Monday, March 30, 2020

Quarantine Diaries #3

Starting this very day, there will be structure and order in our lives.

Well, that's my intention, but let's be honest: we'll probably end the day in a big pile of steaming failure.

But, wait!

Optimism, hope, and incremental progress!

Here's the plan: the children's online learning begins. For this first week, their learning is all asynchronous, but I've decided everyone will work from nine until noon. OR, they can work from ten until one. It's their choice. Either way, a snack break can occur at the 90-minute mark of the work period. If there is no work to be done, they can read or do Khan Academy or study for the ACTs, or, let's face it, they could just pretend to work, and I'd never know.

Dan said while making his latte, "I can't wait to see how today goes."

I said, "I notice you let me be the one to tell them about the routines."

Dan laughed in a guilty little way he does when he has, in fact, shifted responsibility in my direction. "Well, you're a teacher."

I raised an eyebrow. "You have to help enforce."

"I will!" Dan seemed sure about this, but I felt suspicious.

"You can't say, 'Your mother says.'"

He promises he won't. I'll report back. Optimism, hope, and incremental progress. Eye roll.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Quarantine Diaries #2: Status Report


My stomach: It's slightly on the upset side, I think because I've been eating too much dairy. Dairy doesn't, in general, agree with me; and many times in my life, I've cut it out altogether.

But quarantine doesn't seem like the time for restriction, and in fact, I've met social isolation with cheddar and mozzarella and marble jack. I don't regret it one bit except for the stomachache.

Media: I've been reading some, but I'd like to read more.

Meanwhile, I've been watching some excellent television. Dan and I are three episodes from the finale of The Americans. We're highly invested. Please don't tell us any spoilers for that show. The writers are brilliant and they hit almost every required note from a storytelling standpoint. I can't wait to see how they draw it to a close. Further, my friend Nicole introduced me to American Vandal on Netflix. She and I watched the first episode using Netflix Party where you watch the show and have a sidebar chat (Quarantine Fun!), and I laughed so hard that I made Shef come down and I rewatched it with him. He also laughed.

Apparently, I only want to watch shows with America in the title. Because, patriotism?

Book Work: I'm in revisions. I'm getting there. Someday, people will get to read my second book, and that someday will be next spring.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Quarantine Diaries #1

I haven't written here in a while. Did you know I've been blogging once a week over at The Debutante Ball?

That's all fine and good, but it's not the same as writing here as I have for the last sixteen years. Maybe now's the time, since I can't leave my house really. And none of us can.

The times are strange and scary. Here's what I haven't been doing:

  • Brushing my hair.
  • Wearing tops other than sweatshirts.
  • Curling my eyelashes or applying mascara.
  • Cleaning the basement.
  • Cutting back on carbs.
  • Culling the Beanie Baby collection.
Here's what I have been doing:
  • Working on my second book. The revisions are due April 13th, and I'll be done before that. As part of this process, I've been thinking about mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, junior high, graffiti, adoption, SnapChat, therapy, and interior design. I've been thinking about these topics among other things, like repeating images and clever connections between storylines.
  • Cooking and supervising food preparation. Constantly. All day, basically, someone wants to eat.
  • Running.
  • Playing cards.
  • Counting coins.
  • Petting the dog. 
  • Walking the dog.
  • Speaking to the dog as if he's my best friend.
  • Preparing for the new dog. Yes, we're getting a new dog, a helper sibling for Teddy. It was supposed to be in May, but since we're all here on lockdown, we're getting her on Monday, which is my birthday. The cuteness is going to be on overload, and I'll probably write about it right here. Of course, there's always the possibility that I'll regret the puppy, but probably not. I hope there's not the possibility that I won't write about it, but I haven't exactly been consistent, and I don't feel like promising I'll try harder.
But I might. There's always hope.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Gratitude #2: The New Car

You might know I've driven a minivan for going on 10 years now. Because I like to copy everything Lee does, I started calling it the miniature van. This gave the vehicle an aura of importance, if you will, despite its many dings and scratches.

You almost could just overlook the dents on all four corners, which I incurred when I ran into various things. It's hard, as it turns out, to drive without hitting stuff.

But, I'll tell you what: I won't be hitting anything in my new-to-me car.

It's sporty. It's sleek. It's life-changing, zippy, and mind-blowing. I love it so much I've been dancing around in celebration of this marvelous piece of machinery.

I mean, the seats warm up, and the interior is black leather. I'm a new woman with a new, non-minivan identity. Next phase, baby!

When I picked up Mac in the carpool line the other day, he didn't look as thrilled as I felt to be in the new car.

"How was your day?" I asked.

"I almost got into five different white Audis," he said, shaking his head.

Apparently, a lot of the middle school moms are also in their next phase and also feeling as cool as I do.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Gratitude #1: A Memoir by an American Champion

Some of my friends are writing about gratitude this month. I'm also grateful, and I'd like to write about it.

Right this moment, I'm grateful for a book I recently read entitled, Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking Your Way to Victory by Deena Kastor. Kastor is the American Record holder in the marathon, so that's pretty cool right off the bat.

But, the thing I'm grateful for right this moment is this little approach she describes in the book about optimism and positive thinking. Here's a summary:

Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes. It doesn't do much good to fight against these. They're going to occur to you. The important thing is to hurry them along. Deena says, "Find a thought that serves you better."

Here's what she means: When you have a negative thought about something that you dread or that isn't going super well, acknowledge that thought, but then replace it with something that's going to help you move forward.

Here's an example negative thought that might occur to me when I'm running: "This pace is too fast. I don't know if I can hold it."
Here's the thought that might serve me better: "Take it one step at a time."

And here's a negative thought that might occur to me while I'm writing: "Wow, this chapter really sucks and makes zero sense."
And here's the thought that might serve me better: "Just write the bad stuff. It'll be so much easier to fix it later."

The bottom line here is, try to transform your thinking with gratitude and optimism. I in. Why not?