Covid Check-In

Hello, world! Hope you are all reading this from a nice and cozy spot at home. And if not...dude, go home. Seriously. Wherever you are. Except on the slim chance you actually have to report to work right now, but in that probably shouldn't be reading this.

Last week my employer started talking about preparing for telework and limiting social contact and all the stuff the rest of the country was starting to grapple with. North Carolina public schools were closed over the weekend. Somehow, daycares were not closed so Babycakes went on Monday and I went to work per usual. But everything was so crazy and seemed like it was about to shut down, as grouping restrictions went from 50 to 25 to 10. Daycare remained open but basically asked us to keep our kids home if we could, to ensure they stayed open for as long as possible for those who do not have another option.

So we preemptively started our restriction on Tuesday once I got the full go-ahead to telework from home. I have a daily schedule and lots of Pinterest activities in my back pocket, so we'll see how it goes. The uncertainty was more than I could handle, and choosing to stay home was my small grasp at somehow having control. Also, I just really did not think daycare would last this full week.

Although apparently they were doing some form of "health checks" that included taking temps at drop-off, according to some friends. They are about to start this at Hubby's work also- anyone with a fever is sent home and immediately supposed to do a 14 day self-quarantine at home.

Teleworking is interesting. The only part of my job I can do from home is a busy-work type of job that wasn't a priority. However, there's a lot of it and it will keep me busy for a while and was on the horizon eventually. I'm getting up early and staying up late, so I am not just on the computer all day while Babycakes is zoned out in front of the TV. It's slightly easier on Hubby's days off, as he can be the "front-line parent" so to speak. Apparently our time-keeping site does not like my night hours though, as it's not recording it correctly. So that's interesting. Some specific paid leave has been granted for certain positions for sickness or care duties, so I am hoping to potentially do part telework and part paid leave. I've been going to bed at 10-10:30 and waking up at 4:30-5:00, which is less sleep than usual. Not terrible, but not sure I can do it 5 days a week.

I'm a little bit in "Army Wife" mode. That means...a part of me has just accepted that things are crazy and I've narrowed focus and am just sort of absorbing the hits. This is unprecedented, but some feelings are familiar. Unpredictable schedule? Check.  Feeling isolated? Check. Relying on technology for social interaction? Check. Disrupted life for the sake of a greater good? Fuckin' check.

To be clear, I accept this likely means I will have a breakdown after all this is over. That seems to be my pattern. It's not a bad patter, honestly, and I'm cool with it. Just want to be clear.

Babycake's birthday is next month. We were supposed to have a party at a local park, and also visit my family who live a few hours away. Both of those things are up in the air at the moment. Currently though, she is basically loving the fact that we are together all day. I've honestly stepped up my mom game a lot, bahaha. So she's doing cool new activities and we're playing outside and she gets to watch at least one Disney movie a day while I work (maybe 2,

I hope people listen and just stay the fuck home. If everyone would just calm down, rest for two weeks, recharge, and stay away from each other...this will pass. It will pass anyway, but the idea of someone's pride killing others is one that really fucking angers me.

A lot of it is truly ignorance or a coping mechanism, IMO. A friend was being annoyingly blase about the whole thing, and it wasn't until she realized how seriously the hospital she worked at was taking things and heard a local doctor speak that it sort of shook her. So we were almost a week apart in our journey to understand this...think of how many people she could have infected in that week if she was sick. And she wasn't even one of the ones going out to eat or anything, because our city had already clamped down on some of that.

She did comment that it was a little scary seeing the government impose restrictions. Y'all...freedom does not come free. Everyone pays a price for it. Freedom to live > Freedom to eat in a restaurant. Get better priorities. And reminder- freedom is not individual. It is collective. No man is an island. You have connections, more than you realize, and your actions have effects. You are not free from the consequences of decisions.

Anyway. Basically...we're fine here at home. At least for the moment.

Now, are you?

Show Us Your Books: March 2020

Another month gone! Y'all, February was a long one for us. My family got pink eye...repeatedly. My husband has a beautiful straight nose I've always loved...and he's always claimed it doesn't work right. Apparently this is true, because he has been plagued by sinus issues this month...which, FYI, can cause pink eye if it gets bad enough. After two rounds, I've told him I love him with all my heart but he's quarantined. I'm on the couch until he has fully recovered*.

He offered to take the couch. But it's easier to wash the bed linens than the couch, and it's easier to keep Babycakes off our bed than off the couch. This is just the most logical option.

Anyway...Babycakes & I seem to be doing okay, it's been several days without drops and our eyes are nice, light, healthy pink. We're keeping a safe distance, taking ALL precautions, and Hubs went back to the doctor for some super antibiotics so let's all pray that in 7-10 days I can kiss my husband again!

Until then, I have my books to keep me company. That's why we're all here, let's get to it.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying #2

This was a fun and frustrating who-dunnit. Again, as I've said...I really just need to accept that I like to binge read a series. Wish I could have remembered a little more about the first in the series- it wasn't super relavent to the plot, but since it was in the same community I'm sure it would have been a more enjoyable read had I actually gotten all the references instead of constantly thinking "Hmmm that sounds vaguely familiar." Rated it 4 stars on GR, probably more like 3.5.

The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

This book was slightly creepy. It was a slow, calm creep though. I didn't necessarily feel sucked in but I just interested enough to keep going. This may not sound appealing to everyone, but I loved it. The ending was dissapointing...I am just not a fan of that particular twist. Eh. Rated it 4 stars on GR, probably more like 3.5.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

This book was hard. I did not like reading it. I wanted to quit so bad, but forced myself to keep going because it's been SO well lauded. The writing is fine but I kept thinking some form of hope would show up kind of did and kind of didn't. A question was answered literally on the last page, but even that answer was a "Well yep that's exactly as fucked up as I should have expected" more than an "Aha." As someone who tries to be very open-minded and liberal and understanding and all that jazz, it honestly made me super uncomfortable to read about such a closed community because I felt like I was reading every stereotype about a group of people and that's the opposite of what I want. But at the end there an interview with the author (and I cant remember the appropriate term but...she was a part of the community she writes about...own voices?) and she did talk about her side of that fear; that it was bad for the community at large and would she be critized for drawing more fire on them...but that she had to speak up because, like the characters, she never saw that part of her story. It's not all Muslims/immigrants but it is something she witnessed repeatedly, to varying degrees. Maybe this is an important book to read, but as a woman it was so. fucking. hard. I didn't feel good at the end. But...everyone deserves to know they aren't alone. And sweeping things under the rug isn't good. prepared, because I was not, and it put me in a dark space. I guess I'm saying...trigger warning.

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

This book was exactly what I needed after A Woman Is No Man. It has some of the same issues (violence, socio-economic problems, abuse/neglect) but in a hopeful way. Zelda, the main character, was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She's high-functioning but also sees things in very simplistic terms, and doesn't always pick up on nuance. Maybe because of this, she was a fucking delight to read. I want to say sweet, but that has a negative connotation nowadays. She's tough AF, determined, smart, very logical once you understand how her mind works, and cares. She wants to be a Viking and she fucking is. This was a story of redemption and determination and loving your tribe and loving yourself and fucking READ IT.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who's Been There by Tara Schuster

I really enjoyed this book, to the point where I ended up buying the ebook. As someone with's both comforting and frustrating to realize that all self-help books basically boil down to to the same things: journal, exercise, eat well, spend time in the sun/nature, and build social boundaries. These things can be done differently depending on personality, but they need to be done. I appreciated all the step-by-step suggestions and rituals. I appreciated that she was upfront about hard things, and how she felt. It's interesting to see that while she certainly does have some privilege and in some ways has an enviable job (re: money+career+travel, etc)...she's dealing with the same feelings that many people with anxiety have...because anxiety doesn't care where you are in life. It's just the worse.

What have you been reading lately? Link-up and let us know!
Life According to Steph

Another Check-In / Recommendations

Hello world. Still not up for full time blogging, but I am starting to think "Hmmm I should blog about that" so that's an indication I might be back more regularly soon.

This feels weird to say, because you don't really hear this a lot, but the hubs & I have been having a really good week or two. Sometimes in a marriage (or really any relationship) two people aren't on the same wavelength, and it can be fucking annoying. Right now, we are pretty in sync- mainly due to good communication. That's a super hard thing to get right, but it's felt really good lately. Our church had a very focused sermon a few weeks ago that encouraged a deep talk and while I'm sure it sounds cheesy to some, it was really helpful and sparked a good attitude and increased communication and I'm feeling very happy and comforted. Babycakes went to visit her grandparents this weekend, and we started to make all these big plans for our kid-free weekend. Instead we ended up sitting at our kitchen table talking for three hours. From internet memes to politics to where we were going for dinner, it was just a random old-school conversation with the person I love. It feels very special to have that with my high school sweetheart, my first love, after 16 years together (literally over half my life). He's my fav.

If you haven't watched the Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix, go do it. I've sort of been all over the map regarding my viewpoint on a famous person. I was slowly starting to come back around to the "Hmm she seems kind cool, I actually do like her music surprisingly (not a big pop person), and I could easily see how maybe some things in the media are twisted." This documentary solidified that and put me firmly in the pro-Swift camp. As someone roughly the same age, I've been part of her target audience so to speak, and to see all these things from her point of view from the last 15 was eye-opening. Loved it, can't recommend enough.

My kid's daycare teachers have this sheet of paper outside their door with a list of all the kids who can count to 30. Babycakes was the first kid in her class to do this, which is cool...but also, she's 3. Do we really need to publicly praise/shame a friggin' 3YO? Is it to encourage parents to work on it more at home? It feels icky to me. And my kid is on the list! I can't imagine what it's like to be one of the parents or kids who aren't on the list (not even mentioning special needs kids, which is a whole other topic...). Love the school, glad Babycakes is doing well and learning, but it just feels like an icky aspect of our culture.

I've recommended multiple episodes of The Armchair Expert podcast by Dax Shepherd before, and I'm doing it again. I've read Peggy Orenstien before, and want to read more from her. She's written about culture and media and girls for a long time, and recently wrote a book looking at boys and sex. Hearing her and Dax talk about this is so enlightening and I love this conversation. Listen Here

I'm feeling a bit down and isolated lately...just like my support system isn't there. This could be a chicken-or-egg situation; not sure if I'm down because the lack of support, or if the fact that I'm down makes me feel less connected. I've talked about this before, and maybe it's specific to my certain group of friends, but it seems like a lot of women are just not willing to make friendships a priority.

Along the same line...I skipped my FiA workout this weekend, but I think it was good for me. I spent some time having coffee and reading Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies (also highly recommend). Between the two, I was inspired and ended up going for a two mile run. I didn't stop or slow down until over a mile in, which is a big deal for me (I can work out, I can ruck, but I usually hate running). I think it was good to feel self-motivated, rather than my group workout which I LOVE and know is good for me but was feeling like a checklist item. Getting out there and reminding myself of why it's good for me and why it matters was mentally healthy for the day.

Oh and I gave up FB for Lent. I never practiced Lent as a child, it's not practiced in all Christian denominations. I've mentioned it before, but the older I get the more I appreciate these religions traditions...not just for traditions sake, but for the purpose behind them (clarity, closer relationship with Christ, etc). At first it was really difficult, because it's my go-to...but after almost a week I realized today that I hadn't even thought of it until I was almost at work- which is a big deal for me. I definitely notice that I still reach for my phone- I've spent more time on Pinterest and Instagram (haven't posted on Instagram in forever before last week). So far the only part I truly miss is having access to the groups for recommendations (places for Hubs & I to go for our date night, insight on fountain pens from my BuJo groups since I'm kicking the idea round of getting one as a greener alternative to my gigantic pen/marker collection). But, I also know I scroll through those groups mindlessly through the day and get annoyed because I see the same questions over and over because it is 2020 and people still don't know the search feature exists. And that aspect isn't good for me. So I think this break will hopefully help me moderate myself better.