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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,


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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.

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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?

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dearly beloved

manifestos April 1, 2020

We are gathered together… wait, no, that’s not right.

We are not gathering together.

Hear me out, friends. This thing is not going anyway, and it’s just going to keep on going until we as a collective figure out how to slow it down. Actually, there isn’t much to figure out. We need to limit our exposure and our activities. Period.

Does it suck? SO MUCH.

Is it hard to be stuck in our houses? Probably. It’s a cost I’m willing to pay.

Speaking of costs, there are high costs to this- to our collective psyche, to our health, to our welfare, to our economy. This is true.

And no, I’m not overreacting. I’ve been cautious for both myself and the many for a while now. I’m so frigging sick of hearing “oh Kate, she is overreacting.” “Kates nervous for no reason,” or “Kate is just being a liberal.”

Come the actual EFF on.

The numbers? They are growing exponentially each day.

This isn’t a hoax.

It’s not going away.

And it’s not going to go away the more we continue to ignore best practices and recommendations. I’m not a doctor. Hell, I failed organic chemistry my freshman year of college which pretty much eradicated my chances of going into a clinical field. Why is it so hard to just try to make it safer for the greater collective?

I’m trying to find the right words but I keep failing. These are not politically correct words. These are not particularly inspiring. I’ll be honest, I’m feeling pretty helpless.

When I feel helpless, here is what I do:

  • I work
  • I cook
  • I clean, poorly, but I try.
  • I wash laundry again and again
  • I read- so many books, magazines, newspapers
  • I scroll the socials
  • I talk to people- facetime, skype, phone, text, social messages, you name it.
  • I go for walks. Long walks. Short walks. Walks around my house, my yard, my street… just keep walking.

March was a long month. I felt like shit for the majority of the month- fighting the bronchial disaster that was my lungs, a sinus infection and a never-ending ear infection. Side note- that is still a thing and today I got some pretty nasty vertigo for a few hours. So yes, March is my own personal groundhog day of being locked in my house with an ear infection.

If you’ve made it this far, I really think you deserve this video. If nothing else, turn it up really loud, dance for a few and know that I would hug you if it was acceptable to do so.

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life in the time of covid-19, broadway edition

manifestos March 24, 2020

yesterday I went down a rabbit hole of broadway goodness… first off, I started watching this fabulous video :

I mean, can you even? I love the mask laying so very casually on LMM piano. So, after watching this, I went down a very lovely rabbit hole of some of my favorite musicals, in honor of ALW and Stephen Sondheim’s birthday. I came up with an idea that is surely going to give me at least a few hours of entertainment… I’m going to play Musical Connect the Dots… kinda like 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but much less thought put into it. I want to listen to a full musical each day and then the following day, play one that is somehow connected to the prior.

In honor of watching Andrew Lloyd Weber above, I decided to give a listen to an oldie but goodie, “Phantom of the Opera”- with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman.

This was fun listening as I was doing a breathing treatment and spraying some antibiotics up into my sinus cavities. A long rambling explanation of what I’m going to do is here:

Posted by Kate Grigal on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Basically, here is the gist- find a musical that you love- broadway, movie, tv, don’t care. Watch it. Turn it up- fill your home with music. Tomorrow, find a musical that is connected to the one you watched today. Turn it up, fill your home with music. Keep on going. Feel free to follow along with me on my Facebook Page or here in the comments.

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Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

manifestos March 22, 2020

Well, it’s been a few minutes/days/weeks/months since I’ve last posted. I think it’s so cute that I posted the night before my surgery and nothing since.

Let’s catch up, shall we? My name is Kate. This is my ever neglected blog. I screwed it up for a bunch of months trying to make it better, but alas, I have no skills in this department. It’s taken the better part of the day to even make it functional. Does it work? Can you even read it?

I write to you from the bed, where I have, as I mentioned above, been eating bon-bons (for real) and working on my website. Oh yes, and there is a global pandemic of Covid-19. Corona Virus. The Rona.

What the actual hell is going on?

Seriously though. Since I last wrote, here is a brief synopsis of my life:

  • Had surgery. Surgery sucked. Walking was hard. Got an infection. Hate antibiotics. PT sucked. Everything sucked, until it didn’t.
  • I turned my house into the annual Griswold shitshow that I always do, this year with customized LED exterior illumination. My house, it glowed.
  • The minute I got cleared to fly post-surgery, I went to San Francisco and did work things.
  • Then I went to NYC and did more work things. I walked in the Women’s March with my cousin Amy and saw Chuck Schumer.
  • I’ve taken 26 Pilates classes since January 20th. I love it so much. Pondering quietly about studying enough to learn how to teach this to other curvy girls with big boobs.
  • Work got bigly busy and I don’t remember much of February.
  • My badass boss suggested I take a few days off, so I decided to fly to San Francisco around the top of March to eat good food, shop for some treats and go get a massage.
  • Covid-19/Corona happened.
  • Trip to SF canceled. (Corona Fears)
  • Turned 43. Ate Dominos pizza on my couch.
  • SXSW canceled (effing Corona). I went to lunch with my friend Shelly instead. That was my last public outing, over a week ago.
  • Got a sinus infection, ear infection, and rocking a super fun bronchial thing. Got all the drugs. Steroids are amazing.
  • Been cleaning my house and organizing things.
  • Trying not to eat my feelings.
  • Painting my nails almost every day, why? Because I can.
  • Gave this little blog some CPR, a facelift and here we are.

So, ya, here it is. I’ve also been slowly writing not one, but two books. One is kind of a memoir/names/events changed to protect the guilty and the other is something I love a lot, a little “how not to do x,y,z” book and I just need to buckle down and finish it. Maybe this time of Corona, will turn out to be productive and cathartic?

I hope you are all well, that is, if you are reading this. If you can read this. Also, if anyone has a clue to how make a WordPress template not suck and/or have graphic skills, please hit me up. Mama needs help.

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