perspective

New Normal

I thought I had adjusted to a new normal post-pandemic. I carry hand sanitizer and mask for when the need arises. I keep my distance. I limit the number of people I gather with and so on. I even utilize the x marks when needed.

Then I took a road trip for a funeral. It wasn’t a pleasure trip. I was forced to travel. I didn’t want to fly and deal with that drama so I opted for a road trip that I made many times in years past without issues.

Oh, but what has changed. Let’s start with the big one, everything has changed.

The simple task of going to the bathroom on a road trip. Stop in well lit areas, aim for clean and well-known spots echo in my mind from my parents’ early teachings. Those simple rules are history because we now have pandemic rules. Fast food and restaurants are take out only, no bathrooms. Gas stations are employee use only for safety. Hotels are for patrons only so no option for lobby use. So where does the car traveler go to use the bathroom when in rural areas? That’s the question at hand. For me it was a hole in the wall grocery store. Good thing it was the day time due to their operating hours. Am I the only one who has had this challenge arise?

Nutrition: you want to eat a good meal while traveling. You want to have energy to endure your travels. Where do you eat? In your car. How exciting, you get to eat in your car. The car you are traveling in. No break. This is just another way the pandemic has changed things we took for granted.

Mask or don’t mask is a question for me. I’m traveling through 6-7 states to mourn the loss of loved ones. Each state has their own rules and regulations. It’s hard to keep up. When I think about this new normal I just bury my head in the mask.

I thought dogs had it bad when they wore their cone of shame after surgery. I now feel their pain as we all adjust to the new normals of life and I don the mask of shame. At least I’m sporting sushi in this mask.

Of course I can’t forget about the riots that broke out amidst my travels. Circumstances bad enough to shut down cities and make me wonder where to stop for gas when I get alarms on my phone with major warnings like below. This world today is crazy and ever changing to say the least.

For now I will end this post with you thinking about if I need to go buy depends or not to make it to my destination. Enjoy that visual.

Teddie Aspen

Teddie Aspen Chronicles

Here we are about 30 days after my last Teddie post. For those of you who are new online readers, Teddie is my amazingly smart and loveable puppy. She is a golden doodle mini growing up in a sassy roo home with fierce girls and one lone male. She loves dress up, outings and social events where she is the Queen.

Now weighing in at 15 pounds and living through her first pandemic. What an experience. Her humans are home non stop and when she goes to the vet now she gets curbside pickup. Talk about spoiled. Never thought I would experience puppy valet service but in 2020 anything is possible. I mean I even have the option to do virtual pet well visits now too. My vet might even be more tech savvy than some pediatricians.

On a softer note this puppy came into my life at the right time. I didn’t know I would suffer the loss of another pet shortly after Teddie joined our family so she has been a huge comfort to everyone in that regard. In addition, who knew that a pandemic was lurking about and that a snuggling puppy would be the best therapy around. Another blessing in disguise.

There is no disguise when it comes to Teddie. She is as real as her name. As cute as a button and so similar to a teddy bear. Her soft coat is gentle to the touch and she is just so adorable. She loves lazy days on “her love sac,” lots of peanut butter treats and enjoys chasing tennis balls and frisbees. She can have her moments of doggie crazy but those moments are here and there.

Her bitch mode appears when her humans want to step outside alone for essential travel. She knows when shoes go on. She knows the sound a jacket makes crinkling. It’s almost like a baby in a crib that just fell asleep and the moment you try to sneak away the waling cries ensue except hers is a ferocious bark and a stern body pose appears: basically a commanding statement of don’t leave me! I like to ride in the car. I’m a good girl. Take me wherever you go. Take me now.

Oh, she rules us because we take her most places. She loves riding on a boat and having the wind blow in her face. She likes to ride in a jeep with the top off for the same reason and even perches herself on your head to get the best view. She loves sunbathing on the back deck but only if her people are with her. She likes to stay close by. Sometimes so close she doesn’t have personal space barriers. She could rest on a foot, and arm or even a shoulder. Uncomfortable to some but for her it’s comforting as she is with her people.

She is one of a kind and I can’t encourage a person enough to have a pet they can spend time with. Animals are non judgmental yet they seem to know when you need to be cuddled. For those of you with spouses….I bet you have felt your counterpart never gets that message at some point thus a pet is a great companion. Pets are loyal to their human(s). Maybe you are more of a cat person, a llama person or you might even be into goats.

Whatever you fancy get yourselves a companion for you! Stay safe wherever you are in the 🌎. We should all aim to live a Teddie Aspen life!

celebrations, family, Uncategorized

Isolated but Lucky

I’ve been in isolation for a while like most around the world. I get out for fresh air when it’s not raining. I’ve taken a bike ride with a friend with the 6-foot rule. I’ve spent some time with my family. I’ve adapted to my at home workouts. I’ve eaten more carbs than I probably should and so on.

There have been moments of annoyance but nothing that hasn’t been manageable. I’ve been able to celebrate my aging mom as she stays with me for some time during the pandemic. For this reason alone I can say I made epic memories during the pandemic. It may seem weird to some but I wouldn’t have had the time or opportunity to spend one-on-one time to this extent with my aging mom had the pandemic not surfaced. I’m sure that statement is offensive to some but it’s just my way of finding the sunshine in a shitty situation.

Whatever the reasons are that led to the timing, I am thankful. Many memories were made and I just got some quality time with her that I can be selfishly happy about. She may have preferred to be my dad’s side but he can’t have visitors currently so her being with family is the next best option. I got to celebrate three generations of baby girls:

As I mentioned previously my photo reel is real. It’s real important to me. It captures moments in time that will never be repeated. One day I won’t have that opportunity but today I do. 

That’s my daughter’s hair on my mom’s head as we facetime my mom’s great-grandchild to make her laugh. Taking advantage of time, technology and saving the memory.

Duck faces for relatives far away. My mom doesn’t even know how to operate a smart phone but she is willing to pose not knowing what I will do with the photos. I’m sure she gave me warnings but I probably didn’t heed the warnings.

As the world around us seems dark and dreary, find your sunshine. I’m sure it is around you. Maybe you need to look a little harder but I’m sure it is there.

Next week may bring different challenges as more and more shelter in place orders come down the pipe but for today we celebrate the moment as the world seems to change hourly these days.

Take the time to write a note to a friend or loved one. Pick up the phone and make that call. Color a picture for somebody in a local hospital. Use your idle time to benefit others in need.

Stay safe. Stay humble. Be kind.

 

perspective

Flip Flopping Frustrations

This morning my frustrations were mounting.  The workouts I decided on weren’t what I expected.  My home gym equipment kept failing or falling over.  I wasn’t sweating enough.  The scale was up.  My morning reading time didn’t settle my mind as it usually does.  Another day of staring at a computer screen (aka working from home) was about to begin. Anger, irritation, all of it piling up, no end in sight.

Woe is me.

I had a come to Jesus with myself and told myself to quit griping.  Yes, a lot of the pandemic pandemonium sucks but we are making it work.  I told myself to make a list of my frustrations then flip them into reasons to be grateful.  Some remind me to be grateful for what I have now, others remind me to be grateful for what I used to have and will hopefully return to.  Here it is:

IMG_7387

It’s in the notebook I’ve set aside to chronicle this crazy time. I’ve read in several places that journaling, while always important, is especially valuable now, for mental health as well as historical reasons.  We are living history. I know I will add more pages of frustration as this time wears on.  I’ll keep reading it and reminding myself to flip my frustrations into appreciation.

Spring break begins today.  What would have been sweet relief and possibly getting out of town is not a shelter-in-place order that will last two weeks.  Our one week off of school will be followed by at least three more of learning from home.  I will spend time preparing my mind for these challenges this week.  I’ll also devote some time to gratitude to friends, family, and those who are serving on the front lines of this crisis.  And hopefully get out into the sunshine and nature often with those who are closest to me.

When you start to get stuck or go down the path of anxiety, see if you can flip your thinking.  Focus on gratitude and what you can control. What switch can you flip today?

health, inspire

Emotional Hygiene

 

Part of my goals this year are about using my time more thoughtfully. (I’m looking at you, hour long commute! You too, meal prep marathon!) Instead of riding along listening to 70s music (again) or the usually depressing news, I wanted to start listening to podcasts. I loaded some up and have enjoyed quite a few (while easily deleting others after a couple of episodes.)  I’ve learned that some are pleasant to listen to, even inspiring, and will linger with me.  Then, there are others where I am actively nodding, mind completely engaged, stopping to jot notes down to think about or follow up on later. I’ll share interesting tidbits once in a while.

The first one I wanted to share here is an episode from Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast. Specifically, an episode with Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator who now trains people to negotiate across many fields, especially business.  This is definitely an episode I would have skipped based on the topic / title except for one thing…I was going to a car dealership later that day to buy a car.  People who know me can guess I’d be nervous about negotiating anything, so when I saw this episode title I thought to myself…well…maybe I can learn something that will help me feel more confident in negotiation for this car.

As I listened, most of what stood out to me was about mindset.  He talked about the way much of our brains (around 75%!) are neurologically wired to be negative – to defend ourselves for example, but we are actually significantly smarter when we are happier.  Like, 31% smarter.  That’s huge! This comes from Harvard professor Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk, The Happiness Advantage.  Who knew that just by being happier we boost our smarts?  Left me with a lot to think about.

Another tidbit that struck me was Voss mentioning the importance of gratitude in starting your day.  He recommends that we write down 1-3 things to be grateful for at the beginning of the day as “emotional / spiritual hygiene.”  I’ve known the importance of gratitude for a while.  I’ve even written about thanks on this blog. But I think the idea of how gratitude is as necessary as taking a shower or brushing your teeth was a mind shift for me.  It’s not just nice to do, it’s necessary in order to get your brain framed up the right way for the day.  Gratitude is a way of taking care of ourselves. It is a daily practice that keeps us on track.

So far, podcasts are an interesting new way to learn for me…I’m late to the party, I know, but I’m figuring it out.  Do you have any podcasts you enjoy or recommend?

As for negotiations, I have started to notice all the subtle little negotiations we make during our days, from the coffee line to casual conversations at work.  Will I improve at them using what I’ve learned?  I’ll let you know.  In the mean time, I still haven’t bought a car, but that’s a story for another post.