Thursday, August 27, 2020

Rainy Day Thoughts

  • Many of you know my penchant for gloomy rainy days... and here, we have one.  It's the first day in a long while where I've actually fervently wished I could have stayed at home.  (After almost 7 weeks off in the early Covid days, I swore I'd never complain about having to go to work again.)  But today... yeah.  Snuggled up in a warm blanket on the couch watching a scary movie or reading a book, baking cookies or making a pot of spaghetti sauce... there's just something about the dark days that make me crave being home and cozy!
  • As fall begins to creep ever closer, and the weather starts to feel more fall-like, my longing for it grows.  I want to put out my fall decorations, and get pumpkin spice scents going in my Scentsy warmers and candles.  Yesterday, I did a quick draft of scary movies I want to watch, and I keep thinking of warm loaves of pumpkin bread and simmering pots of chili. While I'm still holding a bit of dread, not knowing what fall will look like in pandemic times, I'm starting to feel the excitement outweigh the fear.

  • I have added a few new fall pieces to my wardrobe and I'm excited for the weather to be cool enough to finally put them to use.  A new pair of leggings, a few new sweaters, a long-sleeved tee.  I'm also excited for socks and slippers.  I mean, don't get me wrong, bare feet and flip flops in the summer make life so much easier, and I'm not ready to give that up just yet.  But if I was home right now enjoying the gloom?  I think I'd have my slippers on.
  • Do you remember last week or so, I talked about a new book I was reading, but I wasn't far enough into it yet to know whether or not I was going to love it?  Well, I LOVE it.  It is called The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, and it is such a delicious escape from reality right now!!  It is unlike anything I've ever read before, and far more fantasy than I'd normally read, but I am enjoying it SO much (now that I'm past the confusing early stages lol).

  • I got my hair chopped off on Tuesday evening.  My first hair cut since February, and my first time having a shorter hairstyle in over two years.  I had really wanted to give long hair a try, and it took SO long to grow it out that it was hard to let it go, but I don't think it suited me.  My ponytail always looked so scraggly, and I never took the time to blow it dry and straighten it to make it look decent.  I enjoyed the ease of putting it up, but even that was a struggle - I never did master the art of the top knot, even when it got really long.  It's only been two days, but I'm loving my cute little bob, and so far it hasn't been as hard to maintain as I thought.  It's actually been easier.

  • Lately, I have been daydreaming about an old restaurant favourite that is no longer available:  Kelsey's balsamic chicken penne.  I haven't had it in years, but I can't stop thinking about it.  The other day, I challenged my friend Lindsay (who makes the most delicious carbonara I've ever had) to replicate the balsamic chicken penne dish from our memories. She didn't waste any time, making it for her family for dinner last night!!  Even better... she packaged up some leftovers for my lunch today! yum!!! I can't wait for lunch!!!!

  • I am STILL not finished my second Perfect Pocket Shawl.  ugh!  I keep printing off patterns of new crocheted items I want to try, yet I can't seem to finish the one that's holding everything else up!!  I have ONE pocket left to make, then to sew them on and sew in the ends... I'm literally like an hour or two away from being done, and yet I just can't seem to get the motivation to do it.  Saturday is supposed to be another rainy dreary day, so hopefully the cro-jo will find me!
  • You know what a rainy day makes me think of?  Rainy day snacks.  I have a plethora of snacks sitting atop my fridge, yet the one I really wish I was home to crack open is a bag of cheese popcorn.  A (slightly) scary movie, a bowl of popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate... oh, I could just pretend it's fall for a few hours!!

Alright... that's all I've got for today.  I hope you're all enjoying your day, rain or no rain! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Calm before the storm?

I'm feeling strangely calm these days... I can't quite explain it.  After months of feeling tied up in knots and, on my worst days, like my insides were being squeezed in a vice, I have to say I'm appreciating this current calm, while also anticipating that it won't be long-lasting.

The back-to-school chaos will be starting by the end of this week and into next week.  As we all know, I don't like back-to-school time on a good year.  During pandemic times, I have been expecting it to set me off in ways I haven't even experienced before.  

And yet now, just a few days away, I have yet to experience the knots and squeezing insides and feeling like I'm on the verge of tears all the time that I thought I would have by now.  In fact, quite the contrary.  I feel hopeful.  Almost optimistic.  There has been so much worry and concern heading into this school year, but I have this trust that the government and school systems are going to do everything in their power to make this as safe as possible.  That they will be as prepared as they possibly can be.  And I know a few kids who are excited to be with their friends again, and are anxious to get back to this little bit of normalcy in their lives - even if it won't be the same as when they left it so abruptly last March.

I know, I know.  I don't have kids.  I can't possibly compare how I feel to that of the emotions that parents are experiencing as they get ready to send their children back out into the world.  My feelings are really irrelevant in all of this.  But oh, how I'm praying for them.  I'm praying that things go as smoothly as possible, and that maybe this year won't be as scary and as full of upheaval as we are anticipating.  That maybe kids are really getting good at washing their hands and maybe there won't be as much germ-spreading as normal.  That the masks will make a difference.  That there won't be any big outbreaks.  Wishful thinking on my part, maybe, but I'm doing my best to put it out into the universe and make it so.

For me personally, my biggest anxiety right now is waiting to see how it will go, and knowing we will have to keep our distance for a while until we see how it plays out.  It has been so nice to have family around this summer.  I haven't taken for granted our gatherings in Mom's garage, our swims at Donna & Eric's pool, our family BBQ's, our nights at the ball field watching Noah and his friends at T-ball, and our family holiday.  I remember those weeks back in March and April when we stayed apart, and how sad it made me feel.  I still haven't had any sleepovers or movie nights with my nieces and nephews, and it makes me feel bleak to know it might be another long while yet before we can really get back to normal.  I just hope we don't have to go back to that strict isolation again.

While I'm relatively calm, I do worry about things like Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas.  I push them off in my mind because I can't let that worry consume me, at least not yet.  I worry about what will happen when it's too cold to congregate outside anymore.  I'm a fantastic hibernator, but I don't want to go for months without family gatherings again.  I don't even want to consider a world where our normal holiday traditions must be abandoned.

So for now, I just won't let my thoughts go there.  For now, I'll enjoy these last few days of summer, and the comfortable routine I have found for myself.  The low-key weekends of sitting outside at Mom's during the day, reading or visiting with family.  Going home to watch movies at night and crocheting.  Not having any big plans, just enjoying time and space to do the things I really love to do.  I didn't feel that way at all in the spring, and I am so happy to finally have it back.

Is this the calm before the storm?  Perhaps.  Only time will tell.  But I hope that the experiences of the last 6 months have made me stronger, and better equipped to deal with what comes next.  And I cling to the belief that the worst is behind us, and each new season brings us a little bit closer to "back to normal".

I have to have faith in that.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

A boring ol' Random Thoughts post.

Back in the olden non-Covid days, I would often write "random thoughts" posts.  Why don't I do those anymore? I have no idea... but I'm feeling relatively "normal" this week, so why not.  Here we go.
  • I have realized that this summer I have lost my cro-jo.  That's the term we in the crocheting biz use to describe our motivation.  I am severely lacking.  I made one of the Perfect Pocket Shawls that the crocheting world was all excited about earlier in the summer, and then I started a second one, but I have no desire to pick it up in the evenings.  None whatsoever.  I have several other projects lined up so maybe once the weather cools down a bit, my cro-jo will come back?  Let's hope.
  • Maybe it's the lack of Shawville Fair this year?  For months, I was anxiously completing projects with the sole goal of entering them in the Fair this year.  And then the Fair got cancelled, of course.  My original thought was: "Well... extra time to get even more done.  And lots of time to do it."  because, of course, everything is cancelled from now til 2021 at least.  But honestly, I have completed very little to add to my Fair stash since pandemic times started.  I hope that will change come fall.
  • I am in a very weird state of limbo right now.  I am anxious for fall, because I LOVE fall, but I am also nervous as hell.  First, I have to get through icky back to school time, which will likely be even worse this year because of all the uncertainty and worry about the virus, plus the lack of Shawville Fair to perk me up.  Secondly, they keep warning the second wave will likely come with cold and flu season, which equals... dun dun dunnnn...Fall.  And that makes me very nervous.  While I adore the thoughts of cozy clothes and pumpkin spice and making soup and watching scary movies, I also fear the unknown of what this season will bring in corona times.  I've been relieved to have some normalcy back this summer, at least being able to spend time with family and close friends, and I dread that being taken away again.  Oof.  Have I mentioned lately how much I am not a fan of this?
  • I've been having a rough week with headaches.  It seems to go in spurts for me.  Weeks without any, and then when I do get one, it lasts off and on for days.  I had a rough one on Tuesday, I was fine yesterday, and then woke up with one again today.  Friggin sinuses.
  • I got some really fun mail yesterday! For my birthday, my bestie ordered me a subscription to Sockbox.  Every month, a pair of fun socks will arrive in the mail, and the first pair came yesterday!!  I am looking forward to having all of these fun colourful socks to wear during the colder months.  I can't wait to see what the next pair will be!
  • So, I'm re-watching The Office on Netflix.  I think it's the first TV show I've re-watched since getting Netflix.  I believe it is leaving next year, and I needed one more go-round with Jim & Pam (one of my fave TV couples ever).  And I thought I might not enjoy it as much the second time around, but it's the opposite.  I think I'm loving it even MORE.  So so good.  So funny.
  • One thing I have done a lot of lately is reading.  I set a goal of reading 15 books every year, and often it is a struggle to get there, but I have already hit the mark for 2020.  Recent reads that I'd recommend:  The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda and The Chain by Adrian McKinty.  I read each of these books in less than a week, which is almost unheard of for me (I'm a slow reader).  I'm now reading a book my aunt got me for my birthday, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.  I'm not far enough into it yet to tell whether or not I'm going to love it, but it's very different from anything I've read before... we shall see!
  • I have been craving brownies for weeks now.  I planned to make them last Saturday morning, but started to get my ingredients out and realized I didn't have one stick of butter in the house.  Thankfully, my mom picked me up a pound when she got groceries this week, so brownies are on the agenda for this weekend!  Yum!!
  • So, sports are back and while I haven't really gotten into it myself yet, I know a LOT of people - my entire family, basically - who are very happy about it.  I know my mom for sure has been missing having something to watch on TV at night, and she's thrilled to have games back on again!!  My bro and bro-in-law said having hockey back is like having Christmas in August. I got excited about hockey coming back until I remembered the Sens suck and they aren't actually back lol.  I have more interest in the Raptors, as they are doing really well, but I have yet to put a game on to watch. Come playoff time, though, I'm sure I will be there!
Well that's about it for me today.  I hope you're all having a good week, enjoying the sunshine and summer heat!  Take care!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Summering, Covid-Style

It's been a while, friends!

I'm still here.  Still doing okay.  Still not loving this "new normal", but this is a big one that is wayyyy outta my control.  

I have good days, and I have bad days (as I suspect most of us do).  As things slowly started re-opening and life slowly started to return to some sense of "normal", I began to feel much better, mentally.  But then a few weeks ago my anxiety started ramping up again.  I went through a few days where it literally felt like someone was squeezing my insides in a vice, I was so tied up in knots.  I guess these are the waves I'm going to have to ride for a while yet, as there still really isn't any end in sight for pandemic times.

I got a huge boost one day recently when news of a promising vaccine advanced to Stage 3 trials. One of my most trusted sources of info, Dr. Abdu Sharkawy (he was the doctor CTV News referred to during the early days when I was off) shared the news on Facebook and called it "a light at the end of the tunnel".  I was so excited that day.  Of course, in the days following, every article I read warned that the vaccine is still far off, months away, maybe mid-2021 at best, and even then not everyone will be able to get it right away.  Especially not someone like me, as I fall in the "worried well" category.  So... yeah.  Back to feeling kinda glum.

On top of it all... it's kind of been a rough summer, non-covid related.  A friend of mine lost her mother very suddenly in early July, and then my aunt passed away a few weeks later.  It has left my heart feeling heavy and sad.  It really has been a difficult season all around.

But!  But!!  I promise I'm still doing my ever-lovin' best to have a good summer.  Truly, the lack of planned activities hasn't been terrible.  It has meant more time.  More time for pool days and going to the beach; an afternoon on the pontoon with Kerry, Jeff & Brodee; family BBQ's and spending time with my nieces and nephews; reading, crocheting, watching Netflix... 

Best of all was my family's return to my aunt & uncle's camp on the Ottawa River last week, while I was on holidays.  We didn't get to go last year because of the floods, so it was so nice to get back to our little piece of heaven, and this time with ALL of us there.  I will hold such fond memories of our time at the camp this year.  Watching Noah bob in the shallow water, dancing with the girls by the camp fire, making s'mores, reading on the beach, fun rides on Big Mabel, playing Mexican Trains in the evening, watching Chris and Noah "race" their trucks, my paddle boat ride with Caden, delicious meals and snacks, floating on a tube in the water, our "snake sighting"... so much more.  The camp is always a good time, but this year it seemed extra-special.  I am so grateful we had a "safe" place to go that was close to home, yet still felt like a holiday get-away.  It was nice to relax, take some deep breaths, unwind, and not worry so much for a few days.

I'm back to work this week and for the most part, feeling good.  I'm trying to live in the moment and not stress too much.  I can already feel that bubbling back up again, with back-to-school just a few weeks away.  I never handle back-to-school well, and now with this added Covid stress, I don't expect it's going to be a fun time.  No, I'm not going to school.  No, I don't have kids.  So why worry?  Well many of my loved ones DO have kids and are worried, and I am worrying on their behalf.  Add to that, we will likely have to "separate" again from my nieces and nephews, at least for a while until we see how it goes, and that does not make me happy...

But it's only early August.  It's still summer.  I'm going to try to enjoy these last few weeks of warmth and sunshine and soak it all up, because we don't know what the fall will hold.  Normally one of my favourite times of year, I am feeling little tingles of dread, just because of the unknown.

I hope you all are having a great summer and doing your best to have fun!!