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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i thought i was going to write about weeding

April 11, 2020

I should be outside. It’s partly sunny. The temperature is warming up. MTB is working away in the backyard, bringing her botanical vision to life. She’s a god damn garden genius. It’s gonna be an oasis back there.

But I am sitting at the one desk we have. Reading news, window shopping online, listening to podcasts. Despair. I feel it right there, under the skin. We stopped the world and it’s collapsing in on itself.

The two retail shops closest to us that are open are a gun shop and weed shop. How did gun shops become essential businesses? Rhetorical question, I know. Americans are gun obsessed. Our minds have become so twisted or so defeated by firearm fanaticism that we can’t even bring ourselves to do one fucking meaningful thing to protect kids. I’m talking teenagers, adolescents, children. You know.

Some states are trying to use the pandemic to ban abortions, which is a disgusting abuse of power, by the way. But no governors are using the pandemic for gun control, which is pathetic. The NRA, which was losing some clout, is newly invigorated. Gun and ammunition sales are sky rocketing. Gun control is a public health issue. We aren’t just having a global public health crisis. We are in below ground zero public health crisis. In the upside down. But god forbid, a mother fucker can’t go buy a god damn gun.

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i’ve got work to do

April 10, 2020

Our dog won’t stop barking at me. I’m on a zoom call with MD (we do a weekly writing group) and our dog Billie is furiously barking. I think she gets fired up by all the voices coming out of the computer. I tried earbuds tonight. But then MTB came in the room carrying her computer or phone and someone was talking out of that device. Barking ensued.

I’ve stopped talking to write and Billie has stopped barking. A miracle.

I was on a work meeting video call today, and the person I was meeting with has a young child who had discovered the doorbell. Ding dong. Ding dong. Ding dong . . . and it’s not like my colleague could mute herself, as our meeting required conversation. We both laughed. We still got our work done.

I’m on a lot of work video call meetings and there’s something very endearing about seeing my colleagues in their homes, often in a sweatshirt, mussy hair, dogs barking, kids walking through the frame in the background. Inevitably, someone is eating something that involves unwrapping something in polypropylene wrapper, like a power bar, or pulling something out of a polypropylene bag, like a potato chip, and the bag or the bar is sitting right by the computer mic, and the noise from polypropylene is exponentially loud.

The performative work self has been undone, at least at my job. We’re getting work done, a boat load of work, but without wearing our work facade, which in the past could get in the way of getting work done. It’s fitting. Hunker down. Get real. Get shit done. It would be weird if it were any other way.

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staying home

April 6, 2020

Did I brush my teeth today? That question pops up in my brain almost every afternoon. I don’t like to brush my teeth before I have my coffee and these days I have my coffee right away when I first get up. And if it’s a work day, I just start working while I’m waiting for the water to boil.

When I was going into the office, I would brush my teeth first thing when I got up and then have my first cup of coffee at my desk. As a bike commuter, (or am I now a former bike commuter?) with a longer than average commute, it never worked for my gut to ingest more than a glass of water before my ride.

But I get it – what’s happening with the tooth brushing thing. I need a new routine. I need to adjust to the new shape of my days, really, the new shape of all of our days, that’s been imposed on us by the pandemic. Or really it’s the shapelessness of our days that feels so impossible. But creating structure for myself has never been my strong suit. And right now, I’m angry and sad and feel scared, and I don’t want to fucking create a new routine so I make sure to brush my teeth every day.

Yes, I am being hyperbolic. And stupid. And trying to make a point out of a low stakes something, which maybe didn’t work. I don’t know.

MTB went grocery shopping today. One of the other shoppers was wearing an N95 mask. GD and MB walked with their kids to Irvington park to find about maybe 20 people bunched up around the basketball courts watching a pick-up game. On Instagram and Facebook, I’m still seeing photos of friends at beach or on a trail. I don’t get it. It’s both disheartening and infuriating.

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April 3, 2020

Right now, I’m in a squat off with my friend BH. She texts me, SQUAT, and I get up from my desk and do 30 squats. My bike thighs are already starting to give way. I’m hoping the squats will salvage them, at least kind of. Right now we doing 4 sets, so 120 total squats. My plan is to increase our sets by 1 a week until we are at 10 sets of 30 or 300 squats.

My other friend, MD, has workout flash cards, illustrating all sorts of body weight exercises. Core strength is what they are currently into. Tonight, on our Zoom hang out, we talked about V-ups for a good 5 minutes .

Most days, MTB does hot yoga in the back room of our house, courtesy a space heater turned on high. Sadly, her online yoga class often freezes up We have a bandwidth issue and often at the same time she is doing yoga, I’m video conferencing for work. We tried to upgrade our internet connection, but that would mean some dude coming into our house to hook us up with a new modem. No thanks.

When we went to Target a couple of weeks ago, we’d been hoping to score a jump rope and some 20 lb barbells, but the workout and fitness aisles were almost laid bare. All that was left were some 3 lb weights, an exercise ball and a couple of yoga mats. It was unexpected. And the unexpectedness felt jarring.

I bought some new running shoes. I’ve had them for a week. So far all I’ve done in them is march up and down a single step stool for a half hour while watching episodes about Gwenyth Paltrow’s horrible Goop enterprise. But the weather has been crap. Cold and rainy, and I’m not going to start up running until the sun comes back out.

I can’t tell, am I newly interested in body or trying to keep my anxiety and depression at bay? Am I dabbling with some magical thinking that fitness is going to protect me or that fitness proves I’m ok? I think all of it’s true. And in the absence of testing, my fitness is a sign to me, that today, I’m ok.

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