Tag Archive | daily musings

Choose Kindness

This year has been the holy hell of years.

For me, at first it was the the losses.  Losing my horse, relationship and friend within 6 weeks of each other in the middle of the worst part of the lockdown last spring.  It’s been the isolation.  The loneliness.

At the beginning of the pandemic, these were the things that were getting me down.

But lately, it is something else entirely.  We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  People should be filled with hope.  It is spring; the light is back and the weather is better.  But I’m struggling…  I’ve been thinking a lot, trying to figure out why.

Lately, it has been the absolute vitriol that emits from the mouths (and fingers) of people who once were (or at least seemed) kind and reasonable.  It’s the disregard for people’s feelings; it has turned into hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  It’s the not knowing anymore who you can trust; it’s best to say nothing rather than cross someone.  It’s the lies, the twisting of facts and the misrepresentation by meme…

I see some of my friends’ social media posts laced with profanity, name-calling anyone who might disagree with them.  I see other friends using an opposite tactic – the I’m so enlightened/morally superior and I just can’t understand those morally inferior peons that believe something different.  It’s tiring.  It’s draining.  The only thing I know is that opinions are like @s$h*l&s; everybody has one and they all stink…

I wonder if people think about the fact that you might someday need that person who has a different viewpoint than you.  Maybe they have an in at that job you really want.  Maybe they own that horse that your daughter really wants to ride.  Maybe they can pull a few strings to get your husband that oncology consult…  Why napalm the bridge?  Maybe kindness really is the best policy. It used to be that you helped your neighbor.  Now it seems like you first ask them to fill out a 5 page questionnaire to find out if their opinions align with yours… When did we stop being kind?

If it is draining for me to see so much hatred, I wonder how tiring it must be for them to carry it in their hearts.  And I tell you, I am exhausted.  Like about to go take a Vitamin D supplement and an Iron pill exhausted.

Please people.  What happened to lifting each other up?  What happened to straightening each others’ crowns?  What happened to the Golden Rule?  Listen to hear and learn, rather than to respond.  This world won’t last very long if we don’t stop trying to tear each other down.

As for me, I’ll keep trying to claw my way back to happy.  It hasn’t been easy.  I haven’t been ok.  There are days when I feel so let down by people that I want to give up and move to an off-grid cabin in the woods.  I’m not quite ready to give up though…

“She knows who she is. She just forgot for a little while.” ― Donald Miller

COVID Diaries: Day 374

The weekend has arrived again!  I had to work yesterday on my day off, as one of my employees had a family emergency, so it was nice when the workday was finally over! 

I had a friends dinner date on Thursday night at a new pho restaurant in town.  So simple and so delicious!  It’s so nice to be able to eat in a restaurant again.  We followed it up with a walk to the University, since it is now light out later in the evening. 

Friday night I took a long walk in the Arboretum, and then back down through the University.  It’s so nice to have this wooded park just a few blocks from my front door. Afterwards, I tried a new Raspberry Lemonade canned wine.  It was ok; not great, not terrible.

Today I had to do the unpleasant task of buying a new washer.  Why are these things so expensive and why oh why can they not make quality things the way they used to?  In my first house, the dishwasher was 42 years old and still worked fine.  You are lucky if you get 7 years out of an appliance these days.  But I am now the proud owner of a brand new Speed Queen top loading washing machine with exactly no bells and whistles, which is exactly how I think it ought to be.  Hopefully it will last… 

To reward myself for getting this chore done, I went to the Lost Giants cidery and got a 6-pack of their new Passionfruit Guava cider.  It is soooo good! 

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!

 

COVID Diaries: Day 370

We launched into spring last weekend with a gorgeous sunny day!  Haha – just kidding – I wish.  It rained.  Pretty much all weekend.

That didn’t stop me from taking a long walk in the rain on Saturday, but I must admit that the rest of the weekend I was lazy.  I made chili with bratwurst meat, which seemed to fit the still-wintery gloom.

A year ago (shortly before COVID) I found a rock polisher at Goodwill and snatched it up for $12.99.  However, there it sat, unused, because I couldn’t figure out how to get the lid to seal when you put the rocks, grit and water in it.  The instructions I found online weren’t very helpful.  A few weeks ago though, a friend showed me how it works, and now I’m on a roll, happily tumbling the few rocks I had collected.  I swapped them out to change the grit this last weekend and they are definitely starting to shine up!  I can’t wait to see how this batch turns out!  Of course, this means I need to find some more rocks, so next time I have a complete batch to polish.

I have been told many times that my interests are those of much older people.  History, battlefields, antiques, rocks, etc.  I suppose they are right.  I don’t care though.  I’ll retire early and travel, visit battlefields and collect rocks, and be happy.

Yesterday I was rummaging through a box of old postcards that were sent to my grandparents and aunts between the 1960s and the 1980s.  I found one from Nebraska, three days after my parents’ wedding in 1968.  They drove from Michigan to California, where my Dad was already working.  Mom was unimpressed with Nebraska, per her postcard narrative.  She doesn’t remember this, but it made me smile.  I still haven’t made it to Nebraska – I wonder if I will be more impressed.

Last night I finished a Thomas Kinkade puzzle that I had gotten at Goodwill a few years ago.  It was hard!  But thankfully it had all its pieces, and the English cottage scene makes me want to jet off to the real English countryside.  It’s either that or bake myself in the Arizona sun, to try to tan away the nearly translucent skin I acquire each winter.  Some hiking in Sedona sounds really good about now, but of course, it is still far colder there than it is here in the Pacific Northwest.

This coming weekend marks my two-year anniversary at my job, and my raise!  Woot woot!

Happy Tuesday, Peeps.  I hope you are well.

COVID Diaries: Day 365

That’s it…  We’ve hit a whole year.  A whole year of disrupted life; isolation, worry, and all the other things that have gone along with COVID.

On this day last year, we were sitting in my employees’ office, making last-minute plans to work from home.  Sending telecommute agreements to managers to have their employees sign, assigning cables and peripherals for Surface computers.  Testing Microsoft Teams for videoconferencing.  St. Patrick’s Day was the last day that I was in the office on a regular basis.  The official lockdown in Washington was announced on March 23.  Although I have been in to work since then, it is for a day at a time, once a week at most, but generally a day every couple of weeks. 

I mourn everything that has been lost since then, and I have struggled mightily at times.  I haven’t had a real vacation in that time, as I am not a fan of staycations.  I’ve had a few days off here and there, but it isn’t the same as getting out and fully decompressing.  I long for a flight to a far away town.  I long for a road trip to a National Park.  I think I just need to book something soon. 

I continue to believe that COVID has been a huge boost for the early retirement plan.  With nothing to spend money on, I have saved so much!  But I have had a hard time feeling motivated to tackle all the home projects that I ought to do.  Purging all the random crap that I know I should get rid of?  Still not done.  Selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace?  Nope.  COVID has not been the shot in the arm I need to take on these tasks…  See what I did there?  Clearly this lockdown has not made me more witty either! 

Anyway…  15 days to bend the curve and all.  Maybe year two will finally start looking up.

COVID Words of Wisdom: They said I changed a lot.  I said a lot changed me.

How are the rest of you all feeling on this one year anniversary? 

COVID Diaries: Day 345

It’s my weekend! 

It’s a beautiful, partly-sunny morning, the birds are chirping, and I have a date with the rake and the yard waste toter.  My yard is once again littered with small branches and pine cones from the wind storms, as well as fall leaves that are still hanging out in the nooks and crannies.  I also need to do the dreaded deep clean of the house.  It is needed.  When did life become about doing chores?  There really has to be a better way.

Last weekend Shelley and I did a FunDay and went down to Stanwood and Camano Island to do some state park exploring and girl bonding.  The sprinkles of rain weren’t too bothersome and we enjoyed searching the parks for little plastic clue balls.  It is an annual event where if you find a hidden clue ball, you can turn it in for a blown glass ball.  They are beautiful!  We didn’t find any, but it was a wonderful, relaxing way to explore a new area and let the stress of the work week fade away.  We also learned some tips and tricks to employ next year.  We tried out the food at a relatively new brewery in Stanwood, SAAL Brewing, and it was delicious! 

I also finished my latest book club book, and finished my Bend to Whistler Challenge!  I walked 700 miles between October 1, 2020 and February 19, 2021.  We had six months from our start date to finish the challenge, so I’m still tracking my miles.  I want to see how far I end up at the end of March. 

 

Monday night I completed the 2,000 piece puzzle I had been working on – it only took me 17 days!  Clearly my puzzle skills have been honed by a year of lockdown…

Restaurants are back open at 25% capacity, so on an evening walk to drop off books at the library we decided to stop at a brewery in town for their to-die-for bison burger.  The last time we were there was in early September, for our birthday lunch.  Yes, Shelley and I are birthday twins.  How often do you find a friend who shares your birthday!?  The burgers were amazing, and the company was perfect. 

At work I completely wrapped up a project I’ve been working on for almost a year, and came within a stones throw of finishing a second one.  That felt good!  These were monotonous and tedious tasks with no benefit to the organization; they are simply a statutory requirement.  It felt good to be able to finish something that has taken a lot of time away from my regular duties! 

Last night I made the transition to the weekend by watching a Facebook Live Event on the Ghost Towns of Washington State.  Many I have heard of, but some were brand new to me!  One of the ghost towns featured I have visited; Monte Cristo is accessed by an eight mile round trip hike, as the road and railroad line long ago stopped being maintained and eventually washed out.  I even blogged about it!  I definitely need to do a ghost town road trip one of these days. If you want to check out Washington State Ghost Towns, here it is

It feels nice to be feeling like myself again.  I know so many of you are feeling the same way – the endless, aimless drifting of a surreal “new normal.”  Thankfully, spring is less than a month out and the days are still getting longer and brighter!

COVID Words of Wisdom: “Kill the part of yourself that still wants to save someone who walked away while you were drowning.” –Unknown

 

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 328

I’m exhausted.  Like bone tired, even after what I feel like is a good night’s sleep.  I’m burning the candle at both ends because one of my employee positions is vacant, but the work doesn’t slow down, it just falls harder on the two of us who remain. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel though, as interviews are Thursday!

There’s a cold front blowing in, well right about now, that’s supposed to bring below-freezing temps, high winds and maybe even snow…  I can’t decide if I want this or not.  The snow part – I definitely know I don’t want the bitter cold and the wind!  I guess it’s fine as long as the power doesn’t go out…  Aforementioned interviews on Thursday and all…

I need a break in a bad way, but the combination of the workload, plus still not being able to go anywhere anyway keeps me trying to buckle down and wait it out. Who else is feeling this way?  Do you have any brilliant ideas to break up the monotony?

Last Friday was two years since my dad died.  Most people don’t remember the day specifically, and I suppose you wouldn’t, but I dreaded it for weeks ahead of time.  I was working, so it wasn’t as hard as I feared, but the days after got progressively harder for some reason that I can’t really explain.  Yesterday was the hardest – low, low energy…  I miss him so much still.

I have an meeting with my financial advisor next week to see how I’m progressing towards my early retirement goals.  After my horse died last March, I put extra money to my retirement fund, because, well, horses are expensive.  I’m excited to find out what that means in terms of the long game.  I literally cannot wait until I can retire!  COVID and lockdown has certainly put that into even sharper focus for me.  I’m ready to really enjoy what I’ve worked hard to build.

COVID Words of Wisdom: “How do you know if a man values you?” You wouldn’t even be questioning it.  –Unknown

 

COVID Diaries: Day 280

Technology has not been my friend this week… At work, I spent hours yesterday troubleshooting new file share software with IT, only to have it still not work…  And this morning, I posted a travel blog about the Mount Washington Auto Road, only to discover that it posted it with the date of when I started the draft, so it doesn’t show in the reader!

At least this morning’s sunrise was stunning!  And, I looked out my window while I was working to see five deer in my yard!

If you want to read my Mount Washington post (of course you do!), click here.

Two more sleeps until Christmas and no more works!

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 231

Fall is certainly here in full force, and I’ve been in a pensive mood.  Day 231 of the lock down – I never would have thought…  So I thought I would bring to you another round of COVID observations.

  1. Cheetos and pineapple hard cider aren’t the best food and booze pairing I’ve ever had.  But it’s not the worst either.
  2. There is something inherently depressing about the first day after the time change when the sunset occurs before you are off work.  It’s worse when you haven’t even put on shoes that day…
  3. There is something quite odd about realizing that you are very drawn to a man’s face in the grocery store… And then you realize it is because he doesn’t have a mask on. 
  4. We are all unintentionally jerks sometimes.  That’s just human nature.  You are going to screw up and all you can do is apologize and hope they forgive you.  But when you are a jerk intentionally, then it’s time to look very deeply into your own heart and reevaluate your values…  Because something ain’t lining up.  There seems to be a lot of this going around lately…
  5. I saw a wine advent calendar at the grocery store tonight.  If I place it in a prominent location at home, does that count as decorating for Christmas?  Asking for a friend…
  6. I think the black squirrels in my yard gained a competitive advantage over the gray squirrels this year.  Maybe it has something to do with the bunnies.
  7. Raking and mowing the lawn in fall is the equivalent of bringing on the rain by washing your car.  Except with wind.
  8. At some point I reached the point where my heart has been so scarred that I wonder if I will ever trust anyone ever again.  I’m still trying…
  9. The fate of the world may one day come down to a battle between the people who put two spaces after a period and those who only put one.  I’m a two spacer…
  10. Overall, 2020 still blows… 

The red rocks of the southwest are sounding pretty good right now.  I hope you are all hanging in there! 

Me at Valley of Fire State Park…

 

COVID Diaries: Day 172

September…  2020 is 2/3rds over!  Maybe I’ll survive this year yet!

COVID leaves me a lot of time to think.  Some are ridiculous thoughts like suggesting to my staff that we have a PEEPS diorama contest at work next Easter (this idea was wholeheartedly embraced).  Some are more serious, like putting in the work I need to do in healing.  I started seeing a therapist again, for all the things I bottle up.  We talked early on about how I have experienced an incredible amount of loss in the last few years (to put it mildly)…  I don’t often swear on this blog, but a phrase one of my former employees often said comes to mind…  “What fresh fuckery is this?!?  I think it’s going ok, but that work is damned hard.

I’ve been feeling a bit of writer’s block and it’s making it hard to be more active on this blog.  I’m hoping to get my writing mojo back, but I’m trying to be gentle with myself.

I’m still getting quite a bit of hiking in, with weekly forays into the mountains.  That is good for my soul…

I also keep up on my typical walks and even a swim in the lake!  Two girlfriends and I hired a fitness coach to design a core strength workout routine that we can do at home. I get plenty of cardio in, but I need to do more strength training.  So far it is going well but my quads sure did hurt!

And big news!  I planned a little trip coming up.  The seats are coming back out of the car and the bed is going back in!  It has been since early March that I have traveled, with the exception of one two-night camping trip in the next county down, and do I ever need it!  I’m going to do some days of high desert and then hit the coast for some camping at the beach.  Variety!  I haven’t traveled alone in almost two years, except for one work conference, so I’ll have to get back into my solo groove.

I hope you are all having a good Labor Day Weekend, so far!

COVID Diaries: Day 157

It’s the weekend! And the weekend is very much needed.

It also poured down rain last night and part of today.  I have to admit, that was much needed too.

My aunt and uncle were in town this week, so I got to spend three evenings with them.  That was fun – I always enjoy my time with them and I know my mom does too.

Last night my girlfriend Tiffany came over and we had dinner and went for a walk.  She is my oldest friend – we’ve been friends since she was 5 and I was 7! I don’t even want to say how long ago that was…

Tomorrow I’m going hiking with two other girlfriends.  It is going to be back to sunshine, and I’m so excited!

Happy Friday!