Tuesday, March 24, 2020

quarantine, week two

The tl;dr is that this still feels mostly like my regular life, minus the constant undercurrent of anxiety.

I had a virtual lunch with my work from home friend today. Who lives in my neighborhood, saw me out walking my dog this weekend, and got lunch from the same restaurant as me before we got on facetime. She agrees - for us, not much has changed.

Houston took on a safe working initiative today which is our version of a lock down. I don't want local restaurants to fail but I don't understand how they are exempt from this? However, I won't complain.

So this weekend, we wanted to support local. I'm honestly really torn on this. How are you handling it? Houston's food scene is predicted to take a while to recover from this (already, and longer the longer this goes on...) so we want to support where we can while we can. And we like to eat. So we spent most of our time in the car but got to-go food from several places to enjoy over the weekend. We didn't touch surfaces, stood away from counters and tables while waiting for our order, and complied with each restaurant's preferences. And we were sure to tip. We used hand sanitizer between each stop, too. Is that good enough? Am I helping to flatten the curve enough while still trying to do a small part to keep the economy afloat?

Anyway. I had been meaning to go to HomeGoods before all of this and wish I had because now it's like an itch I can't scratch. Obviously, even if it were open, I wouldn't go, but it is a thing that's like, hmmm, wish I could do that. I also miss thrifting but I think it's going to take a long time before that feels safe. And, we cleaned out a bunch of stuff to donate, so I wonder when I can get all of that from my house? These are very trivial things but I wanted to document them, because why not?

Pippi is supposed to get spayed on April 3rd. It was included with her adoption fee, but we have to go to a vet that the shelter uses and not our own. Which is fine. I just keep checking the vet's website to see if they are doing procedures. Are the same PPEs needed for pet surgery? I really, really don't want to deal with a dog in heat but I do want people who need lifesaving treatment and those giving that treatment to have what they need. I'm not like certain Texas politicians willing to let one entity suffer to save another. I can't with that.

Work is busy and every time we think we are moving forward, someone comes up and needs us to do a thing, fast. I honestly really like it and enjoy what I'm doing - trying to script a virtual event and troubleshoot all the tech needs. It keeps me busy and is a new challenge and the days fly by. Gives me way less time to watch the news, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

blogging in the time of quarantine

I'm torn between no one cares and wanting to document and today, the latter is winning.

Consuming too much coronavirus info is overwhelming but content that is fluffy feels wrong. I feel like this is a thing I'll want to look back on to see how I handled it, so there is nowhere to document like the internet!

So, first thing's first - we are in the early stages of all things shutting down and so far, I don't feel that different. Andrew has jokingly called me a shut-in since I started working from home, and it looks like he was kinda right.

It isn't unusual for me to only leave the house to walk the dog on a work day. Some days, I go to the gym. Usually on Fridays, we go out to eat. Saturdays and Sundays are normal weekend things - brunch and/or dinner, groceries, errands. This past weekend, we had a family party, grabbed takeout from a restaurant in town, and then got groceries and pet food on Sunday. It felt normal. On Monday, Andrew worked from home but went and got us lunch to-go and ran to Costco since I didn't realize we were nearly out of toothpaste and dish soap. Today, he's at work - his boss wants them to work on a staggered schedule. So again - it feels pretty normal.

I feel weird for not feeling different. I'm trying to be extra understanding of those who do. Workwise, when you have the word "events" in your title, things are a little strange, so after the need to cancel everything is over, I'm working to fill my days with things that will make my work easier in the future. I'm trying to make the fact that I can't go out - or at least, I shouldn't - more bearable. Some days, having a puppy is tiring and I need a break from her, so I would go to the gym. Now, that isn't an option, so I am trying to do more things to wear her out or calm her puppy behavior. She is teething now and it's no joke. I understand why she wants to chew my hands incessantly, but I don't have to like it.

Stores here are still open and while light on a few things, we were able to get what we need. Restaurants have to be to-go only, so I'm already anticipating the places we will support this weekend (responsibly, of course). I'm trying to think about what we can do this weekend - clean out the garage? Teach Pippi a new trick? Choose movies for the other to watch?

I'm loving the virtual things to take part in, like Chris Martin's impromptu concert. I went and listened to an Avett Brothers Tiny Desk Concert from 2009. Headspace has meditations aimed at reducing stress and anxiety and even three minutes makes a difference. I'm trying to find little silver linings amidst all of the scary parts.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

first books of 2020

Last year, I documented all my books on Instagram, and while I liked that, my effort to keep it short meant that I didn't fully capture my thoughts, though I did like doing it as a method of sharing. And since not everyone can add a swipe-up (a swipe-up to goodreads would be super handy!), I wondered if sharing a book in that way even made sense. Bre is keeping a paper book journal and that also sounds like a thing I would like but I haven't made time for it yet. So, that said, I have a few minutes on a call to write some book thoughts so I don't totally forget what I have read this month, so far.

The Chelsea Girls - I started this in December and pushed through it for whatever reason. I think by the time I realized I didn't care about it much, I had invested too much time. There was one aspect that I was really interested in, but for whatever reason, it felt like the characters were always at arm's length and I just never got into it. Two stars.

Things You Save in a Fire - Brene Brown recommended this in her old newsletter and the author has Texas connections so I added it to my list. If you like TJR, you may like Katherine Center. Both of her books I've read have a woman dealing with a major life event and seeming fairly human through it all. By human, I mean that I don't think a ton is romanticized and there is an element of realness to their actions, thoughts, and problems. I liked this, despite being over the trope of closed-off female character whose life would be easier if she just talked to someone, so I added another of the author's books to my hold list at the library right away. Four stars.

Before We Were Strangers - This cover was really appealing and I've read some YA books that the author had written, so I was interested in a more adult story. This book went back and forth between the character's present selves (mid-30s) and college selves which worked for the story. It still had a bit of YA-perfect man syndrome (you know what I mean? Where the male love interest is so dreamy and the only one who really SEES her...) and was highly improbable in my opinion, but it did keep me interested. Three stars.

How to Walk Away - My second Katherine Center book. Her books are easy romances but when the mood strikes and the library delivers, I go for it. There was a lot of conflict in this book (at least one plotline that I maybe could have lived without), but I always love when a book that has a solid epilogue that tells you fairly far into the future. Four more stars.

I'm currently reading the biography of Mr. Rogers since I loved the doc about his life, but it is s-u-p-e-r slow and keeps putting me to sleep, so it may become a DNF. How do you log your reading? Is that important to you? I rarely, if ever, remember a book beyond a few weeks, so I need a little something to jog my memory.

Linking up with Steph and Jana for the first time in forever!

Friday, December 13, 2019

the story of pippi

This is mostly pulled from an email to Bre which is why it is especially rambly but it's been almost two weeks and I haven't devoted a post to our newest family member yet!

So after losing Duncan, Andrew and I decided we wanted another dog. One that was ours from the beginning and that we chose. I wanted an older dog. He wanted a puppy and would not budge. I finally caved after he made many, many promises to be the best dog dad ever, even though we both knew that my work from home schedule meant that I would have the most time with it and have to do a lot more work, considering.

So we looked all over the place and really liked several dogs with Operation Pets Alive, which pulls dogs from the Montgomery Co. Animal Shelters - often puppies or pregnant moms - and then gets dogs ready for homes, of course. We felt super strongly about adopting a rescue and really wanted a puppy smaller than Bauer (who is currently 15 lbs). Andrew preferred a dog that would get to 30-40 lbs, but for me, the smaller, the better.

So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Andrew was in Austin, but I decided to take a drive to all four adoption events that rescue had that day. I saw some dogs that were cute, but I didn't want to make a decision on my own without him getting to meet it since this was going to be our family member for the next decade or more. Then the two I liked most were adopted. Sad for me. So we got back on the website and there was a litter of four cute puppies and nothing was known about them but they were small and adorable. We put in an application for one because she seemed like the smallest, but she had already been adopted. I put in our email that we were interested in any from the litter and then I stalked the website every day to see if the other three pups were still listed (and therefore, eligible for adoption). There was lots of waiting and follow up (it was Thanksgiving week and our application was somehow "lost" so I'm glad I did!) and when I was finally able to talk to their foster mom, I told her we wanted Pippi (FKA Freckle Nose) as our first choice but were still pretty open to the others. Andrew especially liked the only boy puppy. The foster mom told us she would be at an adoption event on Saturday and we should come meet her and the whole litter. So we planned to do so.

I was so ready to have a dog. We went out on Black Friday and got all the things we thought we would need or want for a puppy to bring home the next day. There were good sales and I like to be prepared!

We got to the event before the time we were asked to arrive and there were tons of people around the crate with that litter. The boy dog was already out of the crate and snuggling someone else, and then he peed on them and I was able to quickly say "nope, not the one for us." We took Pippi out of her crate and snuggled her and she was very cozy and licked Andrew's nose and was a good size and just overall, very puppy cute. I introduced myself to the foster mom and she told us and some others that there were a lot of applications for that litter and after that day and seeing who came and reviewing when applications came in, she would determine who could get each dog. And i was SO sad. I was ready to go home with a dog that day and I wanted to used car salesman her and be like, "what do we have to do to bring this puppy home today?" She just felt like she should be ours.

I was really bummed so I put her back in her crate and since there were a ton of people around talking to the foster mom and wanting to check out "our" pup, I told Andrew we should go inside the mall (the adoption was right outside) and run a few errands and maybe when we came out, we could chat with the foster mom some more. About 15 minutes later, the foster mom texted me saying she had wanted to chat with me more and I immediately texted back that we were still there, just running an errand inside, and could be right back. So we came back out and she said "You are first on the list for her, she is yours today if you want her!" So yes duh, we did. We had a long list of girl names in case we took the other girl in her litter, a few boy names in case we took the one Andrew wanted, and I had said from the beginning that if we took Freckle Nose, her name had to be Pippi and Andrew agreed, so that was easy enough.

Pippi and her siblings were found - no idea about the parents. They were bottle fed and had hookworm and all kinds of crazy ailments and she almost died. The tip of her tail fell off! But you wouldn't know it now, other than her size! She was 8.5 weeks and 5.5 lbs when we got her and we are guessing her birthday to be around October 1st.

I have no idea how to have a puppy. The first two nights, she cried in her pen next to our bed, but she is doing a lot better now. I was also waking up at 2am to take her out to the bathroom but that is no longer really necessary (yay!). We are working on house training (not TOO bad, honestly. most of her accidents are our fault). However, since I am always home, she does NOT like to be left alone. She will climb out of her puppy pen and chew cords (RIP Apple Watch charger) and make messes, so I am working to get her more comfortable there and leaving her in her pen, even if I'm home. She likes to chew which i know is a puppy thing and has a bit of a witching hour from 8pm - 10pm where she wants to nip, bark, growl, and act more aggressive than usual. Bauer can barely stand be in the same room as her unless he chooses to do so, and then he stares at her to rile her up. I miss him because he won't snuggle with us. I did have a bit of a meltdown over the weekend because between Christmas prep and having a puppy, my brain was just... tired. If I wasn't taking care of the dog, I was researching what to do to stop a certain behavior or reading about training or food and if I wasn't doing THAT, I was stressing about Christmas. It is hard and if it's 1/100th of what having a baby is like... man moms, y'all are fantastic. Pip is a total lap dog and more often than not, lays in my lap when I get down to play with her. She eats all things fuzzy and enjoys acorn tops and rocks as well as her numerous chew toys. She has learned to sit really, really well, so now we have to master some new tricks. It has been a tiring two weeks, I can't believe how much she has grown, and I still need to read all the training books but I'm excited to have her in the family!

(And yes, she has taken over my instagram account if you need more puppies in your life!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

political thoughts

I feel like five people read my blog but twitter is owned by bots and trolls so this feels like a safer space to say all the political things I want to tweet.

- George Zimmerman needs to take a seat.

- Mayor Pete, also, please stop. I am very sad about Kamala Harris. I hadn't looked into her TOO much (I haven't looked into anyone too much, the pool is too deep) but I much prefer her to Ben Wyatt.

- How is 45 still in office and is this hellscape presidency over yet? I heard family members supporting him over the holiday and really all they could say is he has done good things for their retirement accounts. I wanted to "OK Boomer" them but I may be too old for that?

- I didn't understand a single word of the impeachment hearings. I need a version of The Skimm that tries less hard. Does this exist?

- RBG, please make it at least til January 2021. AT LEAST. I know that date assumes a lot of things that are up in the air but it seems like an optimistic and realistic ask.

- NBC seems to have a huge HR problem among its ranks (see: Gabrielle Union, Matt Lauer, Ronan Farrow's entire book). You're a huge company. You can hire top talent to manage your "top talent" (in quotes because I watch none of their shows and am 100% an ABC watcher). Be better.

- I recently and with a bit of skepticism read Sisters First by Jenna and Barbara Bush. I wanted nonfiction that wasn't full of sadness but I was ready to DNF if it didn't grab my attention. I honestly, truly enjoyed it which I do feel conflicted about in some ways. But, they told really good stories and highlighted that they are not the same as their family members and they can love someone while disagreeing with them, even when what that person wants impacts the WHOLE country. It was very humanizing on what it must be like to play this weird part in history when you had no say in it at all (they even told their dad NOT to run!)

Surely I have more thoughts, but this works for now. I did terribly on blogging every weekday in November but hey, I think I posted more that  month than the rest of 2019 combined so I'll call it a win!