Checking In

How are you doing, really? 2020 has been a rough year, almost universally. What have you been up to lately? How much has your life changed over the last few months and, perhaps more importantly, has the change in lifestyle revealed a new set of priorities that you hope to carry into post-quarantine life? What have you enjoyed, and what is driving you absolutely bonkers? I would love an update from anyone who wants to share? I’ll go first, with whatever series of random ideas that come to mind.

What has life looked like for you the last several months?
I have hardly left the house and, thankfully, have the opportunity to work from home until I’m comfortable returning to the office. I am so fortune that the industry I work in has not been negatively affected by the pandemic. Since I have a history of finicky lungs, I’ve been extremely precautions. We haven’t eaten out since early March, we do curbside pickup from the farmer’s market, and gear up for our monthly Costco run (P100 masks, labs googles and nitrile gloves). I prepare meals, go on walks around the park, and visit my parents and in-laws.

I took sewing lessons as a child and have been meaning to get back into it for years, so last year I took up the hobby again. I’ve had a blast making small gifts and mediocre clothing.

Early this year, I was gifted a arrowhead plant by a farmer’s market employee and ended up loving it so much that I named her Bitchin’ Betsy and bought some more houseplants, my personal favorite being a ZZ Ravan named Aweful Jared. It’s been rewarding to watch them grow.

We’ve gone on a few camping trips to escape the heat and am falling in love with our gear all over again (especially the Marmot tent and sleeping bags). I watch critters out my window all day, including rosy-faced love birds, a chirpy black Phoebe, a woodpecker who thinks my window is a tree, cactus wrens, quail, huge lizards, translucent geckos, and lots of little gophers. The last few months have been a bit lonely, so I’ve named any of the recognizable wild visitors. At the end of the day, I am generally safe and healthy and those I care about are safe and healthy. I suppose that’s all the really matters.

What are you reading?
I picked up The Island by Aldous Huxley at a used bookstore a few years back and finally brought it along for for a weekend cabin getaway. It’s old and yellowed with a stranger’s scribbles in the margins. The book is profound and beautiful. I wish our world today was similar to that portrayed in the story, where people contribute to their community, strive towards enlightenment, and aim to minimize harm to the local environment. It sounds a bit elitist here, but it’s not. Huxley was fond of psychedelics and believed wholeheartedly that a better world was within reach. I also recently read a book on chronic fatigue syndrome, which was very eye opening. I spent years chasing individual symptoms, convinced that one thing had made me ill, when the likeliest explanation is that a series of infections broke down my biological machine, which allowed the damage to perpetuate and spiral out of control.

I’ve found myself mindlessly browsing the internet to pass the time more lately, though I can’t think of much worth passing along. I’ve been navigating away from the news and towards the stories of individuals, due to the honesty, raw emotion, and glimmers of hope. I think we all need to find some personal balm for the current state of the world.

What are you watching?
I am typically not a fan of television and, up until the last two months, I couldn’t stay awake for more that 15 minutes once I got comfortable. I just finished watching the Japanese anime series Haibane Renmei, which my boyfriend recommended. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and am still musing over the symbolism. Over the last year, we’ve watched House, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Prison Break, Letterkenny, and the latest season of Better Call Saul. I’m hoping to incorporate more documentaries because I fell like even just an hour of TV every other day is rotting my brain. If you have any recommendations for shows, movies, or documentaries, I’d love to hear them.

What have you been cooking?
Over the last few months, I’ve acquired several All-Clad stainless steel buy-it-for-life pots and pans on discount. These are solid and make cooking even more enjoyable. The farmer’s market is shut down for the summer and the particularly excessive Arizona heat decimated our garden, so we’ve been sticking to mediocre grocery store produce for our sauteed and roasted veggies. I’m getting sick of onions, zucchini, and brussel sprouts. I can’t wait for October to roll around, so we can start incorporating the local veggies back into our diet.

What have you been creating?
An old friend is expecting a baby girl and my boyfriend’s good friend just had a little girl, so I’m planning to sew up some fun little baby gifts for when we can see people again. I’ve also been trying to journal more over the last few months and finally reached a place where I can crank out more than a sentence or two. I’m hoping to blog more, even if poorly to begin, simply for the sake of exercising my creativity.

Have you reached milestones, found success, or ready to share good news?
I reached $100,000 net worth this year, despite high medical costs over the last several years. I don’t have a significant income, but have been investing since my late teens and practicing frugality, so compounding interested has quite literally begun paying dividends. After over a year following a strict and expensive nutritional protocol with rough “healing symptoms,” I am no longer weighed down by unrelenting fatigue and it feels as though the irritant in my lung has cleared. I still have some nasty, painful symptoms as my body pulls the lead and other heavy metals from my bones, but overall I am seeing progress.

What are you looking forward to?
I’m waiting for the monsoon season and hoping for some rain. Phoenix has had the hottest and driest summer on record (we just hit 50 days at 110°+ F) and it shows; we’ve had many large brush fires, dozens of mature trees in my neighborhood have died and dead birds litter the sidewalks, like something out of an apocalypse movie. We haven’t seen a drop of rain yet and the monsoon storms typically arrive in early- to mid-June. The rare lightening storm is the one thing that makes the desert tolerable, so I’m hoping we the rain doesn’t completely pass us by this year.

I’m currently researching EDTA chelation therapy, which has been recommended to help extract toxins from my body. While my fatigue has vastly improve, I still experience regular bones-being-crushed pain in my feet, legs, hand, and arms as my body pulls out toxins, and then stabbing liver pain as my body works to process out those toxins. Chelatation therapy will supposedly safely expedite the process, but it’s a lengthy and expensive treatment, so I’m very much on the fence as I’m managing alright currently. It’s not been confirmed, but I now suspect the “tumors” all over my PET/CT scan in 2017 are heavy metals deposits, rather than disseminated coccidiomycosis spores. At the end of the day, I don’t really care what it is just so long as it’s removed.

I got my boyfriend an *amazing* anniversary gift back in April and I am dying to gift it to him. I’m terrible at surprises, so I am impressed I’ve made it four months and hoping I can last another two. I’ve been so forgetful over the last few years, so I feel really proud of this tiny win. I thought about just giving him a tube of cortisone cream for that, you know, seven-year-itch but we’ll see. Prior to the fatigue becoming unmanageable, we would always embark on the steep, challenging hike on our anniversary and then run through the meadow and enjoy artisan chocolate at the peak. I’m truly hoping that can be a reality this year.

Finally, we’re saving up to move out of Arizona in the next five years. The surrounding area has been growing rapidly, creating a concrete heat island filled with angry drivers and liberal Californians. The increasing temperatures are killing native plants and driving out native animals. I need to be somewhere more alive. The desert is not, and never has been, my jam. I guess the good news is that our home value has increased by 25% in the last three years (after thirteen years valued at our below paid cost), so hopefully we have some nice pocket change for a down payment.

9 thoughts on “Checking In

    1. I must be so challenging not only be working outside the home during this time, but to be facing such a scary prospect at your wife’s side. I hope that retirement is a welcomed option, rather than that of necessity. I’m sending prayers and positivity your way, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is really difficult to not worry. Retirement is both for me, meaning the right timing and a necessity. It will be a blessing. I wouldn’t mind a part time just for some extra grocery money. Thank you so much for your prayers and blessings! Peace and blessings to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I freaking love your houseplant names. Amazing.

    How am I doing really? Gosh. Big questions. Before this pandemic I had a miscarriage (my fourth miscarriage in as many years) and a bushfire ravaged the countryside where I live (we evacuated but it didn’t quite reach my town in the end, fortunately). I visited the ER for random, very excessive bleeding (wasn’t the miscarriage, although probably related somehow), and ended up having minor surgery. A specialist had me cut sugar from my diet completely and reduce my carb intake (unrelated to the bleeding). And *then* the pandemic started.

    I’m actually pretty safe over here. Australia has done really well at keeping covid under control (bar Melbourne, but I don’t live in Melbourne and they’re getting back on top of it now too). But I’m still being pretty cautious. I miss people. I definitely haven’t been as productive. I’m sad a lot.

    One day at a time, though.

    I’ve done a bit of knitting, a challenging jumper pattern I’ve been eyeing off for years. Finished now. It looks great. I’ve never liked cooking much, and with everything that’s happened my partner has just taken it over for the moment. TV wise, I just can’t face thrillers or drama anymore. Too stressful. Light comedy is currently my go to, and I’ve watched through Schitt’s Creek, Derry Girls and The Family Law (that last one is Australian and you probably wouldn’t be able to find it). I wish I’ve been reading more than I have, but focus has been hard. I don’t have any big achievements, but I’m trying to keep working on things when I can and am just trusting it will keep adding up until I actually have something.


    1. There’s something so satisfying about yelling, “Be right there! I need to check on Greg the Destroyer and Bitchin’ Betsy!” Haha!!

      I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you a big hug from across the world and you grieve and recover. ❤ I saw the news about the bush fires and it looked just devastating, but I also may stories of locals banding together to help displaced animals which was heartwarming. We're experiencing the hottest and driest summer in recorded history with several massive wildfires just outside the city. 2020 has been a complete dumpster fire of a year on so many counts.

      Arizona was doing great, then briefly the worst in the US, then the best in the US, and now we're trending upward again due to colleges opening up in-person classes. Ugh! I don't trust the numbers, and I don't trust those in positions of authority to make decisions based on what's best for the people (rather than the economy), so we're being cautious also. It's tough. I think even the biggest introvert would be lonely after six months with hardly any human interaction. Yes, one day at a time.

      Congrats on completing the jumper! That sounds like such a fun and rewarding project. You have yourself a good guy. 🙂 I'm in the same boat–the dramas aren't entertaining when there is so much real life chaos. I've heard Schitt’s Creek recommended many times, so perhaps I'll check that one out next. Be gentle with yourself… we're all traversing through unknown territory and trying to find our footing. The small things WILL add up…just keep chipping away at them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you ❤ Yeah, the bushfires were pretty rough. It was good to see people helping. On a local level, everyone really dug in for each other (on a government level however…). I have seen that the US is having bushfires now too. I really hope they get under control soon and things get better.

        When I first started watching Schitt's Creek, I found it fairly entertaining and light. Which was exactly what I needed. Excellent. But as it went on, it just got better and better, adding depth without losing the comedy or creating frustratingly pointless drama. I fell in love with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My life hasn’t changed too much due to covid-19. I was a hermit anyway. I do where masks when in public and at work. I don’t understand the people that are political or bratty about it. It not about freedom or dem/rep. Its about science and health and safety and being a good citizen. It shows that you care about your fellow man by wearing a mask. It say exactly the opposite if you don’t. It is easy and painless.

    Anyway we did loose one week of work due to the shut down. We are considered essential due to the customers that we serve. It was nice knowing that we would still have a paycheck and be able to pay the bills. Then we were reduced to no overtime. Then unemployment got a 600 dollar bonus. With not working I made more money than when working with overtime. It made me really not want to work and collect unemployment. I don’t know who in their right mind would want to work when you can make more by staying home. It was crazy to think that it was possible that could be happening. It was.

    So work and home life are the same. Other activities went online to zoom meeting and what not. I have not had much social contact with anyone other than my immediate family trying to make sure that I don’t get the virus and share it with my coworkers or family. But I know that most of my coworkers are not doing anything to try top mitigate their exposure.

    It makes me wonder if we have a chance as a country anymore. People are unreasonable and are supporting some very stupid ideas. De-fund the police is ridiculous. I understand that kneeling on a guys neck is wrong but everyone else that was shot was for cause. People do not take responsibility for there actions and assign blame to everyone else and in most cases the wrong thing gets the blame. People need to really be “woke” and take care of themselves and each other. People need obey the police and you wont end up shot. After you get released get a lawyer and sue but fighting with a cop in the street is going to get you know where good quickly.

    Vote for what you think is right this November. I am sure that Biden will be gone in two months and the VP will take over. How else do you get a black woman as president and that is the real goal of the left.

    If Trump would put the phone down and follow the script he would be doing much better than he is. He is a butt nut but what he is and has been doing has been good for this country. China needs dealt with and we are finally doing something that should have happened 20 years ago with China.

    Like I said I dont get out much so I had to get some things off my chest.



    1. Yes, I completely agree. I think that it’s wrong that a public heath crisis is being politicized and that so many individuals are taking upon themselves to criticize and harass those who are choosing taking protective measures.

      I’m glad that you were able to continue working, but I completely understand the frustration around those on unemployment receiving the additional funding… more than many receive working full time.

      I feel the same way about the country. I had high hopes early in the pandemic that a shared “enemy” in the virus would give people a reason and opportunity to work together, but somehow it created an ever larger wedge. “People do not take responsibility for there actions and assign blame to everyone else and in most cases the wrong thing gets the blame.” This is 100% true. I’ve seen a lot of victim mentality over the last few months. Yes, the system is (unfortunately) designed to keep the impoverished stuck at the bottom, but I know plenty of people of all races who have climbed out of poverty with grit, determination, sacrifice and–when it comes to police–compliance with the law. It may not be easy, but it’s possible…but nothing worthwhile is easy.

      I will absolutely vote for what I believe to be right, and I trust that you will as well. If I had influence, I would be preaching that there are options beyond just Trump or Biden… the Libertarian candidate has a strong platform, perhaps in alignment with the true values of many Americans. But the mainstream media doesn’t mention her, so people are blind and ignorant. In this day and age, voting has become a matter of choosing the better of two evils or “throwing away” a vote on the candidate of your choosing. I think people identify too strongly with their chosen political party without researching the policies, plans, or cross-comparing against their own values and ideals.

      I completely understand! The state of the world and US politics has been messy, to put it lightly, and it’s nice to have a informed, level-headed discussion.


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