Wednesday, 24 February 2021

The Weather Broke My Car!

Ok, total click bait title there but a tiny bit true anyway!

Our cold snap the other week had cold temperatures, wind chill and then snow.  The first snow was on a Friday night and I drove home when it had just started to stick and I didn't drive it again until the roads were clear and the weather had warmed up.  (I wasn't avoiding driving, I just didn't need to so it wasn't an issue.)

By the time I did take my car out again, the streets were clear if wet, and there was snow piles around but I don't think I drove through any. It had also warmed up significantly and my weather app suggested it was around 6 (Celcius).  My car's "external temperature" thingy said it was minus 2.  I was pretty sure it wasn't minus two but maybe where I had parked it was colder and would warm up?  Nope.  -2.

Uh oh.

Next day, I drive it somewhere again.  This time the weather apps tell me it's somewhere around 8 degrees.  My car says it's negative two.  Crap.

I google sensor information for my vehicle.  No way to reset the system.  Hmmm... what to do.  I mean it's not like I can't live without knowing what the outside temperature is, but I don't like my instruments to be off and I'm used to having an idea of what the temperature outside is....

Next day.  Warm outside again.  Car now says -1.  Ok, progress!  It's moved!

And the next day I drove the system seemed to have fixed itself and was saying.... whatever. plus 6 or 8 or whatever it was, YAY!  No need to take it in anywhere.  (I had considered taking the battery out for a minute to see if that reset things, but no need to do anything anymore!)

My best guess is that the week of v. cold and very little driving confused the system somehow (since it is older now?)  Jason's guess is that maybe some snow got up to where the sensor is (near the radiator area or something?) and froze and maybe didn't unfreeze?  That kind of makes sense to me too, but I didn't like having something like that not working on my car and it kind of made me wary about my car now being older than I'd like to think it is (it's a 2010 after all, and that date keeps getting farther and farther away.... sigh) and that I'm not in a financial position to try for a new or newer car and, well, I'm attached to my car anyway but things and parts do age.  Even if I would rather they didn't.

So yeah, the weather broke my car.  Just a little.  I don't know how or why, and it seems to have fixed itself but that was a first!

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Marching Along

I keep seeing a tweet or a meme going around that says, like "how can March be next month when March was also last month" or something along those lines and I feel like I know exactly that feeling.  
Last March just happened.  I swear.  Probably because it was so traumatic or frightening or unusual or different or difficult or strange or unexpected or like NOTHING ANY OF US HAD EVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE or all of the above.  It maybe got seared into our brains in a way we didn't recognize fully at the time but March was just here.  Like... just.  So how is it it's a full year ago?  How?  Sure, I remember some of the moments of that span of time.

George Floyd and BLM.  My Covid test.  Summer and heat.  Birthdays at a distance.  Backyard distant visit with a friend.  The American election.  (We had one here too, a byelection, but I voted by mail and kind of forgot about it).  The American... other stuff.... insurrection.  All the upset.  Bad months.  October was awful.  January was really hard.  Oh, right, Christmas, and my birthday and we just finished talking about Valentine's day right?  So I KNOW all these things happened, I was there, I remember them, but the year that has apparently just passed doesn't feel like a year.  It just doesn't.

And when the snow started to melt and get rained away this last while I got a little sad.  That's really the last of Winter.  And honestly, we had a super mild winter here, we really did.  We had a couple of cold stretches and this last one had snow (the one previous snow fall was really patchy) and now it won't get cold again for months.  It's Spring now.  I'm not saying it's warm and sunny, I'm saying that's it for Winter.  We're on the warming path now.  The flip side.  The days even turned around mid December, you know?  But yeah, once February is over, we don't get those freezing days.  We can have cold days or wet days or chilly days but not like we just had.  We may even get a dusting of snow in Spring, but Winter is over.  And that made me sad.  We skipped Winter and while that's ok it's also a reminder of time passing.

Plus I'm already getting anxious about Summer heat and do you know how annoying it is that part of my brain does that?  Anticipates future bad?  Future discomfort?  GAH I hate it.  I do.  So I tell myself to just focus on now.  Focus on how the weather is now and maybe tomorrow or this week.  Sigh.

I don't want February to be over.  Even though the "winter months" are often my hardest of the year, there are things coming up for me and my life in Spring that I am scared about and so I'm wishing time would slow... or something.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Time. A Week?

A week ago (I'm writing this on Sunday to post on Monday) we were having our second day of snow.  I was, of course, thrilled with this, in part because last Monday was a holiday so it felt like good timing, as not SO many folks would have to try to make it through the snow to work.  

(Funny though, as I type that a small part of my brain went "well people are working at home anyway because of the pandemic and the same folks who didn't go into lockdown initially probably still had to work during a snow day and a stat holiday... sigh.")

A week ago I was starting to feel some relief from whatever had gone on with my upper back/neck/shoulder.  And a week ago I guess was Valentine's day although honestly the snow made that kind of a low priority for me... and combined with Covid it really felt like a non day, which was nice rather than the occasional "woe is me cuz I'm single on Valentine's day" I've sometimes felt.  Like, yeah, it was literally a Sunday that had snow.  Awesome.

I did manage to get an appointment to see someone about the neck issue and their best guess is that I put a rib (an upper rib) out.  By sleeping.  Like by sleeping too well and too deeply I pulled something or something that yanked the rib into a not so good position which then upset all the muscles and nerves and other science-y things in the area and well, ok.  I can believe it.  

I don't think I talked about the pain thing other than telling you that it had happened and I was non functional but I literally woke up two Wednesdays ago and thought "oh, I slept funny, my neck is a little sore" (because that happens from time to time, usually if I sleep in but anyway...)  I lay in bed thinking my neck was a little off but no big deal but by the time I got up and got my day going it was a very big deal.

I do not remember the last time I was in that much pain, honestly.  I couldn't tell where it was coming from.  It sort of seemed to almost migrate?  Right-sided though, until the other muscles tensed up from me "guarding" against the intense pain.  So it was like is this my neck?  My shoulder?  My back?  And my only guess was that it had something to do with sleep as I'd not done anything physical of note in the day or days before.

I tried heat.  I tried ice.  I tried Robaxacet (over the counter muscle relaxant) and Advil and Tylenol, I tried alllll the rubs and lotions in my house.  Nothing worked.  Nothing even seemed to touch it.  It was really bad you guys.

There was a moment (sorry, TMI!) where I went to pee and I couldn't because the pain of sitting was too intense and so I sat there and cried trying to just... pee!  (I did, eventually, somehow... putting my head into my lap or something weird like that, I know!!!)

I did go for a walk, figured it was worth some fresh air and it was a genuine surprise that doing that actually gave some relief.  I felt fine on the walk and for a little while after.  It was heaven.  But as I said to C-Dawg when I called her, I can't just walk forever!

I thought sleeping would give some relief and I threw on my old foam neck "brace" (which I've done for years when my neck gets funky... post car accident and all) and I took whatever pain relievers but I wasn't able to sleep.  Every move, every motion woke me all the way up with the pain.  I'd try to wedge my head between the two pillows straight and flat on my bed but I'd drift off and try to roll/move and the pain would wake me up again.  It was awful.

I had about three nights like that... very little sleep.  I'd manage to get a couple of straight hours in the morning in that "flat on back" position and some mornings I'd wake up feeling like, ok, it got better!  And then as my day went on it proved it still wasn't happy. 

I saw Jason on Friday, just before the snow started and he made us dinner (food is good for helping the body) and then gave me a gentle back rub sort of thing and that did help, even if it was just relaxing the angry muscles around the area/injury...

The snow over that weekend meant I couldn't really go for a walk properly, but I did bundle up and get out into the snow a little so that was nice.  And good.  And really cheered me up.  And it's not that I was judging the people who got stuck.... but I maybe did pat myself on the back for choosing not to drive... ahem.!

OH, and on Thursday, so the second day of "neck" pain but the day before the snow, we had our second day, or maybe third?  I forget, of serious cold and wind chill and I even went for a walk in that (something at the post office had to get picked up...) and the irony is I didn't wear my mask but if I had it would have kept my damn face warm in like whatever it was minus ten?  The rest of my gear did great, but yeah, my face was cold, and damn red when I got home.  And that was maybe 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back.  Go figure.  

So, yeah, a week ago, we'd had serious wind chill and a drop in temperature and then snow that no one really believed would happen but it totally seriously did and my neck had gotten better but still wasn't great and I'd made an appointment to have someone figure it out and help but it was still a bunch of days away and now it's a week later and it feels like it happened so long ago.

I mean I can still go see snow piles if I want.  Piles made by machines are the only ones really left at this point.  I did, however, find a pile of carrots and I felt sad for the former snowman!  But the snow feels like so long ago now and the small piles still around at the edges of driveways are kind of weird to see.

So this week was kind of a time warp I guess.  I explained to someone that pain is seriously awful and kind of all consuming so maybe that's why the time went extra weird for me.... I don't know.

My neck/rib/shoulder/whatever does seem to be continuing to improve although it's sore from the treatment on Friday (as they said it would be) and I think I sort of... un-did some of the fixing by accident and so this weekend wasn't the most physically comfortable...

So yeah.  Last week feels like way longer ago than just a week.  It's weird. 

Monday, 15 February 2021

Apologies

I put my neck out.  Or something.  I legit have no idea.  Upper back?  Shoulder?  Neck?  All of the above?  Anyway, woke up with it so seriously messed up on Wednesday morning and it's been a long long time since I've been in this much pain so writing has not been a priority.

It snowed though, so that was lovely, and amazing and well timed (over the long weekend... although many did still have to attempt to travel to/from work).

Am improving slightly every day (knock on wood) but sleep is hard to have.  I have appointments on Friday that I'm really hoping will help (OH PLEASE) and I will get around to posting once I can find a position where I can type for more than a few moments at a time.

Thankful for all the pain free days I usually have.  Really really thankful.  And thankful for all the good nights' sleeps I get.  Moar pls!

Friday, 12 February 2021

A Borrowed Worry

One of the things I'm quite worried about... soon, is me needing to wear a mask for longer (when I start spending time around others.... with the whole... you know.... thing I don't want to talk about thing.)

I have a touch of claustrophobia.  Sometimes it's better than others (I once was unable to get on a busy elevator when Jason and I went to Vancouver for a concert a few years ago...but other times I just pop right on in.)

I have found a few times that this can be triggered by wearing a mask.

I first found out about this at Burning Man.  You get dust storms out there.  Some mild, some whiteout condition (some brutal and extended) and you really should wear a mask to protect your lungs from that dust/particulate matter.  So when I first went to Burning Man, I bought N95 masks.  (And after that first trip, a reusable one with ...uh, exhaust ports?  that is no good for Covid because it doesn't protect others.)

First time I put on a serious mask, vs the bandana I use most commonly during mild dust storms, I got panicky.  It felt like I couldn't get air.  And that's the kind of thing that once you start thinking about it it gets worse and worse.  (Panic begets panic I suppose.)

At that time, the choice I made was to take off the heavy duty mask and just wear my bandana so I could calm down a little.  But there have been times I've been in a white out of a dust storm (and could tell it might be a long time til the air cleared) and I knew I needed more filtering than the bandana so I pulled on the serious mask and did my best to keep calm.  (It helps that the last time this happens it was at night so the heat was manageable so I didn't feel quite so much like I was suffocating.)

Since mask wearing became a thing in what Burners call " the default world", I've chosen to not put myself in public very often, so haven't dealt with mask wearing all that much.  And when we were in lock down, I wasn't going anywhere at all.  And when things did open up again, like massage and acupuncture, the practitioners wore a mask but I had the option to not wear a mask and so I would talk to them about the fact I was barely leaving the house and that I would prefer to be maskless (when face down.)

When our province instituted the mask mandate, not wearing a mask in sessions was no longer an option and so during massage and acupuncture for the last while I've been wearing a mask during treatment.  And I have had to deal with the mental struggle that comes along with that.  The feeling of not being able to breathe.  And especially when face down, really really feeling like I wasn't able to breathe.  Which, to be honest, has made me want to skip appointments as they're no longer as relaxing as they used to be, but I know how much my body appreciates the appointments, so I have kept them.  But I do struggle, even when face up, with the panic.

Oh, and my face quite likes to have little mask acne breakouts when I wear a mask for a length of time so that's a fun bonus!  (NOT!)

I've also noticed, of course, that exertion while wearing a mask is not my favourite thing.  Again, anxiety without masks often messes up breathing for me.  I had a panic attack once in a meditation course because we were to focus on our breath and I over-thought and freaked out.  So adding the mask to exertion that causes changes in breathing?  That triggers anxiety or panic for me.

I am aware that I could say that I'm medically unable to wear a mask and, like, not wear a mask but I am SO not about to do that.  I know that wearing a mask keeps myself and others safer, and that's my priority.  

I'm thankful I don't have an actual breathing issue like asthma or bad allergies or anything and I'm not expecting a whole lot of exertion while mask wearing to happen, but I am awarely nervous that wearing a mask for longer periods than "just popping into the library" or "going downstairs to check for mail" might bring some struggles for me.  I am aware of that, and nervous about it, and not sure what I'm going to do if it becomes an issue.  Ask for a break I suppose and see if I can go outside, remove the mask and get some deep breaths?  I don't know.  Hopefully I don't have to find out.

And as for the breakouts... I will try to wash my face more... although I don't think I'll be able to do that at workplace, or in my car on the way home, so.... *shrug*.  And I have super sensitive skin so I can't bring along like, I dunno a wipe or something.... I mentioned it to C-Dawg and she told me about a colleague who had an issue with this and that person bought a spray with salicylic (I had to google that and it still tells me I've spelled it wrong?) acid in it and sprays down her masks, so I might try that... although I did give a mask a spray with it the other day and then got all panicky anyway because of the light scent... sigh.

I hope, I really hope that I'm borrowing worry and that's it's a non issue.  I hope I have no concerns or problems wearing my mask for longer periods of time.  (I also should really probably wear the filters that I bought for my mask that I haven't been using since I don't go anywhere... but that's another layer of difficulty breathing so it's hard to know.) Sigh.

C-Dawg told me it took her a bit but that she's totally used to wearing her mask for a full work day now, so I figure that will happen for me too.  I also know some masks give me more of a problem than others, and unfortunately I think that means the ones that stress me are protecting me better but, hey, you know... I'm doing the best I can, right???

I know some professions have always worn masks all day every day and I bless them for that and I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that honestly, I've had a few panic attacks here and there (even pre-Covid) from wearing a mask and I'm anticipating I may have to work through that in the coming... chunk of time.

Sigh.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Life...

I am lucky to still have both of my parents alive and well.  I am so grateful for this.  But on the same page, having parents who are aging is a special kind of difficulty.  Reconciling the facts and truths of their changing abilities and the growing, I don't know, struggles?  It's hard.

I'm someone who didn't grow up with relatives around, so I didn't have grandparents, so I don't have a lot of experience with older folks, and I have no real "oh I remember when my Grandpa/Aunt/Whoever got old and...." times to have learned from.

The only older people I spent any time with was when I was in pre-school (so younger than 5) and my Mom volunteered at the stroke society and there were "old" people (I have no actual idea how old they were) with diminished abilities (due to the stroke) and I would spend time with them.  But they were that way when I met them, so even then, other than with the one man, Ken, that I knew the most, I never saw deterioration.  (With Ken, he carved me little figures, and when he had a second stroke, the detail in his carvings was lost, even as I child I could see this change.)

I don't quite know how to handle the slips I notice my parents making.  Pre-pandemic, a few years back I talked with them a bit about things and my Dad specifically asked that I not point out when he had forgotten something I'd told him.  He asked me just to tell him again, not to "get frustrated and say UGH I TOLD you already!!!"  So I try.  But there's also that kid/teen/child inside me that remembers my young Mom and Dad.  Possibly when they were around the age I am now.  And, no, I don't want them to change.  Not at all.  And of course I'm aware they will die.  I'd rather they wouldn't but I don't seem to have a fix for that... but sometimes this aging thing is hard to navigate.  Most especially during this pandemic time when nothing is in person.  And I'm so not wanting to hurt any feelings.  And we're all human, and communication by text is terrible.  Phone, email and FaceTime are only so good.  I hate to say it out loud but I see them aging.  And I hate it.

Life is so imperfect, and some of the things we go through are not easy.  

And I should say, my parents are aging really really well... but they're still aging.  

(What I really wanted to say is "having aging parents is a special kind of hell isn't it?" because that's the thought I had lying in bed last night.)

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Babble Vent

I'm not asking for correction here, or for placation or sympathy... I'm venting and babbling in an attempt to figure stuff out.

I am bad at things.  I am bad at things I would like to be good at.  And I am also not doing anything to change my level of ability.

Like, nothing at all.  And then I hate myself for it and then I get mad at myself for being mean to myself and still nothing changes.

I suppose I'm talking about skills.  Skills that also can and often do involve talent, but I'll ignore the talent part for now.

I'm most often talking about things within the creative realm.  Painting, drawing, writing, building things, playing instruments... creating something.... I am (in my view) bad at so many of those things.  And I compare myself constantly to experts.  Or if not experts, at least to folks who have spent a lot of time learning and trying and practising and working and honing their skill or craft (and who probably have talent in that area as well.) Like I listen to a song by the Tragically Hip and I think man, I wish I could write like Gord.  I can't play guitar like Paul.  And I can't perform as freely as Gord did.  And then my brain continues with.. therefore I SUCK.

Sometimes I do try.  I play my ukulele, I even recorded a song I made up a few summers ago titled "it's too hot to sleep now" because it was too hot to sleep.  And when I played it back it was... awful.  Even if I thought it was maybe half decent at the time and I wondered about finding someone to play with and flesh it out and then I heard it again and was like OMG I am terrible.

But do I try?  Do I push myself?  Do I spend time every day (or even most days or any days) learning or practicing?  NOPE!

Have I bought books?  Instruction manual type books?  Yep.  Am I aware of the internet and the likely endless tools to help?  Yup!  Am I aware there is some cycle happening here?  Yes.

I used to be able to draw quite well.  I know this because I have the physical evidence.  Like I done did draw that there thing, *I* did.

But now when I try I don't like what I see and I keep giving up.

Is it possibly partly due to me being unwell for a few years now with depression and anxiety?  Possibly, but "taking it easy on myself" only lessens the unkind internal words, it has yet to motivate me to do daily anything.

I mean I exercise daily.  Perhaps not as much as I could or "should" (god I hate that word and what it does to me), but I do.  I move every day.  Maybe that's more fair to say.  I move every day.  I get steps in.  I raise my heart rate.  I do that every day, so I know I am capable of doing something every day.

And I have done photography 365 (one a day) projects before and I have gotten degrees from Universities and so I know I'm capable of study and learning and regular practice.  I just can't quite put my finger on why I'm not doing this with things I think I would actually like to be working on... Writing.  Art (especially realism and drawing).  Music.  And yes, my fitness level, although that's not in the same realm.  

You know I don't set myself up with resolutions anymore, and this year has had a hard start so it's not been a priority to set intentions or goals or what have you.

I had the thought (which I may have mentioned here?) about how if I'd started drawing once a day (or writing or or or) when I first got sick, I'd have all that time (five fucking years) under my belt and I'd be five years better.  So I try to apply that to "five years from now" or even "next year".  How much better could I be if I practised my ukulele every day?  Drew every day?  And on top of that, how much less time would I spend mindlessly online were I doing other things instead.

Like, I get it, I do.  I know part of me wants to.  But so far, nada.  I've had stretches, for sure where I did or where I tried.  But consistent learning and practice is eluding me.

I would like that to change.  I guess I'm finding it hard to get going.  (And keep going.)  And part of my brain just keeps throwing heavy negative thoughts at me. Oh plus, you know, panic attacks and sometimes just trying to get through the day and while I love looking at other artists I do know it tends to bring me down because more often than not I end up thinking "man, I'm no good compared to them" or "look how much work they put out" or "they work so much harder than I do" and that's a lose lose thing.

I realized a few months back that I don't really know how to positively motivate myself.  Like it feels like I've spent most of my life using the stick as motivation and I don't know how to use the carrot.  It's quite confusing, really.  And perhaps part of me doesn't see the point?  Like get better at something, why?  

Questioning.  So much questioning.  Would have been nice had I gone through this several decades ago, but here I am, and this post is part of an ongoing attempt to figure it out.

Edited to add:  I closed this post off and then thought to myself "not being good sucks, so practising sucks". And I think that's a fair point.  I don't enjoy the act or the feeling of not being good and so there's not a lot of motivation to sit down and not be able to get the F chord, or not be able to draw an apple that looks like a fucking apple.  (Ok, now I'm picturing apples having sex... my bad, I just got upset, sorry if I now also put that image into your head but hey, let's be honest, I'd love to be able to draw an actual apple and a cartoon or something of apples having sex!) Sigh.  Maybe that's part of it all... practising is not really fun or enjoyable and right now just serves to remind me I'm not good, or certainly not as good as I would like to be.  Makes me wonder how I'd do if there was something I'd never tried before and was starting from scratch... would I let myself be "bad"?

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Tolerances

Further to yesterday's post, I know I have a low risk tolerance level when it comes to exposing myself to Covid-19.  I know that and I'm ok with that.  Am I wrong to be so cautious?  I don't know and I don't really care all that much.  

I have friends with higher tolerances, and they've been understanding (at least to my face?) about my, for example, not wanting to go into a restaurant to eat.  I appreciate their understanding and willingness to adjust without complaint.

I was horrified, last year, reading the reports out of New York and other places that were already heavily hit.  I am still horrified when I hear survivor stories and the lingering issues some are having post Covid "recovery".

Am I overly anxious about this?  Again, I don't care.

I care that I'm overly anxious about a lot of things, and I am working on those things, but this?  I know it will conclude in some way... at some time and I know I have expanded my tolerance bubble already, so... yeah.

I remember how extreme my fear and caution was at the start of our lockdown.  I felt like every surface might be a potential contamination spot, especially the places not in my own home.  I was extremely mindful about not touching my face with hands that hadn't recently been washed, and even then, I was cautious.  I washed my hands very often, and I avoided touching things outside my home.  I remember the early days and spending time at Jason's and washing my hands after touching the stair railing because there was no way for me to know if it was safe.  And washing my hands after using the washroom and then needing to use something else to unlock the door.  I'm a little less strict these days, although some would tell me now is not the time to "let down [my] guard".  I'm imperfect at washing my hands immediately as I walk through the door now... I'll take my jacket off and hang it up first, but this is in part because I know what I did or didn't touch when I went out (usually for a walk) and I am fairly sure I'm "ok".

I still carry my handkerchief with me when I leave my apartment, and I use it on door handles and using handrails.  I wear my mask every time I walk through my door now (since our mask mandate) so it's always on me now, even if it goes in a pocket when I drive or am walking alone outside somewhere.  I remember days early on when I would be about to go somewhere and I'd realize I'd forgotten my mask, so in some ways having our building management putting up a "masks required" sign has been helpful.  Although I now have a mask permanently in my purse (in a clean container), and some disposables in my car as well.  I keep thinking about a future time when this is done and past and finding a mask and gloves somewhere and wondering what I'll think.

I think some of us on this island have been feeling like we're in an island bubble because our numbers have felt fairly low.  I always just think that the numbers we see are the known cases.  The cases that were tested and found.  Not the asymptomatic carriers.  Not the folks who "had a cold" and didn't bother to get checked.  Not the cases that came and went without notice or attention.  Do I think everyone is carrying it?  No, but I am aware that's a possibility.  Do I think the vaccines will "fix" everything?  Nope, and neither do the authorities.  So no, I don't know how this ends.  Or when.  Or, perhaps, even if.  Do I think my risk tolerance level will change over time?  I would imagine so.  Perhaps it will go up, or down... depending on circumstances and situations and how the other members of the society I live in handle things.

It's so easy to get doom and gloom.  I know many folks have hit a wall this last month or so.  I know it can feel endless and hopeless.  I also know that it used to be all consuming.  I couldn't look away.  Even though I needed to.

This has been weird.  And hard.  And troubling.  And challenging.  And awful.  And sad.  And difficult.  And unusual.  And I wish there would be a massive moment of IT'S OVER! But... here we are and to use a phrase my Mom says is "what people say when nothing is ok"... it is what it is.

Monday, 8 February 2021

A Source

I can't ignore the fact that a source of a large amount of anxiety right now is work/job related.

If you're new here, I don't talk about work, in fact, I say that I'm a spy... that that's my job, so that if I do want to say something about work, I imagine old spy movies or Mission Impossible or the sort of Hollywood cheesy movie stereotypes and that's what I pretend I do for work.  You know, rappelling down from the ceiling on a special cord (rope?) and avoiding the laser security lights to steal the big diamond?  Yeah, that's what I pretend.  Mainly because it makes me smile.  (And hey, if I actually am a spy?  I've done the like double negative psychological trick to make you think I'm not, huh?  Yeah... genius right here!)

I've been off work for a (very) long time now due to (mental) health issues.  I honestly have been getting better, far more slowly than I could ever have imagined, and I think it's no surprise to anyone that the pandemic was a huge setback for my progress and well being.  I think most of us have had that experience over the last year to some extent or other and while I can see some almost advantages my pre-pandemic situation might have given me (I've been pretty isolated as I tried to manage my health, so lockdown and not seeing anyone wasn't a massive change for me) I don't think I've been honest with myself about how much it negatively impacted me.

Because of reasons (ahem - you can read into that that I'm not entirely onboard but I get the "why"), they (health professionals and... others...) are going to have me trying some volunteering in "the next while".  Now being a spy means interacting with people, it just does, and I am not not not comfortable with that due to the pandemic, and that's just an added bonus freakout on top of the "oh God you want me to do this work thing again?  even though it made me sick?" (simplification).  I've been pretty intensely limiting my interaction with people during the pandemic.  I see Jason (he and I talked about this early on and made the choice to be "bubble people" for each other, which, I know makes me luckier than many).  I have, over the year, seen a friend or two at a distance.  Gone for a walk or two.  Seen my parents outside in their parking lot at a distance.  But in terms of shopping or doing... things?  Yeah, I've limited that.  I've probably been in a store less than 20 times over the last year (well ok, starting in March...). Ordering online has been my go to.  And so malls or restaurants or pubs or anything at all?  I haven't done and do not plan on doing.  Well, except now I will be... for work.  

I try to be calm and logical with myself and tell myself that I have good protocols and practices (even though I know I've gotten a bit lackadaisical....).  I tell myself that "workplace" has had a year to sort out their protocols, and, well, I'm telling myself it kind of just is what it is.

But I can tell that my system is freaking the BLEEP out.  Understandably, to be fair... but it's not helpful.  I tell myself that some people are doing all sorts of things... working and shopping and restaurants and they're doing all those things and staying well.  (Sort of?). I will try to be mindful of my hands and what they touch, and I will maintain as much distance as I can, and I will wear a mask, and others will too and I'll remind myself that stressing makes you more likely to get sick as the stress hormones weaken the immune system and so I should just... um... try not to stress.  Like I know I have friends who have been doing spy work this whole time.  And getting their own groceries, and while they're concerned, they don't seem freaked out.  I know I'm currently more prone to freaking out than most... I know all this.  I can have the logical, adult conversations with myself, but my system is, well it's like that movie Inside Out, if you saw it and remember?  When the little control people are all running around wild and out of control.  That's my system.  AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  Etc.

So while this has been on the theoretical calendar for a while, the fact that it's sort of a "now" thing is probably part of my current state of "really not ok".  And no, I'm not going to avoid it - even though I probably could.  I'm going to try.  And I'm going to hope that once I do the thing my system can relax somewhat.  Like, oh, ok, I'm ok... this is ok.... I can worry less.  Or maybe even stop.  Cuz that would be nice.  That would be a huge relief.  I would like that very much.

 

Saturday, 6 February 2021

SpriWinter.....

Some of the weather stations are calling for maybe some snow next week, and much colder temperatures and I got a sunburn on my walk yesterday!

Friday, 5 February 2021

Oh Man!

You guys should totally be in my head in bed at night (often while I'm reading) as that's when my brain writes the best posts!  

I swear, they're like meaningful and use all good word order real proper like and, so yeah, if you could just... you know, pop into my head most nights you'd get super good posts!

And it's funny because I kind of wonder if that kind of technology is being created or tested as we speak... I hope not, but you have to imagine if I've had the thought, someone else has and, well, people like to try things.

I know I could stop reading and take some notes but at that time of night my focus is on winding down for sleep (usually while enjoying whatever book).

I did something similar on a walk today - was writing something as I walked.  I considered stopping and finding like a voice to text app or something (I'm sure my phone has one or a recording app or something) but instead, I just kept walking and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Priorities

I know the "posts lacking photos" thing really only bothers me, but sorting photos on Flickr so that I can a) post them again here and b) finally stop paying for pro on that old account is low on my "figuring out this new laptop configuration and setup" priority list so... NO PHOTOS FOR YOU! (a la soup guy from Seinfeld.)

I had a much needed good couple of nights' sleep followed last night (this morning?) by waking up with a tension headache and like I wanted to murder... the universe???  Waking up like that always makes me extra grateful for the days I wake up feeling ok, or neutral or at least just normal.

Ok, I'll be honest, I totally forget what I opened up this page to talk about, oh no wait, there it is!  Thanks brain.  (sigh)

I don't know if any of you have seen it but there is a tv show called The Sinner (starring Jessica Biel - who is stunning in the role - and Bill Pullman) that I really enjoyed.  It was based on a book and I just finished reading said book.

It was translated from German and honestly the translation felt a bit bumpy and took me a while to get used to.  As I was reading the book, I decided to rewatch the series and having just finished the book I have to say whoever adapted and re worked that book into the show did an amazing job.  It's rare for me to prefer an adaptation to the book but in this case I think they did a stunning job and it's not that I didn't enjoy the book per se, just that compared to the show it was... less than?

Anyway, I could probably wax more poetic about it all but a "bad sleep" like that has robbed me of higher brain power type stuff like thinking.

Thinking is hard yo.

Happy February (which I started spelling with a B... I don't know, I'm tired) and happy Monday.  Have a great week y'all.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Ok, Where Was I?

Last thing I remember it was somewhere around Christmas?  And I was super stupidly stressed and now it's the end of January so... that's a thing that happened.

I mean, of course I have actual memories and I know the time passed, I just... like I attempted to say the other day holy crap this has been a lot.

Good things can be stressful too, eh?  And so since I don't remember what I have talked about here... In 2018 I found myself needing to lease a laptop.  And as part of the lease, a year in I had the option to buy it out.  I did not want to do that as the laptop had had issues since day one (I literally took it in within weeks of having it) and, well, I also did not have the cash to buy it out anyway.  Two years in though, I had the option to return the computer and start again with a new one, which is what I chose to do.  In November.

But... Covid, and life and whatever else and the new laptop was on order and taking a very long time which was fine until the first one decided to munch its own display basically on Christmas Eve.

I muddled through as best I could until they were able to take it in (thanks holidays!) and then I babied my very old remaining laptop to do the bare minimum until the sick, initial laptop got back to me nearly a week and a half later.

Now I knew that the new laptop would "brick" a bunch of the software I use as it wouldn't run with the newer OS and I'd been holding off on system updates and was two "behind".  I wasn't sure if the new laptop would be one of the new M1 chips or what... if that mattered... but I also wasn't sure if it would be one OS ahead of mine or two.  Either way, I was pretty sure I'd be losing the software I use for creating digital art and the software I use for photo editing.  Not the end of the world, surely, but an inconvenience, and one that would cost money to fix (aka upgrade.)

Fast forward to early January and the United States has an incredibly stressful-to-me attempted.... whatever you want to call it... insurrection/coup attempt/riot/protest gone very wrong and my anxiety and stress shot through the roof.  

And then impeachment and then I, and so many of us, were incredibly afraid and worried, and in my case horrifically anxious over what MIGHT happen on inauguration day.  Like if my anxiety went through the roof on the 6th?  That felt like nothing compared to the anticipation of something worse... The riot was unexpected.  This was... expected, which is like anxiety's favourite thing...

And around that time my parents asked me if I'd like a very special gift for my birthday - an Apple Watch.  Or, they said, very generously, something else like that to help with my fitness as I'd seemed to get a lot out of the FitBit they'd loaned me.  And I stressed.  I stressed because it's hard for me to accept people spending money on me sometimes.  And I didn't know that I really wanted one or would use one.  I stressed and I stressed and I researched and I talked to people who have one and I just didn't know what to do.  (Anxiety tends to compound and make simple things feel impossible and overwhelming.)  So I said to them quiet honestly that I didn't think I needed one but they said they'd really like to get it for me if I thought I would use it so I said thank you very much that would be lovely.

Well, as fate would have it, it arrived the day before my birthday so I was able to see my parents (outside, at a distance, with masks) on my birthday which was nice.  And then the new laptop arrived on my birthday as well and HOLY BLEEP did I ever stress about that because, well... because I was already at max stress.  Sigh.

Thankfully they allowed me to take the new lease home and keep the old one to do the data transfer myself.  Which I did.  But the two OS upgrade made things a mess and Jason (who has spent time in the IT world) offered to help "fix" it and then he spent the entire weekend doing... I don't even know what and I spent the entire weekend stressing over him helping and stressing that he'd miss something and so while he was working on that I offered to help with errands around his house and that was satisfying (I do like a good tidy up) but also because I was so so so stressed out it stressed me out even more and, well, I'm not a mechanic but something about when an engine gets too hot it like seizes or something?  Yeah... that.  But in human form.

So while I tried to figure out a new OS (which I DO NOT LIKE) on a new system and cringed while paying for new software (I HATE HATE HATE SUBSCRIPTION MODELS) and because I was completely overwhelmed I kept making things harder for Jason by accident (my brain was fried, I was a wreck) oh and on top of that I was trying to learn how to use the new Apple Watch (which is amazing and beautiful and stunning engineering but also a LOT) and then my brother sent me flowers and that was a lovely surprise and the my other brother sent me a weighted blanket (which I didn't even take out of the packaging until two days ago because I just wasn't able to deal.) And it's like my family was so generous and thoughtful and even that feels a little overwhelming as I type it but it may have been a super stressed out birthday but my family knocked it out of the park in terms of thinking of me.  (I'm very lucky.)

The inauguration (spoiler alert!) went fine (even though I tried to stay in bed that morning in case anything bad happened.) and I returned a completely wiped former lease (thanks Jason!) and the new laptop is continuing to get set up and sorted (with so so so much help from Jason who has been baffled a few times by this OS but still is figuring stuff out).

On TOP of the new laptop and trying to put the old laptop onto it safely and effectively while navigating a leap of two operating systems and learning the new Apple Watch and trying to figure that out and also being irritated by wearing it (it's larger than the FitBit by a significant margin) like physically irritated (agitation for me comes with physical irritation, like if I'm super stressed, clothing can really literally rub me the wrong way.) I was also dealing with possibly losing some vital information (banking info, health info, etc.) through the transfer OH and HEY did I mention having to also deal with life and work stuff AT THE SAME TIME OH MY GOD?????

Yeah, it's been kind of non stop stress this last while.  Like, really. 

I have been relying on medication far more than I'd like and even then something that usually would knock down my anxiety by a good margin didn't even make a blip.

Even counselling during these last few weeks has felt like a non starter.  But as my counsellor pointed out, I'm still getting things done (not blogging though, sorry! or art for that matter) and this too shall pass.

New laptop seems to be clean of the issues the old one has (AND NO MORE BUTTERFLY KEYBOARD YAAAAAY!) and I'm slowly figuring things out and I'm trying to give myself a break on things but my main focus right now is to try to get my physical body system to reset, like to bring that PANIC FEELING down to a mild "oh, I'm a little worried about something" sort of feeling.

 Oh, and I forgot, there have been other crises... friends with major issues, even friends of friends in actual life crises.  And hey, VIHA (our local health authority) called me two days ago but didn't leave a message and of course my anxiety is like CONTACT TRACING OMG but I mean I don't see anyone besides Jason and if he had Covid he'd tell me.... so.... maybe just, uh, a wrong number? (please?)

So these last (when was Inauguration... 20th?) 9 or so days have been an incredibly stressful and not at all calm stretch.  I need a break.  Or, more honestly, I need some genuine chill.

I have plans already for this weekend to help Jason with some tasks so that's not likely to be restful but I'm going to have to carve myself out some time here to just... not.

Although even that's a little tricky as I've shifted browsers and as much as you might not understand what I'm about to say... using this new browser is just different enough (visually I suppose) to mess me up and not feel the same kind of mind-numbing relaxation I usually turn to for my distraction from anxiety.

So I've probably babbled enough for one post and I'm not entirely sure I said words that make sense so um, happy weekend, I'm fine, I'll get back to posting as soon as I can figure out a whole lot of shit on this new system.  (Like holy shit you guys so much... so so much to figure out and sort.  Damn.)

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Holy (String of Swear Words Here) Crap

Not entirely sure I survived the last week, weekend included.

I mean, I'm pretty sure these are my fingers typing on these keys but hey, maybe this is just a really good dream?

This last week for me has been almost an opposite of some of the months last year when they seemed to go on and on.  Last week felt like months packed into seven days.  (Am I even using words properly?  Did that make sense?  I meant to say it was a lot lot lot for a short amount of time and I got completely overwhelmed and then even more overwhelmed in a different way and I need a long weekend or something and Family Day is not close enough halp!)

I had planned to sit down and write out a post about it all but instead I just want to give myself a break so here's a post, there will be another one eventually.  

Happy... uh (looks at Calendar) Tuesday?

Friday, 22 January 2021

A Year... Or So

I feel like we're about a year out from when I first started to sort of... wonder about Covid-19...

I know other countries were dealing with it quite intensely long before we were here and I remember hearing about it and quite frankly... I remember brushing it off like I have all the previous pandemic/epidemics before (Swine/Bird flu).  It just didn't seem like something that would be relevant to me or my life.

I remember a conversation with my Mom, maybe Feb of last year where she said she hadn't been attending her Tai Chi class for a while because so many of her classmates travelled to and from China and I remember thinking this was a little bit racist and way over-reactive.

Turns out my Mom was proactive... go figure.

I remember when Covid hit these shores and I remember lockdown and I remember a lot of how I felt at that time.  I remember feeling like it was possibly on every surface.  Handrails, doorknobs, etc etc.  And maybe it was (and maybe it still is) but that pervasive fear and anxiety I had around it has lessened.  I do still use a handkerchief to open doors and touch things outside of my house.  I do still change out of my clothes and wash my hands once I'm home.  And I'm at a point again of "feeling" like my hands are dirty when it has been a while between washes.  There are still a lot of things that give me huge anxiety around it all and still a ton of things I don't know when I will be doing them again (eating out IN a restaurant for example.)  I still have very mixed feelings when I see everyone out and about wearing masks, because I'm happy they're doing it and yet sad that they have to.

Watching parts of the US presidential inauguration on Wednesday (and can I just say how much the term "Second Gentlemen" tickles my fancy!) I was pleased to see all the masks, and anxious about the few hugs I saw here and there.  But I still wish this time in history... wasn't.  That we didn't have all these photos and videos with the proof of this ongoing global pandemic that continues to kill so many and incapacitate so many others.  I suppose I wish I could go back into my Bubble of Denial and just pretend this never happened.  

But it did and it is and we're not through it yet and a year ago doesn't seem as far away as I'm used to.  Last year feels like it was the most bizarre time warp of too long but also somehow short and here we are in a new year that feels quite a lot to me like a continuation of last year.