Thursday, May 28, 2020

SAVING THE LAUNDRY ROOM

It's the little things, right? Stuck in quarantine, I decided to save our laundry room from the depths of despair: boxes of Christmas decorations, the cat's litter box, cleaning supplies, and lots of garbage. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

QUARANTINE - APRIL + MAY 2020


What a difference these curtains make. Before these light ivory curtains, we had black ones that made the room dim and cozy...but just too dark. Now it is a fresh start! Every morning I wake up to light. When I sit up, I have Cezanne and Picasso to look at, clear as a bell. Peaches and oranges strike a note, green invigorates. Say what you will about these artists, I love these paintings.

Do you have a special way that you sleep? Does your partner? Dan has to leave 1 foot out of the covers. Always. We both have "huggy pillows." Lying on our sides, we hug a pillow before we fall asleep. Once asleep, we let go and lay on our backs, snoring with abandon. I still sleep with "blankies." I have had one or two or three that I sleep with all at one time ever since I was a baby.

Do you fall asleep to music?

I either fall asleep while reading or watching a documentary. Every once in a while, I fall asleep to silence and a dark room.

How do you wake up? Since the quarantine, I have no alarm. I wake late, after Dan and Raine have already had breakfast. After Dan has gone on his walk.

It took me at least one year to think of my bedroom as "mine." It was my mother's before it was mine. I have three pieces of furniture that were hers. Two tables that we use as nightstands and one dresser. When I dust, I dust these beautiful wooden pieces that I dusted as a child. I remember finding it exciting to open the little drawers and polish the vases, finger her necklaces and rings, search for something I wasn't supposed to see.

Considering blue walls...


Custom wall art by my sweet friend Melissa Fields

For me, the past two months have been about home projects. I've been busy rearranging things, purging closets and piles, and carefully selecting wall art. I don't like empty space. Every place has a purpose in my home. It may be the fact that it is something I have the power to control. I'm going to share some photos over the next couple of days...

Beyond that, we move through our days with vague purpose. Raine finished his e-learning and now spends his time playing outside or talking with his friends on Fortnite. Dan continues his routines, and I've been able to work. We mix cocktails as soon as it seems apppropriate, take generous naps, and leave books lying around that we are reading... Or have yet to read. 

Furlough begins June 1st, however, so I will have to put all of my energy into getting ready for school starting June 15th. My first batch of pages are due for workshop June 22nd. Exciting! Also scary.

How are you spending your time? Where do you live? Are things opening up in your region? I've grown used to visiting the post office or grocery store with a mask on. I've learned to place my glasses far down the slope of my nose to avoid fogging. That's my tip. What's yours?

The days are slipping by. We watched a dove deliver two eggs onto our front porch rocking chair. One birthed, burrowed in its mother's breast, and then left. 



Hoping you are all doing well, friends. Extraordinary times we are living in. 



Wednesday, April 8, 2020

It's Official! I'm Going to Graduate School!


                       


It's a dream come true.

PNCA, here I come! 






***

Thank you to my supporters. You lift me up and help me work hard and do my best!
I can't wait to share more of my poetry and prose with you... Cheers!




Thursday, April 2, 2020

New Adventures: Jobs and ... School!?


As a follow-up to this old post ...

In October, I had a chance to be a barista at our hometown coffeeshop. (I worked the bakery/cafe, the main cafe, and the express drive through hut). I LOVED it but I was really BAD at it. What can I say? I am slow and have a terrible memory...? So replicating every drink on the menu and not being able to write down orders really didn't work for me. I felt too stressed out and anxious over it all.

However, I had a great time tasting espresso and learning to pull shots, which lead me to the whole wide world of drinking coffee, which I had never really done. (I was a mocha or vanilla latte kinda girl.) Learning the craft of being a barista was invaluable. It was great timing because I had read The Monk of Mokha for fun, and it taught me the history of coffee and more. (I great, riveting read that Dan and I both recommend. It's specific to Yemeni coffee history and current challenges.)

The people I worked with were great, too, and I still love chatting with them when I get drinks!



When one door closes, another opens, and that's the most tired cliche, but it was true in this case.

A few days after I decided to leave the coffee shop, I got an interview for an office job at Illinois Central College. I was offered the job quickly and traded in my coffee t-shirts and jeans for proper office pants and blouses. (Dealing with my bed-head hair at 6:30 a.m. was a whole other ordeal...)

I noticed during my interview that the team of people that sat around the conference table with me were super kind and seemed to have a great sense of humor and great rapport. While I wasn't sure the job was perfect for me (I was looking for something a little more creative) and it was only the first company I had an interview with, I couldn't help but sense that I would love working with those people. My hot therapist encouraged me 100% to try the job and I followed his lead along with the sense that you just don't get to pick the people you work with...So why pass up this opportunity?

I had orientation at the end of February and began work in the Coroporate & Community Education department at the North Peoria campus that week. Who knew a stay at home/shelter in place order would occur right after that? I only had two weeks to settle into the job but I have to say they have been amazing trying to find work for me to do at home. This week, that includes creative work designing a new logo for the department. I feel SO fortunate and my hot therapist definitely said "I told you so."



In other news...

After contemplating graduate school options, I applied to Pacific Northwest College of Art's low-residency MFA in Creative Writing and I WAS ACCEPTED! 1 of 10 for the summer cohort! See above my acceptance letter with a merit scholarship award. :) I framed it because I always dreamt of the day that maybe I could make it into a graduate program...? The fact that it is PNCA is also ironic because I visited the school when I was 19 (Hattie--remember?) during a quick trip to Portland for a friend's wedding. I was already at school in Indiana at Goshen College, but considered transferring to PNCA. But it was a bit of a fairy tale dream at the time...

Anyway~ !!! I am waiting ANY DAY now to recieve my financial aid package so that Dan and I can determine the best course of action ... There's a possibility that we just won't be able to make this happen. HOWEVER, I am full of hope. So keep your fingers crossed for me!!!



Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quarantine - March 2020


Dan is in charge of our letterboard and this is what he came up with post-cute little winter greeting. I have already teased him because it is actually March rain that has brought the virus upon us. But you know what he means.


The pandemic reached into our lives about three weeks ago. With growing news about the nature of the Coronavirus and stories that we heard from friends beginning to experience it in the Seattle area, we erred on the side of caution and kept Dan home. You know, because of his cancer-wrecked immune system and the fact he is operating with basically one good lung. A recommendation from our sister-in-law, Dr. Rita, was also taken to heart.

We sequestered him away from the public, banning him from his favorite activity--grocery shopping (for real). His last public activities were a hearing aid check-up at Costco and a donut party at Raine's school, so don't worry, he was livin' the life right up to his immediate grounding. 

We spent that weekend only with family to celebrate Tom and Logan's birthdays at Tom and Rachel's. Come Monday the 16th, Shelter In Place for Illinois was really happening. I had my last day physically at work (Yes, I have a new job! In fact, I've had 2 jobs since I last blogged. Barista, which I loved but didn't work out, and now office worker/receptionist extroardinaire at ICC's Corporate and Community Education department. Maybe more on that some other day?) and Raine's school closed and began distance e-Learning. 


First things first when trapped inside indefinitely: Fresh flowers. Go big or go home (oh wait. you are home.) with your local florist. Thank you Le Fleur for being open with delivery!

So what is quarantine, and living in a world with an extraordinarily infectious disease, like for our family? A cancer stud, his GAD bipolar wife, and their only son?

Like everyone else, we have been living day-to-day, unsure when SIP will lift and life will change again.

Like only us, we have been living just like we did for two years with with Dan on disability and myself unemployed. The only difference is that Raine is home with us as if it were summer break. SO we are used to rubbing elbows and being all up in each other's business.


Our attempt at hearts in the window. I don't know what these are for or what they mean, but I saw other people doing it so I did it too. Raine was completely disinterested. Do you see a bear? Dan put a polar bear in the window, too. Because he heard people were putting bears in windows. (?)

Dan's business is pretty routine -- breakfast for Raine, a morning walk (Pokemon), listening to music and reading all day, checking in on social media and texts, cooking dinner, more reading or binging TV [ok. WHO watches 'forged in fire'. it is the weirdest.] On the weekends, alcoholic beverages are involved.

Raine's business is also routine -- breakfast, basketball, Nintendo, e-Learning, lunch, snacks, snacks, snacks, basketball, basketball, basketball, Nintendo, watching Youtube or documentaries about basketball, more Nintendo, dinner, Nintendo.

***

My business is typical. I sleep as much as possible; as much is allowable for a depressed adult. I snack and drink alcohol and stay awake long enough to participate in multiple basketball games, some binging TV with Dan, pay our bills, and check the mail.

UNLESS. Unless...! I put real pants on and drift through the day in a magical high. Because the switch flips. Oh the switch! I wish I could control it and make it flip to magic all of the time. I yearn to be off meds to feel the switch flip more! But I stay on my meds. This week the flip switched all on its own and gave me brief relief.

I step out onto the rain drenched porch and squish my toes

I watch the sky change
I bring home a plant that I believe I can take care of

I make sure Hobbes gets his medicine

...I cut those hearts and paste them
...I shop online and buy many, many things. Just things. Usually decorating things.
...I do laundry
...I do dishes
...I leave the house and take a walk
...I am a goofy, fun, exciting mom
...I stay awake all night and keep going the next day!
...Fix Raine lunch and snacks
...Fool around
...Write blog posts
...Enjoy music
...Call friends

My bipolar disorder feel so difficult to manage without the greater routine of going to work (getting out of the house) eating regularly, and proceeding forth in repitition without such a desperate need of motivation.

In this way, for me, the pandemic hits home with such awful disruption.

***

This guy wants to run for it outside.

As for my advice handling my GAD, I could probably write a new blog post, but for now: I feel better equipped to discuss.

I don't follow news. I live in EACH second. I don't move ahead or think ahead. I don't even begin to let myself get obsessed. Because I feel utterly bewildered by what to allow in our life or not, how much sanitizer to use, how life will move forward for my work and school, the fragility of Dan's lungs, the lack of control to be had over anything other than waking up and brushing my teeth...on a good day.

I know anxiety attacks will happen, come and go, breaking points and new breaking points. My advice is the antiquated but hopeful "This too shall pass." Every moment will pass. The heart palpitations, the icky feeling in your stomach, the shaky hands or eyebrow twitch, the racing thoughts? They will pass.

If you don't believe it, reach out. Ask a friend. They will tell you. I'm here telling you.





Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Valentine's Day 2020

Lovebirds

Our Valentine's Day was covered in snow this year. It still proved to be a very fun day! Raine had fun at school, Dan and I exchanged cards (and he surprised me with flowers and wine), and we had a fun evening at Rachel and Tom's.



Snail Says...Happy Valentine's Day!