Tuesday Things

In giving up social media, I accidentally stepped away from here. I love this little online journal, and the friends I’ve met here, but I’ve also been happier and healthier this month. I don’t know what that means, but I’ve gotten in the habit of not holding anything too tightly (opinions, people, plans…and now, blog writing).

I started monthly injections for out of control swelling episodes and haven’t had one since the end of February (and yes, I just knocked on wood). I celebrated my first full year of being a non-smoker (that, and getting to watch my niece play her senior year basketball season live from the opposite side of the state are my two favorite COVID-19 takeaways). I got vaccinated (my second dose was last week) and braces (also for a second time last week – which I use to remind Violet about retainer wearing endlessly). We joined the Peloton bandwagon as a Christmas present to each other (it was late) and I’m addicted. I also started meditating and am addicted to that too. (It still feels very woo that sitting and breathing for 10-20 minutes a day can change so much, but it’s woo that works.)

My dining room is beginning to resemble the pre-2020 days and will give up remaining school room responsibilities in June. I have missed the early pandemic dining room puzzle, so those may come back. Violet’s taking gym and health requirements over the summer (in person) at which time, I become the mother of a high schooler. It doesn’t seem terribly long ago that I was in high school (but it was) and I’m flummoxed at how rapidly my independent spit-fire toddler turned into such an amazing, independent spit-fire teenager. I’m both incredibly happy and a bit of a mess about it. Abram starts track in a couple of weeks and we’ve had such a glorious spring, I can’t wait to go to some meets. I’ve said this at almost every stage, and every time it’s absolutely true, but this is my very favorite stage. I am trying to soak up every single minute.

Since it’s not a Tuesday post without things, here they are:

Reading: Obama’s The Promised Land on Audible. I have the hard copy too but there is something really wonderful about being read to by Barack Obama and at over 28 hours long, it’s an economy use for a credit. I’ve missed his voice. I’ve missed him. The man is cool. In actual reading, I’m about halfway through Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I’ve also read Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, and The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (I liked this one in theory more than execution). I couldn’t finish my BOTM pick, The Removed by Brandon Hobson, which has more to do with what my brain is capable of reading right now and less to do the book itself.

Listening to: I look forward to the newest episode of this podcast every Monday. It’s fascinating history. Kids Trap on Spotify (kind of as a joke). My kids especially love when I break out I Love My Mom and You Have a Brain. I also have been using the Stardew Valley playlist as background music when I need to get stuff done because Stardew Valley is sweet and I want to live there. (It’s a video game because yes, I’m almost 43.)

Watching: I’ve been rewatching Sex in the City and it’s really interesting how much my relationship opinions have changed since I first started watching. Friday Family Movie nights have involved Marvel super hero movies. Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 and 2 (I loved these so much).

Knitting: I finished Abram’s socks but need to get them blocked and have started another pair. I still have a list of projects I want to tackle.

Making: I ordered and made a few pillowcase kits. With the possibility of travel, I thought it might be nice to have some traveling pillows which means fun pillowcases. I’m not a terrific sewer, so the trim doesn’t always line up perfectly, but I do like them. I need to get started on my Chicago cross stitch. It’ll take me all of 20 minutes to get my Aida cloth measured and cut and get started, but that first bit is always so fiddly that I keep putting it off.

That’s me. Hope this finds you happy and well. What -ings would you like to share?

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  • Hi Kate,
    I’m always so happy when I see a post from you. It’s really nice to see your face, as well as your words.

    I understand your feelings about blogging (and everything, really). It’s doing me a world of good to step away for awhile. I’m thinking that many of us are needing some space as the world begins to look more and more like it did in February 2020. I like the idea of not holding anything too tightly. Including our children, something I’m finally learning to do. I think if I’d figured that out earlier, I might have felt more the way you do–that every stage is your favorite. I struggled when mine were teens, I think because I held on too tight.

    I’ve got a few -ings. I just finished What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller, a memoir/guide about living with chronic illness. I’ve been diagnosed with four over the course of my life, and I’ll probably be getting a new one (or maybe three) by the end of the summer. I’ve never been able to meditate because it always puts me to sleep. (The new diagnoses are likely sleep disorders.) But, meditation techniques have given me a lot of help with my middle-of-the-night insomnia. As has having a competent person in the White House. I’m currently listening to “I Want You To Know We’re Still Here” by Esther Safran Foer, about the impact that surviving the Holocaust had on her parents and subsequent generations of her family. It is painful and good, and a type of Holocaust story I haven’t really encountered before. I’m interested in generational impacts of trauma and looking forward to hearing the rest of it.

    I’ve also been cooking. As a result of suggestions stemming from a blog post I wrote in December, I bought Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything–and I don’t think the title is grandiose. It’s what I wanted Alice Waters to be. Last night I made a soup without a recipe, and it was really good! I’m determined to become a real cook, one who can make a meal from ingredients at hand.

    We just came off spring break, and for the first time maybe ever, I don’t feel pulled or anxious or frustrated or exhausted. I’ve got a sense of ease and calm I’ve never felt before. I think I might owe it to the pandemic and the things it has taught me. Life is strange and brutal and wonderful. I think I want a t-shirt like Vi’s; it could be my new motto.

    • Isn’t that shirt the greatest? It’s a very V sentiment and I love that (and all the lessons I’ve learned from my Cancer kiddo.)

      It makes me so happy to hear that you don’t feel pulled, anxious, frustrated or exhausted and instead feel ease and calm. I wish there was an easier way to get these lessons, but if we have to go through the brutal, I’m proud of us for finding the wonderful. 🙂

      I LOVE your cooking goals and love that you made a really good soup without a recipe. That’s a real skill!!!

      I appreciate hearing from you, Rita and about all your -ings. It gave me a great big smile. Wishing you continued calm and ease.

  • I am so glad to read this today. I’ve missed your blog.
    I understand being off of social media. I am pulling away from Instagram too. I am now hooked on TikTok though. It is the social media I don’t mind. It makes me laugh and I need laughter.
    I love your braces. Mine just came off last month.
    I am trying to meditate but am not there yet. I love that you and I are so close yet so far away in so many ways.

    • I mostly do guided meditations through an app and I’m not always “good” at it. Thankfully, I don’t have to be good at it to notice a difference.

      I’m so jealous of you getting your braces off!! (This doesn’t bode well for the next year or so.) I know it’s worth it but man, I am NOT loving it.

      • I am just curious here, but is this a second time with braces? I had them in 7th and 8th grade, and I can’t imagine ever doing it again. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as bad as that (I hear they don’t do head gear any more), but it scarred me. There’s definitely been some drift over the past 40+ years, but I can live with it. I did really need them the first time, but it was so painful. I hope it is not like that for you!

        • This is my second time with braces. I had a bite issue that was causing issues that were only going to get worse so I opted for braces. I had a few friends who went the Invisalign route, and I guess it’s less painful but it’s slower and less precise so here I am again 30 years after the first time. 🙂

          • Wow! I’m so sorry you have to do that—but glad you have access to that kind of care. At least you’re not navigating pimples and periods and the social gauntlet of school at the same time! (Good time to be off social media, though, as it can resemble a school hallway at times, can’t it?)

            Forgot to mention that I really liked that Kristin Hannah book you’re reading when I listened to the audiobook. And am wondering if you’ve watched Firefly Lane? It seemed pretty cheesy at first to me, but I kept watching anyway, and then I got genuinely hooked. Even though it’s kinda cheesy.

          • I am fortunate and grateful.

            I did watch Firefly Lane. I read the book AGES ago but didn’t remember much. And you’re right – it was cheesy, but enjoyable. I really liked The Great Alone too. It might be my favorite that I’ve read by her.

  • You got braces! I had them as a child, then again as an adult. Best thing I did for grown-up me, even if there was some pain involved.

    Does getting Peloton mean you have one of those large stationary bikes? And there are classes online you go to? Is it all about going faster all the time or are there some let’s go for a mellow ride down the lane classes too?

    As for giving up social media, I am reducing my exposure to it, but still using it. Less is more is my current mantra. Some people [like you] I’d really miss if I wasn’t using it.

    • I did!! For the second time too. I’m so glad to hear you say that it’s the best thing grown up you did for yourself. I’m hoping to have the same result!

      The short answer is yes to everything. The longer answer, I have the bike (the footprint is actually pretty small as exercise equipment goes) and take classes online – mostly on demand but a couple of live rides as well. The spin classes (they also have strength, yoga, running, meditations using an app) are measured by “output” which is a combination of resistance (the weight against your pedal) and cadence (the rpms). I’m competitive (with myself mostly) so I do push myself to do better than I’ve done in the past. They have cool down or recovery rides that I take when I want things a little slower. They also have a just ride feature if you don’t want to take a class (which I’ve actually used to take a zoom spin class with an instructor friend) and a scenic ride feature that I haven’t tried.

      I agree that less is more with social media, and I know a LOT of people who find a way to find the right usage balance. I AM NOT good at finding that balance. I don’t usually count blogging as social media (it’s more long form and feels like virtual letter writing/receiving to me) but this accidental break sure felt good.

      • Thanks for explaining Peloton. I don’t know anyone who has one, but am curious about them.

        I don’t consider blogging to be true social media. While technically it is, like you I think of it as writing a letter. In fact when I first started blogging some more accomplished bloggers told me to pretend that each post was a letter I’d write to a friend. The approach still seems valid to me.

  • I really enjoyed reading your Tuesday in my in-box, Kate. It was the best part of my day! I was dealing with insurance claim process of the freeze six weeks ago that broke kitchen pipes. Two weeks ago I unfortunately discovered that underneath the kitchen sink has a crack in the pipe still. It wasn’t gushing out so I didn’t discover that until the awful stink and tiny ants invasion! My agent suggested that I file a claim which I’m not well enough to deal with. Meanwhile I had to remove all my kitchen stuff in the cabinets into my utility work room and use my only bathroom sink for cleaning. I don’t want to damage those pipes so I am doing minimal, boiling water to clean etc. while waiting on plumber and adjuster and contractor scheduling availability. A lot of people here are discovering similar new leaks so the backlog of work providers are also backed up. This reminded me of you and your watching of your washing machine ordeal.

    Tuesday I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and spiraled into depression, tears and then balling cry into a dark state. A top of all that I have been of working my hands so I’m dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis pain in both wrists/hands. Mostly my right, but left too because as the symptoms began I started using my left more. I started treating a week ago wearing braces with a mental insert on both hands and found an over the counter naproxen cream for the arthritis.

    Emotionally I am better today as I have been making myself bed rest more to heal the carpel tunnel syndrome. Today’s highlight was washing my long hair, epson salt bath and tea tree oil salt scrub for my feet for over an hour!

    Watching some of the George Floyd live on CNN.

    Washing floors.

    Watering grass.

    Watching birds build nests in oak trees.

    Seeing eggs hatch ?.

    Digging myself out of the dark place.

    That’s what is going on here. Pen pal post was wonderful! I love the picture of you so glowing!! And the family photo watching some thing was fantastic!!!

    • Today I made the decision to cancel the claim as that process is causing me more stress, anxiety, plus too many people (COVID Phobia) coming inside my home with the potential to pull apart my kitchen to learn that the insurance would not cover the claim. Then I would be left having to remodel the kitchen as those cabinets are custom with built in counter tops. That would be a risk for me financially and I really love the old look of the kitchen for this cottage. Modern pre-made Home Depot cabinet inserts really isn’t the direction I want. So I canceled the claim.

      My plumber is scheduled to do the plumbing repair and replace all the damage floor and walls with 3/4 treated pine and chalk and paint for half the cost of what my deductible is (if adjuster approved)… I will just take the risk that no water damage leak into the wall behind the built in cabinets that matches the old 1940 style of cabinetry.

      This keeps it simple, lower risk financially and less COVID risk. My plumber can do it all this Friday and I will not be delayed any longer with all the waiting and stress of dealing with a claim and so many layers. Once I made the decision, I felt relief and more calm… hoping good decision as I was not dealing with the claim process well at all.

      I also wanted to tell you that when I was your age Sex in the City was a popular series when I was working a full time job. My co-worker friends and I were all watching it. It was fun to discuss and laugh together. Then when I left the company for retirement I had diagnose with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome in both my ankles. The treatment was injections into the nerve for a period of four months and required absolutely no walking for 4 months for the treatment and healing. So I purchased the entire series on DVDs to keep me entertained. I just love the series and all the characters!

      I hope you are getting so good laughing with it!!

      My hands /wrists are improving with the braces and resting, easing up on chores and using my hands. The tarsal tunnel syndrome time in my life actually guided me through what to do for my wrist. I certainly don’t want to do the nerve injection. That was excruciating pain!

      Happy Easter…

      • Oh TD!! I am so sorry to hear all that you have been through but am glad you’ve made decisions that you feel comfortable about. It sounds like you’ve really been through it and I hope you can get some relief – both from plumbing issues and carpal tunnel pain!

        • Thank you, Kate. I’m on the mending phase of carpal tunnel syndrome as the metal wrist braces are helping me to keep my wrist straight and remind me to rest my hands! My plumber will be here soon this Friday. Osteoarthritis is hereditary from mother’s side of family so I was glad that I found the arthritis NSAID cream as it is working to decrease inflammation causing pain.

          I was also happy for you that you found something working for out of control swelling episodes! I sure hope that the injections will continue to work and perhaps fewer will be required as time goes on.

          • My dear Kate, I have good news that I wanted to share with you. The plumbing is repaired in addition to pulling out old floor underneath kitchen sink, replaced with 3/4” plywood and finished painting. It’s beautiful! None of my old original built in cabinets and builtin natural stone counter tops were removed. I just dropped insurance claim as that was all making me more sick dealing with it and paid out of my own money. And it was done with fewer people entering my house over a long waiting for adjusters and insurance drama’s, fewer COVID risk. So that event I may now place in my past as I enter into “post COVID” adventure of what I want for my future. The cottage has given me a safe place to hang protected during COVID. The 80 yo house on the end of the block was demolished today to build a “new” house which marks a new era for this Street. I happened by chance to buy a location that is highly desirable (not for the old houses, but for the property location). The properties sell so quickly.

            Hindsight I scrambled into purchasing this cottage because of COVID which was actually upsizing space, land and more work with maintenance and repair. My goal was to downsize size into smaller with low physical work to maintain as I age. But COVID interrupted that direction.

            Tomorrow I get my second COVID vaccination and then I will begin a POST-COVID adventure towards my original intent. Two of my single women neighbors (not living together but in our mid sixty) shared with me separately that they are also planning a next move for the same reasons as I am. My plumber who I’ve known 12 years advice today was that it is time to flip it as market is prime. Plumber also buys old house, remodels, and flips the property.

            This cottage has served me well, keep me safe in a hurricane, safe from two fires, safe from pipe busting freeze, and mostly safe from COVID, and taught me much and I’m heading into new territories ahead. ☺️

  • ?… and then on the other side of light… this morning, I walk around our home and property. I truly see all the beauty here and question. Why would I want to leave (to do all that I’ve accomplished in two years, just to do it all over again)?

    Perhaps this is Home Sweet Home where I’m suppose to live out my days with Yorkie.