what day is it anyway

May 29, 2020

I’m having a day. A crap day. I’m tired. Work feels hard. The house is annoying me. The dogs are driving me up the wall, specifically, their barking. So much fucking barking. My hair looks bad. This morning when I brushed my teeth and spit in the sink, there was some blood; I’m vaguely worried about that. I feel like I am getting a cold, but I have felt something kind of similar on and off all of this spring, so it’s probably the same allergies as always. Fingers crossed. I’m sick of doing any number of things every damn day, such as the dishes, cooking food, putting away all the shit one of us left sitting out, dealing with cat pee . . . same damn thing on a different day, but last week I literally got my days wrong and was telling everyone I talked on Monday that it was Tuesday. Fail.

We bought pulse oximeter. We’ve been taking our readings every day. It’s replaced the ritual of taking our temperature. How does one even know were are getting a valid reading from this gadget? But we looked up the range and apparently a reading of 90 or lower means trouble.

I want to build a tool shed so we can move the tools out of big shed and transform it into some kind of extra space for hanging out. Hopefully. But I’m caught up in a stage of constant research, which is what I do when I’m taking on a project that I’ve not done before and is a little ambitious, skill wise. So many of the toolshed plans you can download for free are for sheds that look like crap. And this shed is going to take up a prominent and visible space in out backyard so looking like crap is not an option. At some point I need to just pull the trigger; place an order with Lowes. Build the damn thing until I run into a barrier. Ugh. Isn’t there some horrible quote about how nothing worth while comes easy. I’d look it up, but then it would seem, like that quote is something that I roll off the tip of my tongue, which is not true and that untruth makes my post feel less authentic to me.

It’s not like I can escape curating myself. I curated myself before the onset of our shared digital life, and my digital self, i.e. in the 70’s and 80’s. But I do want to try and capture something real about this very unreal time. I just had to stop myself for looking up a replacement for the word “unreal.”

Yesterday, MTB and I rode our bikes to pick up very mediocre carry out tamales. It was beautiful weather for a ride. Sunny. Warm but not hot. A little wind. Nice route. Residential streets. Lots of big trees. Lots of nice yards. Back home and after dinner, I though about how it was like riding around a ghost town, but we, the living, we’re the ghosts. Not even sure this analogy works. It’s just everyone is right there and at the same time everyone is out of reach. And it’s so very lonely. Collective loneliness.

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self reflection

May 15, 2020

I cannot escape myself. Have I said this already? I refuse to go back and re-read recent posts to find out. I want to try and write from this moment. Knowing me, it’s hard to believe I haven’t recently said this thing about not escaping myself. And yet every time I realize that inescapable truth it feels like a new discovery. Aha, I say to myself – look what I’ve figured out. But I bet if I read back, I would see I’m going full circle with this self discovery. I just keep coming back to the same place.

Today, on my bike ride, I was thinking about about how the one that changes as you age, if you’re lucky, is you get to know yourself better. And in knowing yourself better, you get the chance to be more real with yourself and people around you. This probably sounds like platitudes, but I mean it on a deep level. When I say know yourself, I mean know who you are how you act when things are going to pieces in all the ways things can go to pieces, big and small.

Take jealousy. When someone says, I don’t get jealous, that throws up a big read flag to me. It says to me that person is living some kind of fantasy about who they are. Because of course they get jealous, and what’s important to for other people and that person to know is who are they and how they are in their jealous state. Are they mean and petty? Do they shut down? Get clingy? Get vindictive?

You get into your fifties and you’ve probably experienced more jealousy, more disappointment, more anger . . . more ugly junk than you did in your 30’s. Just through accrual.

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Television

May 15, 2020

May 7th, Right now MTB is in the other room watching an old season of Love Island. Sometimes I watch with her. I often need to turn on closed captioning because I can’t make out the accents. It’s as good trash TV as any.

I’ve been watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, starting with the first season, in 2008. It’s like opening a time capsule. Every now and then it makes me feel nostalgic, but it doesn’t make me miss real life, the way watching High Maintenance or Insecure does.

TV is my thing right now. Podcasts were my thing, but the podcasts I listen to to pile on the bad news until it turns brutal, and I am only good for so much brutality. So instead I’m deep into TV. Reality shows, because they are so far from my real life that they are provide a much needed escape valve – Top Chef, Vanderpump Rules, Summer House, Drag Race, The Challenge, Listen to Your Heart, in addition to the aforementioned, Real Housewives. I’m also re-watching The Wire, inspired by Jemele Hill’s recap podcast, Down in the Hole. I’m saving Normal People and the Michael Jordan documentary. For what I don’t know. Worse times? I wish I hadn’t already re-watched the L Word and the Real L Word this winter, as those would be perfect binge worthy vehicles for escape.

I’ve not watched any of the TV on zoom, the disney sing alongs, the late shows, Saturday Night Live, the Parks and Rec reunion. I love the idea of adaptation, but it’s not what I want from my TV shows right now.

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do the damn thing

May 1, 2020

A short bike ride is better than no bike ride. Doing 10 squats is better than doing none. Lifting weights 2 times a week is better than not lifting weights at all. It should be obvious, right?!?

One thing happening for me during this pandemic is I can’t distract myself from inner self saboteur and the stranglehold of my perfectionism. When I jumped myself into BH’s daily squat regimen of 4 sets of 30 squats, before I’d even completed a day’s worth of squats, I was texting her about how every week we were going increase our sets by + 1 until we were doing 300 total squats a day, at which point we would increase our reps. That was at the start of the month. Since then, there’s not been even one week where I’ve even knocked out all 4 sets every day.

Normally, I would give up. Not only because I wasn’t getting the minimum squats done, which my 300 squat aspirational self made sure of, but also because my future self makes my real time self feel like a loser. So fuck you future self. Saboteur wins.

The saving grace is BH doesn’t care about my saboteur or my future self/aspirational self. She just sends texts that say “squat.” And many times I do, and sometimes I don’t. Same for her. Even better, we jumped our friend, MD into our squat club, so now the 3 of us text each other, “squat,” Every week, inevitably one of us gives up part way through a day, or for a day or two or three. But then we start up again.

I had no idea that my squatting with these friends unravel my saboteur a little. It’s an unexpected experience.

Today, I was riding up a short and steep hill. Effortful. But as I crested the top, I noticed I wasn’t thinking about all the bullshit I usually think about, like why am I not going so slow. . .this wouldn’t be so hard if road more hills more often. . .I’m gong to do that tomorrow – ride mores hills. I got to the top of the hill and was just like thinking that was hard but doable.

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Aren’t we all feeling this way

April 24, 2020

I had thought I would post daily. I guess not. Makes sense, even if its vaguely disappointing. The only thing I do every day is eat some oreo cookies, drink 2 cups of coffee and sleep like crap. Posting here seems to have been relegated into the realm of exercise, meaning something I do regularly, more or less, but aspire to do more. The pandemic has not made made me better at either of these things, posting or working out. I am exactly who I was before the pandemic, as far as getting shit done.

MTB was wearing a sweatshirt today commando style, i.e. no bra. A very early lesbian look. Reminded me of a lot of dykes who were around when I came out. Always braless. Flashing back to those times, for a second, I thought I had insight about my generation of dykes who came out in the early 80’s, and how maybe how we bridged the gap between 70’s lesbians and 90’s dykes, and how that was cool. But then I also remembered how many dykes of my generation turned out to be hateful TERFS, and I didn’t care so much pursuing that insight.

I have had an on and off again, low grade headache since self isolation orders went into effect. And a stuffy nose. And sometimes a sore throat. Hasn’t gotten worse. Hasn’t gotten better. Fucking allergies and I can’t seem to remember to take claritin at regular intervals. There is at least one moment every day where I think, this headache is different or this sore throat is itchy. Do I have COVID-19? Is this how it starts? Is everyone having a similar experience? Aren’t we all at least vaguely scared of getting sick or of someone we know and love getting sick?

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i didn’t mean for the whole post to be about biking

April 18, 2020

Got out for an early afternoon bike ride today. Much better than after work rides, as far as making safe space for passing all the foot traffic in the streets these day. More bike riders out, though. Mostly spandexed ones. Only 1 or 2 of those dudes not passing with as much room as I wish they would.

I’ve worked out a couple routes that include some hills to boost the level of intensity, especially because I’ve solely been riding my townie bike since the isolation orders. My townie bike is my 12 year old Surly Long Haul Trucker (maybe first edition) that I converted into my version of a cruiser with cafe or granny handle bars, a 2 ring crank and 8 ring cassette, some bigger tires, and for a while, a basket upfront. It’s not something I ride because I want to get somewhere more quickly, as in it’s not my commuting bike. It’s something I ride because I want to slow down, look around, talk to whoever I’m riding with, at least I used to do that, the talking part, in different times.

I’ve been riding my townie since the pandemic-isolation because everything else feels so intense, and I wanted riding to feel the opposite of that. My commuting bike, a Surly Straggler, has clip in pedals and drop bars and I feel more dialed in when I ride it, more exertional. (Am I even using that word right?) The townie vibe is dialed down. It’s more like I ride a bike and less like I’m a cyclist. Not that I identify as a cyclist. If I’m forced to claim a biking identity, it’s definitely commuter.

In my mind, I have written whole books about the experience of bike commuting, and how broken the transportation system is in the US when it comes to support for bike commuting, and broken is a gigantic understatement.* What I hadn’t anticipated, during these times, was still having shitty experiences with people driving cars. There may not be a lot of cars on the road, but the ones out there are being driven at excessive speeds. Excessive. Even on residential streets. It sucks. A lot.

* Also does gigantic mean giant XXL? I refuse to abandon my blog to go look up a word, again. I’ve already looked up synonym’s for intense. Also this is my experiment with a footnotey thing. It’s not an actual footnote because I don’t have the syntax or formatting.

People dr

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what’s not working

April 17, 2020

I haven’t baked any bread. I haven’t sent emails to old exes. I’m not doing online work-outs everyday. The basement is still the same mess it was 2 months ago. I’ve not

I’m not being relentlessly productive. I don’t see this an opportunity to improve myself. To quote Larry Kramer, “we’re in the middle of a fucking plague.”

The other day I was listened to a podcast interview with Elizabeth Warren. Listening to her, I felt both calm and sad. Go listen to it yourself, you’ll see. It’s like being in an alternate reality, where for an hour you let yourself believe in government, you let yourself believe in leadership, you let yourself believe we can get through this an not destroy ourselves. I forgot what it was like to let myself believe that.

I’m never sure what I want to write about here. I sit down with one idea, often an opening line, and then I end up somewhere else. Or I end up no where, which is the case today. Stuck.

We are all stuck. And by we, I mean we, the world.

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i don’t have a title for this

April 16, 2020

I am feeling sad today. Actually, sad’s not the right word. I am feeling some despair today. Probably, like a level one kind of despair. Like if despair were an iceberg, I’m at the tip. Or if despair were a language I’m just learning how to count.

Maybe I’ve gotten over saturated by news and podcasts. There is only one real story – the virus. And our lives and the world we live in are forever changed by it, which feels impossible to really acknowledge. Right outside the door someone is mowing their yard and the neighbor’s is playing Led Zeppelin on their stereo and the mail carrier is walking down the street and there’s sunshine and flowers, none of which fits with image of the end of the world as we know it, which is the prevailing headline.

Every day I do a pointless google search for news on “COVID-19 treatments.” It’s like sending up a prayer for a miracle cure or wishing on a shooting star to win the lottery. I do this even though I know if there were substantial news on the treatment front, it would be covered in every news outlet.

I should put on a mask and get on my bike or go for a walk.

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a list of things that work

April 15, 2020

Here are some of the things that are working for me right now. These things aren’t ranked in any particular order and this list is not exhaustive.

  • Oreos
  • Reality TV
  • Doing squats when my friend texts me to SQUAT
  • An occasional diet coke
  • MTB’s face in the morning
  • A clean house
  • Flowers and flowering trees
  • Claritin
  • A salad with red lettuce, thin slices of pear and avocado, candied walnuts, and pickled red onions on top
  • Walking the dogs with MTB
  • Scrambled eggs and maple pork sausage links
  • Our back yard
  • How our dogs love to snuggle
  • Thinking about our friends moving into the house down the street
  • Podcasts
  • Two cups of coffee in the morning
  • My job
  • My hair looking ok for now
  • Making up songs with MTB
  • The people I work with
  • Facetiming while I cook
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Sweatpants
  • The way MTB laughs when things crack her up
  • A shower in the morning
  • Wearing camouflage shorts
  • The internet
  • The shade of white paint in our bedroom
  • Bird songs
  • The extra room in our house where MTB and can I take turns doing things by ourselves
  • Bike rides
  • Bandanas
  • That Elizabeth Warren is still talking about plans

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i wish i could sleep better

April 12, 2020

I used to be such a good sleeper. I fell asleep. I stayed asleep. Around 10 years ago that changed. I started waking myself up a lot moving around the bed, constantly changing positions. Then menopause hit, bringing night sweats, which are impossible to sleep through. Now, as I close in on 60, I’m just aging, and research shows that aging means you often have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Even as night sweats have lessened in intensity, aging has not, thankfully, as the alternative to not aging is a grim option. But this not very good sleep situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Most nights I get shitty sleep, waking with racing thoughts or a broken heart or startled by fear.

That was the case last night. At 2:30 and 4:30, I was awake enough that I considered going out to the couch or the day bed in the back room to read or listen to a podcast. This is the third I’ve awoken like this this week. I tried the day bed the first time and the couch the second, and I tossed and turned the rest of the night.

Predictably, I woke up tired this morning. Low buzz of irritation and anxiety right beneath the sleepy surface. And a perfect backdrop to do my part in escalating a disagreement with MTB about going to the grocery store, into a fight. It was stupid. I felt shitty. MTB felt shitty. The shitty feeling casting a shadow into the afternoon, long after the fight was over.

I think MTB and I are doing pretty good managing our lives together in our small house, with 2 dogs, 1 of whom can be ALOT at night when she devolves into a barking spell that lasts an hour or so. But we can’t do KIT (keeping it together) all the time. I’m not immune to the crummier parts of myself. And I’m only really aware, at least helpfully aware, of my diminished capacity in hindsight.

It’s better now. I wrote this blog. MTB is doing yoga. I’m going to make a pot of black beans for the second week in a row.

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