Tag: 2020

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.

 

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?

 

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?

Sunday Check In

Hi ducklings, how are we all doing this week?

This week an additional group of colleagues was furloughed, one that contained many of my favorite coworkers and work friends. I know it’s temporary but I’m going to miss hanging out with these people (at least digitally) until they are back. We have awesome group chats!

Other than that, this was also a week where I’ve had some uncomfortable exchanges with people, personally and professionally. Stress is getting to lots of people, myself included, and our experiences are all individual and personal. It can make common ground harder to establish. I’m trying to remember my own calls for kindness while also speaking up when I feel is necessary. It’s a balancing act – some days I nail it, other days I get it wrong.

How about you? How was this week? What are your personal circumstances? What would you like people to better appreciate about your experience or point of view right now?

What I know for sure…

I’ve blogged everyday for a month, one of my goals, and while I don’t think I’ll keep up the same pace, it’s been really useful to help process the first four weird weeks of lockdown. I’m sure weirder is to come but in the meantime, a few things I’m positive about:

Showering and putting on clothes even when you don’t “have” to is important.

I appreciate walks a lot more now.

Lipstick covers a multitude of video conferencing aesthetic ills.

Community is vital.

Rich friendships are worth their weight in gold.

Takeaway is a treat not a way of life.

Work and life are not, and should not be, the same thing.

Doing nothing is okay, and we’re not supposed to be productivity machines.

Twitter is not real life.

You can’t control everything about your mental space but you can probably control more than you think (and if you can’t, you are deserving of kindness and help to do so).

Taking care of and responsibility for our fellow man is non-negotiable.

Nobody is really in charge and we’re all just trying to do the best we can with the information we’ve got.

Scene of the crime.

The Year in Baking Thus Far

Kittens, I’m calling it. I’m a third of the way through this challenge to bake weekly for a year, having begun it over the 2019 Christmas holidays, but I need to press pause. I enjoy baking and I think it’s better to make your own sweets than buy them, but this is a pace I cannot continue without more exercise than quarantine measures allow. I know vanity isn’t the highest motive to claim, but as a person who requires effort to keep her weight level to say nothing of dropping, this is not conducive to my long term happiness.

But I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t celebrate and share the sugar goods which have gotten me through 2020 so far. I’m pivoting to healthier cooking for the time being, but I’d be delighted to live vicariously through any of you who care to try the below and share your efforts!

Gingerbread cookies

Banana bread

Cheese scones

Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake 

Midnight Mocha Cheesecake

Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Classic chocolate chip cookies

Classic chocolate chip cookies again, because Jeff ate all of them!

Classic chocolate chip cookies AGAIN by request. Why mess with a good thing?

Pear tart with goat cheese and honey

Apple cinnamon tart

Classic chocolate chip cookies AGAIN because I had to get it done and was down to the wire this week

Coconut Thins

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies again – because they are seriously addictive

Banana Bread

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies AGAIN

Earl Gray Yogurt Cake (a reader recommendation and SO GOOD)

 

COVID Hot Take: We Don’t Need Celebrities

Hear me out. We DO need artists. We also need entertainers. And we desperately need public figures (see also my hot take on how monarchy isn’t celebrity for other reading).

But those are people who make, do, engage, organize, communicate, and create.

Celebrity as an isolated concept – being famous – has never been more useless. Instagram influencers prompting us to buy things we can’t afford or enjoy lifestyles we don’t have – have never been less relevant.

To be clear some famous people are clearly adding value to other people’s lives right now and some of that value is purely frivolous. I’m all for it. Laughing, crying, thinking, or distraction absolutely have important roles to play, especially when for so many our inner lives have never been so important. There are many celebrities/famous people who offer this to us, but there are an awful lot who don’t.

I am all for Rhianna being more effective than whole governments in her philanthropy (see here, here and here for just a few examples) AND for Leslie Jordan twirling batons and humorously documenting his life. I delight in musicians streaming sets and impromptu concerts for their fans, I cringe at actors singing to us from their mansions.

Being famous is (finally) being revealed as fundamentally useless. Twitter followers and Instagram likes are not real people and are a trivial replacement for human interaction. What do you do with talent? How do you use your voice? How do you choose NOT to use it – which can be just as important. What purpose do you serve – no matter how grand or trivial?

Just existing isn’t enough.

Fight me. Or change my mind. Whatever. I just want to talk to people – beyond my husband who has heard all of my rants already.