Thursday, March 26, 2020

Alexa...What Time is It?

I'm having a hard time with time.

Sometimes, when I'm in the bathroom at the start of the day or the end of the day, I can't remember if I'm doing my nighttime routine or my morning routine.

In fairness, the only real significant differences between the two is whether the contacts are going in or coming out and whether or not I need to remove my makeup before I wash my face or if I can just wash my face.

Unless, of course, it's a shower night and then that's easier to remember although remembering whether or not it's a shower night is also part of the challenge.

And yes, I shower at night and no, I don't shower every night.

Before you get all EWWWW! That's gross!!! on me, you should know that it isn't good for your hair or your skin - especially in a dry climate like Colorado - to shower every day. At least, that's what the Mayo Clinic via the internet and my hair stylist tell me.

And I do wash the most important bits every morning. You know the bits.


I'm having a hard time with time.

And not just hour or day.

I was just outside on my patio and all of a sudden I couldn't remember what month it was or even what season. There are dead leaves on my honey locust tree that are left over from a freakishly early, cold start to autumn and the air is brisk and I was struck by confusion all of a sudden.

Is this October? Is it April yet? No. Still March. Just wrapping up week 2 of Work From Home.

Yesterday, our interwebs went down for about 30 minutes mid-morning. When we called Xfinity to report the outage we got a recording, "We are aware of the issue and working to resolve it. Estimated time to fix the issue is March 28."


I freaked out.

Because my brain was thinking that it was March 18, not March 25, and 10 days with no way to access work or Instagram or Netflix's Tiger King was simply UNACCEPTABLE!1

But then I calmed down...a little...when I realized it wasn't 10 days but 3.

Although I'm not quite sure what 3 days is anymore. I'd count them in sleeps but I might nap and then I'd have to remember not to count the naps as sleeps and sometimes that's hard to remember too. So 3 days might feel like 6 or 7. Or it might not feel like days at all but just a few hours.

It didn't end up mattering though. Because Xfinity restored service 30 minutes later and we've been fine ever since.

That was yesterday, I think.2

Colorado's now officially under Stay at Home orders from the Governor as of 6 a.m. this morning.

Which is fine with me. I love being at home.

Except that I had to leave my home because I had a grocery order to pick up from the King Soopers at 11 a.m.

But then Scott from King Soopers called me at 10:45 to tell me they were a couple of hours behind and could I please come by at 1 p.m. instead? Sure thing, Scott. No sweat. There isn't much difference between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in my current world.

So I left my house at 1 p.m. and went to the grocery. But when I called to have them bring out my order, a guy whose name was not Scott, told me my order wasn't done being picked. And I said, "OK! Should I wait or should I come back? What's your advice?"

And he said, "Could you just come back tomorrow?"

Which wasn't what I was expecting but I am supremely grateful for the grocery workers and know they are working their asses off for us and so I said, "Do you think if I came at 8 a.m. I could get my order?"

And Not Scott said, "That'll probably work."

Forgive me, Not Scott, but I'm not sure I have a lot of confidence in that answer.

So I'll go back - defying Stay at Home orders for the second day - and we'll see if I have better luck.

I'm pretty sure I have enough cheese to see me through until then.

I might need to set an alarm to help me remember to go though.

The Current State of the Cheese

1. I accidentally did a Zoom conference with my phone, forgetting to switch from data to wifi, so I'm currently at zero data remaining on my phone plan.

2. OMG! What if it wasn't 30 minutes?! What if it was actually 3 days and I didn't notice?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Because why not?

I've been thinking a lot about The Long Winter lately.

It's the sixth book in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and, for reasons unknown, is my second favorite in the series (my favorite is These Happy Golden Years, just, yannow, FYI).

In the installment, Wilder details the winter of 1880-1881 during which she and her family, living in her father's store building in town (De Smet, South Dakota), endured 7 months of near constant blizzards and extreme cold. Cut off from food supplies and largely isolated from the other townspeople for most of that time.

They didn't have any toilet paper either.

They definitely didn't have Netflix.

They nearly starved to death.

Thinking about that - how difficult that must have been for them and how terrifying this pandemic must be for so many now - makes me acutely aware of my privilege and I am supremely grateful for all that I have at my disposal.

I have a secure job with the ability to work from home 100% while physically distancing; I have all the right tech equipment and in house tech support (thanks, Lex!) to make it possible; we have cheese and Netflix and my Kindle is chock full of unread books. And, just in case we run outta TP, I've got a large stockpile of cheap washcloths at the ready and a sanitation setting on the washing machine.

I'm worried, of course.

I'm worried about the physical and emotional health of my family, friends, and co-workers. I'm worried about the financial fallout. I'm worried that people will start to say, "Fuck it!" and deliberately expose themselves to the virus to get it over with so life can get back to business as usual.

No matter that whatever business was usual pre-COVID-19 no longer exists.

I worry that this virus could be the death of me.

But I'm remarkably low anxiety. I don't ever remember not feeling anxious so this is new.

And welcome.

I know what I can control and what I cannot.

  • I can't control others.
  • I can't control the supply chain.
  • I can't control what happens in politics, on Wall Street, next door.
  • I can't control my dramatic over-consumption of coffee apparently.


  • I can control my attitude.
  • I can control my actions.
  • I can control my focus on showing love, compassion, and care for myself and everyone around me.

That is enough.


Every day, I wash my face, brush my teeth, put on Grown Up clothes and shoes. I style my hair and take my pills and listen to music and work. I snuggle with the cat and push him out of the way at least 10 times a day. I talk to Lex. I interact on social media. I read nice things and try not to consume all the news...or the snax.

I dyed my hair purple.

Next week it's going to be pink. I think.

I'm trying every makeup and skincare sample in my stash and I'm trying out lipsticks I've never worn because I thought they weren't my color. I'm wearing all sorts of different eyeshadow in a variety of combinations because Peej told me THERE ARE NO RULES.

Tomorrow I might wear a dress.

At the very least, it makes all those video conference calls for work a little more interesting.

I'm taking selfies...and posting them. Up 'til now, I think I'd taken maybe 10 selfies in my whole life. I've taken 10 just today.

Here's the thing.

Life is short, People.

I don't know who will be here next week, next month, next year. I may not be here next week, next month, next year. Not to be all Debbie Downer on you or anything, but thems the breaks. Thems always the breaks - pandemic or no. We just don't know.


Here we are. Suspended in the lost hour of Daylight Saving Time. That lost hour where everything that felt normal and fast and inconsiderate disappeared. That lost hour when time stopped and we all stood still.

I'm doing what I can to use the lost hour wisely. To try new things. To take care of myself and my loved ones. To appreciate what I have and what I can do. To make do.

That's why I'm wearing the green eyeshadow.

Why not?

St. Patrick's Day - Pandemic Green

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Now That THAT'S Over

I was awfully glad to see 2016 come to an end.

Shocking. I know.

And while I know there are people out there who poo poo the whole New Year, New Me thing [my stink eye is aimed right at you, McKnuckles], surely it’s a natural time to reflect, take stock, and resolve to discard what isn’t working anymore and embrace something new.

For the first time in a very long time though, I don’t even want to look back and reflect on 2016. Not even a little bit. I just want to slam that book cover shut and hurl it across the room. I’d burn it but I’m decidedly on the anti-burning books side of things. So we’ll just let it lie there in the corner, quivering in anticipation, hoping I get close enough for it to bite.

2016 was a year that just oozed grief, distress, tension, sorrow, and then more grief. It wasn’t just the celebrity deaths - which felt very much like mortality bitch slapping the Gen X’ers right in the kisser. It was Pulse, Aleppo, the election, and deaths of just regular joes...people I knew. 

It got to the point I didn’t even want to turn on NPR first thing in the morning because the only time the lead story wasn’t Trump was when it was something far far worse [hard to believe, alas, true. There are actual worse things and they actually happened].

It got to the point I didn’t even want to go outside.

So...I didn’t. Much. Unless I had to. To which, most of my friends - if I even still have any - can attest considering I haven’t seen most of them for many many months.

It got to the point I didn’t blog at all.

Oh I tried. I have drafts galore. Most of them can be summed up with the subject line: So I work in HR. And many of them should be titled “How to Annoy the HR Generalist and Ensure Your Resume Ends Up in the Trash: A What Not to Do Guide on Applying for a Job”.

My heart just wasn’t in it though.

Instead, I spent day after day binging on anything (legal) that didn’t make my heart, food, television, mahjong. All good in moderation but I’ve never been particularly solid on the moderation front. If I’m in, I’m all sorts of in. Bleah.

That’s how I spent 2016. Hiding. Mostly. Checked out.

But there were some pretty cool things that happened in 2016.

For instance, I had a wonderful time this spring celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday over the course of a weekend and got to see several out-of-town people I rarely get to see.

I got to go to a work conference in Washington D.C. in June where I learned an awful lot. It was during that trip that I made a new BFF on the airplane there and then caught up with an old BFF from high school - someone I hadn’t seen in 20 years.

For the first time ever, I didn’t have to take any sick time other than a half day to go to the dentist and the eye doctor. Otherwise, I was pretty healthy (physically; spiritually was an entirely different matter).

In August, my eldest sister and my nieces (one by blood, one by “adoption”, and one by relationship), came over from Utah for a girls’ weekend and we had a fabulous visit!

I put as much emotional distance between my father and me as I possibly could. I’m sticking to far.

And then, very recently, I reconnected with one of my teachers - a very special and dear teacher who gets much of the credit for pulling me, kicking and screaming, through the last two years of high school. I’m meeting her next week for coffee. I’m looking forward to seeing her and getting to know her again. This time, as equals. As friends.

I don’t know what 2017 is going to have in store for me or for any of us.

It’s possible that 2016 was just foreshadowing the doom and gloom ahead. Not just possible. Likely. David Bowie was the first. Carrie Fisher won’t be the last.

One thing is for certain. I’m not content to continue to hide.

If there’s one thing 2016 has taught me, my days in this meat suit are numbered. And every day I spend hiding away from what hurts is one less day I have to spend doing what’s important.

So...I guess that means I’m back. For whatever that’s worth. 

Who wants to do Church of Brunch on the 21st? Yannow, for 45th birthday celebratings?

“I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But the days still seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through”
     -- David Bowie, “Changes”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Living in Oblivion...Albeit Thirsty

We lost our internet webs1 the other night and for a whole 24 hours.

A freak thunderstorm came up out of nowhere - or, really, it came down from the northwest - and I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when...


A lightning/thunder strike so close it rattled the windows and made me jump out of my chair and exclaim, “Holy schnitzel pretzel crisp!”2 It also scared Vinny so bad he did a Scooby Doo run on the throw rug before taking off like a rocket downstairs.

The next moment, I got a notification pop up in my system tray indicating my “internet connection has been lost”.

And I’m all, like, dammit, Internet Connection! You do not even have my permission to wander off and get lost. Next thing I know you’ll be getting in a white van and taking razor-bladed candy from a stranger.

So I hollered down the stairs at Lex - the Keeper of the Internet Connection - and told him to DO SOMETHING.

But he couldn’t just then. Because he was a little busy cursing loudly at the modem/router and at his computer...all of which had, a split second after the KABLOOEY-BLAM, went sizzlesizzlesizzle poof. And died.

At least it was a quick death. They didn’t suffer. We don’t think.

That is not to say there wasn’t suffering though.

WE suffered. Oh my yes. There was suffering. For, at least, 40 minutes.

Because not even my mahjong game likes to be without an internet tube web connection. And that’s saying something. Mostly because Microsoft Games should just the “accessories” they always have been...internet web connection not required. Not with Windows 10 though. Alas.

But after 40 minutes I just kinda shrugged and retreated upstairs to read Pride and Prejudice. Again.

Hardback. Hold the candlelight.

Because Mr. Darcy makes even the lack of an internet connection better.

I can’t say Lex fared quite as well. The quality of his life depends on three things. The internet, pot, and good snacks. He had two of the three. But it wasn’t enough.

Regardless, none of this is actually the point of this post except for the part where, once I’d retreated upstairs, I realized that I’ve lived 3/4 of my life without an internet connection and before there was an internet I was certainly able to keep myself easily entertained with something.



I think.

I just don’t actually know now what that something was.

Except reading, now that I think of it. And solitaire the old-fashioned way...with shuffling. Both highly satisfying activities still.

Regardless, totally, not the point.

So...the next day, I’m driving to work, toasted modem/router riding shotgun waiting to be delivered to xfinity for exchange. I’m grooving out to SiriusXM’s 1st Wave - Alternative 80’s...because I’m a middle aged white lady driving the 21st century’s equivalent to a minivan and that’s what we listen to3 when we’re in the car (when we’re not listening to NPR) - and drinking my coffee. I set my coffee down as I approached my turn and...that’s when it hit me.

The internet webs aren’t the only thing we lived without in the 20th century. The internet webs aren’t even the most significant thing we lived without. Nay, People.

Would you like to know what else we lived without?

Car cup holders.

Think about that for just a moment.

The modern car was born in 1886.

It would take over a century before the car cup holder became a standard feature in every automobile.

My first three cars - a 1981 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, a 1984 Toyota Corolla, and a 1992 Hyundai Scoupe - had no cup holder. The Chevy had bench seats in both front and back. This meant that I either had to have a navigator to hold my Big Gulp whenever I headed to Blockbuster Video or drive with that 32 oz. cup of delicious, fizzy goodness between my knees. Sounds safe.

At least once bucket seats for the front became standard I found I could wedge said Big Gulp (but only a Big Gulp anything more or less could not be accommodated) between the emergency brake and the passenger seat...which worked pretty well unless I had to start or stop suddenly.

Thankfully I never had an emergency requiring the emergency brake.

I didn’t have a vehicle with a cup holder until 2001. Less than a decade before Blockbuster would become completely irrelevant.

Mind. Blowing.

Especially when you consider that the world wide web was launched to the public in 1991...2 years before we could buy a car where a cup holder was standard equipment.

What the actual fuck?

The struggle. Real.

So...when I think about what life was like in 1988 and compare it to now I had no idea that instant access to cat videos no matter where I am would trump a convenient place to hold my beverage of choice in my car in level of importance.

Back then? All I wanted was a [diet] Pepsi. And a place to secure it. In my car. Where I felt safest of all.


I haz some.

Along with a cheezburger. And a cat video.

  1. Thank you, Chewbacca Mom.
  2. I don’t even know.
  3. Listen to what’s playing on the muzak at the grocery store. Then maybe you’ll believe me.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

So This is 44

I posted my very first blog entry 10 years ago last week.

It was originally posted to Friendster (which, for you young ones, was an actual thing before LiveJournal was a thing and way before Facebook was the thing) but I also cross-posted it to LiveJournal when I discovered Friendster wasn’t really a blogging platform as much as it was a hookup forum and that’s not what interested me. I just wanted to write and be read.

Friendster doesn’t even exist anymore. LiveJournal, while seeing a bit of a resurgence in popularity-ish awhile back, barely exists. I sometimes wonder how much longer Blogger will hang around.

Regardless...not my point.

My point is that my very first blog entry was called “So This is 34”. Because I had just turned 34 and was at the tail end of a practice run at a midlife crisis. It mostly went like this…

Yesterday I turned 34.  I didn't even so much think about the fact that it was my birthday.  I mostly thought about what bare essentials I needed to bring down the mountain with me until I find a job and a place to live and have somewhere to put all my stuff.  And I have a lot of stuff.  What is that all about???  Can anyone please tell me why I insist on carting around a stack of half used spiral bound notebooks from college?!  Wasn't it George Carlin who did the bit about how much stuff we accumulate?  Or maybe I'm just thinking about the commercial for the Mile High Flea Market.  Hmmm...that's an idea.  Except...well truthfully, most of my "stuff" is boxes full of books and how could I part with those?  They're my friends!  Every few years I do try to weed out the collection, but so many are ones I read and re-read - like food, they are comfort.

Anyway, back to my point.  What was my point?  Oh yes.  My birthday.  So yesterday I filled my trunk with 2 suitcases, 3 trash bags full of clothes and shoes, my laptop and 2 assorted bags chock full o' supplements and organic foods my naturopath has prescribed for me (shhh...don't tell her about the bag of peanut M&M's that is nestled quite comfortably in between the psyllium husks and the B12 injectables) and, after a rather tearful goodbye with Ms. Kitty (for both parties), I was on my way down the mountain to re-claim my life.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!  Mid-life crisis (my first - drum roll please) in full swing.

So I find myself unemployed and homeless at 34 with absolutely no direction.  I know I can get a job but I don't know what I want to do or be and I don't want a job that sucks just so that I have one.  I sorta feel like Lloyd Dobler right now - except without the whole kickboxing legs are too short for such a sport.

I feel sort of lost right now.  That'll go away in time.  I'm fighting fear, fatigue, sadness, and loss.  I can grieve for a relationship that I failed and one that failed me, even if I'm the one that said goodbye...right?  Truth be told, I miss Antonio very much.  I'd like to call him but I wouldn't know what to say.  He doesn't know what to say either.  It's just...complicated. 

And this is a passage on the road.  My sister invited me to come stay with her and her husband in WA.  Be careful what you wish for, big sista!  You never know what might happen.  Could I eat meat at your house?  More importantly, could I store and cook meat at your house?  Organic, cage free, grain fed only - I promise :-).  I know how to cook now even.  And I clean.  Plus, I'm cute and love board games.  I promise not to vomit on you in your bed if you promise not to chase me about the house with a butcher knife.  And I swear I'll make my bed (and yours) every day.

Ugh.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  Will somebody please just tell me?  Besides just being me - what else is there?

Not long after I wrote that, I found a job - one with an organization who still likes me enough to continue to promote and pay me all these years later. 

I never went back up the mountain to retrieve the rest of my stuff. It was donated and/or disposed of and I miss none of it. Not even the books. It was a difficult process to disconnect my internal Self from the physical stuff I’d accumulated but, once I got there in my head, it was wonderfully freeing. I’d never realized how much emotional weight could be packed so tightly in and around objects. Saying goodbye to all of that literal and figurative weight was quite possibly the single most important life lesson I’ve learned thus far. Buy what you need. Buy quality over quantity. Buy only what you are willing to pack and move. Buy experiences, not things. Because, at the end of the day, it’s the experiences I treasure. Nothing else matters except the memories.

When I wrote that entry, I had no idea there was no such thing as being a grown up. I had no idea there wouldn’t ever be a time when I wouldn’t want my mom to figure shit out for me because this life business is hard. I had no idea that my mom doesn’t have shit figured out either because she’s not a grown up anymore than I am. We’re all! We’re all just pimply, occasionally angsty adolescents costumed in business suits and graying hair saddled with sometimes ridiculously hard responsibilities we don’t know how to handle.

Being a grown up doesn’t just mean we pay our bills on time and eat vegetables with every meal.

Now I know.

And knowing lends a great deal of compassion and forgiveness to others. When I realized my expectations for the adults in my life to be capable of adulting all the time were set way too high, that there was no secret ritual/rite of passage/adulting handbook I would eventually be privy to when I finally FINALLY entered adulthood, I could understand and forgive them for not adulting very well.

I’m 44 as of last week.

I know a whole lot more than that girl who came tumbling back to reality in 2006 - emotionally beaten and bruised and confused - who was actually ready to learn, live, love, trust, and grow after hiding herself away, trying not to be noticed just in case the consequences of being noticed were going to be painful, for too many years. 

I know pain is part of it now. Pain is an important part of it. So is grief and inexpressible joy.

I know that sometimes I’m a great friend and sometimes I’m a shitty friend and, while that’s not necessarily OK, it’s human and that is be human with faults that sometimes lead to hurting other people. If I have hurt you, I am so very sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Really. I swear. Please, if you can, forgive me.

I know that growing up isn’t a destination. It’s a process we never complete. 

I know that age isn’t just a number but a reminder of just how fast 30, 40, 50 years can pass...and that counting down the days to Friday eventually feels pretty scary when you realize there aren’t that many more Fridays left.

I know that the best friendships are the most enduring ones. The ones that started when you were 4 (Andrew and Liz), or 10 (Brad), or 12 (Mr. Bliss), or 15 (Beasley and the Divine Ms. D. and Darling Nykki). That these are the friends, decades later, you will love the most because you’ve loved them the longest. That these are the friends who, decades later, still think you’re cool, even when your mom doesn’t.

I know that, even now, therapy is still a thing I occasionally need...if only to remind me that I’ve already been there, worked through that, and received the t-shirt.

I know that purple hair, at 44, is weird and uncomfortable and laughable for those under 30 who see it and think I’m little-old-lady-cute, and a RECOGNIZE moment for those over 40 who see it...and get it.

I know love is a many splendored thing and that, while those who are lucky enough to have found enduring love are to be envied, there is something to be said for those of us who experience love in short, intense bursts. 

I know that sharing a bathroom, the older we get,  is a very big deal. And that, if we don’t really, truly, wholeheartedly love the person with whom we share a bathroom, we’ll resent them. Forever. Thanks, Mom. I get that now.

I know that 34-year-old Jane saw a whole life ahead of her.

I know that 44-year-old Jane sees more than half of her life behind her. I living up to Thoreau’s expectations?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”


This is 44.

Jane...In My Infinite Wisdom