more rain, more tests, a bit of sun and vlogtober

The sun came out on Saturday and it was a joy. It feels like it’s been raining for a week straight – nothing dries out and lawns are full of fairy rings of strange mushrooms. I’m a bit concerned that I’m just not ready for the long dark days in winter to come, since these ceaseless days of damp have really gotten to me this week (along with everything else on our plates at the moment). Running and being outside is a necessity, but in our village it is perilous because of the slipperiness of wet leaves and the occasional ankle-turning black walnut hidden therein…I tried to soak up the golden rays and took advantage of the beautiful day to pad out our Halloween decorating scheme.

Jacques is the hanging skeleton for the porch- Gus is the pumpkin head. In Miss L’s world Gus has the voice of a Bronx cab driver and Jacques is a former French aristocrat.

Brandon and I both got Covid tests on Saturday as well and they are both negative! So Miss L came home from her dad’s. And then it rained again.

The rest of the weekend was spent reading and crafting. I am burning along on my Halloween socks and also my little Halloween cross-stitch. This is totally due to the joyous thing on YouTube known as “Vlogtober” in which vloggers vlog every day in October (perhaps that was self explanatory…). A couple of my favorites are participating – Tales from Cuckoo Land and This Little Wonderful Life – so I’ve had a lot of peaceful time with them and my projects.

And that was the weekend. I am hoping for a more normal week ahead but it will be a busy one, with doctors appointments (optometrist and general physical), a Girl Scout activity next weekend and Miss L’s big orthodontist appointment. As well as the usual work from home and normal upkeep of home and family. Onward friends.

grey damp days.

It’s felt like a week of Groundhog Days. Every day dawns grey, damp, and unseasonably sticky-warm. Brandon’s been home, bored and very tired, so we have coffee together and then if I’m not going for an early run, I shower, dress, and log on in my home office (which is also currently my bedroom during Brandon’s Covid isolation period). I’m spending a lot of time in that little back bedroom.

A couple of mornings I’ve run before work which helps break things up.

We have lunch and the afternoons are back in the home office while he naps. Around 530 I start dinner, we watch a scary movie for 21 Days of Horror (more on that later this month) and then tea and bed.

To get up the next day and do it all over again.

It would be nice to see the sun or have some things to do outside the house. Maybe next week. Brandon is feeling a bit better every day and I’m still healthy and displaying no symptoms. We’ll both get tested at some point this weekend and hopefully two negatives will mean a return to some semblance of normalcy around here.

breakthrough

Last week was a week. Can I just tell you? We were all sick with what we originally thought was a seasonal cold or flu, probably brought home from school. Our immune systems are untested and fragile after a year and a half in a masked bubble, and the illness cut a swathe. I ended up on the couch and unable to work (or do much of anything else) for two days, my kiddo ended up in Urgent Care and on antibiotics for a sinus / ear infection, and my partner in Urgent Care with…breakthrough Covid.

Luckily, he is vaxxed and the doc says that has helped his case be quite mild. His major symptoms are fatigue and a mild loss of smell. He’s on the mend, isolating for the requisite 10 days, quite lonely and bored already as we’ve divided up the house (and kept Miss L at her dad’s house) but it is what it is. I have tested negative, and have no new symptoms. We are very grateful that a year and a half into the pandemic, this is our first household experience with Covid and that all in all it is mild. We are so lucky to have had the vaccine and access to quick, reliable healthcare.

I’m on the upswing health wise and am trying to keep the routine in the house, the refrigerator and oven full of good, nutritious, and comforting foods, and catch up on work missed from my own two days down and out.

All in all things could be much worse!

(Of course this viewpoint has only emerged AFTER my initial storm of panic, anxiety, alarm and guilt – now I can be philosophical and sound like I am rolling with it and have it under control, which, I can assure you, I very much DON’T! But I’m also a proponent of ‘fake it til you make it’ and maybe also a bit of ‘if you build it, they will come’ with a dash of ‘you must imagine your life and then it happens’.)

Keep calm and carry on. I hope you are all in good health and spirits. xo

I was even too sick to knit!!

blanket weather

TGIF friends! I am pleased to report, in this end of week check-in, that Southeast Michigan has returned to a more normal and temperate weather system. Actually it’s been quite cool and very rainy for the past two days and I feel fortunate that we never have basement flooding issues. (Knock wood.) Emmett has decided it is blanket weather!

I have been suffering through a bit of “stranger in a strange land” feeling and am just now starting to recover. I don’t call these episodes actual “depression” because I’ve been through those and they’re not. I just feel – adrift, and as though everything that I trust and rely on suddenly feels a bit off-kilter. Being rigorous about my healthy routine, taking care of myself and others, and getting good sleep and exercise and hydration and good food, these things always help. As well as being surrounded by an amazing partner and a daughter that I could not love and adore more or be more proud of.

We have been enjoying our community’s seasonal activities. Last weekend was the Harvest Moon festival with live music and food in the pavilion, and a big harvest Farmers Market on Saturday morning. It was 80 degrees but I still drank a hot cider and we all had cinnamon donuts sitting on hay bales listening to the morning fiddle band. On Sunday, we braved the blazing sun and watched the Fall Classic at the local skateboard park. Brandon loves skateboarding and is a proud member of the local Old Bro contingent and Miss L is also a developing young shredder. The Fall Classic is sponsored by our downtown Plus Skateboard shop and it was amazing and terrifying to watch these young people risk their skulls and other bones on the concrete and coping.

I recently finished “Hour of the Witch” by Chris Bohjalian. I enjoyed the first half and then skim-read the second. I give it a solid “meh”. I also finished a graphic novel “Illuminati Ball” which had a bizarre and gappy plot but great illustrations. This week’s library trip includes the new volume of Haruki Murakami short stories – I typically do not read short stories as I find them somewhat unsatisfactory and I dislike switching gears so fast but I will make every exception for Murakami. Also a few graphic novels selected for me by Miss L including a graphic Great Gatsby.

I hope everyone has had a great week of celebrating the equinox and the full moon in Pisces (which I also sort of blame for my stranger in a strange land blip). Be well and enjoy the turning of the Wheel of the Year wherever you are.

happy monday

I hate to start out a blog post with bitching, but the weather right now is too damn hot. I am ready for the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and the forecast for Tuesday is 87 degrees. Completely unacceptable. But I also know that in the depths of bleak February I will miss these days.

I had a fairly relaxing Saturday but Sunday was rife with preparation for the week ahead. A very humid mid-morning run, a trip to the nursery to buy more plants for my planters (no fun to be planting fall ornamentals in 80+ degree weather with sweat pouring into your eyes). Meal planning and grocery shopping.

On a minor grocery shopping rant – lately I have been choosing to shop mostly at the smaller and slightly more organic, upscale grocery stores in my town, which are more expensive; but they offer greater selection and a more relaxed and enjoyable shopping experience. During lockdown I exclusively patronized them because everyone was masked and considerate. I felt safe. My local Kroger was a melee of angry people ramming carts around and being pissy about masks, getting too close and just general bullshit. So I have been feeling like even in non-lockdown times I should shift my business to the entities where I felt safest when the chips were down. Unfortunately, Kroger is much cheaper and yesterday I had two rewards checks and so I bit the bullet.

It was as unpleasant as I remembered. So many angry people. Dude – I don’t say a freaking word to you about your maskless state. I choose to wear a mask (same as I chose to be vaccinated) and if you don’t, I just go right on past because honestly I don’t give two shits about hassling with you. You do you – just accept the consequences of your choice, which again have nothing to do with me. Yet you want to bleat about personal freedoms and then tell ME that I shouldn’t wear a mask? Where’s the respect for individual free choice in THAT? Ohhh – yeah, I forgot, it’s only free thinking and independent and non-sheeplike if everyone is doing what YOU want them to do. Got it.

How about you worry about your own face and leave mine the hell alone.

ANYWAY my planters turned out nicely – I’ll post some pics when they fill out a bit. Black petunias and ornamental cabbages!

I got a lot of knitting done on my Halloween socks. I guess the upside of the hot weather is that there can be a lot of front porch knitting with vlogs and small chipmunk visitors.

I was a bit worried that my chosen pattern – Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder – wouldn’t be visible due to the colorful yarn, but the more I knit the more the texture is apparent. And I’m really pleased with pattern and yarn.

Since I can’t seem to get my act together for a Show Us Your Books lately, here’s a mini recommendation- “Fire Keeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley. It’s a YA novel that doesn’t read YA. Plus it’s set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula which is cool for a downstate Michigander and centers around an Ojibwe woman and her community. It took me about 80 pages to really get into it but after that point it caught fire and I couldn’t put it down.

So that’s my weekend and my week ahead will be more heat, home office work (did I mention that we’re back to predominantly remote again? Through early December now), school for Miss L, some charitable donation dropoffs (a stash of Colors of the World crayons & colored pencils for a local school and stuff for some of Miss L’s classrooms) and the usual cooking, laundry, and running. I hopefully will also get to sneak in a few rows on the Halloween socks and continue with some goth cross-stitch.

I hope wherever you are, you are well, safe, and happy. xo

the real new year

To me, September has always felt like the true new year, when you buy new clothes and pencils and organize your stuff and have a new schedule to attend to. Even as a 48-year old grown woman, Labor Day to me is the time when I set new resolutions. And one of my resolutions for the true New Year is to get back to blogging on a more regular cadence. It’s been hard for me since my dad passed to find a lot of joy and comfort in self-reflection because the pain of missing him is always right near the surface. But although that has not changed, and probably will never change, because he was such a massive part of our lives, I’m ready to pick up this stitch and keep going.

So here’s a few recent photos from my camera roll to ease me back in.

I finished up my mom’s birthday socks! These took me forever because knitting also sort of fell by the wayside. These are Raveled but I’ll tell you that they are the Kia pattern by the wonderful Dawn Henderson (find her on Insta as knit.yarn.stuff) knit with Six and Seven Alfalfa base which is stunning.

The little one is back to school in-person for the first time since the pandemic. And not so little anymore. She’s vaxxed and they wear masks. (And seriously, adults – neither she or any of her friends have lodged a single complaint about full day masking. Quit your bitching. If my 13-year old can wear one without issue, SO CAN YOU.) She’s very happy to be back, and is expanding her fashion sense now that she can see all the different “lewks” at the morning bus stop. (So far she is heavily favoring a ‘90s throwback, with ripped boyfriend jeans, t-shirts of bands she probably has never listened to, combat boots and oversized flannels, with a sk8ter boi undercut for her glossy red locks.)

Watching a lot of stuff lately – a very mixed bag. A pretty bad Heidi Fleiss doc, ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, and ‘Val’, which Brandon and I highly recommend. Heartbreaking and interesting and nostalgic and ultimately uplifting.

And lastly- shame, shame, shame on Texas. For my friends not in the US, this state has recently enacted the most restrictive abortion law in the country, banning abortion after the sixth week,when many women don’t even yet know they are pregnant. Moreover, the Texas law deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who performs an abortion or aids an abortion. So yeah, think – Uber driver. Friend. Any plaintiff unconnected to the patient or the provider can bring a (frivolous) lawsuit, collect attorney fees and a $10k bounty. As you may expect, this law disproportionately affects vulnerable populations- teens, and low-income populations who can’t afford to travel to obtain safe healthcare. As well as allowing a bunch of self righteous Karens and Bubbas to clog up an already taxed legal system.

Withholding critical healthcare, without ramifications for the young men who participate in insemination, without aid or assistance after that baby is born, no carveouts for rape or incest, taking choice away when this is the ultimate choice of the woman and the woman alone – nothing good can come of that. And don’t ever tell me you are “pro-life” if you don’t care what happens after that baby is born. It’s the most nonsensical and cruel virtue signaling.

Abortions will continue to occur – now they will just occur in more highly risky conditions under more barbaric and traumatic circumstances.

1 in 4 women

I hope everyone out there in the US has a fantastic Labor Day and in other areas a great end of your weekend / beginning of your week.

a long short week

As expected this week has been a doozy, even if I wasn’t at work for 2 days. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to realize that sometimes a nice normal 40-hour workweek can be far easier than an abbreviated 3-day workweek full of “life stuff”.

The camp dropoff went well and I won’t see or hear from Miss L for over a week. She has entered the stage where she wanted no pictures taken and the sooner I left and stopped cramping her style, the better, ha. I hope she has a great time and meets a lot of nice kids. She’s been a trooper during this last year and a half and she deserves a summer of fun and friends. I already miss her, though, and am thinking about her all the time.

Upon arrival home in Suburban Elysia I was greeted by a storm cell of intense magnitude. It swept through my area with torrential rains, high straight-line winds, and hail. There were loud booms, pops, and cracks and when the rain and gale abated the damage was shocking. Trees uprooted, downed lines and branches, and flooding.

thankfully missed the neighbor’s house by inches

We are still without power in my neighborhood. Which I could look at and be super annoyed by. Instead, I’m choosing to be grateful that I had no property damage; that no one was hurt in the storm; and that it is cool at night and we are perfectly comfortable with no A/C and the windows open.

I am, however, entirely sick of the racket of generators all the time (we don’t have one – YET).

lunch break at a park near my office

The power outage at the home office pushed up my return to my actual office. We are still hybrid, so the office isn’t full, but I did see lots of familiar faces. Everyone looks perky and tanned and fit, as though they experienced major glow-up during isolation. By contrast, I trailed in pale, puffy and unwashed with a bad attitude and very little sleep from the generator racket all night. But I had French press coffee and was able to do my work and recharge all my devices. I’m trying to look for silver linings.

So I’m limping into the homestretch of the week. I’ve survived but not thrived. And that’s okay.

silver lining

4 for the 4th

Although since I’m posting this on the 5th, technically it should be 5, but you know.

1. A long holiday weekend for July 4. It’s quite warm here in SE Michigan so there have been evenings on the porch with cold drinks, & mornings here with coffee. These are the days that we Michiganders dream of when the freezing north wind is blowing and the world is grey and dark.

2. A 4-mile run on the 4th is becoming traditional. This year Brandon and I went to nearby Maybury Park. It was sweaty and dusty and lovely.

3. An otherwise quiet holiday. We watched our DVR recording of the Tour de France which was wending its way through the cold and rainy Alps, we tried to keep the cats calm as the neighbors set off some fireworks, and we grilled bacon Gouda burgers. More on that below.

4. I’ve been back on Weight Watchers for several weeks now but haven’t been overly enthusiastic about it. I’m def feeling the impact of midlife changes with my weight, and need to be quite a bit more diligent about good eating habits than I ever have before. I intended to run or do something active every day this weekend to make up for the eating and sipping I planned to do, but the morning after the bacon Gouda burgers all I could do was lounge on the porch with knitting and vlogs on the IPad.

This week will be short but quite busy with lots of packing and driving Miss L to her first camp of the summer, and the beginning of the hybrid return to the office. I’ll only do one in-person day due to aforementioned road trip to camp, but it still feels like the first day of school.

Til next time, friends!

post-solstice

Miss L and I are finishing up a week of vacation with my mom in northern Michigan. It’s been raining quite steadily for the last day or so, so the beach plans were scotched. We happily pivoted to retail therapy in Glen Arbor, Leland, and Traverse City. I was planning on a long run this morning but the heavy rain has pretty much dispensed with that idea (I’m dedicated but not THAT dedicated).

The three of us are fully vaccinated but it was still a bit of a shock to see the tourist crowds, mostly unmasked, thronging the shops and restaurants. It will take awhile for us to feel fully comfortable and remind ourselves that it’s okay for us to take our masks off and get a bit of normalcy.

I’m still working from home but we will be reverting back to a hybrid schedule in early July. I’m not sure how many days a week I’ll be in the office but I think I’m going to start with 2 and see how that goes. Luckily, my team is small, and my boss is very flexible – she trusts me to make my own decisions for whatever works best for me, my family, and my workload.

I’ve been ramping up my running miles but am still way behind my typical YTD. I’ve also been knitting and cross-stitching, reading and watching lots of vlogs but those all deserve their own separate posts, I think.

Until next time, I hope you are well and safe and returning to a bit of normalcy wherever you are, and have access to vaccines if you want them. It’s still raining here in northern Michigan but we will make the best of it!