Friday, January 29, 2021

What I'm Reading This Week #5

We made it to Friday!  Weeee doggies!  I am befuddled how it is the last week of January!  But then again, if I think about how I started the month in Vermont, that seems like forever ago.  So I'd say, buckle up for another time warp year.

I got to use a gift certificate my friend got me to Harney and Sons Tuesday.  I usually get the sachets of 50 and I never realized they did other sizes.  They were having a 20% off sale and I saw they had a 1lb bag of loose in my New England Breakfast tea and that brought it $.20 under my gift card total.  Score!  I've got these tea infuser balls, so I'm interested to see how many more cups of tea I might get out of this bag.  It's $10 more than the one I usually get so I would've been too cheap to upgrade but on someone else's dime, yes please.  These are the days of our lives.

Here's some dinners for your peepers.

Sunday was Beyond Burger again which seems to be a ritual so I didn't bother taking a pic of that.  Workout was our first strength workout, Turbo Fire Sculpt which is a butt kicker when we're actually in shape much less when we haven't done a strength workout in a month.  I'd be paying for that one the rest of the week.

Monday was BBQ shrimp and grits.

Workout was WATP 3 miles since it was raining.

Tuesday was the final serving of Ina's lobster pot pie with a side salad.

Workout was 3 miles around the hood.

Wednesday's dinner was Brussels Flatbread.

Workout was LIIFT4 Chest and Tri's which left me unable to lift a water glass the next day.

Dinner was Mexican Chicken and Rice Bowl sans bowl with broccoli.

Workout was Chalean Extreme Dynamic Yoga.

Now let's jump into...

A Case For Wearing Socks To Bed  (The fuzzy variety please)

What Science Knows About Anger—and What to do About It  (Buy one of those weight bags shaped like a dude and beat away.)

What a Daughter Needs From Her Dad  (Thanks a lot for #1 and 2, daddio.)

Watch Tiffany Haddish Hilariously Think Random Thoughts While Meditating (1:40 in on the video is where it really starts.  I have to laugh b/c the Mr and I have been watching the Headspace meditations on Netflix and he's like "close your eyes" and then we hear "now go back into your body" and it's like "uh, I don't think we're meditating, I think we're napping!")

49 Best Gifts for Husbands That They'll Treasure This Valentine's Day  (Okay Mr, I know how you laugh at these lists.  Anything good?)

25 Of The Funniest Tweets About Married Life (Hilarious!  Identify with many but particularly #22 where the misspelled Christmas gift bag has been sitting for about 7 weeks folded up at the top of the stairs.  I finally relented and threw it away.)

The last weekend of January and nothing I can think of to send it off properly.  I feel like a broken record as far as our exciting weekend 'plans.'  Pfft.  

Do YOU have plans for the weekend?  Dreams of plans for a weekend in the future?  Do you remember what a weekend is?

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Just call me...

Gimpy McGimperson.


I had the Mr bring up the bins for me when he got up for work so they'd be all in my face and motivate me to take down the rest of the decorations.  I putzed away the morning and just before he was coming down for lunch I decided to get some of the stuff closest to me boxed up.  My oblique/lat was really sore then just as I reached up to grab something off the mantel, I felt it tighten.  I boxed it up but with each passing second, searing pain was setting in until I was bent over and not really able to move.  I have reached the age where I apparently throw out my back sitting.  The Mr attempted to dig in a bit to the spot I suspected was the culprit, bless his heart.  It did nothing because despite having big bear paws, he has like zero ability to dig in where massage in the back or shoulders are concerned.  This is a universal problem as two of my past masseuses were like "yeah, dudes have ZERO digit strength."  (Aww man, remember massages?  I'm going to schedule two 60 minute sessions back to back when it's finally safe since I can never seem to get the 90 minute one when I ask for it.  Or maybe I'll book one with one lady doing one kind then go across the hall to the other lady.  heh heh...Imma work the system!  These are the things I daydream about now.)

Once the Mr pumped me full of ibuprofen (no effect) and went back upstairs for his zillion calls, I used The Stick to at least get my back so I could stand upright which was a plus.  I was able to put away two bins worth of Christmas stuff before the back started tightening up again.  I threw out my ambitious plans to cook together  and pulled the last serving of Ina's lobster pot pie out to thaw because I couldn't fathom doing more than I had to that night.   All I'd done up to that point for exercise during the week was a resistance band workout and a 3 mile WATP.  If I was going to be that screwed up from those two things, this was going to be a long road back to where we were before the holidays.  I just do not have time for that crap.

I knew doing WATP was out because it's not just walking in place but side steps, leg curls ("kickbacks"), knee lifts and kicks.  My legs were just not having it.  I figured we could start walking around the hood for a while and if I needed to go back, we could.  I did pretty good the first two laps and the third lap there was a nice shooting pain in the bottom of my right foot.  (In the TMT joint which was also sore on my left foot by now.)  I was just irritated all around because I was dealing with pain in both feet, my inner thighs were sore, and of course the lovely phantom of the back pain that could seize up on me at any moment.  My stamina was pure crap too.  I don't know if when it's cold outside everything just feels harder but I usually improve breath wise with each lap but I wasn't.  I was wearing the heavy coat so it's like an extra 7 lbs to carry with the wind whipping at us at dark as I limped home.

I had to ice my foot and started scraping the right arch and I felt a shooting pain and looked and sure enough, I'd busted a damn blood vessel on the bottom of my foot!  I bust them in my fingers all the time lifting weights though I try to mitigate with gloves and padded grips because the heavier I go, the more likely it is to happen.  I think the foot thing might've happened the previous night when I was doing child's pose.  I was pointing my toes back and trying to stretch the muscles on my shins, then I curled my toes under to stretch the arch and I think it might've happened then.  I let the Mr. know I had one and if I died, that's where it came from.  I iced it, scraped my legs with the Graston tool and massaged what I could.  We did Chest and Tri's last night and I had to go back to 10 lbs on some moves if I didn't want to be totally useless today.  ARG!  I don't know how taking it easy by not going nuts on HIIT and crap like that is working out to be just as crippling to both of us.  YEESH!

2021 keeps on delivering, yo.

How's your week going?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hump Day Poll: Um, That's Weird

The Mr learned something new about me whilst in Vermont which is hard to do after 29 years together.  I HATE sunny days in the winter especially when there's snow.  Like, hate it.  Just like noises overwhelm my senses, so do visual things like bright sunlight bouncing off reflective snow.  If there's snow, I want a cloudy day that makes me want to snuggle under a blanket not a sunny day that makes me want to be outside but it's 19 degrees and my nostrils freeze together upon stepping foot outside.  I actually get irritated when I see sun during the winter snow maybe it's because a part of me knows the sun is going to melt my treasured snow no matter how cold it is.

What seemingly weird to others quirk do you have?

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Witchy and Buck Nekkid Weekend Recap

Howdy do, bugaboo's?  It was a pretty chill weekend.  We plowed through some stuff on Showtime to try to get the most out of our trial period.  Then we were like "now what?"  I looked up an antique shop a few towns away and thought even if we didn't go in, it would give us a destination.  We went in and while it was basically empty, we learned we were now in a county where people are not interested in keeping each other safe so we left.  

We drove around a little, grabbed dinner then it was time to watch an old classic from my high school days, Warlock.  I was so hoping for a witchy rendezvous with both the warlock (Julian Sands) and witch hunter (Richard Grant) back in the day.


It's always so hard to remember ol' Redferne is also Cratchit from our favorite version of A Christmas Carol.

(   "I was making rather merry..." with a Warlock!!)

I knew when I came down Saturday the tree had its day and I felt like we should get one more good night of lighting out of it so it was plugged in.  Then by 10:30pm the thought of coming down to actual living room space took over and I asked the Mr to bring up the bin for the ornaments.  

(Nothing sadder than a buck nekkid tree)

By 12:30am we were finally finishing up with the tree being disassembled and boxed back up.  It's so funny how big a room feels once that's done, I'm sure even for you all that don't live in a shoebox can relate.  We got a rather pithy dusting of snow after we took it down as a raspberry from Mother Nature.  "Oh, no more tree?  Here's a little bit of snow to rub it in!"

Sunday Funday consisted of declaring it "why do we have to get out of bed?  Nowhere to be!"  We have blackout curtains and between that and the cloudy day it was the perfect day for hygge with the room nice and dark and fading in and out of consciousness.  Why don't we do that more often??   I had The Point FM on most of the weekend and got excited when Shame Shame by Foo Fighters came on and it brought back such fun memories of childhood when you'd get that rush because it might be your only shot to record it.  It was on heavy rotation on our getaway so it kind of takes me it's just a great song.  The Mr had me listen to a few others off the new album that drops in a few weeks and I'm excited for some new music.   Dave is the man.

Then it was downstairs to do the first strength workout of the new year with Turbo Fire Sculpt.  Those resistance band workouts fool you by thinking they're all tame.  LIES.  My hands are shaking as I type so tomorrow (today) should be a treat.  I made dinner then we chilled the rest of the night.  I taped Love, Romance and Chocolate on Hallmark after seeing on Will Kemp's IG it was on Saturday.  I've been waiting for that one because it's a good one.  He has chemistry with just about every woman I've seen him with but man The Christmas Waltz was especially good.  He's a dancer and got to show off his skills in the movie and it was probably one of the best movies they pumped out in a while. (Spoiler:  They end up together.  That's always what we say when I stumble across a halfway decent looking Hallmark movie..."I wonder if they'll end up together?" 😏)

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, January 22, 2021

What I'm Reading This Week #4

Another Friday is upon us.  It has been a whirlwind of emotions good and bad this week and I'm tapped.  "I need happy hour...on sad days."  I need some Weezer and wine to slide me into this weekend.  On an up note, we've been walking almost every day this week even though it's felt like the arctic because of wind.  Looking back at calendars past, I notice a pattern of jumping into a new year all balls to the wall and then having very little to show for it on the scale and a lot to show for it in the pain department.  Next week, we'll be throwing some strength training back in for funsies.

Here's a wrap up of dinners for this week.  Beyond Burger and potato wedges.

A serving of Ina's Lobster Pot Pie I froze last month.

Fish tacos with Brussels.

Homemade Chinese with cauliflower rice.  (No bao since we haven't been to TJ's since we got back.  It was sorely missed.)

Orange roughy and the last sweet potato gnocchi (now we REALLY need a TJ's run)

Not sure what we're having tonight, probably something easy.  I do have some frozen TJ's ravioli I could thaw then make a sauce and pair it with a salad.  (Don't get set on that Mr.  I don't know if I'm feeling ambitious enough to make a sauce.)

Let's get into...

The Best Workouts to Try If You Have Bad Shoulders and Some to Avoid  (Have to get our shoulder strength back up to speed)

How the pandemic killed your motivation, and 6 simple ways to get it back  (There's the understatement of the far.)

Home alone? 30 things to keep you busy  (Some interesting suggestions)

“Karen” Keeps Leaving Notes Complaining About Woman’s Decorations, Woman Responds By Adding Even More (I'm only sorry I didn't find this before Christmas but it was too good not to share. I would absolutely install a camera if I didn't already have one and then turn her in to the HOA for trespassing and destroying property.  Pfft!  There's always one in every neighborhood.)

Speaking of which, our Christmas stuff is still up.  I've officially beat my previous record, I think.  We're not any of the lucky ones getting any snow so nothing to play in.  I think I've watched all of Netflix and Showtime.  Now what?

Anything dazzling planned for the weekend?  (I don't know why I said dazzling.  Clearly I'm missing some sparkle in my life.)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hump Day Poll: Well, *I* Heard...

You hear a lot of stuff when you're a kid that you find out as an adult aren't true.  Whether it was something a parent said to appease you or discourage an unwanted behavior or a kid told you about something that happened to another kid.  Like if you swallow bubble gum, it take 7 years to leave your system or if you crossed your eyes too much they'd stay that way.

What is something you were told and believed or questioned it's authenticity as a kid?

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Perspective, Creepers and Mystery in Vegas

Happy Monday everyone.  I hope you had a good weekend and high five to the ones who get an extra day off.  I encourage you to watch The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306 if you're able to find it.  We have the DVD which is apparently out of print now but it is quite possibly the most impactful thing you will ever watch in your life.  We saw it at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and I wept in front of a room full of people like a baby.  I can only imagine seeing it again after the civil unrest last year is going to be even more impactful as we watch it.

Over the weekend, we went to an antique shop.  Some of the local shops are doing private shopping appointments so why not?  

I got a vintage crock to hold my classic masher and vintage rolling pin I got in Vermont.  Shout out to Wigren~Barlow Art & Antiques.

We finished The Affair Saturday night.  It was okay but left some big things unresolved and the series is over so no chance of it being answered or wrapped up.  We're both just glad we'll never have to see Whitney again.  One big thing it did was really open our eyes to perspective.  This is something we've always known and been aware of.  There's this therapy exercise where you look at an alarm clock.  You describe the side you're looking at, your partner describes the side they're looking at.  You're looking at the same object but one side has a clock face, hands, etc.  The other side has a back, battery cover or cord, maybe a sticker with model numbers on it, etc.  Neither are wrong but you see one side, they see another.  With The Affair, so many details were different depending on who was relaying the story from clothes worn to attitude and even bigger items.  It really would be so interesting to get people's perspectives about one event to see how everyone viewed it.  


Sunday was a nice lazy day.  We had brunch then later we napped on the couch while listening to Marc Maron's IG porch session and then our Vermont station.   It was getting late and I wanted to walk so we got 2 miles in with the park with some creepers checking us out.

When we got back, I made Beyond Burgers and potato wedges.  I got out an activity that I originally got for quarantine but had too much to do to get to it.  I got a box from Finders Seekers from Cratejoy which is kind of like a virtual escape room/mystery activity.  Once the Mr opened it, we saw it was in Las Vegas (they're in different cities.)

I was hoping for a different city since that was the least favorite of the ones listed but you have no choice of the city unless they have a bunch left from a previous month.  I almost bought Toronto but I didn't know which one we had so I didn't want to risk duplicating.  It was a good way to have something different to do for about 60-90 minutes.  I'm not going to lie, we gave up on a few and had to get the answer because I'm not a riddle person and after a while I start to feel like it's a waste of time and aggravating...shocking, I'm sure.   I just ordered another one so we'll whip that out when we are bored.  It's $30 but you can find a 50% off coupon on Retail Me Not and if you click 'this is a gift' it won't renew so you can try it to see if you like it.

That's about it on our end.  

How was your weekend?

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Friday, January 15, 2021

What I'm Reading This Week #3

Happy Friday everyone!  It's been a bit of a weird one in our parts but I'm hoping we can just chill mentally this weekend.  I suppose I should think about potentially bringing up bins next week to put Christmas stuff away.  I think I might just take one area at a time instead of feeling like it all has to come down at once.  It doesn't.  Obviously, no one is coming over so technically we could be like "Christmas in July!" and leave it up.

This week I've been listening to our favorite radio station in Vermont, The Point.  Lots of 90's and early 00's but some new stuff, 80's and a shot of Marley every now and then.  Just a nice eclectic mix.  Shame Shame by Foo Fighters was so easy to hear while there but seems to be impossible for me to catch online.  Give it a listen if you want a new mix of music.

I have to share this because I know someone will find this funny.  One of my goals for the year was to stop being so trigger shy on purchases.  (I'm known for walking around with an object in a store then talking myself out of it right before checkout.)  I pulled the trigger on a vintage metal pitcher I was waffling on because it was full price.  The lady emailed to say she was packing my order and dropped it damaging it then backed up and stepped on it.  2021 strikes again.

We're not in the swing of regular meals with him recovering from whatever the heck that was so no meal pics this week.

Let's swing into...

Release Your Tight Hips, Shoulders, and Hamstrings With This Full-Body Stretch Routine  (This is the perfect post workout stretch routine or just beginning/end of day stretches.)

6 Creative Pineapple Peels Uses + Health Benefits  (I am curious but also can't stop furrowing my eyebrows at the thought.)

Here's How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets, Including Laminate  (Don't worry Mr, not for us.  In case they need a winter project.) 

Free Your Inner Geezer  (Pretty funny and feel like I've been well on my way for years.)

Yes, You Matter (Good stuff!)

Nostalgia Is Good for You  (Then I'm headed in the right direction since I OD on it quite often.)

We need to make a list of what we need to get at the grocery store to start having regular meals again.  We've basically been living on skimpy grocery pick ups with no real structure.  I need to take inventory of the freezer and go from there.  I'm sure a drive at some point will be in our future.  Otherwise, right back to Covid cage living.

Any plans for the weekend?

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hump Day Poll: Asking for A Friend

There is no doubt many have been affected in different ways over the past 10 months.  I had a reader reach out after their spouse needed to start a job hunt asking how the Mr went about getting his new job.  He moved within his company and landed an interview after beating a computer algorithm which doesn't really translate well to job hunting tips.  

It's a whole new ballgame for those in their 40's and 50's knowing how to navigate getting your foot in the door these days.  Unfortunately, I felt I wasn't able to give much help on how to deal with the new landscape of job searching.  

So I turn to you to see if you have any suggestions.  I come from the age of update your resume, fluff up your skills a bit and hope for the best.  Somehow I don't think it has the same effect it did when the Mr had to do it 15 years ago.

Any tips for someone in their 40's and 50's out job hunting for the first time in years?

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Welcome Back!

Welcome back!  Your property tax bill awaits and it's higher!

Welcome back!  Your car that you were scared to drive on your trip has been deemed 'totally fine' by two mechanics despite wasting three days being jerked around by them.  Also surprise! the dealer left you with an EMPTY TANK to drive home on after it had half a tank going in and it's STILL making that noise!

Welcome back!  Your grandpa died while you were gone and still no one has told you, you found out from a Google search.  Good times.

Boy, life doesn't let ya just ease back into stuff, does it?  

(Toddler: Us  2021:  Granny)

That whole goal to work on my mental health for 2021 has got a few extra weeds in the garden to address.  The crap that sprouted up from not only grandpa's death but the fact no one told me means I'll have to figure out how I want to approach that mentally.  Ultimately, the worst things about my dad and that did the most damage to me are a direct result of the way my grandpa was, how he raised his kids and treated his wife.  To give you an idea of how bad it was where he was concerned, I had to check to see if I was included in the count of grandkids.  Surprisingly, I was.  I've got this book in my cart and will give myself a week or two to sit with things to see if this is something I care enough about to dig into or if I call the cemetery to get his location and yell at a pile of dirt.  I read this book last year (the Mr did too) and while I got good information out of it, neither of us are really happy with the thought of the resolution being "observe them when conversing and manage the conversation.  Think about what is said, how you feel about it and then react to diffuse, if necessary."  Well guess what, I've been doing that for a few years and it's friggin' exhausting.  You have like two seconds to respond to someone before they look at you like "did you hear me?" or "are you having a stroke?"  Doing all of that at once without looking like you're a social idiot is nearly impossible.  How hard is it to have a conversation that doesn't have some snippy undertone or to get an email from the other that doesn't get mad and punish you with silence when you don't bend to their will when safety is involved?  Apparently pretty hard these days.  Not quite the chill way I wanted to start 2021 in our little part of the world.


We came home to a clean house which got demolished in 4.3 minutes by bags and crap unloaded from the car so that began to pile on the stress.  I got a good dent into it by Saturday and then just irritated at the state of things Sunday continued on in the morning until it was a few strays I could take care of here and there.  The tree is still up which isn't unusual since we usually have stuff up until the 3rd week in January but the thought of putting it all away isn't top of my list of fun things because then that means I'll need to address the mess of a basement.  I'll need to do that anyway because the washer is starting to show signs of kicking the bucket and that will mean a pathway will need to be cleared.  Not even going to think about that right now.  We bought water alarms to keep us apprised of the situation which only seemed to be a real issue if things got off balance because I plan to run that thing to the ground if I can.

My mom got the Mr a Netflix gift card since we only get it twice a year.  I am amazed people pay for that year round because we can burn through anything good in a week, then it's just scanning their offerings griping about how they don't have anything good, much like all TV these days.  We did watch all of Cobra Kai our first Friday back.  We've been watchers since season one on YouTube and loved it.  I HATED that movie but man, William Zabka is worth watching it alone.  He's friggin' hilarious.  Friday I decided to watch one episode of Bridgerton in the 7:30pm I was finishing it.  That is some well written, hot aristocratic soft porn!  I loved that Julie Andrews narrated and they revealed Whistledown's identity at the end too because you never know if they will do a season two.  I'm willing to bet with reaching over 64 million viewers in two weeks means highly likely but honestly, they wrapped everything up so I don't see where they would go with it that wouldn't feel like a money grab.  We also got the Showtime app and free trial (or something cheap I think) so we could watch the rest of The Affair series.  I was going to wait until the Dexter revival in the Fall but I can't be sure they'll release all 10 episodes at once.  I was thrilled to see they cast Clancy Brown as the big bad and if ever there was a proper way to wrap it up, it would definitely include Mr Krabs.  (Though I admit, I love him because of his stint as August Corbin on Sleepy Hollow.)  So we've got three-ish seasons of The Affair to keep us busy but I must admit, season two has been a bit of snooze and I don't know if I really care about the characters much anymore.  Plus, given that life imitated art with ol' Dom (Noah) later last year, it almost feels kind of autobiographical now.  It was hard to watch our favorite version of A Christmas Carol with him playing the loveable and charming Fred as I yelled "CHEATER!"  Allegedly.

Now we're on the tail end of the Mr dealing with food poisoning from a place we got takeout from over the weekend.  Very rare it's anything other than that because this place had a maze that your food went through so they didn't even hand it to you and he was masked, Air Tamered and washed his hands when he got home.  It was a Chinese place that I had red flagged in my head from like 10 years ago but I agreed to it when he brought it up a time or two and figured until we had it and could cross it off the list one way or the other, he'd keep bringing it up.  I think it's off the list now.  I'm just glad he's starting to feel better on that front.

I had no illusions the calendar would flip and things would be better but damn if 2021 so far isn't like "you thought 2020 was irritating?  Hold my beer."

How's your 2021 treating you so far?

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Our Holiday Recap

An FYI in case anyone new that might be tempted to judge that we traveled for the holidays.  1) We quarantined for 2 weeks prior to traveling per Vermont's guidelines with signed legal documents saying we did so.  We drove over 13 hours straight overnight in our personal vehicle only stopping to fuel up since we had food in the car.  2) It was just our "pod" of two and we rented cabins in the middle of nowhere so no interaction with others while home.  3) None of our practices from the last 9 months changed while there.  Obviously masked with our 5 layer filters that we even wore in the heat of summer with Air Tamers and Nozin.  IF we visited stores (and it wasn't many), it was only the first hour it was open and takeout only which sucked but had to be done (if the restaurant was even open which many weren't.)  We slathered ourselves with hand sanitizer until a sink was available to scour down Silkwood style with good soap.  We assumed everyone we passed had Covid and would parkour our way out of their path if they weren't budging and given we were in ski towns, they weren't.  Basically, my introvert aversion tactics I've deployed my whole life have set us up well for pandemic reflexes to avoid others.  We didn't owe anyone an explanation but there it is anyway. 😁


I took full advantage of pre-planned posts to give myself the first week of the new year off, partly because we weren't here for the first few days of it.  We already planned to go to Vermont for Christmas this year before Covid hit and we could isolate in a cabin out of state following strict guidelines just as easy as we can staying cooped up in our own home as we have been for over 9 months.  As mentioned, we quarantined for two weeks prior to leaving per Vermont's guidelines which is the only state (I think) that allows you to quarantine at home before going.  (Damn that is a LOT of misplaced trust but we had zero problem doing what they asked and I guess were naive to hope others would too.)  When we told people this, it was kind of disheartening the first question was always "how will they know if you actually did though" in that tone that suggested "you could just say you quarantined."  Um, no.  My response was "1) we signed legal docs committing to doing so which we take seriously and 2) we're not a-holes and putting others at risk in a state we adore because we couldn't stay home for two weeks."  The freezer and fridge were at full capacity come December 1st as we needed not only two weeks worth of groceries for quarantine but what we already had to take with us for the holiday.  We only had to supplement with some fruits and veggies into the second week with a delivery from Amazon Fresh.  (Don't get the lettuce.)  Lots of Christmas movies and the Mr had craziness at his job the whole time to keep busy.  What we found disturbing while in Vermont were the amount of people who apparently joked and admitted they had not quarantined before coming to town.  There were local news stories about skiers bragging about it.  Yeah, not like there's asymptomatic spread or anything, friggin' jerks.  😠  

We were talking to the owner of an antique store in Waterbury who was actually going to close her doors Christmas weekend because she said despite the storm coming in that was going to bring us our one rainy day, she knew it wouldn't deter the throngs of people coming in from neighboring states for the weekend.  She was relieved to hear we actually did quarantine and said she wished there were more like us willing to prevent the little state that could who stayed mostly untouched until the Fall spike like the rest of the country.  (That being relative given it's size.  It has had less cases total than most states twice or more the size have per hour.)  It was very sad to see her actually scared of people's carelessness and we suspect this is also the reason our favorite restaurant closed it's doors days before Christmas citing keeping employees and customers safe even though they've been up and running for a few months now.  

Sadly, we couldn't get the cabin we rented the past two Christmases we went there so I was quite anxious going into this new one because I couldn't get a feel for the layout as to where to put the Christmas tree, etc prior to going.  Thankfully, I spied a spot that wouldn't be in front of the baseboard heating and it worked out well.  I decorated most of that night then put up our fairy lights that I hang in the windows with Command hooks so we can still have Christmas lights while we travel.   It was exactly what we needed.

Since last year was one of getting back to basics, I wanted the tree to reflect that.  Dried fruit, burlap ribbon, salt dough ornaments, joined wick candles, small bells and raw wood spindles.  

It was always relaxing to look at and I was so glad all of the tree decorations fit in a shoebox for easy travel.

We were able to get in a lot of fun activities on our property like hiking, building a snowman, making snow angels and sledding down the trail.   

We also got in some indoor activities like baking cookies, making the occasional s'more, doing puzzles and watching Christmas specials/movies. 

(You have no idea how proud we were of finishing that 300 piece puzzle.  We are NOT puzzle people!)

One socially distanced activity we did was a sleigh ride.  We were in the back row of a three row sleigh with the driver masked ahead of that and we had our masks on obviously.  I'd say despite the masks and such, this was the best sleigh ride we've done because twice the dude just let the horses rip and we dropped down a few hills in a gallop which was both exhilarating and terrifying at once.  

Speaking of letting it rip, one of our horses (the one whose butt is prominent in the lower left above) must've had onions or broccoli because homeboy had some SERIOUS gas the whole time.  Lift tail...expel.  Not even 7 total layers of masking could save us from Zeus' mighty butt trumpet.  At one point, we were crying laughing while the dude was giving us Vermont history and it was like "we can't hear you over the sonic booms your horse is dropping."  I had this horrible vision that he was going to have explosive diarrhea all over the driver and I was just praying we were out of the 'splash zone.'  Thankfully, we never had to find out but it was certainly the most memorable thing we did the whole time and maybe ever in Vermont.

We went to Woodstock for the new year since going to other states wasn't an option due to quarantine restrictions.  It was a lovely cabin and much closer to town than the place we stayed (but missed) last time.  

We went out for an early peek at the stores before the tourists woke up and we stopped by Yankee Bookstore and I absolutely must give them a shoutout.  First off, most of the stores in VT had sanitizer when you come in and some wouldn't let you come in until you did it.  With Yankee Bookstore, it's very small but I wanted to buy a book to read while we were there.  A woman brought in a return and when she left, the manager (maybe owner?) told his employees that if a return comes in to wipe down the outside of the book with a sanitizing wipe AFTER the customer leaves so as not to offend them but they need to keep everyone safe.  He and all employees were not only masked but gloved and behind plexiglass.  I bought two books just because he impressed me so much.

(When I say we didn't go to stores unless they were basically empty, I mean EMPTY.)

We had fun driving both downtowns at night looking at Christmas lights and Woodstock was especially nice because on New Years Eve, NO ONE was on the streets so the Mr and I parked and held hands walking through the streets looking at the lights and displays of the closed stores.  It was possibly one of my favorite moments of the trip that didn't involve snow.

(The beautiful streets of Woodstock including their covered bridge.)

Most of the time we just enjoyed country drives and the landscape.  It was kind of a bummer to not be able to eat breakfast inside of one of our favorite breakfast places in Stowe but honestly, that place is cramped and loud so I'll take keeping it warm in the Hot Logic to take it back home.  

I'm not going to lie, Covid restrictions and just the way we have to change things for now really did affect things a lot more than we thought.  I wouldn't call this a 'vacation' by ANY stretch of the imagination, it wasn't.  We were not able to enjoy much where public interaction was a possibility.  You don't realize how much you miss seeing people's faces, even strangers.  You know the squinty eyes mean they're smiling and you can hear it in their voice but it's not the same.  Most people seem scared to even acknowledge each other with more than a head nod.  We didn't even walk the rec trail which has beautiful views because of the possibility of bumping into too many people even though Stowe was noticeably less crowded in town than years past.  You don't realize that when you're waiting for your off peak lunch for take out, how seeing a completely empty restaurant makes your heart sad.  Even things that weren't Covid related were sad or irritating.  We had some issues pop up at both places that had me in tears a few times.  We saw the Woodstock Pharmacy, which had been open for 167 years, closed.  It was all I could do not to burst into tears as we read the sign on the door saying the prescriptions would be moved across the river to New Hampshire which is over 10 miles away.  Anyone living or vacationing in Vermont knows a Vermont 10 miles feels like 20 which is going to be a pain in the butt for people who need regular meds.  I still remember the older woman behind the counter who would tell us to let her know if you needed anything.  She was cordial but tough and looked like she could bake a rustic apple pie easily and tow your ass out of a ditch with her Subaru before unhooking you and moving on with her day.  We had car issues and a road trip had to be cancelled and at that point we had to buy a CO detector to make sure what we were sure was an exhaust leak didn't kill us on the way home.  Nowhere within 50 miles to go get it looked at and if they needed to order something?  Well, that was our only transportation so we kept everything within 30 miles of cabins.  Every single day one of us had a headache, one day the Mr had the worst migraine of his life.  I averaged 2-3 hours sleep per night so it was not quite the escape from reality I'd hoped for...needed.   But there were just enough good moments to balance the scales and we got home safely only to be told nothing was wrong with the car.  

We were thankful for the quiet days even if it made us a little antsy especially when the snow fell.  There is something about a blanket of snow on tall pines on towering mountains that makes the corners of your mouth curl with happiness.  I'll hang on to those days because I need them desperately.  Maybe I'll get a few pics printed that make me smile.  We definitely came home with some extra weight we need to get to work on but one thing at a time.  
How were your holidays?  (Don't they seem like forever ago now?)

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Friday, January 8, 2021

What I'm Reading This Week #2

First off...happy 86th birthday Elvis.  

(Gimme da vapors.  via

Secondly, happy Friday! I hope you all have had a productive or relaxing first week of the new year or a happy mix of both.  Sadly, I wasn't on the ball with dinners this week so we're going to have to jump right into...

The Quick-and-Dirty Workout for Recovering Your Body on New Year’s Day  (I don't need it to be dirty but I'll take quick.)

The Best Core Workout for People With Back Pain  (Core strength is everything.)

15 Bloating Remedies That'll Finally Get Rid of That Puffy Stomach Feeling  (You mean your belly isn't supposed to sound like a melon being thumped?)

The All-Natural Way to Get Rid of Rings on a Wood Table  (Always a good trick to have in your back pocket.)

These Are All of the Slang Terms You're Too Old to Use After 40  (I read this so you don't have to. Because you know what else you're "too old for" after 40?  Reading dipshit lists like this that tell you how you should and shouldn't speak based on ageism.  So totes bite me while I put you on blast, author person.)

We are kickin' back this weekend and taking some deep breaths to re-adjust to non-holiday life.  I'm looking forward to a cup of hot chocolate, flipping on the fireplace and doing whatever the heck we want.  

How was your week?  Any plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Problem with Toxic Positivity


As the calendar flips, there is a natural tendency to veer toward hope.  It's supposed to be a clean slate and anything is possible is how we typically look at January.  But this January is different from all of the others.  The reality is we're still going through a pandemic and have a ways to go before that's going to be in our rear view.  Because of pandemic fatigue and people wanting to 'go back to normal', we all just want to forget about what 2020 represented on many levels and many don't want to hear it anymore.  

"Smile!  It's a new year!"

"Nothing is as bad as 2020!"

"You have a roof over your head and food to eat, be grateful!"

This act of trying to stifle people's feelings in that moment because the person they tried to confide in may be uncomfortable with emotion is called "toxic positivity."  It doesn't apply only to the current situation of the pandemic but people have been doing this for ages.  Someone dies and you hear "they're in a better place", "they lived a long life" or "they wouldn't want you to be unhappy."  Um, I just lost someone I care deeply about and will never see again...not okay.  Someone loses their job and it's "something better is around the corner", "stay focused, you'll find something soon", "they didn't deserve you anyway."  Yes, but some people have been unemployed for a long time, lost their homes and need money to you know, survive.  It doesn't even have to be something life altering to have people try to dump their truckload of rainbows on your feelings.  

I remember when someone in my family made a comment about something I posted (not negative but a funny and only slightly sarcastic meme...shocking, I know) and how it was "her birthday month... positive vibes only."  I considered it a victory that I didn't shoot back, "look sweet stuff, I know you're going through your quarter life crisis right now (not projecting-she truly is) and reading all of the positive articles to put a different spin on things which I am all for; however I know for a fact you don't live your life by what you preach online so no comment necessary."  I have a right to say what I want in my own space even if it isn't in line with someone's 'positive vibes'.  Scroll past it.   Do you know how many things people say that I don't agree with and just because I don't agree doesn't mean I need to comment on it.  If I commented on every single thing I didn't agree with, I'd be in a cave ex-communicated from probably all family and friends and anyone else who came along.  Not long after her response, I saw something similar to this on Instagram...

I resisted the urge to throw that back in her face (see!...positivity!) but felt it deep in my soul.  I get so sad or frustrated when I ask someone how they're doing, especially when I know they've been going through a loss of some kind or have been having a hard time lately, and get "fine."  They don't need to go through something tragic though for me to want to know if they need to talk.  It would be perfectly fine for them to say "man, this week has just been one thing after another and I'm kind of tired of the shit, ya know?"  How lovely to be able to respond with "do you need to talk about it?  Maybe pop open an adult beverage for us to enjoy across the miles?  Do I need to get a voodoo doll for you?  Whatever you need, I'm here" instead of "chin up, it'll get better!  Now let's get to me."

But I get why people are reluctant to share, many of us have been programmed since childhood to do the same thing.  If you want to see how many people are truly struggling not just with loss but everyday life, this post on a page I visit will open your eyes to how many people around us are in pain.  (At the time I looked, 43K comments on that post and literally, all it took was for a stranger to ask how they honestly were doing.)  I cried reading some of it the first few days.  I was tempted to say "wow, what I'm going through is nothing compared to these people", which is also conditioning of growing up with the mentality of encouraging burying any feeling that could make someone uncomfortable but that does no one any good. This is not a contest on who is struggling or stressing out over what more and the cause behind it.  One type of sadness does not eclipse another just because it might be lesser on the gut punch scale.  Anything that disrupts or distracts from our lives is worth talking about with someone who has a willing ear/eyes.  I was encouraged on that post by the amount of men who bared their souls about pandemic divorces and feeling like failures as fathers.  Society teaches them to "be a man/suck it up" and expressing your feelings is "sissy stuff" when it is the absolute most important thing a man can do  to be vulnerable and say "I'm struggling too."  (This is not in any way diminishing what women go through, just to say that men so rarely speak about/acknowledge it, especially with their real names attached.)

Sadly, before 2020 happened, if you weren't riding a unicorn, farting rainbows and sharing the perfect social media life, many considered that a failure even though their own lives looked nothing like what they expected from others.  How screwed up is that!?  It puts so much pressure on social media versions of yourself, reduces your chances of reaching out when you need it and that just sucks.  With almost a year under our pandemic belts, I think people have a better idea of what those of us with anxiety and/or depression issues have gone through for years. Sadly, there is still a long way to go with stigma so some have dismissed it and say it's "only temporary and will be better once the pandemic is over."  How nice to have that option.  Sigh.  The problem is, even if you share something that is educational but isn't necessarily positive, you find out real quick who supports you completely and who doesn't.  

When I once shared something about struggles people with anxiety have to allow people to understand how your brain reacts differently and what you're thinking vs what others are assuming...ONE family member liked it and it was someone I haven't seen in probably 10 years.  It took me almost a week to get the courage to even post that due to anxiety and feeling exposed because I knew what the response would be from those you're taught will always have your back...nothing.  It feels like "oh, this isn't happy, I don't like that and it's too much for me to hit the sad icon over the thumbs up.  Don't acknowledge, it'll go away."  These are from people who like every single thing I posted otherwise so you feel abandoned or rejected.  Gee, wonder why I pulled back?  


Far too many people don't reveal their struggles for fear they'll get labeled as a "drama queen" or "attention whore" if they actually admit they're occasionally struggling.  I do know some people who never have anything good or positive to say ever and that is a different thing.  I used to get sucked into it but I don't anymore so I wish them well and limit my exposure to them.  With those who are constantly embroiled in some kind of drama they can't wait to spill or spin blame to everyone but themselves, placing clear boundaries must be the priority.  I will admit I am guilty of deflection with empathy with negative people but that is at holiday time.  ("I'm so sorry you're going through that, I pray things will get better for you" and offer a hug or "damn, that jacket looks really good on you!"  Nothing deflects better than telling someone how awesome they look.)  I have zero problems talking about what is bothering someone 362 days out of the year but for holidays, can we just enjoy those and focus on being together as a family?  I don't feel like that is too much to ask for someone who just asks for some peace the few times a year they see their family as a whole.  

I digress.

The point is, being positive is fine and dandy but people are also allowed to feel even if it's not so chipper at that moment in time.  Processing the feelings instead of being told to snap out of it like they're burdening people with their existence is by far the more healthy option.  By negating their need to be heard and someone trying to fix the bad thing so we can all go back to smiling and pretending everything is okay, isn't helpful, it's actually hurtful.  They are being taught that they can't rely on you and if everyone around them seems to suffer from that and many do, then it can feel quite isolating.  You don't want to be a burden so you keep quiet.  Those thoughts can take a toll after a while.  The Mr and I always say when one of us has a less than proud emotion that we share, "I know that's horrible but..." and the other always says "you're entitled to your feelings.  That doesn't make it wrong."  Always.  But sometimes people need to know even just one person will allow them to pull off the mask and actually listen and still love them anyway.  I am lucky I have two people in my life who allow me to do that and truly don't judge me for it.  I know some people don't even have that and for that I am truly sorry.

The term toxic positivity isn't something I made up.  I read quite a few articles about it before getting inspired to word barf on this post about it.  If you've rolled your eyes at this anywhere, it might behoove you to read a few of them.  (But I know most of you haven't because you're good peeps!)  

If you want to know more about the concept of toxic positivity and how you can better support someone in your life, check out these articles below:

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