30 March 2020

Planning When You Don't Really Need a Plan

If you have read my blog for a while, and/or have met me in real life, you know that I do love plans and lists.  The funny thing is, a lot of the time, I don't follow them or even accomplish things on them, but I guess I like knowing the structure is there.

Friends of mine with children have pretty elaborate lists and plans because they have to keep track of multiple people, and I know it often stresses them out.  I'm generally keeping track of only myself, and years ago decided that if things didn't happen, it was still OK.  So I realize I'm already ahead of a lot of people

Nonetheless, I have been trying hard to still make lists and plans for myself since they tend to make me feel more grounded.  I remember when we would move to a new place when The Tim would get a new job, I was unemployed, but would still have myself sorted out.  It did make it easier to adapt once I had a job that required following someone else's schedule.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have planned a series of projects to do during the week so that I wouldn't just sit and do nothing.  A lot of them involved putting things away, or cleaning out something - the kind of thing that is occupying, but also works with a somewhat distracted mind.  When I realized that The Tim was going to start being home all the time also after today, I had a talk with myself, so that I wouldn't let his I-never-plan-anything approach drive me as nuts as I know it can.  He's one of those people that will decide on the spur of the moment that he is going to paint a room, so all of a sudden everything has to be moved out right away, etc.  In my case, unless I found out that painting a room RIGHT NOW would somehow save my life or provide me with a million dollars, I would plan when I wanted to start painting, gradually move things out, etc.  So adjustments will need to happen.

Fortunately, since I know I'll have plenty more time off, I'm not trying to cram it all into a few days or one week.  I've been approaching the days in much the same way I approach the weekends.  I do Chore X for 1/2 to an hour (setting a timer), and then do something I want to do (knit, read, take a walk) for the same amount of time.   Rinse and repeat.  This way, I don't feel like a drudge. 

OK, I seldom feel like a drudge - it's more likely that I'll decide skip the chores ... ;-)

For instance - my 'big' project today?  Going through the approximately 6500 plastic/Tupperware containers we have and getting rid of those that are worn out, no longer have lids, etc.  This will in no way take the whole day, but if I get that done, I'll feel that I have accomplished something.  And before you tell me that glass containers are more environmentally reasonable, I will tell you that a) we use the ones we have for years and years, and b) The Tim is careless with these kinds of things, and there is a strong probability that we would be replacing glass containers regularly if we used those.  If it was all up to me, glass would win, but it's not and I can live with that.

Anyway, the reason I'm sharing this is in the hope that it may give you some ideas on a useful way to fill your time when your regular concentration skills are not available.  It works for me most of the time, so perhaps it will work for you, or give you some ideas.

In other news, our craft group at work had our Zoom meeting last Friday, right before our virtual all-staff Zoom meeting.  It was lots of fun and we had some good laughs.  One guy in the group used a virtual background showing a group of men knitting, and it looked like he was sitting on someone's lap, which provided many comments and much hilarity.  We decided to try and meet once a week, since no one is tied to other stuff at work, so that will be enjoyable. 

In our all-staff meeting, we learned that we may very likely not be going back to work in our building until mid-June, and that "for now" no one is being laid off and that "for now" no salaries are being cut back.  Which is at least temporarily comforting, but given that two other museums in the city have gotten rid of 75 and 65 percent of their staffs respectively, no one felt reassured. 

I can't help but think of that Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting times."  Sigh.  Not the "interesting" most of us would dream about, I'm guessing.

29 March 2020

... and to the World

The other day, Pope Francis delivered a homily and a blessing - "Urbi et Orbi" [to the city of Rome and to the world], in the rain, to an empty St. Peter's Square.  A friend of mine on Facebook posted the link to the transcript, and there was a segment that just really really struck me, particularly the part of the last line.  And so I am sharing it with you.  If you are intersted in reading the whole thing, here is the link.
"We can look for so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.  This is the force of the spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial.  It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven 
together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves."

27 March 2020

Because We Need Some Funny

Things are not funny in the world right now.  However, in my opinion, we still all need to laugh, even if it's dark humor.  So I am offering the below items in the hope that they will at least make you smile, even if just for a minute.

The "This Is Fine" dog has changed his focus a little bit:






What's your sign??


Yesterday was supposed to be Opening Day for baseball, but like so much else, that has been postponed. But maybe this will keep you going:

And, when things get really tough:

Is this just me?


When were you last this happy??


I call this one "Life with the Koodle"

Practice self-care.


Poor Ginger!


And for your reading pleasure:

Here's just one reason why pups are the best.

Meet Lieutenant Dan - I love his sweet face!

This kid is calling it.

And here's another Tim for me - and all of us to love.  #HashtagLoveHisHashtags

Take care, everyone, and have the best weekend you can.  Love your loved ones, stay inside, and wash our hands, and we'll get there someday.  xoxo

26 March 2020

Life Lessons

Hi there - I hope all of you are still well.  We are doing OK, and for that I am extremely grateful, particularly since I usually am the one who catches every single thing that comes around and I have happily missed this altogether - let's hope that continues! The Tim has his last day of work tomorrow, and then is laid off indefinitely.  I'm glad I don't have to worry about him being at work, so I can just go back to worrying about our finances, which I do anyway, but now with added flavor.  ;-)

In any event, being that I am part of the demographic that the governor of Texas thinks should be more than happy to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of society, I thought I would share three things that I have learned in my apparently too-long life, that have not just helped me in the past, but that are helping me now.  None of them are new or life-changing - just reminders.  And since it's also time for Three on Thursday, here you go.

1.  Remember to laugh.  You don't need to laugh until you cry, you can even just smile.  But if you are lucky enough to find something that makes you actually laugh, enjoy it.  Just because things are terrible, or sad, or unbearable, it doesn't mean you can't laugh.  If nothing else, for those few minutes, you will be able to be your real self.

2.  Nothing lasts forever.  Neither good nor bad.  This one is a really hard one to learn and live.  Losing a loved one is the worst thing, but one day you wake up and realize that even if you will always carry sadness about them in your heart, you can also move forward and get back to your life.  I don't know of anyone who ever hopes that life will stop for everyone else when they are gone.  On a much much lesser level, chocolate cake doesn't last forever, either, but once it's gone, there are other things to enjoy.

3.  Enjoy things.  If are one of those people who seems always have wonderful things happen, and live in a world where bunnies romp, flowers bloom, birds sing, and unicorns have glitter coming out of their a**es, good for you.  But I truly believe that most of us live in the other world, and have to make do the best we can.  So watch your favorite TV show, go to the beach, knit what you like, sing in the shower, eat good food - whatever you enjoy, embrace it.  Unless you enjoy murdersprees, in which case, you may want to talk to a medical professional.

Like I said, not news, but at least in my experience, the truth.  So many things are out of our control, and there are tons of things I wouldn't want to control even if I could!

24 March 2020

Some "Aha!" Moments

Hi all - I thought I'd write a quick post before taking Hamlet out for a walk.  Happily, the sun is out today, so we will not have to slog through puddles and downpours.

Yesterday afternoon, I was finishing a project, and realized something that was an "Aha!" moment - so of course I had to go beyond that and consider other things, and had some interesting realizations about myself.

1.  I am a worrier and I panic easily - but apparently, not about big things.  Unlike most people I know, the idea that I could possibly get sick with COVID-19 has not been an obsession.  I realize I'm in a group that has a more likely chance, but I'm doing what I can to avoid it, so I'm neither worried nor panicked over that.  Rather, I'm worried/panicked - as usual - over what most people would consider small or insignificant things, or even better, things that have not, nor may ever happen (that last one is a lifelong superpower, btw).

2.  I realized that by not having to go to work and be around my co-workers all day every day that a) I have been sleeping really well at night, b) I have not been stress eating, and c) I have not had a feeling of dread following me around all of the time.  This must be what it's like to have a better work environment or be retired.  (Note: I did find a project to work on from home for at least a few hours a day, so now I don't have to use up all of my leave time and/or not get paid. YAY!)

3.  I have been getting a lot more done.  Not just on my previously mentioned project, but on other things around home as well.  See: no feeling of dread - I had not realized how that was exhausting me.

4.  Someone from our craft group at work e-mailed me to ask if we could do a craft-together this coming Friday, since one was originally scheduled for that day.  I realized that since we have a work account with Zoom, we could do it, and got it set up for Friday at lunchtime.  The funniest thing is that nearly every person has responded that they will "attend," and I'm guessing a lot of it is because no one will be commenting something like, "Oh I can't usually take a lunch break, I'm so busy."  One woman wrote back and thanked me because "I need this SO much - spending so much time with my husband will surely be the end of our marriage!"  That just cracked me up!  I realized that it will be fun to have those interactions with others at my workplace.

5.  I realized that it was easy to set up a system to automatically dump the junk mail that we receive without having to handle it several times.  The Tim gets really annoyed when I bring in the mail and automatically put the junk mail in the recycling - he wants to see whatever we got, even if it's not something he would ever care about or that applies to him.  So now I bring the mail in, and he has 24 hours to peruse things.  If he does, then anything not wanted goes straight to the recycling bin.  If he does not, I add it to the teetering pile of things next to the chair where he usually sits.  Then at some point, it will either fall over, or start to actually bug him, he'll sort through everything, and then HE has to deal with it.  Perfect?  No.  But much less annoying for me.

Some of these were not necessarily life-changing revelations, nor were they complete news to me, but still revelatory in their own way.

Have you had any "Aha!" moments recently?