Monday, March 30, 2020

Thank God I Am (Relatively) Low Maintenance

I'm slowly developing a skunk streak down the center of my head, y'all. This comes as no great surprise, given the fact that I have routinely required a root touch up every four weeks for the past decade or so. So, while not surprising, it sure as shit is annoying.

My plan for dealing with The Stripe of Indignity is to utilize a can of temporary spray-on color for as long as humanly possible before giving up the ghost and embracing my inner old lady, which, I anticipate happening....never.

Sooooo, the makers of spray paint for hair are about to become quite wealthy.

Other than my hair, I really do consider myself to be low maintenance; I don't dip my fingernails, I can paint my own toes, do my own facials, and, I don't require the services of a dermatologist to keep away my frown lines. I'll endure the quarantine, is what I'm saying (janky roots and all).

That being said; I'll also never miss the opportunity for a good self-care plan, and, currently, that plan involves long soaks in a hot bath with a a good sprinkling of scented sea salts, a chilled glass of wine, mellow songs playing in the background, and the reflection of candlelight dancing in the bathroom mirror.

Totally takes my mind off the fact that my scalp is rapidly approaching Pepe le Pew territory.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Isolation Album

One of the surprising gifts of the Covid-19 lockdown has been time; time to remember who I am at my core. Time to remind myself of what's important. Time to reconnect with the things that make me happy. Prior to last weekend, I had not picked up my camera in months; I was so focused on New Job, I couldn't imagine making the time to shoot. That's the longest that I have gone without expressing myself via photography in decades, and, it hollowed me out in a way that I did not know was possible.

Last weekend, I took a drive, stopping to photograph whatever took my fancy. Yesterday, the Man-Cub and I did the same thing. Since we were photographing deserted places and abandoned items, we were keeping with the spirit of isolation, if not completely obeying the stay at home orders (we also had to grab groceries, so, we were doing an essential task, regardless).

I feel better for having created something that I consider beautiful, and, that's a good lesson for me to take from this is. Time is precious; use it accordingly.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

When it's Virtually Impossible NOT to Have a Good Time

Years from now, when we look back at this crazy time in our history, certain things will stand out; the fear, the sheer magnitude of the change in personal lifestyles, the way people fell apart, and the way they came together.

I personally believe that many of us will take lessons learned from this to heart; we will spend less money on things and more time with the people we love. Families will be stronger, individuals will be stronger, our faith will be stronger.

I also think that accommodations made during quarantine will carry into normal daily life; more people will work from home, people will again respect teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, farmers, plumbers, and the clerk at the local grocery store. We will remember that we are all in this together and that it takes all of us to keep this world spinning.

We will also continue to use technology in ways that allow us to stay connected. At least, I know The Girls and I will after last night's virtual cocktail party, because, people? It. Was. Awesome.

Zoom will never take the place of our annual get together, but, it will definitely give us a way to scratch that itch that we get for Girl Time in between trips. I actually wish we had thought about doing this ages ago.

How did it compare to being together in the same room? Well, let's see:

1. Laugh until you have to pee? Check.
2. Drink until Phoebe's eyes cross? Check
3. Have at least one of us pass out? Check (Tee).
4. Make fun of Reese's college closet antics? Check.
5. Become incredibly sad when it's time to say goodbye? Check and CHECK.

On the bright side, we've already made plans to do it again next week, and, if the comments we got from friends on Facebook are any indication; we'll have a number of additional guests. It'll be like a college reunion without the name tags or risk of sharing a life-threatening illness.

This is how we'll win the pandemic.

Friday, March 27, 2020

First Friday Favorites of the Year. Yes, of the YEAR

How is it even possible that I have failed to post about the little things in life that make me happy? I mean, I know I've been a titch preoccupied with tales of woe about the new job, perimenopause, the state of our union, etc., but, dayyyy-um, an entire three months without mentioning the things that make life worth living? Shame on me. Shame. On. Me.

Let's remedy that sad situation, shall we?

One: As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the Man-Cub arrived safely from Hawaii. He's now installed in his room, where he will continue his Junior year online. Prior to his return, he and his friends set out on one last adventure, and, the photo he took while on that adventure takes my breath away...

...I have no idea where he got his talent. #humblebrag

Two: I am still able to work, and, my team is keeping both a stiff upper lip and a great sense of humor. We recently documented our efforts to socially distance ourselves in the office, which, is a serious endeavor that we somehow managed to accomplish with humor...

Three: Queen B has been working long hours. She has also taken the whole social distancing to heart; she stays home, doesn't congregate with groups of friends, etc. She has spent some time outdoors, however, and, while the photo below doesn't exactly scream Social Distancing, she gets a pass (fish don't carry Covid-19. I mean, right?)

Four: Later this evening, I am hosting a virtual coctail party with The Girls! we are going to "share" drinks and catch up in the only face-to-face way possible during these difficult times. I cannot wait! I'm planning to sip on my favorite merlot.

Five: I'm also going to be snacking on these dark chocolate covered pomegranate flavored treats.

As an aside, these used to be marketed as dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, but, not so much, anymore. That makes me sad; what, exactly, was I eating back when they called them seeds? Inquiring minds want to know....ok, no they don't. I don't actually care, they are just as delicious by any name.

And, that's it! I'm off to change into comfy clothes, throw my hair into a messy bun, pour some wine, and settle in for my "party"!  Hmmmm....comfy clothes, messy hair, wine, on my couch,...this may end up being the only way I ever want to party.

Just kidding; Porch Night wouldn't be the same via Zoom. Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Package is Secure

The Eagle is in the nest.

The Prince is in the castle.

Elvis is in the building.

However you want to say it; the Man-Cub is home! It required three flights and way more time spent stewing in the miasma of airport germs than I would have preferred, but, he's home! He'll now go on a seven day quarantine to ascertain that he didn't pick up anything unwelcome on the journey which, considering our governor's recent Stay at Home orders, was pretty much going to stifle his ability to run around, anyway.

Despite the new restrictions, Hugh and I are both still gainfully employed. However, if I will be working from home a bit of the time, I am going to have to figure out the whole work/life balancing act. I'm thinking the Cub and I will have to find a hobby we can do together; maybe we'll take up knitting.

Probably not.

All work and no play make Chelle a very bad roommate...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What's Up Wednesday, March 2020 Edition

It's an interesting world we live in, friends; it's amazing how much things have changed over the course of the past few weeks. Today, I'm linking up with Sheaffer and Shay to talk about just how interesting (and, scary) it has become.

What We're Eating

Prior to the world going to hell in a Purell-coated hand basket, Hugh and I had dinner at Chris and Jana's. My contribution to the feast was a Caprese salad. It was delish, and if, you read here regularly, you know my appreciation of any combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic.

Since we've been navigating the impending Zombie apocalypse, I've done my best to stay out of the big box stores and have been almost exclusively shopping at the small local market in Petticoat Junction. The vibe there is super chill, the people are warm and friendly, while respecting the six foot social distancing protocol, and, while there isn't a huge selection of items or brands; I have yet to walk out of the store without the item I went in for. This has made it possible for me to do a lot more cooking at home than I have done since I started New Job. As you may imagine, this has made Hugh very happy; he was especially grateful for one of his favorite meals: pork tenderloin with baked sweet potatoes and fresh baked bread.

He's also been pretty happy about being able to get fresh vegetables again; for a minute there, the local grocery stores couldn't keep them in stock. Salad for the win.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Is anyone not reminiscing about our old way of life? You know, the life we were living last month? Sigh. Anyhoodle, around this time last year, I was blogging about our trip to Maui...

...if I'd known then, what I know now, I would have extended that trip to a month or longer. Hell, I may have never come home.

What I'm Loving

Earlier in the month, I decorated the house for Easter; it felt like turning the page on winter and that is always something that makes me happy.

I'm also loving the stories that are coming out about people stepping up during this current crisis. It's good to know that decent humans not only exist, but exist in abundance. I now know that one of those people owns the Chinese restaurant in Mayberry.

My mom is one of his most loyal customers; she orders delivery from the restaurant almost every Saturday night. Monday afternoon, he made a delivery that Mom wasn't expecting...

...several rolls of toilet paper. Apparently, he knows that Mom is immunocompromised and that she  isn't risking her health by shopping. I can't tell you how much this simple gesture means to me; it's hard to be this far away from Mom and not be able to help her. Knowing that her neighbors and community members are keeping an eye on her fills my heart to the brim.

What I've Been Up To

Well, obviously I've been socially distancing a lot. This has been less difficult than I would like to admit; since I started New Job, I've been pretty much hermitted away in my house on the weekends, anyway. I have enjoyed long text messaging conversations with The Girls, as well as a few Facetime visits with my sister, Barbie, who, is working from home, and, I get plenty of human contact from my staff.

What I'm Working On

The Big Project with a looming deadline has been taking up most of my time and energy. Thankfully, I am able to work on it both from home and at the office (despite the massive shutdowns in most industries, my profession does not shut down, so, I am still going into work every day).

What I'm Dreading

4:00 a.m., every day. This is my personal witching hour, wherein I wake up in a panic and then stew over ridiculous concerns until my alarm goes off an hour or so later. I have no idea how to break this cycle and it is making me most unhappy.

What I'm Excited About

The Man-Cub comes home tomorrow! Barring any complication, he will board a plane this evening and will land in Colorado in the morning. Given current circumstances, I am holding my breath and praying for smooth travels, no delays or cancellations, and a safe flight. I just want my baby home, even though that means locking him in his room for fourteen days, just to make sure he didn't pick up any Covid Cooties on the plane.

What I'm Watching

Much like the rest of my American brethren, I have been bingeing Netflix during the long stretches of social isolation. I've tried to stick to comedies, romantic comedies, stand-up comedians, and other comical offerings. This is my personal defense against all the depressing stuff that is overwhelming the news, internet, and my social media accounts. That being said, I accidentally watched a few episodes of The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, and, no.

What I'm Reading

Grant reports. Wow. Could I be more boring? No need to answer that; it was a rhetorical question.

What I'm Listening To

Recently, I've been listening to my iPod at night. To drown out the sounds of Hugh snoring. Wish I was kidding.

What I'm Wearing

I wore business-appropriate attire more times in the past month than I have in the past three or four years, combined. Luckily, I own enough pairs of dress pants, blouses, blazers, and jackets to pull together a professional wardrobe without having had to purchase anything new. That being said, it has been nice to relax my self-imposed dress code in light of meetings and presentations being canceled; if I have to work, at least I can do it in comfortable clothing.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

God willing, I'll be spending time with the Man-Cub! (Like I said above: fingers crossed!)

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Ummmm...the world returning to normal? Maybe? Hopefully? Please, Lord, let it be so. Also, I wouldn't mind some nice weather and the chance to get the porch ready for Porch Night season, because, I don't care if we have to gather for it virtually, there will be a Porch Night next month.

What Else is New

Instead of what's new, I think I'll write about what I'm grateful for:

-Continued good health for myself, my family, and my friends.

-Enough food for us all.

-Jobs that we are still able to do (hardware stores have been listed as essential industry, so we haven't had to close the store, and, thankfully, our staff is still healthy).

-The medical professionals, first responders, and other front-line staff who continue to go to work every day to keep us all safe.

-Modern technology, which allows us to connect, even when we are separated by distance.

And, that's it for this month's What's up Wednesday! Take care, y'all! Stay healthy!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Social Distancing from Pets

If the pets had their way, our entire quarantine experience would take place in one room of the house: the kitchen. And, not only would we maintain six feet of distance, but no one would leave the kitchen without throwing them each a treat.

Which, I may have done, but, only because I needed to use the bathroom and they would not move; desperate times called for desperate measures.

These are the times we're living in, folks.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Foraging in the Apocalypse

I need to make a run to the market later today, but, before I go, I figured I should take stock of what we already have on hand. For the most part, we are well-situated to withstand a semi-prolonged quarantine. We are fortunate to have a fully stocked freezer (two of them, actually), and I am grateful for that, even though it may require chipping ancient meat from layers of permafrost.

We also have well-stocked cupboards, as well as a pantry closet that could, truth be told, use a winnowing down of (let's just say, there was no panic on my part when I heard that the pasta shelves at the grocery stores were bare. My friends needn't fret, either; I have enough to share).

So, we will weather this storm with a minimum of complaint. I did, however, come across a few items that I would most definitely have to be in dire straights to consume (like, full-on starvation mode)..., if anyone out there wants to trade some fresh produce for a tin of nasty-ass fish soaked in its' own nasty-ass juices, I am totally ready to make a deal.

Hit me up.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Quarantine Etiquette

I'm no Miss Manners, but, it seems to me that it's just bad form to try to kill your roommate one day into your self isolation plan...

...I mean, save that shit for Day Two, at least.