Goals—and how the impulsive selection of a desktop picture breeds hope

My last day in the office was March 17. We were practicing social distancing— not allowed to pass each other in the hall, speaking from inside our offices, wiping down doorknobs and the copy machine.

It was George’s mother’s birthday and he couldn’t go see her in the nursing home. That made him sad.

Tomorrow will be my 13th day of working from home. The fourth day of my second year with the agency. My first full day working on my new laptop. I had to reset windows and I managed to send myself this old picture from my phone for my desktop photo:

Traveling

I took it on the road between Djibouti City and Lac Abbé four years ago. Other than my daughter, I’ve shown one person this photo and they didn’t even ask what it was.

“Some random African photo,” he said when I asked if he noticed it, “I know your fascination with Africa.”

So I explained. “Ah,” he said, “that makes sense.”

This is the original photo that I took in January 2016.

On the Road

There is beauty in that photo, and oppressive dry heat, and the implication of hardship. Where are they going? Is it far? Yet, such color and contrast. Simplicity.

The man in the front is wearing a traditional man’s skirt. They say it helps you stay cool in the heat. The women have such light but colorful layers, lovely hijab blowing in what appears to be a slight breeze.

This photo takes me away when I look at it, and for me, it offers perspective and optimism.

I do have a critical theorist’s fascination with Africa, but my passion is actually post-colonial Francophone Africa and how their colonial experience and subsequent (ahem) immigration issues and Muslim relations provide lessons for American imperialism in a post-9/11 world.

Though recent political upheaval in South Africa may provide an interesting cross-examination of the British colonial experience… and what that means for the next generation of African citizens across the continent.

But I digress… not uncommon.

I have some goals I want to set this week.

  • Have several meals with my daughter at our patio cafe.
  • Take 3 walks.
  • Do 5 push ups tomorrow, 10 on Tuesday, and as many as I can each day as long as it is at least the same as the day before.
  • Care for my nails.
  • Take a bath.
  • Cut the grass.
  • Do a blog series on Tarot cards
Happy Sunday

Acrylic Nail Home Maintanence

In early March, I made the decision to keep acrylic on my nails for two-ish more weeks before switching over to a natural French manicure.

That was scheduled for March 28.

As far as nails growing out go, they look good and Beth, my amazing nail professional at Hyperion Salon, posted lots of tips of how to decorate them if one has an opportunity to go out.

She also posted how to remove acrylic and gel manicures at home. I have lots of experience removing gel manicures with the Up and Up Gel Removal kit from Target (though I only have 6 pads left). The process for acrylic is similar.

She mentioned that I need to watch for acrylic lifting away from the nail because if water gets in there fungus can grow. Well I have some concerns about two of them so I’m taking them off.

If this helps anyone else, look up Hyperion on Facebook:

Today from the couch: what a formerly feral kitten stashes in her den

My daughter has suggested a new series for Instagram— #thingsfoundinthecouch hidden by #fogourcat.

Fog is the sister of Misty, one of three kittens the teenager trapped this Christmas. Fog was the smartest and was out on her own the longest. The three of them were born under our neighbor’s porch.

I never intended to keep any of them but to make a long story short— I’m a soft-hearted sucker especially when it comes to babies.

So Fog likes to stash her prey in her den, which is the couch. I’ve found pens, keys, and they even tried to drag a skein of yarn there.

Follow me on Instagram as the adventure develops!

Saturday foraging

I didn’t sleep much last night, wide awake at 5:30 a.m. After tossing and turning for an hour, I got up, fed the cats, reset windows on my newly arrived computer and decided to do my grocery shopping at Lidl when it opened at 8.

There were about 8 of us in the parking lot when it opened and the population of the store doubled in the first ten minutes. I did a lot of shopping in about 20 minutes, with everything from bathroom supplies to Easter Candy, plums to the last of the Brussel sprouts.

Lidl still has toilet paper, hand soap, various wipes, acetaminophen and disinfectant spray.

Many of the shelves are completely empty but others are untouched — so some of my protein choices are unorthodox. I bought some things I prefer not to eat, like frozen black eyed peas, because they are cheap and will keep. I also bought processed foods I avoid for health reasons for the same reasons, namely hot dogs. I also snagged the last carton of liquid egg whites. I’ve never cooked with those but they have a freshness date of June. So it’s a protein I can store.

I bought the teenager a bag of lemons and a bag of plums. I treated myself to a large cantaloupe. I will surprise us both will pre-cut watermelon— a luxury I never indulge in but we can use the extra fruit.

And while everyone else ran to things like meat and toilet paper, I went to the bakery and put on the disposable gloves they offered, grabbed a pastry paper and selected warm croissants— you know before everyone touches them.

I also bought juice, again which I never do preferring the fiber and extra satiating qualities of real fruit, but if we’re not going to the store, we need some vitamin c source.

And one man noticed how quickly and efficiently I shopped. He made robot gestures and called me a machine.

And I got a big old bag of lavender Epsom salts. That was my treat.

Mental Exhaustion

I’m proud of my daughter. I’m proud of her teachers. I’m proud of her school district.

This was the first week of her traditional public high school functioning virtually. She started strong.

She struggled a bit with geometry.

She downloaded all the apps she needed and kept up with all the work.

But yesterday her dad’s internet proved unreliable then my provider had an outage throughout our entire neighborhood.

Today she got up at 8 a.m. We both started work then, and neither of us finished. I clocked out at 6:15, after problems with the work server all afternoon.

Over dinner, at 7 pm, my daughter mentioned that she was exhausted even though she wasn’t tired.

I explained that was mental exhaustion.

“Now I understand how you feel when you get home from work,” she said.

I mentioned that’s why I watch so much Gordon Ramsay. Mindless.

My HP elitebook arrived today. My daughter got it charged and working and on the internet.

She brought it to be and I downloaded the remote server file for work.

I worked on the new machine for about 3 hours but I kept having issues. It didn’t occur to me that the work server was having problems. So when I saw the message that I had windows updates I restarted.

When I came upstairs, it was still lingering on the screensaver.

I had a stressful week so I hope the computer isn’t broken.

It wasn’t supposed to arrive until sometime between April 7 and 10. So it was 4 days early.

Self-pledges

My day started with stripping the bed, finding my body in pain, starting a load of wash, unclogging the bathroom sink drain (gross but oddly satisfying) and feeding the cats.

Nala refuses to step up today, but I offered her her token sip of coffee anyway.

I took my allergy medicine— good thing as I could barely swallow.

I contemplated what will happen if we run out of toilet paper. I thought of the rural African way, a bucket of clean water and a crudely fashioned recycled water bottle ladle.

I make myself self-care pledges and find myself updating them regularly. I still struggle to stay on top of household chores while working full-time in a stressful job but I am confident the right routine will come.

I have succeeded with:

  • Eating plenty of vegetables
  • Prioritizing sleep and finding routines to fight stress-related sleep distuptions
  • Taking my vitamins

Now to focus on:

  • Eating more fruit
  • Working out
  • Personal Development Projects

Are you making yourself a priority? How so?

This beauty and reaching the dark side

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I started working from home due to the Coronavirus.

I have left the house six times in the last two weeks— three times for work: once to go to the office, once to go to Staples, and once to go to the post office. Once to take a walk and once to walk to CVS to get my prescription.

I reached my one year anniversary today in the small non-profit where I work in the development office. I was hired in a communications position, and four months later promoted to a more directly fund-raising/grant writing position. And for the first five months I was the only person in the department. And this field is new to me.

So the last year has been a whirlwind, stressful and exhausting before you even consider that my husband moved out nine months ago and I live with my teen daughter, two cats, two kittens, three parakeets and a cockatoo.

I’m relishing the stillness of the Covid-19 worth. I enjoy my home as the epicenter of my universe. I love seeing how the technology forces our creativity.

But today I did the unthinkable. Something I swore I would never ever do. Something entirely against my principles and completely disgusting to me.

I bought a laptop— and it wasn’t a Mac. My last laptop was a MacBoor Air 2013 that traveled the world with me. My first computer ever was a PowerBook 165 in 1994.

But now my boss has signaled that she anticipates us working from home through the end of April. And it’s not fair to continue to borrow my just-about-ex-husband’s laptop. And the child needs her MacBook Air to do her schoolwork now.

My mom offered to buy me a laptop for my birthday— so I ordered a refurbished HP Elitebook for $300. A refurbished MacBook would have been twice the cost. Honestly, for work, Microsoft Remote Server works better on the PC. And I know that if I leave this job I will never touch this PC again.

And that’s okay with my daughter, she already has plans for it.