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Getting more serious about working out/healthy eating

Yesterday’s blog was definitely not about the advantages of being afraid to be around humans.  The advantages to this mess, for me, can be summed up very simply: I would have never quit smoking or drinking, I would have never started running/jogging/walking (not like this, maybe something a little lighter), and my yard would have never looked this amazing.  Why?  I would have been distracted, probably by people.  I would have been distracted by nights out at the bar, vodka, cigarettes, whatever I had to do during the day, and the constant rat race that our lives have become.  If you needed some positives, there are some.

I probably wouldn’t have dyed my hair, or if I had, I wouldn’t have taken my time with it.  I probably wouldn’t do my nails every other day.  I never had time for that shit, or I didn’t perceive that I had time for that shit.  I probably wouldn’t take large swaths of time to see how far I can travel all over town on my feet simply because “who has time for that”?  A friend of mine said that the other day, that he simply “Didn’t have 2 hours to do anything”, and I was like “You work for yourself?  How do you not have 2 hours to do anything?  That doesn’t even make sense.”  It’s because he perceives that he doesn’t have time.  I know he has time to drink multiple beers in a night.  I know he has time for a movie.  It’s a matter of priorities at that point.

I have had many jobs that I was so exhausted from when I got off that I couldn’t have even thought about putting more hurting on my tootsies than was absolutely necessary.  Many of my jobs have required me on my feet for hours and hours, conversely, it was much easier to keep my weight down during that time- the activities were built right into my daily job.  Easy-peasy.  I get that feeling and absolutely wouldn’t be doing this if that were my life now.  In those days I did a lot of crunches and pushups instead.  These days I think that planks and burpees would probably do me the most good, and I’ve gotten some of those giant rubber band things, so I’ve got to really check those out.

Tomorrow I really should take the day off from walking (or at least walking so much) and let my calves have a rest because they are absolutely so sore, and have been every day for the past 8.  I may do a shorter walk because I had a friend that wanted a walk buddy, and try to do some other types of more body conditioning, resistance exercises.  I’ve turned myfitnesspal back on and integrated it with a walking app (like I used to have my fitbit done).  I do really like that walking and running makes it so I really don’t have to worry so hard about what I eat.

Being a person over 40, especially a woman, is hard.  We require about 1400 calories a day (if you don’t have a physical job), 1200 if you’re losing weight.  Exercising makes it so that you can eat like a “normal person”.  Really, I’m not extravagant, and I am a very healthy eater, but even I can get very depressed very quickly at how little we’re “supposed” to eat.  It’s really hard to get enough protein, calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium at such tiny amounts of food too- in fact, I’ve never been able to do it, no matter how hard I’ve tried.  You simply cannot eat that few calories and get a daily dose of everything that you need to be healthy.  Vitamins are the cheat for that (at least for calcium, iron and zinc).  Protein, you just have to plug away at it and know that the app will tell you that you have eaten too much cholesterol, no matter how careful you are.  I have never gotten enough potassium.  I don’t know what you would have to eat in a day to reach that number, and I’ve tried it all and studied it all, trying to find the perfect balance.

So, this is what I’m going to control and obsess over for a while.  I don’t have alcohol to take up a bunch of garbage calories, so it should be a bit more healthy than I’ve been in the past.  I just have to do something, and now is the time for doing pretty much anything at all (that doesn’t involve people).

Yesterday, I Cried

Yesterday I cried twice AND I was dead sober.  Why is that important?  Well, something happened between 2010-11, several somethings, and I simply stopped being able to cry.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it.  Growing up I cried at the drop of a hat.  I cried so often through my 20’s that I never wore mascara.  I could cry over a commercial, something I read, a random panic attack, anything.  Then it all stopped.  After my eyes simply stopped making tears, I had to, from there on out, get super drunk to be able to cry.  It was like the answer to my prayers, no more crying at work, no more crying in front of anyone that shouldn’t have that privilege- I was now normal, like everyone else!  Now I can count the times that I have cried (while sober) on my fingers.  As I’ve learned, this is the way most people are, and I’m happy to have joined the ranks of the emotionally controlled.

Except that yesterday I cried, twice.  Why?  Well, I was having a tough day all day.  I’ve been coming to the realization that there will be no movies, date night dinners, hanging out with humans, vacations, plane rides, etc for the next 2 years – to – indefinitely.  Infinite time with nothing in the way of fun or rewards of any kind.  Even if we did travel somewhere, all we did when we went other places was go to museums, gatherings, see friends, go to restaurants, and go to bars, all of which no longer exist to us.  A friend of mine said today, trying to be helpful, “Well, can’t you just order in some food and make it a home date?”  Ummmmmmm, do you not think that has happened?  What the fuck difference does that make, except that I don’t have dishes to clean up?  It’s the same fucking thing we did yesterday, except I have EVEN LESS to occupy myself with.  I’m sure that will be oh, so entertaining over and over and over again for the next 2 years in my fucking living room.

Which leads me to my next reason for crying, I cannot even scrape up enough things to do to occupy my hands and time.  I know, I know, you have like 4 kids and a full time job.  Guess what? I don’t have any kids, and there is no job that I’ve ever done that would be happening right now.  None.  Zilch.  Nada.  I know you say “well, enjoy it!”  Enjoy what, exactly? Cooking, cleaning, and yard work?  All that “cool stuff” that “stay at home wives” get to do includes lunch with friends, coffee with friends, shopping, yoga classes, the gym, maybe some kind of club or committee thing.  We get none of that.  That is all gone. I get to enjoy cooking, cleaning, and yard work.  I’ve become almost obsessive about running because I feel so trapped.

Oh, and then there’s “fashion”.  There are no reasons at all to even half-way dress up.  Like there is literally no reason to wear anything that isn’t pajama pants or stretch pants.  There’s no reason to wear a stitch of make-up.  Don’t even tell me to start making jewelry again, I’ve got the stuff out, but who the fuck is even WEARING jewelry?  Where is there to wear it?  I don’t want to make more jewelry to just gum up the containers of already existing jewelry that I own and haven’t gotten rid of, shit, I can’t imagine you could even give the stuff away right now.  We used to occasionally gussy ourselves up to go somewhere, just to remind ourselves that we can look descent.  I can’t think of 1 reason to even open my closet.  I have an entire closet, full of beautiful summer dresses, that I may as well throw in the garbage.  I can’t even sell them right now, who would buy them?  No one needs stuff like that.

All of these things, these little things, just came to a head yesterday.  For the next two years, I will be a frumpy, work-out clothes only wearing, early-forties hermit, and 2 years is my most optimistic guess.  I could literally be in my late 40’s before we can safely navigate society again, and maybe we will never be able to navigate society again, and I may spend the rest of my life isolated in this fucking house.  When will I ever see a swimming pool again?  When will I ever see the ocean?  When will I ever see any state (or even city for that matter), that isn’t my own.  There’s no reason to do any of that.  You can’t “get a taste for the food or culture”, unless you want to order take out and eat it in your hotel room.  Yeah, that’s worth traveling for.

What I’m essentially saying is that the fun, all of the fun, has been sucked out of my life.  There is no “fun” left.  No reward at the end of the tunnel.  None of the little things that might brighten your day.  “Yeah, work was tough, but we’re meeting so-n-so for dinner tonight, and that will be cool.”  “Wow, I can’t wait until our trip next month.”  “This new dress is so cool, I can’t wait to wear it to the wedding next week.”  All gone.  All of it, gone.  It was just the little things, seeing someone you didn’t expect to see at the coffee shop, and having a chat.  New eyeliner to wear.  Fun sunglasses.  Dinosaur print bathing suit.  The possibility of water aerobics.  The new art museum exhibit.  A show that you really wanted to see.  The idea that if you made jewelry, you might sell a few pieces at First Friday.  Ordering a bottle of wine with my husband; “We’ll have the terrine, then I’ll have the duck breast, medium-rare.”  Creme Brûlée.

Please don’t get in the comments and tell me how: 1.)I should learn to make creme brûlée and duck breast- I might, but it’s not the same.  2.) How we should have at home date night, that is literally every fucking night.  Every night is dinner and a movie, I make dinner, and then Netflix makes the movie. 3.) That I should dress up just for me- that’s impractical.  Dress up and do what?  Cook? Clean? Go jogging? Muck out the chicken coop?  Exactly what do I do after I get gussied up “for me”, you and I both know, that shit is not for me.  You and I both know that ALL WOMEN dress for OTHER PEOPLE.  If we’re dressing “for us”, we’re wearing grey sweatpants and a shirt with a hole in it.  4.) To just enjoy what I have.  Yes, thank you for the fact that we live indoors.  I actually say thanks for that every single night.  It doesn’t help me with the fact that I want to stand in the street and scream at the top of my lungs over and over again because I’m fucking TRAPPED here in this fucking GROUNDHOG DAY for GOD KNOWS HOW LONG!!!

It just all got to me.  I get tired of pretending to be an optimist, because I am not one.  I pretend to be one, because that is what people like, and that is what you all want to hear.  I’m not one, and I’ve never been one- that’s a performance piece that I put on for you all.  At best, I’m a realist.  At worst, I was born a pessimist.  I don’t feel particularly hopeful right now, nor have I in the past 4 years.  I think that what is left of our democracy is about to be destroyed.  I think our government has no plan and no real intention of making a vaccine, much less making it affordable for people.  I don’t actually have any hope that we’re not getting 4 more years of Trump.  I just don’t see anything good, and I could have really used those “little things”, but instead, what we get is a life that is even harder and more fucking tedious than it already was, AND our country crumbling at the seams to watch while we’re a captive audience.  It’s the fucking Twilight Zone.  We’re in the Twilight Zone.

To Mask Or Not To Mask

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight.  I proudly did over 6 miles on my run again today.  Dinner was modest, spaghetti, specifically because I wanted some really bad (I find that I’ve been actually craving carbs and protein a lot lately, I think it’s a good sign).  I planted some zinnias and marigolds in an area of the yard that doesn’t currently have anything blooming.  The dog is pleased to report that I took him on the first hour of my walk today- which was truly walking, as the dog isn’t as into this jogging thing as I am.  I wanted to share these pretty flowers that I stumbled upon (which I did in a simple post, as most people do not like to read random blathering).

I did want to share this great article about exercising outdoors during the COVID.

It contains tons of actually scientific advice about the virus and how it spreads (down to the ppm, how many ppm exist per different scenario, etc.), and may put some folks’ minds at ease.  I don’t want people to feel so afraid that they literally won’t even take a neighborhood walk, and I know folks have got to be feeling stir-crazy, so take the time to enjoy this read.

I wanted to write about this because I have seen some controversy on wether or not people should be wearing masks during every activity outdoors, which includes running and biking.  Honestly?  I personally don’t have the lung strength yet to be able to run with a mask outdoors, I would probably black out or pass out, but I’ve found that, at least where we are in Raleigh, it is very easy to avoid other people.  In more densely populated places, I would think that you would want to keep to less populated areas (like neighborhoods), or you might need to wear a mask if social distancing outdoors isn’t possible (like going to a park that is somewhat crowded).  Honestly?  I totally avoided Moore Square yesterday because there were just a lot of people, I knew I wasn’t wearing a mask, and there are so many places to run here in DTR, you just don’t even have to do that to yourself.

“The Risks- Know Them- Avoid Them” is another great article, posted by Abby Nardo yesterday (if you follow her), that may help decrease some of your anxiety.  It definitely helped mine.  The main thing to remember about the virus is that it loves the indoors, especially the indoors with lots of people, and it can travel via air vents in places that aren’t well ventilated.  It also requires a certain amount of time traveling like that to infect people, so definitely keep those store trips short, make your list, be purposeful, and wear your mask.

Some places that I have been, which have been enjoyable and have less risk of exposure are Logan’s in Seaboard Station, and the Farmer’s Market.  The outside plant section at Logan’s is easy to distance in (just have patience with everyone), and you only have to go inside long enough to pay (or grab whatever it is you need and pay).  The Farmer’s Market when it ISN’T 99 cent chicken day, (avoid that if you are virus afraid, it looks like a hot mess to deal with), is outdoors, and if you go during the week, it’s definitely sparsely populated.

I think that even though a lot of folks are refusing to wear masks, they are here to stay for many.  I’m going to continue to wear mine in public.  I have not had anyone “make fun of me” for it, but I also tend not to go places where those kinds of folks go (I have literally not seen the inside of a Wal-mart or a Target in months).  I also think that I might lose my entire shit on someone who did that and end up in jail, sooooooo, here’s hoping no one does???

Last plug, there is a mask selling event at Flex Nightclub on the patio tomorrow (today), Saturday from 12-3 pm.  These masks are SUPER COOL, I saw Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, bears and cub material, all kinds of cool stuff AND there are ones made in larger sizes for bigger heads and beards, so I’m definitely picking up a couple for my big headed, big bearded better half tomorrow.  See you there, maybe?

 

Running Feels Like Adopting Your First Dog

When we reach Saturday, if I can keep it up, I will have done my version of running (the closest I’ve ever gotten to it), for a full week. I will always have to wear a knee brace, that is unavoidable, and I may never run like those running groups you used to see all over town who ran from bar to bar, but I’m plugging away at it.  Today I traveled some of that beautiful greenway space, specifically the Little Rock Trail, and the Walnut Creek Wetlands.  It is easy to forget how beautiful open, wooded space can be when you live in the city.  We are so lucky to have the greenway.

If you haven’t been to the Wetland part yet, I encourage you to.  It is so full of life.  Below is a mother duck and her little babies that I watched for a while.  When I first saw them, they were right under the bridge I was running across, and swam away as I came closer. It was magical.  Bring the kids, you might see something cool.

I have noticed something, and I don’t know if this happens to any of y’all, but do you find yourself starving after a run?  I ate a little something before I left, but I was out for a solid 2 1/2 hours, and when I got home, I was ravenous.  It was like that the day before, and the day before that.  Actually, truth be told, I’ve been that way every time I finish a run.  I peel off clothes, hop in the shower, drink water, and my stomach is grumbling.  I start making dinner, and for the past few days, it’s been “the quickest thing I can make”.  Where I was taking all manner of hours to create masterpiece dinners, now I’m like “pasta sounds great”.  I think that if I continue to do this in the evenings, I’m going to have to prep anything that needs a lot of prep before I leave the house, and have it all ready for cooking when I return, because I return like a starving animal.

Below is what my phone has been charting each day.  One of the disadvantages of the “Health” app in iPhones is that it only works when the phone is in your pocket or hand.  It doesn’t track any steps you take without the phone (unlike a fitbit), but I don’t really have to know about how many steps I trudge through the yard or the house, I’m tracking the running.  Below is a screenshot of the amount of miles I’ve gone per day.

I’m so pleased!  I have always admired all of those running and walking people who I’ve seen my whole life while driving.  I have always thought “Now there’s a person who has their shit together”.  I’ve typically seen it as some sort of mark of adult success.  Anyone who does that shit at 5-7 am is seen in my book as “The Ultimate Adult”.  I still don’t see myself being that person any time soon, because I only see 5 am because I’m still awake at 5 am, however, there are PLENTY of evening runners, and I feel proud to be among them.

It’s funny, the things we perceive as “successful” when we’re young.  There are a lot of things I am today that would have blown 20 year old me’s MIND. Mid-twenties me could have never conceived of owning a house, much less two houses; it was almost too much to hope for, and yet, that shit has happened.  Early 20’s me thought that being the bartender was an ultimate goal, and being the manager of a restaurant was more than I could have ever hoped for, and those things have happened; come and gone in an adult lifetime.  There are tons of things that I’ve done that High School me would have not even believed, but funny story, as a middle aged woman, I still measured “success” by “Do you ever think I could be one of those running people?” It feels all responsible, like talking about “mortgages”, “salaries”, and “the stock market”- shit that you overhear when you’re 10, don’t know what it is, are bored, but somehow you know, those are grown up adult things.

In a sentence, running kind of feels like adopting your first dog.  Now you have something in common with “the normals”, something that shows responsibility and adulthood.  I guess tomorrow I should take the dog running.

 

I’m gonna say what no one wants to say: what if your restaurant or bar doesn’t come back?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I’m just going to say what a lot of people are trying really hard not to say: a lot of restaurants, and probably almost all of the bars are not going to survive this.  Furthermore, those spaces will be replaced by larger “chain” restaurants and retail places, because that is who is going to be able to afford to rent a space.  One step further, the “eat in” restaurants that do survive are going to become luxury services.  No one is going to be able to survive being a dine-in only restaurant unless they increase their prices by a percentage in ratio with the amount of seats they lost.  Expect that dinner that cost $100 just 3 months ago to be $200-$400 in the future for the same types of offerings.

I know no one wants to hear that, but I’ve thought about it every kind of way, and that’s the reality that I always come back to.  Many of our dine-in restaurants are tiny.  The larger ones pay even higher rents.  If it isn’t feasible to do a descent take-out business, then raising prices are the only thing that is going to save them, essentially turning every higher end restaurant in town into the equivalency of “Second Empire”.  Going out to a “sit down restaurant” is going to return to the big treat it was when you were a little kid and your parents were young and broke; a thing of birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations.

An even harder truth?  I have no idea how bars that don’t serve food are going to make it.  There is nothing that says “social distancing” about a night club.  That’s not why anyone goes to a night club.  They go for the thrill of meeting someone, dancing all squished together with friends, and drunk people don’t understand anything about social distancing.  Put this all together with the constant bathroom trips, drunk, spotty hand washing, and the occasional vomiter, I have no idea how a traditional bar or pub is going to stand a chance.  Even the more chill “pub scene”, I mean, how do you even regulate that?  You can let only 20 people in the door, but you can’t control where they sit or stand.  Shit, some of my favorite bars don’t even have 6 feet of “passing by another person to get to the other end” space.  How is that even going to work?

Essentially going to a pub, even with only 20 people there, is going to be like going to a grocery store, where no one is wearing any PPE, everyone is drunk, but there is no food.  The truth of the matter is, this isn’t going to work.  Only the largest (in space) bars and nightclubs could handle this, and at a severely reduced capacity, that rent is gonna be just about impossible to cover.  Going to a night club is going to have a high cover, and even more expensive drinks.  It will also become a luxury.  The days of popping in somewhere for a beer might be effectively over.  Patios may save some, though, so I hold out hope for that for my service industry family.

Where does that leave the rest of us “Service for Life” folks.  Well, back of house will be able to find some work somewhere, even with take out, someone has to cook the food.  Some will find work at the few restaurants braving the new dining room layout, but with less customers, less employees will be needed.  Some will hand out those curb-side orders, but you don’t need a whole lot of folks to do that.  A handful of bartenders will see the inside of the club, but with less people, it will be just that, a handful. Folks with cars may opt to start doing food delivery.

I predict the rest of us are about to enter a whole new chapter in our resumes.  Some folks are going to straight up go back to school (this is the route that I have been thinking about, I only need 27 more credit hours).  People are going to switch into places that are hiring (warehouses, truck drivers, other retail opportunities, grocery stores and delivery).  Artistic people may be able to follow their passion and truly cut that album/write that book/make that movie/sell some art.  A bunch of you are about to learn some IT shit or take up programming, because that seems to be the only job left where anyone can make any actual money.  I love bartending, and I’m going to miss the hell out of bartending concerts and shows, but I just don’t know when we’ll be doing that again, and honestly, I don’t know that anyone really WANTS to do that right now with absolutely no vaccine or a cure unless it is just a matter of “do this or you are about to be homeless and go hungry”, aka, what our president is counting on, your economic desperation.

So, I’ve been considering other avenues, because I’m a survivalist, and I feel like I have to.  I’m going to encourage you all, gently, to start thinking about what you would like to do if your restaurant or bar does not open back up, or even if it does, and you’re not one of the 5 staff members out of 30 who gets to have their job back.  Now is the time to think about what something else will look like.  It is hard for me too.  Before now I was actually considering going to nail school (seriously), but I don’t foresee that making a huge comeback either, so I’m planning accordingly.  I was a horticulture/agriculture major.  We will always need plants and food.  This is the route that I am planning to go.  What will yours be?

Week #2: Not Smoking (and why our postal service is important)

I have hit the official 2 week mark of not smoking!  YAY!!! I am still on the patch, which has given my body the opportunity to heal from inhaling smoke, as well as given me the opportunity to create new routines that don’t center around cigarette breaks.  The patch is a very useful tool to have in your “quit smoking” tool box because although you are getting nicotine, you have space and time to re-create your life in a smoke-free environment.  While cold turkey is very effective (purging your system of nicotine in 3 days), I feel like 3 days isn’t long enough to create meaningful new routines and to form new habits.  Three days, even with the patch, still had me in a place where I couldn’t figure out exactly what I should do next.  Change takes time.

I’ve been doing my fast walk/running thing every day, each day going farther into town than the day before.  I’m changing up where I go each day to keep it interesting (and because that is a smart thing to do in general), and I’m really loving it.  I am wearing my knee brace, which has helped tremendously, as typically, I can’t do anything like “jogging” without one.  My right knee is shot.  It just puts me in a better mood all day, gets out nervous energy, and I get to see different things besides my own yard, which is great, but we all get tired of seeing the same thing every day.  I’ve noticed that running makes my appetite better, which in turn, gives me more energy to be able to do more.  It’s an actual “upward spiral” instead of a “downward” one.

One huge reason that I started doing this is to stretch and exercise my lungs.  I gave myself an almost full 2 weeks before I started so that I would be healed enough to be successful, even at a very modest pace.  This is very important because 2 decades of smoking does not go away overnight.  My cells will be replacing themselves for months ahead, and some parts of my lungs (mainly alveoli), may never fully recover, but I can still make it “better than it was”.  I’ve also started back my “50 pushups” thing I used to do, and BOY AM I OUT OF SHAPE!!! I did it Saturday, and I’ve been paying for it in soreness for 2 days.  To think that I used to do 50 pushups and 100 sit ups every single day (which was a decade ago), I am seriously so sore that I couldn’t touch a pushup yesterday or today.  I mean my abs ache, my triceps ache, my entire pec muscles ache all the way across my chest, my back muscles ache… man, if you don’t use it, you damn sure lose it.

I’m hoping to be able to do some sit up/push ups/hip extenders/squats tomorrow.  I know I’m going to have to build up to being able to do those every day as well.  I typically alternate arm and leg days (I did do 100 hip/glute reps yesterday, but didn’t get sore at all, which means that I need to do a higher number of those).  I just really shredded myself on those push ups- you never know how many things you use your abs for, until they are aching, then you realize you use them when you cut vegetables, and drive your car, seriously.  I’ve also lost 3 lbs. in 3 days.  Whenever I start doing some serious cardio, that happens.  It doesn’t go on like that forever, but it definitely jump starts your metabolism.  Since I’ve spent the past 6 months doing literally nothing, I’m sure my body appreciates the jolt.

In other things that give me hope, I was inspired to try out my bead loom today.  I have only used it once, the first day I got it, and then it went into the craft room and I forgot about it while I had my months and months of depression which turned into 2 years.  It was nice to do something creative.  I am still writing snail mail and am looking forward to a couple of letters to write tomorrow- I go all out with it, all sorts of pretty embellishments.  Which reminds me, I got the John Oliver Last Week Tonight stamps.

I’m so in between, I really want to use some of them when I get them, but I also feel like I should keep them as a collectors item, because they’re only available through June 11th.  I should have gotten 2 pages of them.  They’re absolutely hilarious.  Being a snail mail person, I had to have them, and I love the things that John Oliver’s show does.  This one is to specifically support the post office, which is why I bought the last two books of stamps that I did, so I’m all in.  I don’t want our postal service to be privatized.  That would be just one more way to disadvantage people, not to mention, our postal service is part of a broader network- every country has a postal service of some sort.  That’s how anything gets anywhere.  For more about this issue, I got to listen to “How Protecting Voter Safety with Mail-in Ballots Became a Partisan Issue” today.  Please read the transcript to find out why our postal service is in danger of being eradicated.

I got these nicotine patches through the mail.  I got the second set of them through the mail during lock down.  Without the mail, I might not be able to do this life-changing thing that I’m trying to do right now.  Go buy some stamps :).

 

When You Really Feel Like Punching Some Nazis.

I started today with motivation and intention: I was going to do the best I could to run (and I don’t run) over two miles in honor of Ahmaud Arbery.  I could not have managed it just a couple of weeks ago because I smoked 2 packs a day, but I was seriously determined today.  I fast walked, and ran at every crosswalk.  My only regrets were 1.) I forgot my knee brace, and 2.) I should have worn a sports bra.  I did it.  I didn’t have a fit bit to track it, but I ran all the way from my house, into downtown, down Wilmington St., and up Morgan until it turned into New Bern Ave., then headed to Lenoir St. and back toward Rock Quarry Rd.  I did it, and I want to do it again (after I recover, I’m hurting.)

Little did I know that while I was running in meditation of an unarmed, black jogger, murdered by a couple of white guys “flexing their 2nd amendment rights”, as I was running in downtown, I must have barely missed whatever shitshow this was  (link is a video, text is below):

“Pushing his two kids in a stroller along Fayetteville Street on Saturday morning, Deonte Thomas wandered into a confrontation with a small group of armed demonstrators that left him fearing for his family 24 hours later.

Videos shot by the protesters and The News & Observer and posted online show one unidentified man from the group, carrying a large pipe wrench and crossing the street at the intersection with Davie Street. He heads straight toward Thomas, his wife and their children in a crosswalk.

“I will question to the end of my days how I reacted or should have reacted,” Thomas, an attorney for the Wake County public defender’s office, told The News & Observer in an interview Sunday.”

 

So you’re feeling like punching some nazis these days, huh?  Me too.  I do have some therapy for you, in the form of binge watching, and that’s the show “Hunters“.  It is literally about a group of people (mostly Holocaust survivors), who hunt and kill nazis.  The premise of the show is based on truth- our country, good ole’ USA, essentially hired nazi scientists after the war to keep the Russians from getting them.  They settled in here (yes, many near NASA), and did research and development for all different kinds of programs. Click here for “Operation Paperclip”.

The show is set in the 1970’s, and while there is a certain amount of relief that those old nazis are mostly dead now- they had children, and those children had children.  This shit you’re seeing today, well, where do you think some of these “values” come from?  It comes from leftover nazi shit mixed with the KKK shit from the states.  In any case, binge and rage watch “Hunters”, you won’t regret it.  I’m on episode 6, and it’s cathartic af.

When I was a super-young person, we really, truly thought that things were getting better and life was becoming more progressive.  There were some forms of optimism in the 90’s, but later I have learned that it was because people were simply hiding.  We never saw all this overt racism, because it had all gone underground to fester for a little while.  We really thought it was just those backwards hillbillies on “The Jerry Springer Show” that showed up in white cloaks from Whiteville, NC (literally).  Now, racists just letting it all hang out, they just don’t care anymore.  Worse than that, we have also learned that all of that time they were “being quiet”, the white supremacists were busy infiltrating our government, law enforcement, court systems, and any other high power position that they could put themselves into, all undercover.  They were playing the long game, while everyone else decided that racism had “gone out of favor”.

Now honestly, I don’t know exactly what anyone should do when confronted by a group of armed racists.  You can scream at them, but they are armed.  You can threaten them, but they are armed.  If you are also armed, and you pull yours out, it will basically give them the right to shoot you on the spot, and they will probably get away with it.  The best thing to do is get as far away from them as possible, which is what the family today did. There are folks in the comments saying “Well if it was me, I would have screamed and hollered and blah blah blah”… YEAH RIGHT.  I bet.  Lots of folks have said “Why are they smiling?”  Have you ever heard of the “Please don’t kill me” smile?  It’s the automatic smile that women give threatening men to keep them from attacking them; a phrase known in feminist circles, and something every woman can tell you about.  It’s an uncomfortable smile, meant to disarm and de-escalate a would-be attacker.  I know EXACTLY why they were smiling, and it wasn’t because they were happy.

Now, I’m going to try to run again tomorrow, to let off some steam and frustration.  I am also planning to binge watch more “Hunters”.  I’m also calling all of the Moms in my life (don’t forget to call yours).  Don’t forget to take a moment (maybe while running, maybe while in quiet meditation) to think of all of the moms that don’t get to talk to their children this year because someone decided they needed to take matters into their own hands and murder them.

 

 

I’ve Got a Pen, Give Me Directions…

Did you have a penpal when you were a kid?  I did, her name was Christina, and she lived in California, which I thought was OH SO COOL.  I ended up having her as a penpal because her best friend had put her address in the back of one of those “Teen Beat” magazines, and had gotten so many letters that she split the hundreds of envelopes between a group of her best friends.  Turned out lucky for all, no one can keep up with hundreds of penpals in 5th grade, and Christina and I wrote back and forth for a least a couple + years.

I’ve always been a fan of letters.  Before the time of email (and I lived and existed for years without it, even after it was invented), snail mail was often a primary form of correspondence for me.  There was even a time period where I didn’t have a phone, and the only way to get up with me was literally a letter, or sticking a note in my front door.  Somehow or another, shit got done, people met up places, and plans were made.

Can you even imagine planning a cross country trip totally on nothing but snail mail, hand written directions, and a paper map?  Imagine doing all of that with no cell phone?  I did it, Freshman year of college.  It wasn’t a thing, hardly anyone had a cell phone, and your regular phone charged long distance (ack!).  People simply made plans months and weeks in advance, and then actually did them.  When you said you were “leaving on May 20th”, and the trip was 25 hours long, ending in a pay phone on the edge of town, then you damn sure better have done just that, or be prepared to hang out somewhere for a while.

Remember when directions to a rave were “then drive until you’re like ‘where the fuck are we?’ When you see all of the cars, you’re there”.  I found parties on literally a road name and almost less than that.  How we did it?  We just did.  There was no other choice.  This was how things were done.

I probably wouldn’t do it now.  Shit, I freak out when my GPS takes me that wonky way back from Topsail Island in a way that wouldn’t have phased me 25 years ago.  If I felt like I was out in the boonies, I would have simply pulled over, pulled out my map, and figured that shit out, but when was the last time you saw a paper map?  It’s been a minute.

Whenever I find myself in a situation where technology has failed me, I try to take a moment not to panic, and remember that I was a driving, working, functioning human back before any of this stuff existed.  I try to ground myself in that.  I used to read a newspaper daily.  I drove around with no computer generated map.  I left notes for people at their houses, and people left notes for me.  I wrote letters to my friends when I had no phone or computer (much less internet), and somehow, I still went to some college during that time, I still worked, and I still lived, day to day.

I almost feel sorry for people who didn’t have that experience.  Not in a mean way, in a resiliency way.  For example, I had no pockets yesterday, and took my dog on a long walk around the neighborhood.  I felt very on edge by not having my phone.  “What if something bad happens?”  I had to keep telling myself that I once, over 20 years ago, had a dog, and no phone at all EVEN in my house, and I used to walk him around our neighborhood daily.  What do people who have never had that life experience console themselves with?  What happens when they get lost and their phone has died?  What do they use to calm their nerves and help themselves think?  I’m sure they don’t say “Well, what would I have done in 1997?”  Hell, many weren’t even alive then.  It’s my grounding place.  I just switch gears and pretend that I’m 16-22 years old again, and put myself in that technology time period problem solving space.

I’ve been thinking about this because we’ve been watching “The Loop”, and it’s a mix between the “Twilight Zone”, and “Stranger Things”.  It’s set in what is obviously the 80’s, as far as daily technology is concerned (most problems that occur would have been instantly solved by a smart phone), but in other ways, for example, there are robots just wandering around the woods.  There are hover craft tractors that the farmers use.  It’s an AMAZING show, and I highly recommend it for a binge watch, but it is as if in an alternate reality, some technology advanced further than other forms as we know it today.  We damn sure don’t have robots wandering around the woods autonomously, or hovercraft tractors, but we have tiny hand computers.  These folks have landlines, record players, and cassette tapes, but can alter the time/space continuum.

Science Fiction writers never truly predicted the internet or social media as we know it today.  They also overestimated the desire to have a giant, live-streaming wall-sized video “phone” (we all know that no one wants to take all of their calls that way).  They seemed to think that we would want robots that mimicked the look of humans, when we’ve found that it’s actually the opposite- humans are pretty uncomfortable with robots that look “human” and prefer that they either be “cute” or look basically functional (think about the roomba, I like to think that someone 50 years ago would have envisioned it more as a little person with a little vacuum cleaner, or more like Rosie from the Jetsons). What people predicted, the online world has far exceeded.  I will go out on a limb and say this; if you ever get the chance to talk landline to landline again, do it, it is the clearest, most amazing sound that you will experience- we really took it for granted.  The sound on our cellphones has not nearly the clarity of that old technology, you can literally hear someone swallow between sentences on that thing.

These past few months, I’ve been in love with cards and letters.  I send them out periodically.  It’s awesome to receive a piece of paper mail that isn’t junk or a bill.  If you would like to be in my actual paper address book, written in actual pen, maybe even in *shock* cursive, pm me your address.  I’ve got all the time in the world right now, and my cute stationary, cards and sticker collection is truly to die for.  I’ve been collecting it since 3rd grade, and the vintage cuteness is obscene.  In the past couple of years, all it’s been used for is writing to friends in jail (yeah, I said that), but I can’t put stickers on any of that stuff (against the rules).  Send me a PM, and let me shower you in sticker magic.  You guys might be all going out and seeing each other after the “city reopens”, but I’m not.  I’m staying my happy ass right here unless I need something (they don’t deliver chicken feed, gotta go to Agri-supply).  I will happily keep the post office in business and buy cute stamps.

 

 

 

Purposefully Lighter Content

There have been many times in my life where I have written blogs with the express purpose of making people feel.  Creating awareness about a situation here at home or elsewhere has often been a function of not only this blog, but my blog posting for the Love Wins page when I was writing for them as well.  Over the past 10 years, most of my social media has been geared towards heavier and more serious content, but that’s not what I’m doing right now.  There is SO MUCH serious, often times disturbing and upsetting content available right now.  The news is terrifying.  The inequity in our country is showing, not just to those of us who work in areas of inequity, but to every single person.  I’ve spent the last three years writing about people in crisis- now the entire world is in crisis.  I decided that what folks occasionally need now is something different.  People need to be able to casually run across some purposefully lighter content.

This is my goal, to provide something lighter- a recipe, a funny observation, some nice pictures- something good.  I can’t say that I won’t write a piece on racism in America; I probably will, and I can’t say I won’t write about mental illness, eating disorders, or homelessness, but I’m going to try to balance out some of the newsfeed horror with beautiful, simple things too, like these flowers that my Mom sent me out of the blue.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been interested in “how to grow food out of food”.  These are things like putting the bottom of celery in water, for example.  If you haven’t tried it yet, if you find a tomato you like, cut it into slices and plant it right now- it works!  It’s the perfect time of year to try this.  Get one of those multi-colored cherry tomato mixes and try one of each.  I did this last year for the Love Wins Community Garden, and it works.   I also took a habañero from my CSA a few months ago and planted the seeds inside.  Peppers take a LONG time to germinate, compared to squash and tomatoes, but check this little guy out:

There are 4 plants total, but this is the only one ready to be potted out.  Since nobody needs more than 1 habañero plant, the other 3 will be up for grabs in a couple of weeks.  Peppers take a long time to get started and fruiting, often not really giving their best push until fall, so don’t feel like it is too late to plant them.

In other news of the bored, I know that we are not supposed to do anything with our hair in lockdown- I know, I know, I know.  I did it anyway.  I found a 12 year old bottle of “Special Effects” hair dye in “Cherry Bomb”, and died my whole head.  I took my time, and the dye worked beautifully.  It was a little chunky, but not bad (don’t worry, I did a small section first yesterday just to make sure).  Honestly?  I love it.  I never thought that having a white skunk stripe in the front of my head would be such an advantage- the “highlight” effect is stunning.  I didn’t even have to bleach my head, all that white hair did the trick lol.  I like it enough that I’ve purchased a second bottle online (obviously newer than 12 years old) to do it again once it fades.

I know no one is going to see it except me and the man, but it brought me joy and it makes me smile when I look in the mirror.  Since I’m considering upping my game at the 2 week “quit smoking” mark by doing some fast walking (not running, my knee does not do running), maybe at least the cars passing by will see me coming.

In fashion predictions, I predict that this year is officially the year of small post earrings, because have you tried to take a mask on and off with dangly earrings?  It ain’t happening folks.  I actually had to think about this the other day as I donned my nifty dinosaur blouse to deliver cupcakes to Love Wins.  I chose Brontosaurus post earrings because, well, mask (and only I would have a selection of dinosaur earrings to choose from).

I’m actually not looking forward to the trend of coordinating masks with outfits.  I have 3 masks.  They are identical.  I really don’t want another accessory that I’m going to mass hoard.  I already own 10 pairs of sunglasses, can I just be practical for the masks?  Probably not.  Knowing me it’s only a matter of time before I start designing and sewing the motherfuckers to match outfits. Before you say, “How can you think of something like that at a time like this?????????!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!”, allow me to inform you that not only have thousands of other people thought of it, every major fashion label has stepped up to the plate with their mask game.  I’m thinking like a Capitalist, because that’s what we live in.  It’s happening, just like American flag clothing came back into fashion after 9/11, which I also predicted, to which my boyfriend at the time looked at me, as if I had said “I just gave Satan a rim job”, and exclaimed, “OmG! HoW cAn YoU tHiNk Of ThAt At A tImE lIkE tHiS????!!!!”  Simple.  There’s a stripper somewhere who needs a red, white, and blue thong, and guess who she’s gonna ask to sew it for her (which was my side hustle at the time).

On that note, remember, all money is evil, it’s all covered in germs.  It’s probably covered in cocaine, and every dollar bill has definitely been in a stripper’s ass crack.

See you tomorrow, same time, same channel.

 

Thyme after Thyme

People are gardening more than ever this year, and there has never been a more beautiful spring for it.  I garden every year, and this year I decided that one of the raised beds in my front yard had to become a dedicated herb garden.  Going into the front yard is more feasible than the back yard, and herb gardens should be close to kitchens.  This year, I went all out with it, choosing several variegated varieties of favorite herbs, as well as standards to create something not only functional, but beautiful.

I began with a standard English Thyme (shown below), and went from there.  Almost every herb has a more ornamental variegated variety (all perfectly edible, just even more interesting).  I took a trip to Logan’s (very pleasant, only 5 people in the big, outside area, all wearing masks), and found some of the most stunning plants!  I’ve linked each type to either a wiki page, or a page where other pictures of the plant can be found.

Lemon Thyme

Silver Thyme

Variegated Thyme “Foxley”

( to the far right), Variegated Sage “Aurea”

Lovage

Marjoram

I have 4 of this assortment of basil clusters, which were planted all in one big container, which I then separated into clusters.  This group includes Italian Basil, Sweet Basil, and Thai Basil (the purple colored one).  I also have several parsley plants (both curly and Italian), not pictured.

I’m hoping to document the progress of this bed all summer as it fills in.  I have two pepper plants in the center as well, so that should look nice come fall, when peppers make that second big push to set fruit.  I’m watering these new babies every day so that they’ll stick around and not dry up.  Even though the temperatures have been mild, the wind has been heavy, causing transpiration (this is where water moves up the plant and escapes from the leaves due to heat, wind, or both).  I definitely want these guys to have an awesome root system before the crazy, hot weather gets here.

Herbs are easy to raise in pots, so if you’re feeling like you want some tasty fresh treats, or you just want a little something to take care of and watch grow, choose some of your favorites and have at it. Water potted, outdoor plants every day.  I have never overwatered an outdoor potted plant in North Carolina with daily watering, it’s nearly impossible with our nasty, hot summers, so don’t be afraid.  You can do it.  I do it every year, “thyme after thyme”.