My weight loss journey-the hubby joins me

Things are returning to “normal” in our house. The kids are back in school and my coworker is trying to buy her 1st home and actually wants to work ALL of the overtime until she is settled and I am happy to let her! With this weeks overtime behind me and no more in the future I’m feeling human again.

With my husband on board with the weight loss it is making my life easier with less temptation. Our new fridge was delivered a week ago (the old one finally died.) so we are stocking back up on healthy food and cooking at home. It was rough going for the few weeks between “fridge isn’t working” and “new one is here” but we survived.

My hurdle now is exercise. With masking back at the gym it’s a no-go. I can’t do cardio in a mask. I already wheeze like crazy without the mask adding to my struggle. I was full on ready to get back to my walking around the park and back then the fires started and now the air quality is “chunky” with a mist of ash falling constantly. I’m pretty sure the smoke and ash are not good for my lungs. My current plan is to skip cardio and work on my core and stretching until masking at the gym goes away or the air is breathable outside again.

Halfway through august and I’m down 3 lbs so far. At least it’s going in the right direction.

My weight loss journey-July 2021

Holy setbacks Batman!

Thankfully I only gained 1 lb in July and that is a miracle. Between the 4th of July holiday weekend and the 60+ hour work weeks I am amazed that is all I gained. I’m the type of person who draws a line in the sand, regroups and starts over. That is what August was going to be for me…a fresh start. With the overtime behind me I’m getting back to my meal planning and back to the gym! I had a plan…and it was a good one then Thursday, July 29th I get told that the overtime is going to continue through August oh, and by the way you are working on Saturday too. I almost cried.

My work week has been 8-5 Monday, 8-7:30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then back to 8-5 Friday and Saturday. Yes, you read that right…6 days a week and three 11.5 hour days. Oh, and I have an hour commute each way. I’m struggling. I’m exhausted. I’m desperately trying to regroup and try to figure out how I can make this work. My decision…food is key. I just do not have time or energy to exercise so my diet needs to be near perfect.

I have had suggestions from fit people I know try to help me figure out how to fit exercise in my day. I’m up by 5:30 AM and leave the house about 6:30 AM and get home around 6 or 8:30 PM depending on the day. I get ready for bed at 9 and I’m asleep somewhere between 10-11pm. Giving me 5.5-7.5 hours sleep depending on the night. My early days I spend as much time as possible with the kids before they go to bed because I don’t see them at all on my late days. That is honestly the hardest part…not seeing the kids.

So I average about 6.5 hours of sleep a night and I’m at work, commuting or with my kids the other part. What do I give up? Work is set and I don’t want to work the OT as it is, but it isn’t optional. Sleep? I’m exhausted as it is. Time with my kids…yeah, I’ll give up sleep first. My kids are still little and they grow up so fast. I’m not making excuses. It’s just my reality. I have pondered this trying to work out a solution on those many hours commuting. I have goals so I was going to cut my gym time down to 30 min. But as if the OT wasn’t crushing enough Friday I get an email from the gym saying they are going back to mandatory masking for everyone while in the building vaccinated or not as of August 1st. That sealed the deal for me and I put my membership on hold.

So that’s where I am. My first month that I did not loose anything and actually gained a pound. I am determined NOT to gain anything in the month of August and my goal is to lose at least 4 lbs with diet alone. I’ll check in again at the beginning of September with an update.

Coming out of the pandemic…slowly

I’ll say it… I love NOT wearing a mask. I love to see people smiling and greeting each other. I love hearing about families and friends reuniting. I love that things are slowly getting back to the old normal. Screw the new normal. New normal sucks. I want the old normal back.

Honestly the only good thing that came out of covid was curbside pickup everywhere. I love not having to get the kids out of the car to grab a few items in the store. I order online. I get an email when it’s ready I drive up. They throw my order in my car and I’m out. L-O-V-E it!

I look forward to the day that no one even mentions “social distancing”. I don’t like people all up in my face to begin with but I’m really tired of not being able to tell where the line is because it just looks like a bunch of random people standing around on their phones.

Along that same line…I’d like the whole “Karen” thing to just stop. Seriously, just stop. Also, I’m tired of people telling me to “be safe” all the time. I don’t recall ever telling anyone to “be safe” in my life. I have asked friends if they need a condom. I have told friends to call or text me if they don’t feel safe. I have told my kids to get down that’s not safe. But it’s not a parting greeting for strangers. Goodbye, see you later, have a great day, enjoy your weekend… those are awesome ways to part. But honestly, I’m annoyed by “no worries” as well. For example, let’s say a patient comes in 3 hours late for their appointment and it’s 4:59 and you get off work at 5:00. They explain that their appointment just wasn’t at a good time for them so they figured they would just come in now because that works better. Here I’m thinking “no way in hell I’m staying late for an inconsiderate jerk. You need to rebook. I’ll see you in 2 months” but then I hear my coworker tell them. “Oh, no worries. She’s still here and can see you before she goes home.”

No worries really? No worries should be for something that you are ACTUALLY distressed about. Like “OMG my purse was just stolen and my keys and phone were in it and I’m a total wreck! How am I going to get home? How do I call someone without my phone? What am I going to do?” Telling someone “no worries. Let me help you figure this out. Do you know anyone’s phone number that may have a spare key to your car?” No worries should be for someone who is ACTUALLY worried who is experiencing something outside their control. Not just anyone with an excuse for their own bad behavior.

We can do this people! We can get it together, be kind, get back to work and have some patience for those who have worked through the entire pandemic from the medical staff to the grocery clerks to the server at your local eatery. They are exhausted, understaffed, tired of being yelled at for things they have no control over and dealing with the public (many of them who lost their minds) for the last year and a half.

When a “day off” not really an actual day of rest

At some point “days off” work didn’t actually become a restful day to recuperate from work and enjoy life but they became just more work. It starts slow. You do your laundry, get groceries or run a few errands but easily have time to hit happy hour, grab lunch with a friend and catch a movie or go to the park with your family. My life has not been like that in some time now. It makes me wonder what happened? I see photos on Facebook of people out doing all kinds of things but not me. I always seem to be busy. Now, I’m not saying that I never get out, because I do. Just not as often as most other people.

I knew I was busy but I didn’t really understand until a few days ago. I took a day off of work so my husband could go to the dentist. He would not be done in time to get the kids off the bus so I took the day off of work. Now, my thought was I have a lot of things I need to get caught up for my photography business on so I’ll just get up like I’m going to work and pop open my laptop in the living room and get some work done. 13 hours later I finally got caught up…kinda. I still have more to do. There is always more to do.

Now I’m behind on my blog posts. How did this happen? Well…I have been busy. We are behind at work so there has been a lot of overtime. We had several people quit to take care of their kids when the schools did not reopen in the fall. No one has applied for those open jobs in almost a year now. Because we have been working short staffed we now have 4 people out injured (I will be joining them briefly when I have my carpal tunnel surgery after the kids are back in school). All of these vacancies have now brought us to the point that we have been opening for Saturday appointments for the last 3 months to try to catch up and now this month we are opening in the evenings too. So in an effort to be a team player I have been working from 7:30AM-7:30PM 4 days a week and 7:30-5 on Fridays. My coworker has been working 6 days a week taking the Saturdays since she works from 8:30-5 on weekdays. Add in my kids, photography business, household chores and getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the gym (that just opened on June 15th) before work and I am one busy, exhausted woman.

So I started looking at those relaxed, refreshed people out enjoying life all the time and wondered what they have in common. What are they doing (or not doing) that allows them to just chill out? With 1 exception the thing they all have in common is lack of a job. They have someone else providing the money they live on. About half have a minimal gig they do from selling something from a MLM of some sort or teaching an occasional class on something. By minimal I’m talking 1-2 days a week for about 2 hours actually working. Something to give them something to do. All have teenage or older kids. Only one had a full time job but her kids are grown and out of the house and no grandkids yet.

This made me realize that I’m not being fair to myself. I’m not comparing apples to apples. These women are not gone from the home almost 70 hours a week commuting or at work. Most days I’m commuting or at work for 15 of the 24 hours in a day. 9 hours to sleep, shower and go to the gym. No wonder I look exhausted. The 6 hours of sleep I get a night keeps me functional but not relaxed and refreshed. Makeup? What’s that? I’m lucky to just have clean laundry for everyone and groceries in the house (that I have delivered because I do not have time to shop). I’m not one of these women. I will not be one of them until my kids are grown and I’m retired. So until that point, I am ok and doing pretty good managing it all like so many others out there. The apples can stay apples. I’m ok being an orange. Maybe someday soon I can pull it all together for a day at the beach…

Traveling Again!

That’s right. The time has come and Working Mom, Travel Dreams is traveling again! I’m traveling with my husband to Mexico for our 10th wedding anniversary. Our plan was to enjoy a week in the UK but with the travel restrictions that was not possible. So we regrouped, switched gears and now we are off to Cabo San Lucas. We are leaving the kids at home for our first kid free vacation together in 9 years. our last vacation together was our 1st wedding anniversary where I was big and pregnant and we had to book our travel to make sure we made it back before my “unable to travel internationally” date 2 days later. Yeah, there’s nothing like cutting it close. Traveling while that pregnant was not easy.

I have been to Cabo oodles of times since it’s a quick getaway from California. You can usually find long weekend package deals for $500 or less pretty easy so it’s the alternative to Vegas for many of us Californians who are not into gambling but still want to enjoy some fun in the sun. With all the restrictions in California I find people are flocking to Mexico just to get away from it all and enjoy a little bit of freedom again. I have 1 coworker and a friend who are in Cabo right now and know several people that have gone in the last month.

The airports are pretty empty still. They only had one shuttle running at SFO and the long term parking was maybe 1/4 full. It’s really different than my last trip where SFO was packed in Sept 2019. The flights were sure full despite the empty parking. Snacks and beverages were distributed a little different with everyone getting a small snack bag. I actually preferred it that way for this short flight but a bagged lunch meal for dinner could be annoying on a longer international flight.

At the resort nearly everyone we met was vaccinated. The ones who were not vaccinated had covid around the holidays and it’s still too soon for them to get vaccinated. Pretty much everyone hated the masking and wore them as little as possible. There was a lot of annoyance on things like the rule that you have to wear a mask while walking around the resort…except in the pool area. So I don’t have to wear a mask in the pool area but if I go to the snack bar, bathroom or non-swim up bar I need a mask. Swim up bar no mask. Someone brings my drink to me at the table, no mask. I take 5 steps to the bar to get a drink, I need a mask. (FYI all the bars are outdoors).

We followed the rules, no matter how crazy. It was still a lot less restrictive than California and it was FANTASTIC to see people’s faces and socialize. We got our covid tests to return home and they were negative. Even though we were fully vaccinated AND had negative covid tests our kids therapy sessions were canceled for 2 weeks when we returned because we left the country. If we stayed in the country it would have been fine. California paranoia at its best here. CDC says vaccinated people can live normal lives. But here in California we are still on house arrest and shamed for attempting normal.

Busy lives and full calendars

I remember the days when I had oodles of stuff going on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still busy it’s just a different kind of busy now. Now my calendar lacks the social engagements and is full of zoom meetings and project deadlines. Ah how I miss the days of social gatherings. Hopefully that will change soon.

Recently I was talking to it co workers and it turns out that several of us have been shopping online buying outfits for future outings when we open back up. It’s hard living in the most restricted state in the United States. The state is divided between “open up and ditch the masks” and “everyone stay home and wear 3 masks, face shields, gloves and socially distance even when vaccinated”. It’s pretty crazy. I fall into the category of open up and ditch the mask mandate. Let people make their own decisions based on their comfort level.

I believe we should have the freedom to make our own decisions as adults. For example… Sunday I picked up my wine club shipments at two wineries. We have friends who are also members at the same wineries so we planned a day to pick up our wine together. All 5 of us are fully vaccinated and past our 2 week window. Tastings are outdoors. The CDC says fully vaccinated can be free. We felt 100% comfortable with this forbidden outing. Sharing our picnic, drinking wine, laughing and acting human socializing as adults. The shaming we got from the two group photos of us that were posted on Facebook was appalling. Why is this happening? Why are we expected to be hermits?

95% effective means you have a 5% chance of getting covid. Also, there were zero serious cases among the vaccinated. Yet California is still the most restricted state. That is all going to end in June 15th when our state opens back up. Personally, I can’t wait to see smiling faces and interact with humans again.

Photography in the pandemic (long)

As many of you know I am a photographer. As a photographer I capture moments in time. Once I click the shutter that moment is gone. We will never get that moment back. I mention this because I recently got in an argument with another photographer on a photography forum online. The issue: she was hired to shoot a wedding last year and paid in full. The wedding is in a month and the pandemic isn’t over yet. She is on the fence about canceling or shooting it and wanted advice. I gave my advice.

The wedding was booked and paid for a year ago and is in a month. She knew it was coming up so if she was going to cancel the time to do it was 5+ months ago when the pandemic didn’t end and the lockdowns continued. At this point the couple is thankful that they still have a photographer because venues and catering are probably a nightmare for them. If the wedding gets canceled that is one thing, but they were hired to do a job and accepted payment in full for the job. They should do the job. It isn’t like things were in the beginning. We have social distancing, masking and if you get sick we now have treatments. On top of that more and more people are getting vaccinated every day. This isn’t the same situation we had in the beginning when we didn’t have any of that.

Well, apparently some people got mad about that and feel everyone should stay home and everything should be canceled until the virus is gone from our planet. Ok, look moron. It’s a virus. It will never be completely gone from the planet. Also, everything in life has risks. It’s our job to learn those risks as we grow up and learn to do things as safe as possible knowing the risks and should we end up sick or injured we know where to go for help if we need it. Staying locked in your home in fear is not living…it’s existing. There is a reason why we have prisons for criminals and put little kids in time out. Taking away freedom to live your life as you wish is punishment.

Back to photography… I’m not a fan of shooting portraits. It’s boring. I like landscapes, nature and travel. But I am good at it even if I don’t like it. In this pandemic I have found myself shooting more portraits than I ever have before. Why is this when there are so many portrait photographers out there? Well, it’s because they are terrified and believe everyone should stay in isolation. I don’t feel that way. I feel that life is still happening and once those moments are gone we will never get them back. Photographers are here to capture those moments.

I have a friend who has had 7 miscarriages and finally carried her pregnancy to term with #8 in this pandemic. She wanted to do a maternity photo shoot to capture the joy of this time especially since she does not know if they will ever be able to have another one. The problem… she can’t find a photographer in the lockdown so she contacted me. I agreed to do her photos for her. I don’t know how people can turn down someone who has been through so much sadness and wants to capture the joy of this moment. It isn’t like she can go back and do them later. We did them in a low risk way outdoors I stayed socially distanced from them except when I gave her a gift for the baby. I later took family photos after the birth for their daughters 1st Christmas.

My brother is getting married in September. I did his engagement photos and I’m terrified that their wedding photographer will cancel at the last minute and I’ll end up shooting his wedding rather than enjoying the celebration with my family. Why would I do that? Well, because I’m not going to bail on my brother when he needs me.

I’m just so tired of people using covid as an excuse. So you have sat on your butt for a year and don’t want to go back to work? Is it because you are terrified of covid? Nope. You are still living your life visiting with friends and family and going to the store and whatever else is open at the moment. Just be honest. Don’t say it isn’t safe for you to go back to work. Just say you don’t want to go back to work. It’s ok. You can NOT want to go. I don’t want to go every day but I have a family to support so I put on my shoes and go. Would I like to stay home and enjoy the 50 hours a week of free time with my family? Hell yes! I get it. I don’t want to go to work either. But I’m sure as hell not going to use covid as an excuse and say I can’t go to work because it isn’t safe while I go on about living my life outside my home. Just be honest about it. Just say you got lazy and don’t want to go back to work. Saying it isn’t safe for YOU to go to work while you expect everyone else to go to work is just saying that you are more important than everyone else out there. You are more important than all the essential workers who have kept everything running back when it really was not safe. If you accept a job and got paid for the job then you should do that job. If you want to back out you should refund your fee AND pay the difference for the last minute replacement for the job you were suppose to do if they incur additional costs due to you backing out at the last minute.

The businesses and people that are going to survive this pandemic are going to be the ones who didn’t use it as an excuse to be lazy. They are going to be the ones that paid off debt, saved up to purchase their first home, wrote that book, used the time to get fit, eat healthier, forge a better relationship with their spouse and children. There are 1000 ways to come out of the pandemic better than you went into it.

There are several truths about the past year no matter what your beliefs are on the way the pandemic is being handled where you are from.

Life is moving on.

Relationships are starting and ending.

People are getting married and divorced.

Children are being born and growing up.

People still die.

How do you feel about gatherings? Should we never celebrate again? If you are married how would you feel to have that option taken away from you? How about your children? Do you reflect back on that crying photo with Santa and smile? What if that was taken away from you? Remember the first day of kindergarten? What if that was taken away? High school or college graduation (yours or or child’s)? How about funerals? Should those go away and we no longer get to mourn? Should we visit the sick and dying or let them die alone? How about birthdays? Do we celebrate only the 1st birthday, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 50th, 75th, 100th? Only some? None at all? How about if you beat cancer and didn’t think you would see another birthday but here it is! Do you celebrate?

Do we celebrate life or let let it just go because someone might get sick? What about food poisoning? Someone might get sick. Maybe we should not eat anymore.

Leap of faith…

Sometimes I look back and I’m amazed at how much my life has changed in the last few years. It isn’t just Covid closures, but the goals I have achieved along the way. You see I have this old friend that has moved away that I talk to and we have the most insane conversations. We can always count on each other to tell it like it is.

A conversation with this friend brought me to start this blog. I had never thought of doing a blog before and I never thought anyone would be interested in what I have to say, after all I’m just a Mom. She convinced me that I have something to say and I should give it a try. I still remember when the first person read it. I was amazed! When I got my first follower I called her on the way home from work. I called her when I hit double digits and I’ll call her when I hit 100, 1000 and every time I add another zero to the total.

Another conversation with this same friend gave me the push to start my photography business. I went to a craft fair with another friend and there was a guy selling photo prints at a booth and making a lot of money. My friend and I were looking through his work when she leaned over to me and told me that I should sell my photos. They are better than this guys photos. I laughed it off. After all, I’m just a Mom. I told my old friend about this craft fair conversation and she agreed. I should take my photography to the next level. I was not convinced. So she started to send me links to online photo contests. I entered some to humor her and I was shocked as I actually started to place. How in the world I could place in a contest with tens or hundreds of thousands of entries was mind blowing to me. I looked at the winning shots and did not feel worthy to be among such great photographers. But there I was and not just once, but in several of the contests I entered. I finally believed her and opened an online store and started submitting to galleries.

This is important to me because starting tomorrow I’ll have a photo on display in a gallery in New York City. It isn’t the MOMA but it is in New York City and I’m very excited! If you are in the area check out the show at the Agora Gallery. My photo on display is the featured image on this post. Not bad for “just a Mom”.

I’m far from rich, famous and quitting my day job. But it is nice to see hard work paying off. It feels good to be able to do something I love, taking that leap of faith and actually doing better than I ever expected. Someday I’ll be in the MOMA. Just not today and that is OK. I can work my way up to that level. When I get there, (I don’t care if all I have in is a little 8×10) I am going to the opening reception and I’m going to wear an amazing multi color dress. Of course I can only see the dress in my head, but I’ll design and sew it myself if I have to. It will not be the first time and it will probably not be the last.

To my readers: I thank you for your support. I hope I can inspire at least one of you to reach for the stars, take a leap of faith, try something you felt was impossible and achieve greatness.

Annoyances, craziness and a reminder to be kind

We all have our little things that just annoy the hell out of us but I find that my tolerance for such things is much lower than my pre-covid tolerance.

Now I have always been annoyed by drivers on the freeway that drive significantly slower than the rest of traffic. I don’t care why they are going so slow, but they need to move all the way to the right. If you are going that slow, be a pal and turn on your hazard lights too because you are, in fact a hazard on the road. Just because you have the right number of people in car car does not require you to drive in the carpool lane. Many people are terrified of driving in heavy traffic or next to “the wall” if you are one of those people are are the SLOWEST car on the freeway and driving at least 10 MPH SLOWER than everyone else please, don’t be a jerk and move all the way to the right so the commuters can use the HOV lane to get home before midnight. If you are driving 20+ MPH SLOWER than everyone else pop your hazard lights on to alert other drivers.

Now at least once a month someone stops in the fast track only lane looking for someone to take their toll money on the bridge. We all make mistakes. It happens. But don’t stop. Just go on through and pay your toll violation ticket when you get it in the mail. I see an accident about once every couple months because someone tries to stop when the rest of traffic is trying to speed through or even worse they are trying to cross several lanes on the bridge to get into the proper lane. Safety first people. You miss your exit. You miss your turn. Don’t drive crazy just take the next one. Don’t be a road hazard.

Let’s all be kind. If someone is coming hold the door for them. Let the disabled, elderly and pregnant have the seat on public transportation when it’s crowded. If someone looks lost ask them if they need help. I challenge everyone to do one random act of kindness a day for someone else. So hold the door. Take one minute to make someone else’s day just a little better.

Now let’s talk about the bickering. OMG I’m so tired of it. I have two small boys who are tired of being stuck at home so all they do is fight with each other. I can barely stand 60 seconds on social media right now. Personally, I don’t care what your covid or political beliefs are but just stop the damn fighting. Everyone has a reason for feeling the way they do and everyone and every situation is different. What is right for me may not be right for you. When it comes to the Covid situation, it is evolving all the time so the facts you had yesterday are probably completely irrelevant today. But a few things are sure. 1. There is a virus. 2. At some point the world will need to reopen and life will need to go on. 3. You have the right to make whatever decisions you feel are best for you and your family. 4. You do not have a right to force your opinions on others. We know you are scared. But no one if forcing you to leave the safety of your home. You can stay there. What you can’t do is demand what others can and can’t do because you disagree with them. They are not you and may feel or believe differently than you do. Respect their beliefs and do not push yours on them. It is ok to think differently than others. We are all unique. Respect the differences.

Ten, almost 11 months later I’m really over people telling me what to do.

“YOU NEED TO WEAR A MASK ALL THE TIME OR YOU ARE KILLING PEOPLE” um, no. I’m eating strawberries, in my office, alone until you walked in to tell me that I’m killing people. I’m not killing people. I’m eating, alone until you walked in. Hard to eat and drink with a mask on. If you are that freaked out don’t come in my office.

“YOU ARE TOO CLOSE 6 FEET LADY, 6FEET!!!” Dude, I’m like 12-15 feet away calm the hell down and get a tape measure. Here’s a hint… if you have to YELL or raise your voice so someone can hear your lecture they are too far away from you to catch covid from them. Save your breath.

“YOU NEED YO WAIT FOR ME TO LEAVE BEFORE YOU COME IN THIS AREA” ok, I just want to grab this one package of cheese then you can have the whole deli section to yourself. the cheese is like 10 feet away from your deli sliced meats anyway. You do not own this entire section of the grocery store. I need ONE item and don’t have time or the patience for you to ponder the meaning of life while selecting a lunch meat. (About 15 minutes later I walked past that section again and she was yelling at someone else to step back STILL pondering the lunch meat. I told the guy that she yelled at me 15 minutes ago when I grabbed cheese. Just get your hot links. She hasn’t moved.)

I have heard stories of people jumping into bushes with thorns and poison oak because other hikers were on the same trail going the opposite way. People are jumping into their cars and yelling at people to get away from their children who are still in the shopping cart in grocery store parking lots as people walk by or try to load their own groceries into their car. If you are this paranoid please, order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door to avoid any possible contact with another human. The rest of us just want to do our shopping in peace and move on with life. (Ok, I order my groceries online and have them delivered. It has nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with being too busy to do it myself. I have done this for almost 5 years now and LOVE it!)

It comes down to one thing…people have lost their damn minds. They are so fearful they have lost all ability to think rationally. I beg you, if you are that terrified just stay home. You can have groceries delivered. You don’t need to go hiking or take the dog for a walk. Stay home. Maybe take this time for some zoom therapy sessions to work through some of these issues because at some point you will need to leave your home and interact with another human. You can’t live the rest of your life yelling at people that they can’t have cheese until you are done contemplating all the varieties of lunch meat because you don’t want anyone within 20 feet of you. That is your issue, not theirs. They are not trying to kill you. They just want to get the cheese and get away from you as fast as possible because you are acting like a crazy person. Please, seek therapy and work through your feelings. It can be done in a video visit so you do not need to be near the therapist in person.

If a friend, family member or anyone tells you that you are acting crazy take a deep breath and look at the situation. If the breath isn’t helping and you are still in a panic you need to go back to your safe place, wherever that is and make an appointment to talk to someone. This is a lot and everyone processes differently. With all the craziness out there a lot of people are struggling. You do not have to struggle alone. Talk to someone. It can be a friend, family member, member of the clergy or a medical or mental health professional. Please seek help.

Most of all, everyone has their own issues and some people may not be able to wear a mask because of a medical or psychological issue. This has been a huge topic in the disabled community. It seems about half just will not or can not wear a mask. Most just don’t understand. Some it’s a sensory issue. Some a medical one. I see this a lot in my elderly patients as well. Some just don’t understand why they need to wear the mask when they are not sick. Some have health problems. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Don’t lecture. If you are concerned about your safety, just distance yourself from them. Problem solved peacefully.

Most of all through all of this…Be kind.

Happiness and Pandemic Fatigue

Those who know me know I am really struggling with what is being called “Pandemic fatigue.” As an essential worker in healthcare I had pandemic fatigue before the first shutdown order in March. I had pandemic fatigue by the end of February. People had lost their damn minds. Honestly, all logic was completely obliterated from existence. I saw people walking around in full hazmat suits (and still do)… Minus the oxygen tanks. I have seen people doing completely moronic things like covering every bit of exposed skin with hand sanitizer. Not just their hands, but arms, legs, neck, face and some even started to cover their shoulders and bellies and places accessible without exposing their parts that would be covered by a swimsuit. I even have seen people wiping down their purses with it and even a paper back novel pages and all. Cleaning the PAGES of a book with wet hand sanitizer, the dry paper pages with wet hand sanitizer. This was all prior to the first shutdown and it has just gotten worse. All Logic, common sense and thought processes seem to have gone away in the blink of an eye.

We are now entering our 11th month of lockdowns here in California and I am so beyond over it it is exhausting. I have no idea why I have not snapped yet. At least once a day, every day someone asks me if something is clean right after I cleaned it right in front of them. For example I’ll be cleaning a chair, arms, seat and back right in front of a patient and they are standing there watching me do it. I then tell them they can sit down and they ask me “Are you sure this is clean? because I don’t want to get sick now.” (Look Moron. You just watched me clean it right in front of you and the room reeks of alcohol and my hands are so dry from all the cleaning that you can see my fingerprints.) I don’t say any of what I am thinking as I am totally rolling my eyes at them. I just simply respond, “Yes, it’s clean.” and sigh…again.

At least once a week I get someone in who is so fearful of covid that they refuse to touch anything or let anyone touch them. Ok people. I work in healthcare. If whatever your issue is could be taken care without actually examining you, then this would be a video visit instead of an in person one. If I can’t get the patients to be reasonable and let me do my job in a couple minutes then I pass them back their registration slip with our reception desk phone number written on the bottom and tell them to go back to the receptionist and get a refund then call us back to reschedule when they are comfortable leaving the house and being around people. I have no idea how these people think they are going to get an exam and treatment without touching anything or anyone.

I don’t just struggle with dealing with the public on a daily basis but I struggle even more with the loss of everything I look forward to. I am a goal person. I set a goal and I work toward it a little bit at a time. I also need something fun to look forward to on the horizon to keep me going when the times get hard. This pandemic has canceled ALL of my plans. Every single thing I was looking forward to from my son’s preschool graduation and first day of kindergarten to my husband’s 40th birthday trip to Hawaii. It has stolen my trip to the northern lights. It has canceled many girls days with friends for mani-pedis and a long lunch full of laughing until my face hurts. It has stolen moments I will never get a chance to celebrate again. With my oldest child as a severely disabled child I missed many of these moments with him and was looking forward to being able to share them with my younger child. But those are now gone forever.

The 40th birthday trip in Hawaii that we talked about doing 5 years ago…Yeah gone. I know we can go again later sometime but it isn’t the same. Having traveled shortly after 9-11, major hurricanes and other disasters I know that travel after a major event really sucks. Yes, you are excited to get out and as a traveler you are thrilled and excited to move beyond the depressing life at home. Well, touristy places are hit REALLY hard when disaster strikes and while I know the people who work in tourism are thanking you for being there supporting them because they were hit so hard by the (insert disaster here) As a tourist I do not want to hear the doom and gloom every time I go anywhere and do anything. It can be as simple as going out to eat…The taxi driver taking you to your destination tells you his tales of woe, followed by the tales from the hostess as you wait for your table, the bartender when you try to escape by going to the bar, the wait staff as they take your order, the staff that bring you your food…literally every step along the way for every single thing you do for the entire trip no matter how mundane you hear the tales of woe. Then if you do a tour or trip of some kind you hear the sob story just before they mention the tip jar. I don’t want to be rude and I’m glad I can help stimulate the economy but if I wanted to listen to this crap I could just turn on the news at home…for free. I am on holiday to get away from all of that. I also do not need to be reminded about the tip jar. I tip and I tip well. But the sob story followed by the mentioning of the tips makes me really not want to leave one because it could have been a great tour but you just ended it on a crappy, depressing note and while you are still living your daily life full of all of its issues, I am here to try to escape mine. So, while I am looking forward to traveling post-covid, I am also dreading it.

With everything going on, I have had to rethink the way I do everything, sometimes several times. I can no longer go to the gym to workout before work because it is closed. I can’t go outside for a walk because it is freezing or barely above it in the mornings and totally dark outside. With our current stay at home order we are not even allowed to go for a walk in certain areas. Beaches and parks are again closed. Zoos are closed. Everything is closed. This is leading to a lot of trial and error… in everything. It is very frustrating. You may decide to take the kids to the zoo on the weekend on Wednesday as you look ahead to the weekend then Friday the Governor announces they they all have to close effective midnight Friday night. You already got reservations and tickets for the next day. You already told the kids and they are excited to see the giraffes. But, it has now been determined that going to an outdoor zoo at 25% capacity is too dangerous so now your plans are canceled…Again. Everything needs reservations but you can’t plan anything in advance because the rules change so frequently. It is infinitely frustrating, especially if you are trying to entertain young kids that don’t understand why they can’t go to school or the playgrounds or anywhere when you use to go places all the time.

I try not to let it get me down. It is difficult. I have good days where I try hard and things go well and other days where no matter what I do everything seems to go wrong and everything seems so difficult. One thing is certain… I do not do well when everything is closed. Honestly, I don’t understand why everything is closed…again. It isn’t like our positivity or death rates are so far off places that are open that it shows that this is the answer. In fact we are smack dab in the middle surrounded by states that are open. Are the closures saving lives in this pandemic? Actually the statistics show that the overall human fatality rate overall is pretty much about the same as it has been the last 10 years. So that tells me if these people didn’t die from covid they probably would have died from something else anyway. So why are we closed? Why are people starving and loosing their homes and businesses? Why is it ok to let our children fail and not get educated? Why is it ok for our children to miss out on normal rites of passage like prom and graduation? Since when did living so isolated become something we do to our loved ones? Almost every grandma I have talked to would rather see her loved ones and spend time with them even if it means a shorter life than live longer in isolation from everyone they care about.

My Mom has told her grandkids repeatedly that this is not normal. Don’t let anyone tell you this is normal. This is no way to live a life. Saying they are doing it to protect us (the grandparents) is a lie. You tell anyone who gives you crap about it when they talk about things opening and going back to normal as killing grandma that your grandma volunteers to be the one to die if it means that her kids and grandkids can live a normal life attending events, going to school, having holiday together and celebrating birthdays together. You tell them that your grandma would rather die than live in isolation.

Words from my mom. (This grim sentiment is also why I make a point to take the kids to see my parents every weekend and call to talk to my parents at least once mid-week. It’s hard when I work full time and have a million other things to do but I make the time.)

I have heard similar sentiment from many of my elderly patients as well… I know I am burnt out and exhausted from this, but our elderly that was are supposedly protecting are straight up pissed off. I have a co worker that is nearing retirement and she has gone to Vegas every year for her birthday with her husband for as long as she can remember. Her kids will not let her go. She was so sad about it. Here she is going to work every day just 2 years shy of retirement but her kids will not let her go to Vegas. I told her they are not the boss of you. She doesn’t live under their roof and she should just go. After all my parents are in their 70’s and they just went to Vegas a few months ago for their anniversary.

The point is to LIVE your life not to just exist. There is a reason why we punish people by locking them into jail. You take away their freedoms and isolate them from their loved ones as punishment. So why are we doing this to our loved ones? Why are we punishing them? Why are we punishing ourselves?

I need to see the logic in things. I can suck it up and do difficult things if I can see the logic in it later. I can watch what I eat and exercise if I feel better, my clothes fit better and I loose weight. I can skip grabbing coffee in the mornings, going out to lunch on workdays, having cable TV and shop the sales because I know those savings can then be saved up to allow us the money to travel somewhere. I can do something difficult for months or years at a time if I can see the logic and the progress and see the good it is doing. I do not see the good here. I do not see the advantage. I see elderly receiving end of life care unable to see their families over fear of the virus. I don’t know about you, but if it was me I would rather spend 6 quality months with my friends and family at the end of my life laughing and spending time with those that I care about than spend a year isolated from them to keep me safe.

When I open social media I don’t want to see businesses closing, people starving and struggling to make it. I don’t want to see people loosing their jobs just before Christmas. I don’t want to see people suffering. I want to see photos on Facebook of people I know traveling. I want to see the kids in Christmas pageants singing horribly and picking their noses on stage (that would be my son). I want to see families gathered together in celebrations of holidays, birthdays and graduations. I want to see weddings. I want to see Joy. I want to see humans laughing, loving and enjoying their lives.

I want things to go back to “normal”. I want to see friends laughing. I want to see families celebrating together. 2020 was hard for so many people. For many it was the worst year of their lives. In 2021 I want our lives back. I want peace, love and joy for everyone.