Category: COVID

Sunday Check In

A little while ago a tweet ran across my timeline that I have not been able to stop thinking about:

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This one hit so deep my bones felt bruised. It was just so accurate.

2019 was probably one of the most substantive years of my career, and it turned out to be one of the most important of my marriage/family and friend relationships. It was a tough year in many ways, and a really rewarding one in others. Most of all, it felt progressive in the sense that I was able to actually feel and see my own progress. Money and career felt steadier than they had for the entire decade prior, my mental and emotional health felt more under my own command than any time I could remember – life felt like something I was living and moving through intentionally rather than something that was buffeting me along.

I don’t have a single friend who wasn’t experiencing some version of hard work paying off in a significant sphere of their lives. It didn’t diminish the very real, grown up challenges many of us were managing…but we were managing them.

And now, we’re looking at our third full month of some kind of lockdown, side eyeing the people who are acting as if government official guidance has changed (it hasn’t, substantively), and honestly debating what our summer will look or feel like. Everything – from the economy to social life to a sense of “normal” – has just stopped.

The sudden, crashing halt from progress to stagnation is unsettling and vertigo inducing. We’re all just waiting to see what happens next, and planning for the future is so theoretical as to be useless.

My 34th birthday is coming up and I’ll be spending it in lockdown. We’ve been in it since mid March and we’re nearly at the halfway point of 2020. Who knows where Jeff’s birthday will find us in fall. We talk about it jokingly, and I try to keep a cosmic sense of humor about it overall, but what does it mean to “write off” several months if not a year of our lives? Not entirely of course, life goes on in lockdown but it’s not life as many of us know it – and has a heaping pile of anxiety and stress on top of it all as an added bonus.

Will we travel to see Jeff’s family as we planned? We haven’t seen family face-to-face in about two years. Will we go back to our offices in any way, or is our “work life” fundamentally and permanently altered? If the latter, even if you’re happy about it, how will we adjust to this? How long will it take? Will I have a job in two months? Boy I hope so. Will there be a recession (probably unless you think that we’re already in one, which is a compelling argument to me)? Another one?! Yes. How will we handle it? *Lol shrug.*

Sorry to be a bit of a downer this week – it’s mostly due to hormones, so don’t take it too seriously. But if you too are struggling with this feeling of “stuckness” please let me know, and how you’re dealing with it.

Off to perk myself up with a Bank Holiday weekend mimosa and some vitamin D through our open window.

 

Weekend Links – Bring on the Bank Holiday!

Ducklings, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and the links are dropping early because mama needs to lie in a sunbeam and do as little as possible for three days. I mean, let’s be real that’s my usual go to, but with quarantine we do it with GUSTO.

This week I introduced Jeff to Fleabag and he got me to finish The Last Dance which I enjoyed tremendously, in spite of not being a sports person outside of live collegiate games.

I know the weather is brilliant in the UK right now, but guys…please don’t be dumb. There’s still a pandemic on. Act accordingly.

 

I’m obsessed with the squirtgun priest. More creativity in unusual times, please!

A charming story about my favorite wildlife critter.

A firm rebuttal to my post of earlier this week. Okay, okay I’ll give up on the self-loathing already!

The British Museum is producing a film of its famous Pompeii exhibition and making it available for free. (YouTube)

As a long time fan of The Financial Diet, this podcast episode (doubling up as a YouTube vid) discussing the ephemeral nature of fame and fortune that we’ve been living with (and completely rebuilt commerce and social capital around) was a great listen.

One of the few bright spots out of this mess, but also a sobering reminder of what it will take to affect climate change trends.

Setting aside the batshit craziness (which is admittedly a challenge) can we all agree at this point that the one thing we cannot and should not do is take the guy “at his word?

God, I hope we don’t go back, at least not the way things were.

Elegant and refined solution. Pure couture.

It’s bad faith all the way down and has been for a long time.

Yes, let’s experiment!

Still don’t really get where QAnon came from, what it encompasses, and what people who believe in it…believe? This is a long read, but worth your time.

Reader survey: trolling or a side effect of that unproven med we cannot be sure that he’s taken or not – thanks to the masterful work of a press release that refuses to confirm or deny whether he’s been dosed.

Trolls and Twitter eggs are going to kill us all… I don’t think anyone imagined the great science fiction digital undoing of our world to be this stupid.

Speaking of Twitter, yes, I followed this privileged saga and thought Roman really didn’t do herself any favors, but cannot help but contrast her being “on leave” while other (male) columnists have actively attacked and pursued punishing actions against critics (Bedbug Stephens, anyone?) and still have their jobs.  Roman publicly apologized and Teigen publicly accepted.

And in THIS week’s drama of white women trying to elevate themselves by comparing or contrasting themselves to other women – particularly women of color – Lana del Ray pulled one out too, on Our Lady and Savior Beyonce no less!

An Unattractive, First World Struggle Post

I know this isn’t the time to be beating ourselves up over our bodies, especially if they are healthy and functioning, but in spite of my goals I’ve managed to gain weight in quarantine and it’s really bumming me out.

The sensible part of my brain rolls its metaphoric eyes as I type that. Stress has always made me gain weight and circumstances are not exactly relaxing right now. Adhering to social distancing guidelines and guidance to stay at home, which we’ve taken seriously, has drastically curtailed physical movement. While I’ve been pretty good with exercise and have really committed over the past couple of months, my eating has been all over the place (see stress comment above). The toll is…exactly what you might expect.

It’s the most basic of basic bitch issues, but I really struggle with my body image. I’m small but not naturally slim and never have been. I’m not delicate petite, I’m squashed petite: normal sized skeletal proportions scrunched down vertically but not horizontally. It vexes me. In blatant rebuke to a lifetime of girl power and love yourself messaging, I do not like my corporeal form very much. I’ve gone through more positive phases and some crushingly bad ones, and right now I’m somewhere in the “negative to meh” zone.

This isn’t a plea for validation, or designed to make anyone else feel any type of way about their bodies – especially if in quarantine! But it’s an honest update against one of my year-long goals and how it’s making me feel. I’m working on getting rid of the negativity but I’m finding it difficult this week.

If you too feel the need to complain about something pointless and selfish, my comments are open for you to get it out of your system. We don’t judge at Small Dog Nation.

 

 

Sunday Check In

Somehow, we’re halfway through May, which means it’s almost June which basically means we’re practically halfway through this wacky year. I’m simultaneously freaked out, glad, disheartened, grateful, and grumpy all at the same time about this fact. It’s such a confusing time and I spend a lot of time flitting from one inappropriate reaction to the next. Hey ho, onwards.

After last weekend’s internet outage and another surprisingly frantic week at work, this weekend we have been about settling a bit. Being at home has made us focus on home in a way that, er…living in this apartment for nearly a year hadn’t yet… We ordered a basic Ikea shelving unit to help improve our storage and I picked up yet more houseplants. Oops. But the fact is that I’m really loving the way our living room – where I’m spending the vast majority of my time – is coming together. In spite of our last apartment being by far our nicest (we’re missing that terrace right now, I can tell you), this one is shaping up to feel the most homelike of any of the four we’ve lived in thus far. I’m hoping we can stay here for a long time, it just works for us.

Is anyone else experiencing this feeling about their home or space right now, or are you just sick of it and bursting to break out?

Sunday Check In

Happy weekend, kittens. I type this to you from the beginnings of an urban jungle as my indoor garden of plants grew yesterday. We live in a boom time for plants, and if I’m lucky I won’t kill these…pray for my brave chlorophyll children!

It’s not hard to see how quarantine has focused us on our home space, but it’s amazing to me how much we’ve done to organize it and tidy our own in the last month. We’ve hung some art and better managed our kitchen space. We are also looking at some cheap but decent Ikea furniture for some additional storage space in our living room which begins to look…nice. More grown up than any of our previous homes. There’s an actual color scheme: gray and blue and cream, with punches of red and (of all things!) bright pink. Trust me, it works.

We’ve also probably never been as good about laundry and general cleaning as we have been for the last few weeks. Easy when you’re at home full time instead of trying to cram your weekly cleaning into a half day on the weekends! While again it’s a statement of huge privilege, I’m grateful that we’ve had the ability to focus on and improve our home in these times – even if that’s only meant vacuuming daily or unwrapping artwork from protective plastic where it’s languished for months.

How are you looking after your home space now? Have you had to make changes to manage your home or work life from it better? If you are not at home full time right now, what is your connection to your home space?

 

Weekend Links – May Day, May Day!

Well, we made it, kittens. April is behind us and good riddance. Short and sweet today as we’re powering through the last few hours before the weekend…even though it won’t look massively different from our weekdays.

Nonetheless, this weekend I intend to enjoy the sunshine, cuddle effusively with my husband, and cook. Let me know your plans in the comments, and I promise to cheer them on whatever they are.

We elected our dumbest and worst person to be president. You cannot convince me otherwise at this point.

New single from The 1975, one of my favorite bands.

Culture matters in good times, but it matters desperately in rough ones. Take advantage of the artistic generosity swelling forth, but also donate if you can now and commit to funding it when you can later.

2020 is so wild that this barely broke into my awareness this week.

Shall we volunteer, Small Dog Nation?

As I spend more time cooking, I am thinking more about cookbooks (as opposed to family recipes, or what I find on pinterest or online). But I have read few as BOOKS, and plan to rectify this.

Andrew Yang was an unusual candidate in that he seemed fully focused on future problems and did not sugar coat the risks he saw. While he was never my preference, I’m pleased he advocated for certain issues and found this interview with him to be worth a read given the state of the world.

This may be the only time a mediocre book review compels me to read the book in question, because it so perfectly encapsulate a current moment that it might feel remiss not to. “As I read The End of October, I found myself resenting it. It was such a silly potboiler of a novel, with such unbelievable characters, such leaden sentences, such infuriatingly clumsy dialogue. How dare the world in which I am actually living so closely resemble a fucking airport thriller?

Yes, I have read “the nanny piece.” No, I have no further comments beyond “Eat the rich.”

The coming war between venues of all kinds, artists, distributors, and agents is going to be nuts. I don’t think movie theatres or theatrical venues are ever going to go away (if the last five thousand years of human history are anything to go by). But that doesn’t mean they won’t, or shouldn’t change. Concerts won’t stop, but I also hope artists will continue to stream straight to their fans when all this is over. I hope gyms will continue to provide online classes. I hope the ways in which we consume and enjoy all manner of things stays accessible and doesn’t just serve to make a few people rich.

Longtime readers will know that Small Dog Nation stans Yoga with Adrienne, so seeing her process and success detailed was both pleasurable and genuinely interesting. She’s a great exercise resource, especially right now.

Celebrating good spuds and good people.

Either we take sexual assault claims seriously or we don’t. Biden needs to provide answers to these accusations, the public needs to grapple with them and come to a consensus and partisanship won’t cut it. His statement today and call for transparency is the right first step, investigation must follow.

Death to FOMO.

Sunday Check In

I’m not going to lie, piglets, this week was probably the roughest yet. This was the week that tempers frayed, that the tension between old and new work challenges clashed, that the reduced paycheck landed. Thank goodness for the latter, but a grim sort of victory as it compels one to think of colleagues on furlough and how grateful we all are to have a job and something of a social safety net. I also heard from friends and loved ones who are staring down the barrel of unemployment.

Conversation after conversation has the same theme: any sense of adventure is more or less gone, we’re now in the slog, and some of that slog is increasingly scary. The stores are no longer completely bare but we’re still shopping strategically.

This week finally broke me a bit, when it comes to news. My work days have been labor-intensive still so any news breaking through to me is usually related to organizations or clients we work with or industry effects that are rippling outward. When I’d log off from my professional life and into my personal one, the sheer inanity vexed me and I’d log straight back off again. When I saw there was “a conversation” about whether or not people should inject or ingest disinfectants to kill COVID-19, in response to the daily bullshittery of the DC pressers, I nearly threw my laptop across the room. I wisely decided to focus on catching up on podcasts or books instead.

In short, I’m a bit glum. And so to counter the despondency, I’ve scheduled some premium friend time throughout this weekend and upcoming week. Calls and impromptu virtual book clubs, all the better to share and laugh, my dears.

What are you over this past week, what are you doing to care for yourself and other this coming one?