Category Archives: Uncategorized

Positive COVID Test Day 3

Thoughts on a Positive COVID Test Day 3

Thursday, September 9, 2021

I’m out of my room, but only because Will is positive. I’d rather be stuck in my room and have a healthy boy, but like he said, at least we can cuddle now.

It’s a shame I didn’t more thoroughly clean my room while I was stuck in there. Jack Tripper looks at me like I’ve betrayed him to live with Work From Home Cat again and I’m like it’s your fault, Jack, because if you didn’t feel the need to pee down the AC vents, I wouldn’t have to keep you prisoner in my bedroom, would I?

Beth left to stay with her dad since both of them are negative and who wants to stay in COVID HOUSE and expose yourself over and over again every day? So it’s me and the boy through next Wednesday.

I found out late last night that Will was positive, way after the kids went to bed. The first thing I did this morning was go into my boy’s room and snuggle in next to him under the covers and smooch his face off. He rolled over with that sleepy chubby little boy face and asked if he was sick. I squeezed him tighter.

Beth walked by the bedroom as I was cuddling Will, then backed up with a stricken look on her face and asked if Will was positive. I told her yes and she said, “I don’t like that. I really don’t like that.” And she meant it.

It’s like that time several years ago when Will was playing basketball at the YMCA and he and a teammate were goofing around before the game stealing the ball from each other. Beth walked by and saw that kid take the ball away from Will and she stopped cold, stood up straight, and stared down that situation not knowing they were playing a game. Luckily she watched long enough to figure that out, but for a minute there I thought we were going to have a YMCA Youth Basketball PreGame Smackdown.

I knew right then when it comes right down to it, as much as she claims to hate Will on any given day, she’s ride or die to the bone for her family.

Remember yesterday when I thought I could taste a banana? Turns out that was a false alarm. I didn’t get any sweetness out of my banana today. Will can still smell and taste, so I’m beyond happy about that.

He’s so weird. He has a cough and a sore throat but can go from puny to flying around the house like Spider-Man in the blink of an eye. We’ve watched lots of Marvel today: Civil War, Spider-Man Far From Home, and some of the Eternals episodes. Good thing I’ve got a thing for Superheroes.

Will’s Grandpa came by today to drop off some treats for him and so we chatted through the glass of the storm door. Seems wrong not to invite Grandpa inside. I thought I could taste one of the Hershey Kisses he left for Beth (hey, she’s not here; also I have COVID), maybe just a little? Probably my brain playing tricks on me.

My cousin sent a ton of food over today, even though she forgot to send taco shells and Kroger didn’t have any Ortega Taco Sauce. Kroger, seriously, this is not the first time you’ve disappointed me with your Ortega Taco Sauce availability. Step up your game!

I really think my cousin is trying to become Will’s favorite cousin instead of trying to actually feed us dinner because she sent a lot of snacky stuff that he likes and let me tell you, the way to that boy’s heart is DEFINITELY through his stomach. She knows this.

Will asked for her phone number so he could text her thank you but then wouldn’t show me the text message so I’m pretty sure they have some kind of Outlaw Snack Network set up now so he can get all the Goldfish he wants and she can get lots of cuddles while he’s still little and squishy and cuddly.

Still, I did appreciate the texture of the Rich Frosted Chocolate Entenmann’s donut in my mouth even though I couldn’t taste it. Also, when did Ente-Mann’s become Enten-Mann’s because I’m pretty sure they changed it or I’ve been mispronouncing this brand my whole life.

Life is good. Will is hyped up on sugar flying around like Spider-Man and I’m not on a ventilator. People have checked on me all day about how I’m feeling, if we need anything. I’m reporting my oximeter numbers to the friend who loaned it to me so I don’t get in trouble.

Get the vaccine and wear a mask, people. I didn’t call anyone names or cuss them out today. Now please get the vaccine and wear a mask.

Positive COVID Test Day 2

Thoughts on a Positive COVID Test Day 2

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

I don’t know why I number and date these posts, like anybody gives a shit whether today is the day I showered or not. I guess I hope someday when all this is said and done and history judges all you fuckos who aren’t getting the vaccine for making a global pandemic EVEN WORSE than it had to be, like I’m judging you right now, only the historians’ judgments will be official and in history books and therefore more important, maybe diaries like these will help make some sense of all the craziness.

Wait, do you even have to shower when you’re in isolation?

Still mild symptoms of cough, congestion, and headache. No fever. Still no taste or smell, but hey, I’m not on a ventilator, so things are good.

I’m going to go insane locked in my bedroom for 10 days. The only one happy about this is Jack Tripper, my brown tabby who lives in my bedroom because he can’t be in the rest of the house without peeing in places he shouldn’t pee. He’s thrilled. Mama now eats, sleeps, works, and chills in his room. Life is good. He doesn’t care if I shower.

Ralphie, Work From Home Cat, sits outside my door and waits for me to come out. It’s heartwarming, but she’s really a bitch cat and is the reason Jack Tripper has to live with me in my bedroom in the first place.

Beth and Will were tested this morning but no results back. Waiting, waiting…good God, could it take longer?

Beth quarantines herself in her room most of the time anyway, so I suspect she’ll test negative. Will is already coughing and says he feels puny, so to the selfish asshole who infected me and now probably my kid: Fuck you.

I don’t often participate in a nationwide training class in my bed from my pajamas, but when I do, I make sure not to use the root spray on my hair because who uses root spray on their hair when they aren’t leaving their bedroom for 10 days? So instead of looking like that lazy woman attending training from her bed I look like that lazy woman attending training from her bed with a bad dye job.

Will seems better today. He’s come up to say hi a few times but hasn’t had to park himself in the hallway and look at me through a cracked door. I’ll take it.

I ate a banana for a snack and I may have tasted some sweetness. Maybe.

Where are these fucking test results? They had appointments at 8:50 a.m., and based on how quickly I’ve gotten my test results back, that means they should’ve been back by 3:00 p.m.

5:00 no test results

6:00 no test results

7:00 no test results

No flavor from steak, rice, and peas at dinner.

8:00 no test results

I mask up and head downstairs to get a glass of water. Try some watermelon. I THINK I TASTE IT! I eat another piece. I swear I can taste it. Woo hoo!

I open a beer. Blech. Tastes like plain gross seltzer water. Maybe the sweet comes back before salty, bitter, and savory? Maybe it’s just the last to go.

9:00 no test results

It occurs me to maybe I don’t have test results back because I made up the kids’ social security numbers when I was registering them because I was too lazy (and maybe too infectious) to go look for their social security numbers because I don’t have them memorized like a good mom should. I didn’t understand how important it was to have correct social security numbers until I was looking up possible delays in receiving test results and there it was: WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO PROVIDE CORRECT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. Grrrr.

I am lucky I get to work from home in my pajamas since I feel mostly OK and don’t have to use sick days to isolate for 10 days. I had someone to check on me, make me dinner, and look after my babies. None of us are deathly sick and in the hospital. I am grateful.

Right before he went to bed Will asked if his results were back yet and I had to tell him no. He said, “Well, either way it’s good. If I’m negative, I’m not sick. If I’m positive, we get to cuddle again.”

That’s what all you unvaccinated dickheads are putting at risk: sweet children like this who don’t hate you like I do.

11:05 p.m. Test results back. Will is positive. Beth is negative.

Rage and anger and all the fuck yous you fucking assholes.

Positive COVID Test Day 1

Thoughts on a Positive COVID Test Day 1

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Fuck.

I did everything right. Two doses of Moderna in January/February this year. Me and mine have been masking again even though we aren’t mandated to do so BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE AND HEALTHY.

That sinus infection I thought I had because I’ve had them so many times before because I live in the Allergy Capital of the Freaking Country, well, turns out that was COVID. Turns out, according to the doc at the walk-in clinic where they COULD NOT do a rapid COVID test for me on Monday, said the primary symptoms they were seeing in vaccinated people mimicked sinus infection symptoms: congestion, cough, drainage, runny nose, fever, and fatigue. In retrospect, my cheeks not being sore due to sinus pressure could have been my first clue this wasn’t an ordinary sinus infection.

PSA: Kroger Pharmacy hours are different on Labor Day than the rest of the year. After being given an antibiotic for what both the doc and I thought was a sinus infection, I headed straight to Kroger to get my prescription. I felt really puny and I don’t like feeling puny. It makes me mad. When the drive-through was closed I just thought it was maybe due to a staffing shortage or maybe the light saying “OPEN” was burned out, so I went inside. Masked of course. BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT MY FELLOW FUCKING HUMANS. Got to the pharmacy and saw the metal grate pulled across the counter. Saw a sign that said pharmacy closes at 3:00 p.m.  It was 3:04 p.m. People were still inside. I could see them. And listen, I’ve been that dude that has to stay late and work because people didn’t respect business hours, but man, really? Today? But I’m sick and I really need that medicine that’s not going to help me because I have COVID but I don’t know it yet.

How many bites of ice cream do you think it would take you to realize there doesn’t seem to be any cookies, or cream, in that ice cream? I think it took me four.  I couldn’t taste ice cream. OMG. I dug down into the container (who uses bowls anyway, be honest) to find the biggest piece of cookie I could find and plopped it into my mouth. The texture was what I expected it to be, but it wasn’t sweet. No flavor. I tried again just for good measure. Nothing. My first hit-me-over-the-head-I-have-COVID clue. Still, you can lose taste with a sinus infection right?

No taste, what about smell? I took the lid off the candle I keep on the side table and plunged my nose into it. Took a deep breath. Usually a delightful smell of lime, coconut, and vanilla rushes up through my nostrils intense enough to make me think I’m back in Key West for a moment. Maybe a small whiff of coconut, but not the usual aromatic blast I’m used to.

I’d made the kids stay away from me all day JUST IN CASE IT’S COVID. But it couldn’t be COVID because I’d followed all the rules, right?

All that happened Monday. Now it’s Tuesday. Fevers make me puny. Did I mention I don’t like feeling puny?

I stayed in my room all day Tuesday except when I went to get my COVID test and when I went downstairs to get something to eat. I wore a mask and everyone had to be in different rooms. When I was done making my food, I wiped everything down and went back upstairs.

I’m mildy claustrophobic. I don’t like feeling trapped or confined.

COVID: DETECTED.

Fuck.

My 10-year old struggles with anxiety that I’m going to die.

Hi, honey, yes, Mama has COVID, but I’ve been vaccinated so I’ll have a mild case, but we can’t have hugs or cuddles until I’m not contagious anymore.

But you aren’t supposed to get it because you got vaccinated.

I know, baby, but I got it early and maybe it’s wearing off a bit, but I’m going to be OK. I just need to stay in my room for a while.

Will I get it?

Well, I hope not, but we’ll get you tested to be sure and even if you do get it, you’ll have a really mild case. You might not even know you have it at all!

*tears in the biggest sweetest blue eyes you’ve ever seen* OK. Are you going to be OK?

Yes, baby, I’m going to be OK.

Am I going to be OK?

Yes, baby, we are all going to be OK.

Fury rages inside me.

Later Tuesday night my son and I compromise that he can lie in the hall outside my room with the door cracked a little bit because he needs to see I am OK.

The rage inside me intensifies. My sweet boy is at the door with tears in his eyes wondering if his mama is going to die and I can’t go hug him or touch him or squeeze him or use anything but my words to comfort him. All because uneducated, stubborn people refuse to listen to 99.9% of public health official IN THE FUCKING WORLD and TAKE THE GODDAMN VACCINE. Right now I hate all of you. This country should not be in the state it’s in because we have medical therapies that by now could’ve provided us herd immunity from this virus. You’d take chemotherapy if a doctor told you to. You’d take an antibiotic if a doctor told you to. And almost every one of you and your children have taken vaccines before. THEY ARE SAFE.

And for all those people reading that I just offended, don’t @ me. I don’t care. You are the problem.

I can’t hug my petrified little boy because of your ignorance and stupidity. Think of all those people dying in hospitals right now who can’t be with their families because you thought the .1% of whackjobs telling you the vaccine is dangerous and it’s all a conspiracy by Bill Gates and whothefuckeverelse to put tracking chips in your brain sounds legit. OMG.

Yes, I got the vaccine and yes, I got COVID. No, that is not a reason to not get the vaccine. Even though I’ve got COVID, I’m insanely less likely to need the hospital, even less likelier to need an ICU bed, and less likely still to need a ventilator. Get the vaccine.

I don’t know who is still reading, but I am so blessed to have so many people check on me. I have besties who brought over chicken soup, Vitamin C, and an oximeter. I have besties who made me laugh by blaming my COVID diagnosis on a BoogeyWoman, whose fault it really wasn’t, but that made me laugh until I almost coughed up a lung. I have neighbors checking on me. My BFF checks on me and lets me rant/cough/rant/cough. I’ve had people who I really don’t know that well ask if there is anything they can do for us. For all of that I’m so very incredibly thankful.

Last, my first day of COVID diagnosis saw no fever, a mild cough, and some headaches. I am lucky. I can’t taste beer, though. Please say a prayer my kiddos will be OK and that I’ll be able to enjoy ice cream and beer again (not together, gross).

Now, get the fucking vaccine and wear a fucking mask.

M is for May. And Mom, always Mom.

May is a bittersweet time for me.

Spring is still around, the dogwood outside my office holding on to its pink petals, the lilac bush’s sweet smell of nostalgia reminding me why I planted it by the front door.

The daffodils are waning, but the clematis is busting with buds and the periwinkle irises will pop in the next couple of weeks. One bachelor button is showing off its feathery purple fronds, about 50 waiting to bust open right beside it.

The pink and white bleeding hearts wave at me as I make my daily pilgrimage to the trash and recycling bins. I’ll soon smell the sweet scent from the lilies of the valley that surround my deck, joining the Solomon’s seal and columbine, the daintiest part of my garden.

I hope to have two blooms this year on the red poppy that grows beside the lilac bush. My hostas are multiplying like crazy as are the may apples that skirt the pear tree that has already lost its showy, if stinky, blooms.

May will always be about flowers for me.

Mom’s birthday was May 5th. I only ever remember giving her flowers and womanpower to get them in the ground. She didn’t want fancy flowers to put it in a vase (the cat would’ve knocked it over anyway). She wanted begonias and marigolds. She wanted butterfly bushes and coneflower. She wanted #AllTheFlowers. She was on her knees with her hands in the dirt and I was there right beside her.

It’s all she ever wanted for Mother’s Day. Strangely, it’s all I want for Mother’s Day too: flowers and time spent with my kids outside with the sun on our skin and dirt under our fingernails.

I am a mosaic of emotions in May. My mom died 16 years ago and I miss her every day, more so these last several years than any time since right after she died. I wish she’d been here to give me advice, tell me I could come home, remind me of what a badass I am and that I come from badass stock. I wish we could walk around my yard and chatter about what flowers would look good in the back corner under the crabapple tree. I wish she were here to see her grandchildren with grass stains on their knees and dirt in their hair.

Mom gave me a tiny snowball bush as a housewarming present when we bought our old house. The yard was blessed with rich, dark soil, unique for my area. When we moved 5 years later the snowball bush was taller than me, too large to transplant to the new house. I had to leave it behind.

I drive by the old house almost every day and marvel at how 15 years later, that snowball bush is still thriving, still bringing beauty into the world. There is no metaphor more befitting my mother.

My mom’s gravestone reads in part, “The music is gone but the melody remains.”

Every day, Mom, flower to flower.

L is for Loki

Loki, God of Mischief, Trickster God, Marvel’s Favorite Villain, Thor’s Brother, Burdened with Glorious Purpose, Misunderstood, Insatiable Rightful King of Asgard, and beloved by millions of moviegoers across the globe, makes this fangirl’s heart beat a little faster.

Loki lovers are everywhere.

Example:

Recently I treated myself to a massage to which I work a Hulk mask.

Therapist: I like your mask. I’m a huge Marvel fan.

Me: Thanks! I wish I had a Loki mask.

Therapist: Loki! My wife loves him!

Me: Oh, I probably know her from one of our our super-secret online chat rooms!

Therapist: I’ve seen those chat rooms. You ladies should be ashamed of yourselves.

Me: *laughs my best mischievous laugh* We are everywhere…

And I’m not kidding about those anonymous Twitter accounts that exist by the millions worldwide simply to honor, praise, justify, and yes, drool over, Loki.

Since I went down the Loki Rabbit Hole shortly after The Avengers was released, I’ve made friends not just all over the country, but all over the world. From Alaska to Florida to England, Spain, and South Africa. Some of those ladies I consider to be good friends.

We are literally everywhere.

A person cannot have too many tribes. I am so grateful for the many tribes that have welcomed me over the years. I am so very lucky to have them.

So thank you, Loki, for introducing me to my fangirl tribe. They have provided me with hours and hours of entertainment, companionship, laughter, and love.

P.S. Marvel’s new series Loki premieres June 11th on DisneyPlus.

K is for Knives and Knowledge

You should have knowledge about knives. I should have knowledge about knives. I do have knowledge about knives, but somewhere in my brain there’s a roadblock that prevents that knowledge from guiding my behavior.

Don’t give me pointy things.

I’d planned to write all about knives and how the only time I’ve ever been close to passing out is the time I stuck a steak knife right into the webbing between my thumb and forefinger while trying to pry a milk lid off the jug. It just stuck there, sticking straight up out of my hand. The wound opened like one of those old football-shaped coin purses. I could see meaty stuff down in there. Blackness literally came at me from both sides and my hearing was muffled, but I managed to lie down before I fell down.

Or the time one of my coworkers handed me a brand new multi-tool, even opened it for me, and I still managed to slice the top layer of skin off my thumb down to the nail. It turned blue and purple and puffy and filled with puss and was pretty much the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. Docs were able to glue it back together, but my bandaged thumb was almost the size of my fist for a week.

I now firmly believe I should not be trusted with sharp objects. You should see the look in my kids’ eyes when I grab a knife from the drawer. We all possess this wisdom now.

I also should know by now that when life hands me a big old lemon, I should take it into the woods for a walk. And then throw it in the river. Well, not really, Leave No Trace and all that, but figuratively for sure.

Last week, when the universe delivered a big ole dried-up rotten lemon, devoid of all juice from its many previous squeezes, plopped one last sour drop on me, I should have told it to take a hike. Instead, I let some of the sourness seep into me, trying to turn me bitter on the inside.

Without intention I took that lemon into the woods. I felt my thighs burn and my lungs gasp and my heart pump exquisite blood through my body to get me to the top of the peak. I breathed in air that smelled like water and dirt and trees, an aroma so sweet it absorbed the sour with extra to spare. I was dazed with the beauty of yellow, purple, white, and maroon wildflowers, hillsides full of them, and remembered we can choose to see beauty. It’s all around us. I may or may not have run from a few buzzy insects that could sting me, because while we can choose beauty, we can’t always escape pain, though we try. I was muddy and sweaty with an achy knee or two by the time I emerged from the woods, but I emerged alone, the lemon lost forever.

In my late-blooming-epiphany-having middle age, I now have the conscious knowledge to pack spoiled thoughts into the woods and leave them there. No sharp objects needed.

J is for Jacobson Park

J is for Jacobson Park

Over the years I’ve done a lot of things at Jacobson Park: walked, picnicked, fed the ducks, played soccer, watched movies, but this week I did something I’d never done before. I fished.

Well, I didn’t actually fish because I don’t have a license, but my boy fished, and I’ve rarely seen him so happy. His Cub Scout den met for pizza then spent a blissfully frenzied two hours baiting and casting and learning fishing basics from three very patient Cub Scout Dads. Bless their hearts.

Really, though, the boys were very good. They listened well and closely observed what the leaders said and did. My son had done a bit of casting before but never any baiting (live worms!) and never any removing the fish from the hook. He was skeptical about baiting the hook and decided it was easier to do with meal worms than earth worms. Turns out that’s better for bluegill anyway. Who knew?? He also warmed up quickly to removing the fish from the hook and even helped other Scouts who were a bit squeamish about it.

That’s my boy. He’s a helper. And a fisherman!

Fishing used to be a family tradition for us. My dad fished A LOT. He and my mom would take the boat out and my dad would fish while my mom would slather herself in baby oil to bake her skin under the water-reflected sun.

My dad’s parents used to fish a lot too. They’d take their boat out to Greenbo or Grayson Lake and come home with tons of fish. I don’t remember ever going out with them on the lake, but my mouth still waters for my Mama Roberts’ fried bluegill and crappie. Mmm-mmmm.

I get nostalgic wishing my son could’ve learned to fish from some of the men in my family, but they are all gone now. Well, except my brother, who does fish, but he’s about 2,500 miles away. Also, he’s too busy breaking his shoulder in a middle-aged snowboarding accident. (He’s OK).

At that moment, though, standing far enough behind my son to not hover but close enough to see the wind blowing through his long hair and the smile on his face, it was perfect enough just to be there, sun on my face, and bask in his enjoyment at learning to fish from Cub Scout Dads who obviously loved sharing their knowledge.

There was no place on Earth I’d rather have been.

I is for It’s Never Too Late

I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, during which I’ll write a blog post every day in April except Sundays. The topic for the first day begins with the letter A and I’ll work my way down to writing about something beginning with Z on my last day.

Here we go!

I is for It’s Never Too Late

I’ve written before about being a late bloomer in life, especially when it comes to self-discovery and insight into why I am the way I am. Maybe that independent, angry, and standoffish young woman never took a deep dive into herself because subconsciously she knew she’d have to work hard to straighten out a few things. Once I got a glimpse into the inner workings of my mind, I was fascinated. Now I can’t stop looking.

Self-enlightenment has been a slow process, but I had an epiphany dump during my first middle-aged crisis, around 41. My kids were little and things were going ok with life and work in my little privileged bubble, so I had time to worry about age old questions like why are we here? And, what do I want to leave behind? I discovered I didn’t know exactly, but being a taking-action-to-solve-the-problem kind of girl, I felt pulled to explore my creativity to search for answers. Though I couldn’t, and still can’t, put my finger on it, it’s the creativity and the desire to learn new things I was drawn toward.

So I started this blog, auditioned for a play, and took an acting class. Improv, to be exact, and I LOVED it! I am a planner, but there is no planning in Improv. You have to be spontaneous within the construct of the scene yet still advance the story. There was freedom in those constraints.

Auditioning for the play when the only time I had ever been on stage was my first grade Christmas play (I was an angel, natch), had never memorized lines or acted in any capacity before, was terrifying. Terrifying. But I did it. I didn’t get the role, but I auditioned.

And as most of you know by now if you are still reading these blog posts after all these years, if I could figure out a way to get paid for writing about my opinion or pondering ancient questions of the human psyche I’d be doing it by now.

I wasn’t able to continue Improv for a variety of reasons and haven’t had the chance to pursue acting again either, but I do a fairly decent job of sending my thoughts and opinions out into the world on a regular basis from this blog.

I was in my early 40s and did all those things for the first time and am pretty proud of myself for it. If I can do it, anyone can do it. The last several years I’ve focused my creativity on solving problems I’d never wish on anyone, though I did find the nerve to backpack again at 47 after not having done so for about 16 years . Pretty damn proud of myself for that too, even though it wasn’t always pretty.

I turn 50 this year and I’m feeling the need to venture out again. Preaching “it’s never too late” is one thing, but trying new things is scary and takes time, a commodity I’m sure we all feel we don’t have enough of. Still, I think part of why we are here is to constantly learn and evolve and do hard things. To meet new people, expand our knowledge, and continue discovering why we are the way we are.

After all, it’s never too late to learn rock climbing so you can apply for a really cool job or venture onto an online dating site (the horror). It’s never too late to plan a post-retirement through-hike of the Appalachian Trail or a sail around the world.

It’s never too late. We are NEVER too old.

H is for Hoka

I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, during which I’ll write a blog post every day in April except Sundays. The topic for the first day begins with the letter A and I’ll work my way down to writing about something beginning with Z on my last day.

Here we go!

H is for Hoka

Hoka is a footwear company that I discovered by accident. I was at my local hiking gear shop looking for a new pair of trail runners when my eyes were drawn to a bright pink and blue pair of shoes on the display wall. Color woos me every time and fate was doing me a solid that day.

The clerk brought out a pair for me to try on. I’d never heard of Hoka before, but any shoe that pretty deserved my attention. I slipped my feet into them, stood up, shifted from foot to foot a bit, and felt like I was standing on the softest, puffiest cloud ever.

I couldn’t believe it. I’d never had a pair of shoes feel so comfortable before (I may or may not have an addiction to running shoes so I’ve seen my fair share of sneakers). I bopped around the store, convinced I could bounce to the ceiling if I tried. If any shoe could motivate me to get outside more, surely this was the pair.

Those Hokas have taken me walking, running, and hiking for the last several years. I’ve truly never had a pair of tennis shoes I loved more. I love them so much I recently bought a second pair, but the pink and blue ones still help me mow the grass every week. While I adore my second pair as well (they are just as comfortable), nothing compares to the love I felt for the first pair.

I may love running shoes, but I am not a talented or consistent runner, so when I say that Hokas helped propel me forward when I thought I didn’t have another stride in me, I mean it. I need all the help I can get! As a matter of fact, when you see me jogging down the street you probably say to yourself, “Oh, just look at that poor old thing. I hope she’ll be OK. Her face is awfully red, but look at those shoes!!”

And listen to this, HOKA CAME OUT WITH HIKING BOOTS LAST YEAR. OMG.

Take all my money!!!

I resisted them for a long time because I already have a pair of hiking boots that I like pretty good. Still, my feet do start to hurt a little after about 5 miles, and maybe extra cushion would help out with that. Seeking confirmation bias that I need to possess these boots, the internet told me that Hoka boots were PERFECT for people with arthritis. I have arthritis in both knees! I creak like a haunted house every time I stand up. Considering this a sign from God, I once again found myself at the gear shop perusing the Hoka boots.

But, unfortunately, I didn’t find any I liked.

Just kidding!

I tried on several different types, but wound up going with the pair I had my eye on from the beginning. A word of caution here, though, hiking boots are not meant to be as cushiony as running shoes. The whole point of hiking boots is to provide stability for my (arthritic) ankles. My new hiking boots and I weren’t love at first sight, but I can’t wait to see how comfortably they will boost my poor arthritic knees up the next mountain.

I don’t actually believe in fate, but once you go Hoka, you can’t go back.

*****

To go down the Hoka rabbit hole: https://www.hokaoneone.com/

To visit my awesome local gear shop, J&H Lanmark: https://jhoutdoors.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=gmb_organic

G is for Gratitude

I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, during which I’ll write a blog post every day in April except Sundays. The topic for the first day begins with the letter A and I’ll work my way down to writing about something beginning with Z on my last day.

This year I’m going to choose a random word for the blog post topic, but I’m going to tie it into a memoir I’m working on about Nanny, my maternal grandmother. I hope this will allow me to think about her in a more creative way and unlock new memories to mine.

Here we go!

G is for gratitude. It may sound cheesy and unoriginal, but it’s the truth. I’m grateful for gratitude.

I’ve written about gratitude before and how I would not have gotten through the last several years without it. I promise that is not an exaggeration. Perspective is everything.

I keep a gratitude journal. I write down three things I am grateful for every day. Well, almost every day. Sometimes I’m too overwhelmed or tired to pick up a pen before my head hits the pillow. G is also for Grace.

There are no rules for my gratitude journal except that I must write down three things I’m grateful for each time I open it. Sometimes I’m grateful for big things like my health and that I was born in the United States. I’m thankful for friends and gardens and sunshine.

Sometimes I’m grateful for material things, like that I was lucky to go on vacation this year. Or that we were able to get the kids the electronic devices they wanted for Christmas.

Sometimes I’m grateful for tacos and beer. And lawn mowers that work so I don’t have to go to Lowe’s and learn enough about them to buy one. Exhausting! But how lucky am I then when my lawn mower fails I can go to Lowe’s and buy one? It’s a dent in the budget, sure, but it’s not like I’m not going to have to choose that over food. Or air conditioning.

Sometimes when my kids are driving me batshit crazy it is impossible to be grateful for their bickering little selves in that moment, but later at night when I open my journal, I am thankful that they arms to hit with and legs to kick with and voices of their own and opinions to voice. I’m thankful they are sassy and argue with me and stand up for themselves.

Sometimes when I miss my mom so desperately I think I might die, I shed some tears and then I’m grateful for all the good times and goofiness and love that I had with her over the years. I look at her pictures on the wall, thankful that I had a camera and money to get them developed, and show my kids their Grandsan and I’m glad they can see her larger than life personality.

I’m thankful my best friend picks up every time I call her. I’m grateful for all of my little tribes that love me when I’m ugly-crying and let me rage about politics and cuss and throw things.

I’m a fairly ordinary human being and I get jealous and envious and bitter just like everyone else. It’s really hard to be mad that I have a 10-year old car when that car takes me to work every day where I do good things and make money that puts food on the table and buys books and way more hiking boots than any one person should have.

It’s hard to be mad that my house needs some work and that’s going to cost money I don’t have or want to spend but I have a roof over my head, a furnace to keep me warm, and air conditioning to cool me off (thank God!).

It’s hard to be mad that I carry extra pounds when this body is almost 50 years old but birthed two babies and takes me up any mountain I want to climb, even if I get there slowly and huff and puff the whole time.

It’s hard to be mad that my insurance won’t cover all of an expensive antibiotic when there are people who have to ration insulin and can’t afford life-saving cancer treatment. I can pay for that antibiotic. Some folks can’t.

You get the picture. Gratitude is easy. Perspective is Every. Damn. Thing.

I wonder if Nanny had a gratitude practice if that would have given her perspective. She experienced a lot of sickness and grief in her life, but she also had a home and people who loved her. She drove them away with her demand for attention and loyalty and bitterness. As much as she loved to write, I can only image what a daily gratitude check-in might have done for her. To write on paper what made her happy. Maybe she was incapable of that because of her mental illness, but maybe not. Who knows? We’ll never know.