Man, 2020 is not letting the eff up huh?

COVID is still there, but sometimes feels like it isn't. I've been pretty strict about wearing my mask, but completely forgot a few times. Finally had some time just me & Hubs, and truthfully those have been so rare since COVID that my mind backtracked a few months. Strolled right into those stores without a though. Have mixed feelings about this. Happy that things are getting back to normal...but then I come into a very empty office and talk to my boss about how we may not be back to fully normal operations until January- and realistically, depending on what happens during the colder months, maybe not even then. So it still feels...very surreal in so many ways.

And of course...what we are seeing everywhere...the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. Because it was murder. It was wrong.

It was also the tip of the iceberg. My city had a protests and additionally some property damage from those who decided to use the protests as a cover for destruction. We had threats to municipal buildings and officials. These have affected my family personally. It's also caused a lot of personal reflections.

I grew up with and maintained for far too long the idea that if I was just nice to people, that was all that could or should be asked of me. I ignored little racist comments and believed manipulated statistics. I have not been an ally to people of color, is what I'm saying. I wouldn't have called myself a racist (but surprisingly few people do)...but no one could have called me an anti-racist. Didn't even really know this term existed or what it meant until a week or so ago.

I'd like to become one. I'm not sure when I will be able to truly claim it. But I can claim- I am going to be a white ally. Being me, I'm working on specific and detailed goals that I can put into action to help ensure this actually happens. It's nothing drastic, and it's baby steps that I'm taking at the age of thirty. I can't change my complacency in the past; I'm working to not fall into it in the future.

On top of the general 2020 fuckery, family issues have popped up.

My grandparents have been in great shape for a long time, until they weren't. My grandma's memory has been going and is officially on a rapid decline. No specific diagnoses, but anyone who has experienced it knows what I mean. My grandpa had a stroke maybe 6 months ago and is not recovering. I can't even say not recovering well- it's been a near constant decline. I told my mom (not for the first time) to let me know what I can do. She told me to come spend more time with I've gotta figure out how to do that. I am not sure exactly what I will be doing other than...being there. Which is probably going to be a little weird. I'd like to go on specific weekends so I can take Babycakes, because honestly kids are a great focus in these situations and she can get in as much time with them as possible. But...I also don't want to just take up my parent's house and time. Specifically my mom, who works in retail and can't always adjust her schedule and I don't want to cause more stress. Also slightly worried about my dad because I am pretty sure I heard him saying in the background that I should have already been making this a priority. I love my dad very much, but he sees the world one way and everyone who doesn't meet those expectations is wrong. He would never describe himself that way, I'm sure, but it's definitely how it feels to me...and honestly, it's part of what keeps me away. Again- I like complacency and I will often do nothing if the option of doing something is the least bit controversial...aka the opposite of my dad, who can best be described as brash. Each have their place, but rarely together. I have literally one goal- that is to help my mom, and do whatever causes her the least amount of stress during this time. We shall see what turns out to be.

Hubs has already said to do whatever I need, we'll make it happen. And I actually saw my boss for the first time in a long time yesterday, in person, and gave her a heads up that I may need to do some adjusting for a while. I'm already on a telework agreement due to COVID, and going into the office only 1 day a week, so it shouldn't be as a big of a deal as it would have pre-COVID. But she completely understood. I have said it before and I'm sure I will say it again- I LOVE my supervisors. The head of my department has made it very clear that family is a priority and always respects a need. Not saying she is a pushover- hardly. But she is a woman with a family, she respects hard work and juggling and knows it when she sees it. Also...she is dealing with some similar issues within her own family so she knows personally the exact toll and needs required.

In Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, Kilgariff talks about her mother having Alzheimer's as being in the movie Jaws. You know the shark is coming for you, everyone on the beach is running away and no help is coming, you are flailing around and so tired..and the shark is still miles away. But it's coming, and you just keep flailing, and it's taking forever but never happening but you know it's coming for you. This feels accurate to my life right now. I told my boss this during our conversation, and she thought for a minute and then laughed. "That's so good. That is such a good way to put it!" Then we told each other "It just sucks and I'm sorry." Because, it does and we are. There's no escaping it. The Jaws music is slowly getting louder, in my ears and brain every second now, and who knows how long it will be playing.

Not to mention- do we wear masks? Are we going to make them sicker if we go? How do we make that decision?! And I don't know if Hubs is even "allowed" to leave the county, technically, due to his job as an essential worker...

The absurdity of the human condition. I started reading The Five and it sets up by describing the poverty and living conditions in London in the late 1800s. Disease- protests- poverty- family drama- is both hopeful and depressing to realize all these years later, for all our progress, we still have the same issues. To different degrees, and in different places, but humanity struggles on.

The absurdity of the human condition.

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: June 2020

Hello, everyone. Hope you are doing okay...there's so much right now. It's overwhelming, and I hope you are all okay...or at least, feel like you will be soon.

There's really nothing to say that hasn't already been said. So, onto the books.

Glad I started with the anniversary author's note, or I would have been so confused. TBH, these books are kind of crazy. They are just so long! And it feels like each one could have been at least two books...but the series is like 7-8 books long! I am scared to even think of how it goes from here, haha. But it was an enjoyable read. Side note- the television adaptation is one of the better book-to-visual media ones I've seen. Not saying it's perfect or exact but it's very good.

Another honesty moment? I rarely like books about readers or book lovers! I know, I know, insanity. But so often they feel a little cheesy to me. And this one was maybe cheesy in some bits, but I loved it. Really. I appreciated how they took a love of books and reading and applied it to real world situations- education, diversity, social was great. I liked that Amy failed to include a diverse rang of stories, and once that was pointed out she fully acknowledged it and was open to ways to do that. That part felt extra timely.

Part of my reading goals for the year was to read the 2019 Goodreads Choice winners. The Nonfiction winner was Rachel Hollis with Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals. I read Girl Wash Your Face and just couldn't stomach the idea of reading another Hollis book*, so I went with the runner up. Did not know going in that this was by the people who hosted the podcast My Favorite Murder, which I have heard of but never listened to (went through a huge true crime phase in high school but it passed). This was still an interesting and very fast read, a nice "break" from all the current heavy (which is saying something about 2020, given that it's by people who refer to gruesome murders a lot).
*short review of my opinion- some parts were great, some were super repetitive and some were super full of white privilege which...I get, because I have it, but also...acknowledge that sometimes it's not realistic for everyone..

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

Time Management

I suuuuuuck at time management.

That is one of the lessons COVID 19 is teaching me. If you have been around for a while, you have heard me lament about my struggles with control and anxiety. To me, they are one and the same.

I have worked very hard to structure my life in a way that works for me. I have routines and I have coping mechanisms and I have to place things on a calendar and to-do lists because otherwise I will just feel like they are having over my head.

This time away from my office has been so difficult. A friend said that she feels like she should have more time than ever, but she can't figure out what to do with it. I'm the same. Somehow I have no clue how to do the things I need to do. In theory I am working the same 8 hours, and Babycakes is back in daycare...but I can't figure out how to use my time. I start working earlier, but somehow have no lunch break to run errands or enjoy a sliver of quiet time to myself.

In all fairness...nothing has been "normal" yet really. I've had two different doctor appointments, so that's two days thrown off. They were originally scheduled on the same day so I would only have to miss one day of work, but that was months ago, pre-COVID. Also, our city- like many others- has been busy with both peaceful protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and also with agitators who use these protests as an excuse to commit unlawful violence and damage. Since Hubs works within the law enforcement/criminal justice field, this has meant some extra time away from home...and not always planned. This has been a disruption for me both practically and emotionally. Not to mention that Babycakes started swimming lessons this week. So...yeah, it's been a juggling act.

To a point, I know that's life. I know that's especially mom life. 2020 is taking everyone on a roller coaster.

I'm hanging on, but I can't exactly say that I'm enjoying it at the moment. Feeling a bit weary and just...unsettled.

This too shall pass...eventually.