A random Coronavirus list after 7 days of working at home

1. Pets can really brighten your day. And steal your earrings. And make you laugh. And make a mess. And sleep next to you in the sun. I think every dog in my neighborhood loves having everyone home.

2. Thanks to my office colleagues and teenager I can now make a FaceTime call with multiple people.

3. I eat less when at home. I realize how big of a stress eating problem I have. When I’m home and calmer, I eat smaller meals so even though I am exercising less, I am losing weight.

4. I don’t miss my bra, but I have to wear real pants even in my home office. For some reason I can’t focus in my pajama pants or comfy pants. It makes me want to be lazy instead of productive.

5. I love lists, but they are a reaction to stress. The more I am distanced from the rat race mentality of our typical American lifestyle, the less I make lists. My to-do lists are created out of a frantic need to prove my productivity to my family, myself and my colleagues. I find myself more in control and less driven to make lists as my lifestyle gets quieter.

6. There is no such thing as free lunch. I’ve been watching the news coverage on the stimulus package and average Americans— the barely middle class ones like myself and those struggling—need to understand that this appears to be an advance on your 2020 refund.

That makes me uncomfortable. It’s an election year, so who knows what will be happening to our tax structure in the future and this bill is enormous. We will have to pay it back somehow or it will damage our economy in the long run.

Plus, for many of us, our jobs and income are unstable right now. And even if we do have good jobs, we might not be seeing raises. And how will this all impact inflation?

I understand it’s a measure to help us survive right now. But I hope this situation helps more people understand that we need to spend less and save more.

7. I’m eating my vegetables. And taking my vitamins. And tracking my moods—because I had been having issues with my blood pressure and no doctor, no matter how much he cares, is going to check my blood pressure right now.

I was talking to a colleague that I last went to Wegmans more than 2 weeks ago. She asked how I have any produce. I taught her my trick. I bought apples, oranges and green bananas. I bought fresh Brussel sprouts, potatoes, spaghetti squash, radishes and a giant cabbage.

Root vegetables for the win!

8. Sunshine saves the day. Working, via extension cord because I have the old laptop with no battery power, on the enclosed porch beats the dining room table.

If you want more info on the tax bill:

From Forbes.com

From Yahoo money

Walk on the Stirner Arts Trail

My friend Gayle invited the teenager and I to go for an appropriately socially distanced walk on Easton’s Karl Stirner Arts Trail.

The Arts Trail has added a new nature trail, some new art, a Qi Gong station, a labyrinth and a chime installation. So that was really fun.

I walked more today than I did in the last two days combined. Maybe three.

The teen

We also saw at least seven breeds of dogs so that was a delight. Frolicking puppies of every type.

But it was the best feeling when my daughter and I came upon the labyrinth and I explained the spiritual value of a labyrinth (and it turns out I managed to summarize exactly what the signs said).

It was like I got a redo on the vernal equinox.

So I brought into the labyrinth my recent stress and doubt, asking the universe to guide me.

My gift

And I repeated my mantra to the center of the labyrinth— and walked out my hands open to the receiving position ready to get answers. Or guidance.

At the altar

I feel refreshed.

For Gayle’s take on the adventure:

Fat Girl Walking on the KSAT

Sweet sleep

It’s 6:25 a.m. and I just poured a mug of my favorite coffee—Archer Farms Cafe Mosaica from Target. I haven’t made any in days. As part of my quest to lower my stress, fix my blood pressure and start sleeping better.

Before recent stress and life changes, I knew the routines of my body. I need at least eight hours sleep. As I get closer to my menstrual cycle, I may need more. It is typical for me to get so tired I sleep ten hours without moving in my bed. Usually only one day a month. But that hasn’t happened in a while.

For counterpoint, I usually have three days around the middle of my cycle where I’m high energy and extraordinarily confident. That hasn’t happened for a while either.

Both can probably be attributed to stress and hormone changes now that I am in my mid-forties.

There was a period for a year or so when I had insomnia once a month.

But now most of my issue is life. I think that’s how you know you’re getting older. More things disturb your sleep,

The garbage man arrives at 5:15. The cat has a hairball. The kittens decide to ricochet off my bedroom door. My personal favorite this week— the cockatoo has nightmares and calls out gently in her sleep.

So my typical sleep pattern is to collapse in bed between 9 and 10:30 pm, sleep like the dead for about 90 minutes, take about twenty minutes to fall back to sleep, get several hours good sleep before waking up briefly in the wee hours, drifting off again, and waking up when something else happens or one minute before the alarm.

(My superpower is innate time sense so I don’t often need my alarm.)

Thanks to the cockatoo’s rough night coupled with a 5:15 am visit front the garbage man, I got about six hours interrupted sleep Wednesday night. So yesterday—a long work day on top of it—I reneged on my caffeine abstention especially when I discovered my blood pressure had jumped to 153/98.

I had two cups at the office and a diet soda with dinner (that I used to wash down half a pizza) and I slept 7.5 hours last night and, according to the scale, lost a pound.

So today I am enjoying my favorite coffee and back to aiming for moderation.

Wednesday night update

I have a plethora of potential topics to blog about but none of them feels right for tonight. It’s Wednesday, which means quasi-deep cleans for the bird cages and garbage collection.

The top two topics on my mind are sharing my “frugal hacks”/budgeting process and my journey with my blood pressure which is also connected to my cerebral palsy.

But they are such serious topics.

The teen just suggested cats.

Oz is jealous

Both the boys—our cats who turn 9 this month—are in my room right now. I just got done with the roomba and am waiting for the “white” laundry to get done in the washing machine.

I didn’t sleep well last night but I also did not dream. My shoulders are so tense they hurt. But I had a really peaceful productive day at work.

I mixed the last of my coffee from Jamaica with some decaf and, if Dunkin made my drink correctly, my afternoon latte was a decaf. Only caffeine today came from a half cup of coffee.

Meals today… 3. Content not too bad. I totally forgot the connection between high blood pressure and sodium so I’m being more cognizant of that.

Breakfast: mostly decaf coffee with half and half, 12 ounces water, one everything bagel toasted, half with roasted red pepper hummus, half with Brie.

Approximate morning water: 50 ounces.

Late morning treat: decaf black tea with Yogi ginger tea.

Lunch: iceberg lettuce salad with purple cabbage and carrots, leftover dark meat from a rotisserie chicken, some real bacon crumbles, some imitation bacon bits, some processed chicken bites (three popcorn chicken size bites) and blue cheese dressing.

Afternoon: 20 ounces tap water

Meal break: iced coconut (unsweetened flavor) latte with skim milk, light ice and one pump caramel and about 10 gummy bears.

Supper: grilled cheese on cheap stoneground wheat bread, made with light mayonnaise instead of butter, with cheese from last night’s cheese platter and tuna. Vegetable was baked sweet potato fries. Another 12 ounces water.

Vitamins: multi, zinc, calcium/magnesium/zinc combo and B-complex.

As for other pet news, Nala is peacefully cuddly today and seems to be filling in feathers nicely.

Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo

And in exciting news, Fog, the newest member of our household almost voluntarily got into my lap. She also rolled onto her back and let me pet her belly until I got tired of it.

Six weeks ago Fog was a feral kitten who had never been indoors!

Misty (on the teen’s lap) and Fog

Do I have high blood pressure?

As we age, it starts to feel like we all gain a plethora of medical conditions and for most of us they are connected.

Maybe that damage you did to your knees playing football impacts you a whole lot more than you ever imagined it would when you were 20.

Or, as my dad—now approaching 72—says,

“If I’d known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”

(my dad)

I know I’m at a stressful point of life. Almost one year ago I left my job of almost ten years, I job where I was surrounded by dozens of other people everyday and working intimately with a close team. Some of them became good friends but there’s a phenomenon when you work retail. Those relationships fade once you’re “out.” And sure, I have friends outside of my former employer but some of these colleagues spent more time with me than my family.

Some close colleagues have gone on to better things. One I was very close to died of cancer. Another moved to Florida. Some just get harder to stay in touch with.

So that’s a change.

My husband moved out eight months ago. Eight months.

I got a promotion at my new job in late August, that’s six months ago. And I have no experience in my new job. That’s daunting.

When I went for my annual physical in late January, my physician was concerned about my blood pressure at 142/85. He told me to keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t go down to call him.

I called him. I’m working with a therapist to combat the stress. I mentioned to him that stress, to me, was different from anxiety. Anxiety comes when you are worried about the things that might happen. Stress is dealing with what is happening.

“What an interesting distinction,” he replied.

I am trying to do better about the gym, my diet, my rest and my frame of mind. I go see the nurse practitioner tomorrow.

My mother has been on 5 mg of the same blood pressure medicine for about 20 years.

And I know 142/85 is not really high, but I’ve learned from my chiropractor that high blood pressure will effect my balance issues from my cerebral palsy.

The stress dreams happen every night. The worst one— yet the one I feel has more meaning that the others—was “The Jar.”

I consider it a variation of the classic “buried alive” dream. I was sitting in a giant jar of nothing but black void. An ominous voice told me that the jar was a waiting room to house those people about to die, very temporarily as they passed on.

But I didn’t belong there as I wasn’t scheduled to die for another 40 years. But no one left the jar once you entered it. I was cursed to sit there in the empty, dark jar for 40 years.

Yes, I woke to my dark room fearful that I really was in a jar. As far as nightmares go, I’ve had much worse.

But it hangs with me. As important.

Maybe I need to embrace nothingness more.

Maybe I have a lot of life left to live and I need to be sure I live it.

Maybe I will die at 85.

We shall see.

Leap Day 2020

Happy Leap Day!

Welcome to the extra day of the year.

Last night the teenager and I killed it at the gym. Two really good workouts at the gym this week. Go us!

At the gym

The teen packed my gym back so I was dressed in one color gray and had no socks so I had to work out in my nude knee high stockings. How old fashioned am I to wear nude knee high stockings?

I blended in with the Planet Fitness walls! I did about five minutes of physical therapy stretches in the locker room, then about 20 minutes of weight training, five minutes of sit-ups on the decline bench with a ten pound plate, and the five minutes of stair stepper which amounted to 25 flights.

And then this morning I did something funky to my neck feeding the cats.

Speaking of cats, Fog (the wildest and smartest of the feral kittens we trapped) was tricked into sitting on my lap today.

Fog

Nala is doing well. She barely plucking but been having mini temper tantrums. She’s chasing the budgies right now (good thing they can fly). I have to put her back in her cage as I have an 8 a.m. pedicure appointment and it’s 7:25 and I’m not even dressed.

Maybe today I’ll find my ATM card. Damn thing has disappeared. I don’t keep it in my wallet, it never leaves the house unless I am going to the bank. (That’s one of the ways I prevent impulse spending.)

Okay, I hope everyone has a great day. More soon! Especially since Monday I embark on a new adventure to treat my stress-induced high blood pressure.

A chat with my Chiropractor

When you have a condition like cerebral palsy, sometimes it’s difficult to determine what’s an average ache or pain, what’s normal for you, and what’s an actual problem worth seeking help for.

I’m too tired today to rewrite that sentence so it doesn’t end in a preposition. Deal with it, grammar police.

I’ve been falling a lot lately. It started before my annual physical, the one where my blood pressure was so high the doctor threatened to medicate me. I fell just walking down the street. I’d lose my balance on the stairs. On Sunday, I stumbled while doing laundry and managed to stab the ball of my foot with the corner of a concrete slab.

Since I walk a little funny, and I’m a little crooked and I have a little trouble with my S1 joint, my chiropractor has worked wonders.

She also has extensive knowledge of physical therapy, so I tend to pick her brain.

Today she told me to do balance exercises, like standing on one foot; calf stretches and anything for my ankles.

And my past experiences in physical therapy for balance came flooding back.

I stood on each leg for at least 10-15 seconds four times; I bent one knee and pushed the wall a few times; did calf raises, toe taps, some side steps and matching.

She also told me to get that blood pressure under control because that also affects balance.

My chiropractor’s web site

PS: I destroy shoes. I wear heels at an angle. This weekend I spent about $80 on new shoes for myself. That will help the falling problem, too.