Xmas I visited a friend of the family and she has a jade that’s over 70 years old. It’s huge and gorgeous. She said it was gifted to her grandmother and has been passed down. The friend is 70 years old now, which would mean the plant is actually a fair bit older than that, but she’s not sure how old exactly. I find old plants fascinating. There were jade at the Flower Show that were in the 50-70 year old range and bonsai that were 90 years old.

pileabrazil phylo

My pilea coin plant is still hanging on. Sometimes it doesn’t look great and I think I might be killing it, but then it bounces back. I never know with that one.

Shaggy, my huge, messy brazil philodendron is still going strong. I’ve made so many baby plants from this one. The blend of neon and dark green on the leaves is always fun to look at.

monsterra

Lastly (for this post, I do have many more plants) my baby monstera is still growing. Little ones like these don’t have the holes in their leaves. It’ll probably take a couple more years before they show up.

Next weekend we need to paint the cabinets before our new doors show up. Z said we can go to the nursery then, but I think we’ll be too tired so it may be a while yet before I go get that princess philodendron.

Scheduling routine

neutrals

The remote for my camera is currently out of commission so I dragged up the workout mirror from the basement to take this outfit photo. I didn’t realize the mirror was so dirty until much later.

Lately I’ve been wearing jeans a lot, but today I felt like wearing a bunch of neutrals so I mentally put this outfit together in my head last night and I’m glad it worked out just as nicely in reality when I wore it today.  It’ll be much colder tomorrow and rainy all day so I’ll be back in jeans and a sweater and probably my Blundies.

Work is slowly getting better, but I’m still running myself ragged a few days out of the week. However, it came to light that technically certain management could care less about the extra work I’m doing to make sure stuff gets out and improve our delivery dates. Realizing this, plus the wave of people leaving due to said management has given me serious thoughts about dusting off my resume and looking elsewhere. While the immediate people I work with the most are really amazing and make working there much more tolerable, there’s only so much that can keep someone at a job when higher ups flat out don’t give a crap about the hard work being put into it.

My new planner has been keeping me on track much better than I thought. I scheduled out a routine, but realized some days I can’t do a certain activity. Instead of blowing it off like I normally would in the past, I’m now exchanging day activities so I keep the routine going and at a consistency that won’t allow me to give up. For instance, I’ve scheduled my workouts 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri). Since the weather is nice I’ve been running outside more. However, due to all the rain coming in tomorrow I exchanged my facial day for my workout day so I ran today and will use my NuFace device tomorrow. I think this is what I’ve been missing all along when it comes to keeping up my routines. I never tracked them before, but now that I do I’m seeing how I can compromise on days for things that aren’t possible instead of throwing my hands up in the air and couch-potato-ing it.

I’m also tapering off my anti-anxiety medication. I’ve been on it for over a year and while I tried to taper off with the last script I gave up. This time the doctor left a note with the pharmacist to say: this is the last one. Got it. I’m being forced to really do it this time. Granted, I got some not so good news from my mom last weekend, which put me in a severe panic and made me question going off the meds at all knowing what may happen in the next few months, but I’m going to keep steady with tapering off for now. I’ve also already scheduled out dosages in my planner for that as well. I can’t compromise on this because the medication is a beast and being consistent is key. Whenever I start another low dosage taper I get what Z calls “applesauce brain”. He also was on this medication a few years ago and had to taper off it, which he said was brutal. He constantly had headaches. I’ve had more headaches than usual, but the fogginess or sort of bleh, mushy feeling I get is worse, hence the term applesauce-brain.