Friday, June 26, 2020

Cool Breaks for a Hot Summer

I am a lover of rom-coms and romance novels. Why? Because when life gets crazy I crave things with happy endings. But the Venn diagram of "fiction" and "happy ending" doesn't have to exclude "thought provoking" and "inclusive." Here are some recommendations that have been making me happy:

Late Night (streaming on Amazon Prime) and High Note (available to rent).  The music from High Note is super awesome. Also, listen to this interview with Traces Ellis Ross. I wish I could be a tiny bit as cool as she is!  Also worth a re-watch - Ocean's 8 - "A Him gets noticed, a Her gets ignored. And for once, we'd like to be ignored" - classic line!

I can't recommend Jasmine Guillory enough - such great stories! And her fifth book just came out - Party of Two. How is this not a movie or TV series?

Comfort Food Without Calories:
I flipped on Taste the Nation on Hulu because I love Top Chef and I needed a distraction while cleaning. It was SO GOOD. I binged the entire season in about 3 days! So when you finish that, tune in to the Table Manners podcast. Jesse Ware and her mom interview all sorts (From Mel and Sue of GBBO to John Legend). The episode featuring Munroe Bergdorf was really great.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Get It All Done!

1. Feel bad about the stuff that needs to get done but has been lingering at the bottom of your list (behind "actual work", "figure out dinner" and "finish binging xxx")

2. Resolve to Get. It. Done.

3. Decide that if you could just have a neat space to work in, it would all be much easier. Also, since this space is where you have been teleworking for 3 months, perhaps it's time to "move in" permanently.

4. Quickly overwhelm the trashcan, so you go find all other handy receptacles. Decide that books on running your internet business, blogging, and a photo editing program all dated from the early 2000s should be the first  to go. Perhaps it's also time to give away all school project supplies as you have graduated from doing science fair tri-fold posters. This is GREAT! Doesn't this feel awesome?

5. Realize that it is now after midnight. Space is as pictured above. Projects remain un-done. Go to bed. Restart checklist tomorrow (or maybe day after tomorrow,  or next week...)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

2020: Is Dumpster Fire Too Kind a Term?

Apparently, Marriam-Webster added the term "dumpster fire" to the dictionary in 2018. Who knew that 2020 would be so craptastic, even this term seems kind. I've sat down to write a couple posts here and there and either can't finish or fear coming off as sounding tone deaf to those who are suffering. 

We are a country that loves to profile, stereotype, leap to conclusions, assume everyone within a particular demographic thinks the same, troll and clap back. Even trusted journalistic sources mis-inform, either unintentionally because the stories are moving so fast, or deliberately because they have their own agenda to push forward.

When it gets overwhelming I get quiet, partially out of fear for saying the wrong thing, however unintentionally, and partly because there are no easy answers or quick fixes. The rants of "If you don't..." or "You should..." are fueled by emotion (totally understandable), but complex issues require critical thought. I hope, I ask, I pray that before taking to the internet, take a beat, take a breath, and resist the urge to pile on heedlessly. Listen. Seek. Learn. Lend a hand as best you can. Lead always with kindness.  

Monday, May 4, 2020

Family Cheerleader

Are you your family cheerleader? And by family I mean the loosest possible definition - workplace, friends, or actual family. I've been feeling kind of run down lately and I think it's because being the family cheerleader, when so much of normal is curtailed and news is grim, has been a challenge.

Is this a challenge of epic proportions, of life and death? Heck no. I am fantastically well off - loved ones are healthy, jobs are intact (at the moment), kids are hanging in there. Our state plans to begin loosening some restrictions mid-May, a small light at the end of the tunnel. I am enormously thankful for the recent flyby of the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels, who gave us an excuse for a long bike ride on a beautiful day (see my pics below).

But if I could find that 22nd mile of a marathon motivation, it would be so helpful.

How are you hanging in there? Doing ok? What are your ways of keeping the pep up for your people?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Same Storm

I saw a post somewhere in the last few days that pushed back on the "we're all in the same boat" to say, nope, we're not. We're in different boats in the same storm. So, so true. Think about any major storm or hurricane - some are hit hard and others not so much, or somewhere in between. The amount of initial adversity doesn't always equate to amount of long term impact. Comparing hardship gets us nowhere. 

All we can do is try our best to get through each day, and reach out for help if you need it. For me, looking forward to the next episode of Some Good News, asking Siri to play "happy music," tipping extravagantly when ordering take out (or getting curbside beer - yum), zoom calls with family and asking my neighbors to come out to their driveways on Saturday evenings so we can say hello (at a distance) and talk to other humans for a bit.

How about you? What's helping you get by in your boat?

Monday, April 6, 2020

Changing Thoughts on Productivity

So way back what felt like a year ago (actually March 18th -- I know you can relate) I put together a happy, chirpy list of awesome things you can do with your time. All the time you would have since you are now working from home. Not commuting through traffic, not tied up in sports or PTA or gym classes or whatever else crammed your calendar. 

Way back on March 18th, this was all doable, a welcome change of pace for a few weeks. Isn't this what we've always thought would be awesome? Now on April 6th, with weeks ahead of us, my happy chirpiness is fading. Days are going by and I am having a hard time figuring out where the time went (or frankly, what day of the week it is). Thankfully, some mindless Facebook scrolling helped me find this: "Stop Trying to Be Productive" from the New York Times.

The internet wants you to believe you aren’t doing enough with all that “extra time” you have now. 
But staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty.

Thank you NYT! The people and pets in my house are fed and cared for. I spent some time zoom chatting with family and friends this weekend. The novel, the cleaned out closets, the many other projects? This can wait until I am ready.

PS: Please watch THIS and THIS - you will feel happier and will have accomplished something :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Timeless Advice from My Son

Advice seems to be a theme this week :-)

Waaaaay last week (this now feels like months ago) my son and I were together when we got the news that the State of Virginia was cancelling the rest of the in-person school year. As a high school senior, this means no prom, no spring musical performances, no final award banquets, no graduation. Yuck. All I could say was, "I am so sorry dude. This just sucks."

Then he stunned me. "Don't say sorry. It's not your fault. It's part of what I learned at those fancy manner classes (cotillion) you made me go to."

Me: "Huh?"

"The two things I remember learning are: 

Never apologize if you are not at fault and 

Never deny credit if you're worthy of the credit."

Me still: "Huh?"

"Like don't say 'It's just from Target' if someone compliments your dress."

Me still: stunned. God bless the sweet women that hosted cotillion. I think of the approximately 1,000,000 times I have said "sorry" or "it was nothing" when I didn't need to. So glad that my kids are learning something different.