the past 365 days

manifestos October 10, 2020

One year ago today, i was back in bed, resting after my third ankle surgery. And by “resting”, i mean, sleeping with a combination of morphine, Benadryl and edibles.

One year ago today, I couldn’t get up on my own to go to the bathroom. I needed a scooter to get down the hall, and then ultimately a walker to help me for the next few weeks.

If we were to look back on the past 365 days, I really don’t have many words to describe this year.

Actually, here is a list of random words that immediately comes to my mind: bullshit, exhausting, painful, quiet, hard, long, successes, failures, frustrations, COVID, ‘rona, recovery, pt, stability, sadness, death, laughing, secrets, relief, tired, ‘rona, stuck, strength, resiliency, bullshit.

Yes, I started and finished the list with the same word, because it fully articulates the way I feel about the past 365 days. just a pile of bullshit with some good stuff mixed in.

Recovery from that last surgery was awful. It was physically hard and emotionally draining. My precious surgeon passed away in the midst of my recovery and I felt absolutely lost without him. It was a humbling experience of humility, failure, and occasional laughter. people expected me to bounce right back. I didn’t have it in me. I tried so hard to just rally and do the thing, but relearning how to walk twice in a year is more than most people will ever have to do post the first time you learn how to walk.

Because the last surgeries recovery was so rough, I wasn’t socializing as much as I normally would- I mean, who wants to hang out with a cranky unmedicated me? Not me. Also, “medicated” me is also a joy. and by medicated, I mean the kind that you can buy in California, Michigan, and Colorado. Friendships shifted during this time.

The holidays came and went in an ambivalent blur. Side note, I’m still feeling meh about the upcoming holidays.

January hit hard and I back was on the road.

I got sick my first day in San Francisco.

Really sick. I had a multi-day migraine, with a deep dry cough when I was in San Francisco and then dragged myself to new york still sick with what everyone was saying was just sinuses. um, ya. I felt so shitty I didn’t go to the dispensaries. In retrospect, it was most likely not a sinus infection. I was sick for weeks with a fever that made me want to blow my brains out.

I started to feel better in march. I had plans. I was going to go to SXSW and then hit the road and go to the keys, followed by countless work trips. I was finally feeling strong enough to be able to do things again.

You plan, and g-d laughs.

That nasty bitch ‘rona showed up just as i was finally feeling good enough to do things and shut us down.

Everything from march-august was a blur. i had many people in my life get sick. one died. another died from complications. the numbers spiked. it sucked. i was watching everything from my house, because well, i couldn’t confirm that i had already had it, but sure as hell didn’t want to pick up what i was watching people deal with.

The best part of the ‘rona? My little pod of humans. We managed to make the best out of what we could, fueled by swimming, outdoors, and endless boozy seltzer drinks.

Took a trip home. That was good and got me some really important people time. The drive was just as good as the trip. I had some mission-critical thinking time. I needed to sort out a lot of things that were coming at me.

When I came back and life just got intense. Everything got intense. I looked down at my cankles and decided that they were as good as they could get and I started walking again. I decided to walk 200 miles by the end of the year. Walking helps clear my head. I sweat and forget life for a while. I solve world problems while making sure I don’t trip and fall.

Since mid-September, I’ve walked 65 miles. that’s not a ton, but for someone that couldn’t walk around the block one year ago today, I’ll take it.

This year is a year I will never forget (even though I would much rather forget about 89% of it) and it’s still not yet over.

If you need me, I’ll just be socially distancing from most people and walking.

No Comments

practically perfect morning

manifestos September 10, 2020

Good morning from Lavender Lane.

Tis Thursday, the first Thursday of football season.

There is a chill in the air.

I’m snuggled under my Buffy comforter blasting music throughout the house.

The dogs are starving, staring at me, begging me for sweet mercy (or at the very least a scoop or two of kibble.)

My air conditioning is not running. It is the perfect morning. I can only think of one or two things that could make this morning better. One being room service delivered to my house complete with bagel and lox from a hotel on a hill in northern Michigan (i know, I know, random) and a big ass Starbucks Medicine Ball hot tea.

I should be doing cardio. Or yoga. Or chasing Georgie who currently is sprinting across the house with one of my favorite Rothys in his mouth.

Instead, I’m just laying here, listening to the rain drip off the trees and am just content.

Have a good day, ok?

No Comments

September, you sexy beast

manifestos September 9, 2020

Dear September,

I love you. I love you big. I have big feelings about you- you bring some of my favorite things- sub 100 degree weather, football of most kinds, cozy casual clothes, and longer nights to sit on the patio and drink wine.

I have been waiting for you since March. In case you weren’t caught up on life, we are in the middle of a hellscape that is 2020. September, please be a shining beacon of hope. Things aren’t great right now. Covid-19 is still a very real thing. We are in the middle of an election season that makes me want to just hide. California is on fire. I don’t even know what else to say. Things aren’t great. We need a break. A respite. A little September afternoon delight.

I want to go on a drive. I want to blast music and have the windows open.

I want to take a step outside in the morning on my way to get some miles in and say “oh September, I love you.”

I don’t need Spooky Season. I just would like a little change.

September, can you give me some variety?

Hugs and Kisses,

Me

ps: the book is still happening. i’m writing there instead of here. i still have a job that needs attention as well as my house.

No Comments

102 Days Later

manifestos June 26, 2020

Well hello. Tis me. The one who has the inability to post with any type of regularity. It has been a minute since we last convened. 102 days since the start of pandalerium, I mean, the pandemic.

It’s a real shit show down here, not going to lie. People are more divided over to mask or not to mask than they are between Coke and Pepsi (always coke). Or Ford versus Chevy Trucks (Ford, duh). Our cases are on the rise, people are getting really tired of dealing with it and frankly, I’m tired of having to be on edge all of the time.

You know what? Masking does suck. None of us signed up for it. Know what I didn’t sign up for? Some a-hole family in Garden City bringing back some rogue version of the measles on their anti-vaxx selves and infected me when I was eleven. Eleven. That stuff caused some pretty big issues for me over the years and I believe that it has lead me down a path of some pretty big auto-immune issues. But you know, #science. I have had a number of people in the clinical world- doctors, nurses, PA’s, the dude that puts you to sleep during surgery that I can’t spell the name of, say to me “masks will help.” So, if I’m following basic logic and people that spent many more years in school than I did, I can glean this simple concept: I should wear a mask so that I can reduce my chances of either a.) being asymptomatic and spreading the junk around with my never-ending allergy cough or b.) not getting the direct blast of someone’s cooties as they hack/sneeze around me.

Cool. I like basic logic. If I can mitigate risk, I’ll take it.

If I don’t want to wear a mask, I just won’t go out in public.

I also don’t believe that a mandate/order/strong request is impacting any of my personal liberties. At all. I just deleted an expansion of this thought, but I do believe in that little concept of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. See, I don’t want someone hacking up their rona on me, and I don’t want to hack all over anyone else. That’s just neighborly. Not political. Not oppressive.

Speaking of neighborly, I need to order some more flamingos. According to my handy dandy date tracker, we’ve been doing this for 14 weeks and I only have 8 flamingos. Man, I need to get cracking.

What else? Oh yes, I’m writing a book. Or rather, I’m writing a series of essays that are going to be maybe published and then before the first is even done, I’ve started a second book. A series of letters to younger me, telling me about the glorious mistakes I should avoid (but won’t.)

Oh yes, I meditate now. I am one who meditates. Truthfully, I’ve been trying to meditate for about 20 days, but obviously, I am one with the universe. Or at least one with my Headspace app.

I’ve decided to challenge myself by taking on different food challenges during this period of time- I’ve made spanakopita, lox and tomorrow I’m going to try to make dolma. It’s been fun trying to do things outside of my normal comfort zone of food. I also am determined to master a hot fudge recipe- back to the drawing board tomorrow with that one.

All snarking aside, this has been an interesting chapter of life, not just for me, but for a lot of folks in my circle of life. Health issues abound. Career chaos. Divorces and breakups. People are taking stock of their lives and making adjustments. Friendships are shifting in the absence of constant interaction and social noise. People are also using this time to learn new things, to grow, to be more comfortable with a different slower pace. For me, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future- retirement, real estate, and what do I really want to accomplish next.

Until next time,

-me

No Comments

Life In The Time of Corona, Saturday Edition

manifestos April 25, 2020

Literally, never has a calendar been more appropriate than this year’s Mary Englebreit Engledark Calendar. I started keeping track of the days we are isolating in March, but this morning, it truly struck me as to how long we’ve been doing this thing. Like many others, the days are starting to blur together. I work, I sleep, I don’t work. Those are really the three conditions of life.

I could load y’all up with a pile of BS and tell you how I’ve decided to make this such a productive time, but really, that is not happening. At the beginning, in the top of March, I did a lot of things. Organized a ton. Purged some stuff. Read. Worked out. Meditated. Fast forward 40 actual days, and it’s pure survival mode over here. Oh my actual hell, how has it been 40 days? I think that there is part of my brain that is just on auto-pilot right now. Numb is the place where I want to be. Sure, sure, sure, it’s said that it’s ok to feel our feelings, but really? I just want this to be over so I can pick back up my mostly hermit like life, but with options.

There are a lot of things I would love to whine and kvetch about here, but it’s just not needed or appropriate. Things are not easy right now. Not easy for anyone. Even the deep introverts are starting to feel a pull for some kind of connection, even if it’s just us getting a pedicure from an unknown stranger.

Stress levels are higher than normal due to a thousand things out of my control. This week, I realized that I was at a Defcon Level 1M – the eczema around my eyes exploded- I look like I have two black eyes with a side of painful peeling skin. This only happens when my allergies are really bad or stress is high. Lucky me, both conditions apply this week. I look DEAD SEXY and paired with the rapidly accelerating grey hair growth, I honestly think it’s time to just start calling me Bubbe/Grandma/Elder Kate. PS- I have a hair appointment set for this upcoming Friday, May 1st and I’m in total and utter denial that it’s not going to happen. That makes two appointments now missed. I totally understand and support the cause, but at some point, I might either buzz cut my hair to complete the conversion to my mom, or buy a box of hair color. Lacie, if you are reading this, I tried. I really did. Dramatics aside, I’m almost getting used to the grey. I’ve honestly played with the idea of just going with the transition but I think vanity is going to hold me back.

Something interesting that I’ve noted in the past week or so- noise is getting to me. I can barely handle the chatter of tv. By the end of the day, after the non-stop string of calls, I just want quiet. No music. No tv. Nothing. In fact, as I sit here typing this, listening to Yacht Rock Radio, it’s almost too much. Is this how people transition to a silent monk life? I mean, obviously that’s where this is going, right?

But really, things are as they need to be. Texas is actually looking mildly smart with the way that they are testing the reopening waters, unlike GA and TN. Cases still are on the rise here, but still, we are so lucky compared to NY and MI. I have to wonder- did the social distancing mitigate a surge, or are we just not there yet? Hard to tell, but when I see cities like Colleyville swinging the doors open, I fear that the worst is still ahead of us.

I’m going to run a few errands today- nothing too crazy, but I would like to pick up a few more plants for the garden (outdoor nursery) and I’ll pick up a Target haul with contactless delivery. I do wear a mask when I’m out- I feel like that’s the safe thing to do. I have a stash of wipes and antibacterial stuff that I slather on when I get back in my car and just press on. It’s becoming routine and I think for me, there is a comfort in the routine.

Finally (if you are still reading, HIDEY HO!), I do feel so very much for those that miss doing all the things. I was talking to my cousin last night and I realized how very hard this is for so many to be contained/confined and unable to do what they wish to do. If I were to be completely forthright, I don’t feel that way. I probably should, but I don’t. I think that the past few years have really prepared me for this- since 2016, I’ve had 3 surgeries, recoveries, and time leading up to the surgeries- I’ve had a ton of house time to practice. In fact, as I said to another friend last night, in the past 12 months, I’ve only had 4.5 months of absolute freedom. Injury in March, pretty restricted in April, surgery in May, recovery May & June. July and August were precious months of fun. September, the left ankle was sorely diminished and surgery and recovery again in October, November, and part of December. JUST as I was starting to feel human in January and February, the ‘Rona reared its ugly head and here we are. Maybe, I’m just numb? If you are one of those that are feeling claustrophobic, stay strong friends. I love you a lot and want you to stay healthy so at the other end of this, we can gather and have fun again.

Ok, it’s time to get going. I’ve actually been up for 2 hours now- the Jeffersons do not often allow for lazy sleeping mornings. Must go water the plants and try to make my house less disastrous. If you’ve made it all the way through, know that I really would love to give you a hug, but in these times, I’m sending you a virtual fist bump.

No Comments

35 days

manifestos April 19, 2020

It’s 35 days today that I’ve personally been mostly self-isolating because of the virus. I say mostly, not because I’ve been hanging out with oodles of people, but because I have been out in public- few doctors appointments, a trip or two to the store, but that’s about it. It would be so easy to self negotiate reasons why it’s ok to do this or that, but I’m trying really hard to contribute to the slowing of the spread. It can wait. Nothing is so urgent or needed that I feel that it’s ok to change what I’m doing. I know that plenty of people think that this is either a.) an overreaction b.) a big nothing burger or c.) the rules don’t apply to them. It’s not my job to be judge or jury to those who chose to not social distance or to bend the rules in their favor. I’ve thought about it a fair amount, but at the end of the day, all I can do is be ok with what I’m doing and just keep doing these things, aka, just about nothing.

35 days of basically working, sleeping, eating, walking George and repeat.

Is it fun? Nope.

It is restrictive? Sure. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I knew that I unintentionally got someone sick because I personally couldn’t stay at home to slow down the spread. That’s me. For once, I am a rule follower.

Truthfully, I’ve been training for this 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown for four years now. Since May of 2016, I’ve had 4 major surgeries and 2 minor surgeries. 3 of the 4 major surgeries had me pretty much-stuck home for the better part of 6 weeks each time. In the past 365 days, I’ve been home twice- one for the right ankle repair in May and once in October for the left. Each time, I was home 90% for a minimum of 6 weeks and the October one, I was home for a little longer, just because it sucked. I guess I started doing the social distancing thing a little earlier. I was an early adopter? I don’t know. It was just required for me to heal and to avoid getting the cooties while my body was healing. Science seems to make sense to me- diminishing risk for my own personal health makes sense, so why not do it for the collective?

Professionally, this has been an intense time as it has been for everyone. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had their career impacted some how by this virus. Seriously, I don’t know anyone working right now, that hasn’t had big changes to their jobs. People I love have been laid off, put on furlough, taken reduced pay, working totally differently, working from home, not working, etc.. It’s far reaching. Does it suck? Absolutely. Is it forever? Nah. We will rally. It’s what we do.

But for me? Not that terribly hard. I live by myself all the time. I work from home, and have been forever. I have been trying to keep on some kind of routine- get up, walk Georgie, work, eat, work, work in my gardens, go to bed. I have a collection of cozy casual clothes that is really making me happy. I have enough books, projects, crafts, skin care to keep me busy for at least 6 months. Would I love to meet friends for a brunch? Sure. Am I going to do that? Nah. I’ll see everyone when this is over. It’s not like we have anything that terribly exciting to talk about, right?

Instead, I’m going to keep my ass at home, enjoy the spring weather, play in the dirt and try to keep reading more and playing Cookie Jam less.

The upside of all of this? My closets have never been more organized, my dogs are loving the nonstop interaction. My gardens look great and I’ve had a lot of time to think, plot and plan. Thinking about my life and what I want to do next. Plotting my financial/retirement strategy for the next 20 years, and planning how to reengage with life after this. I really think we should be using this as an inflection point- a time to really take a long hard look at life. It’s not always the easiest thing, but if nothing, maybe we could all take this time to figure out life a little bit more. Spring has always been about growth, rebirth, fresh starts- maybe we should use this time to think about it is our own personal spring? Be safe and stay the hell at home, ok?

No Comments