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A Reluctant Tesla Adoption

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This is how I looked on my last day with my Toyota Corolla. I bought it last fall when I decided to go to school in a neighboring town. I usually drive a large family vehicle, so I wanted something with better gas mileage.  In the process of buying that car, it came to my attention that I am married to a man obsessed. I already knew of his great love of all things Jurassic Park. I know and love his homemade R2D2 robot.  His weird affinity for spreadsheets—I knew about that, too. But until I had to argue my way into buying this Toyota, I had no idea that my usually completely reasonable husband had in one small way, gone mad.

What was the source of this madness, you ask? Well, it is only distantly related to dinosaurs.  My husband, like me, loves green energy. We’d both love to be independent of fossil fuels if possible. We have solar on our roof, which he installed himself to make it affordable after extensive research.  In this way, our values align. And yet, I would be happy to wait a few more years until electric cars are not so much “early adopter” vehicles.  Alex, on the other hand, has been, let us say, firm in his belief that our next car had to be an electric car.

I will not go into the gritty details of the extensive conversations we had about the economics of cars over the past year. I will jump to the happy ending.  After Alex finally decided to just reserve a  Cybertruck and wait until they get around to producing the least expensive ones, a Tesla Model 3 finally came down to Alex’s budget point. Last week, a short time before his 40th birthday, he bought a Tesla.  And in the car shuffling process that ensued, I sold my Toyota.

I would drive the Tesla for a few days, because I was just not too sure about it. I wanted Alex to have it all to himself and relish it as much as possible.  Finally he did push me a little to drive it, and I did. Here is what I think.

Teslas are the future.  It flips the normal way I drive on its head, because the second you take your foot off the accelerator, the car slows way down. So instead of hovering that foot over the brake, you have to get used to using acceleration to slow down less dramatically.  The previous owner said it would take just a couple of hours of driving to get used to, and I am sure he was right.

The other big adjustment for me is the keyless thing. The car does have a  card you can use as a key, but otherwise it senses from an app on  your phone when and if you are there , and unlocks and turns on based on proximity. I am still adjusting to the push-button putting it in park.

The blue tooth picked my audio book right up for me, and the sound system is nice and crisp. The car comes with a feature called “Caraoke” which I enjoyed immensely yesterday while we belted out Bohemian Rhapsody and Sweet Caroline. Of all the little techie doodads, that may be my favorite.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was that now that we own a car that was expensive to us, I worry about it more. What if someone damages it? What if it gets in an accident? What if I drive it wrong?  The other night we were looking at a van, and another car pulled over in front of our parked Model 3. The driver and another guy got out and walked around the car, shining their flashlights in the back window.  I was really on edge, worrying that they would do something to the car.  But they eventually just left and got in their own car without touching the car.

When we got back in, Alex showed me something called “Sentinel Mode” which records video whenever anything comes within a certain proximity to the car.  We could see the license plate of the guys’ car, and everything they did. For some reason that helped me worry less.

Overall, I have to say it feels good to know that one of our cars is now powered partially by the sunshine that falls on our roof every day.  I miss my Toyota, and I will probably buy another one before I’m ready to get my own Tesla, but I’m definitely more open to one in my future now that I am making friends with one and still in love with its happy owner.

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Turning 40 during Quarantine

I turned 40 this week.

The time leading up to this age has been a really hard time while I have been changing jobs. I found a workplace I loved because the culture was great, and I loved all the people I worked with. But the work itself became too much for me in the stage of life I’m in right now.

So many times, I haven’t been sure what is next. Finally I decided to apply to graduate school. I have wanted to do that so many times, but I would have had to do an online program. My local university just got a program that is right up my alley. I applied, and now I can’t wait to hear back.

I’ve been so sad that the entire world is a big unparty right now. I had planned to have a dance party in my back yard to celebrate this year, and now it is postponed.

I’ve been hiking with only my Quarantine Crew to console myself.

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My daughter has started taking dramatic black and white selfies and making them the wallpaper of my phone. I pretend to be annoyed with her hijacking, but actually I love the little surprise every time.
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She is named after her great-grandma – my dad’s mom. Grandma just passed away shortly after all the things shut down for the pandemic. I had to watch my grandma’s graveside service on my cousin’s Youtube stream. That was hard, but I look forward to a celebration and memorial of her life in the future.

For the last few years, every time I saw her I tried to take a selfie with her, because you just don’t know how long you will have your grandmas. This is the last one from when she came down to visit almost exactly a year ago. She has the most beautiful smile, and when I saw this picture it made me sad and happy at the same time. She lived a great life, and I will feel lucky if I can be in some ways like her.

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Somehow 40 makes me feel a little more like a grown up. I’m a little more satisfied with my choice to go to school and change my work situation. I hope that this satisfaction is the harbinger of more self confidence and comfort in my own skin to come.

On my birthday, the quarantine crew and I went to Snow Canyon State Park. We had the place to ourselves. We hiked a little, then went and sat in the sand. I laid down with my bare feet in the sand and fell asleep for a brief few minutes while my kids played happily all around me. Not even promising a tasty dinner could get the boys to leave easily. We got curbside pickup sushi and pizza on the way home.

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My dear husband also made a secret Facebook group and had a bunch of our friends come and write me happy birthday messages on my driveway. There were poems, pictures, and many kind greetings. I loved it. At the end of the day, I looked at all of it and just about cried. I think I have been at the edge of tears, or in tears so many times over the last weeks about the virus situation that I’m getting better at holding them back. Or maybe I’m cried out? Anyway, it was full emotional joy. I loved it. Too bad every day of quarantine can’t be my birthday, huh?

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Coping Strategies

So this whole virus thing seems pretty serious. I am realizing that as an introvert I am very well equipped to deal with lots of staying home and isolation. Still, I’m slowing from the former frenetic pace of life, and it’s an adjustment. I thought I’d share a few of my coping strategies that are working so far.

Read All the Memes

First of all, thank you Internet. You have not disappointed in the meme department during this crisis. Every day there is something new making me chuckle.
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My husband’s favorite: “Whoever said one person can’t change the world never ate an undercooked bat.”

Quilt all the Quilts

My sewing room is full of UFO’s, which are also known as UnFinished Objects. I have already finished two, and look forward to finishing more. Check out Jenny Sews for the details in coming days.

Walk

I often go on 20 minute walks during normal times, but right now I can go for longer walks, and they help lift my mental mood significantly.

Watch All the Jane Austen and Period Dramas 

So far I have watched

Pride and Prejudice 1995 BBC version

Sense and Sensibility 2008 BBC version

Emma – Gwyneth Paltrow Version 1996

Mansfield Park 1999 Romance Drama

Wives & Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell Miniseries)

North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell Miniseries)

And I plan to watch more as opportunities arise. I have wanted to sit down and watch these movies forever, and I never make time for that. Thank you quarantine!

Whatever Else Suits My Fancy

I’ve sewn a mask out of cute fabric for me to wear while grocery shopping. A man in line at Walmart today told me I should sell them.

I made a loaf of sourdough bread that took about four days to finish due to bad planning and timing on my part, but it tasted delicious.

We recently had our kitchen wood floor sanded down and re-finished, which made me want to deep clean our fridge. I did that, and it’s very satisfying.

I’m listening to and reading a couple of different books, and trying recipes out of one of them.

I think I’m reaching a point now where I’m settling into a more restful pace of movie watching, walking, and general survival with the homeschool responsibilities. My emotions range from calm to hopeful to despairing to optimistic, and a whole mixed bag of many more.  I think the one thing that helps me the most is to just remember that this is something affecting the entire world at the same time. How crazy for us to share a global experience like this! I hope it helps us all be a little more compassionate and understanding of one another.

 

 

You Hesitated

What have I been up to? I ask myself that every day right now. What am I going to do with my life? I don’t just ask the big question, What Am I Going to Do with my Life, but every day, I ask myself what I am going to do with my hours. I am going through a career change, and at the same time, I am a busy stay at home mom.

A few weeks ago we went to the Valley of Fire with some friends. My kids have been watching Avatar, the Last Airbender, and it mentions meditating. So my youngest two stopped and sat down, yogi style, with their hands together. I asked the five year old what he was doing. “I’m hesitating,” he said.IMG-7089

I feel like his answer summed up my current life.  I’m hesitating. I just had to leave a workplace I loved for the sake of my health. This left me feeling like a giant failure. Now I would like to find something with a lower stress level that still challenges me, and the pain of losing a job I loved makes me hesitate before jumping into something new.

I have started talking to myself about finding “meaningful work outside of the home.”  But when I listen to myself talk that way, I start to wonder, Can I make my work at home more meaningful, and quit cracking a whip on myself so hard to succeed elsewhere? I honestly don’t know that I can. Since I was a little girl and heard my kindergarten teacher say that it was possible for the first female president of the United States to be elected in my lifetime, my ambition has been kindled to do something great.

Do I have it in me to re-define what I think is great?  Isn’t it great to have healthy relationships with my spouse and children? Can that be great enough? Can I find a low stress work environment that provides me with an outlet from the exhaustion of full time caregiving, but that doesn’t leave me having a hard time managing my RA? If I ask myself one more question, will I go mad?

In the meantime, I’m taking a portraiture class. Art is another form of hesitation.  I stop my busy week for five hours every Thursday to learn from a master portrait painter. I have a lot of positive self talk, there.  I’m new at this. I have a lot to learn, and growth is a good thing. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Below is my first attempt at a color pastel portrait. I’m working on my second right now, but I accidentally chose the wrong paper color, so I’m a little worried it’s doomed. Still, I’m new at this. I have a lot to learn. Growth is a good thing.

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One thing I like about art is that, like quilting, when you are done investing your time and effort, you have something to show for it. However, the product is not my favorite thing. The product brings up my worries and inadequacies.  My favorite thing about art is how, in an effort to focus on the subject at hand, all of my other worries sort of melt away. Trying to make art is a form of mindfulness, and in a way, a meditation.

 

A Simple New Years Resolution

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A couple of years ago I resolved on something life-changing. I am so happy I did it. I can’t remember if it was January, but I do remember that it took me a long time to truly change a life long habit.  I was at the Dollar Store the other day, and the cashier expressed his surprise when I pulled out my reusable shopping bags.

“Are you from California?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “I just trained myself to use these. It was really hard to go against the way I was raised,” I joked.

Joking aside, it took more persistence than I expected to change the habit. A couple of things made it possible, so I wanted to share a few of them.

Forgiveness

First I decided that I would take the approach I learned about from a stop smoking program. It said, “If at first you don’t succeed, quit. Quit again.”  I discovered it’s easier for me to do something hard if I allow myself to fail at it over and over before I succeed.  When I started, I left my shopping bags in the back of my car, and I don’t know how many times I walked into the store without them.  I finally figured out that if I mentally associated the produce bags as my warning marker, that helped me cue “plastic bag avoidance.” Since I usually go to the produce section first, I felt less stupid going back out to my car because I hadn’t filled my cart by the time I remembered.  I don’t know how many times I had to make myself turn around and go back out to the car, but after a series of those walks I finally remembered to get the reusable bags before going into the store.

Bags I Liked

I have a dear long-time friend who totally gets me, and one Christmas she gave me several small re-usable IKEA bags, like THESE.*  I loved them instantly. They folded up so small, and they fit right in my purse.  Purse carrying women are really at an advantage in this resolution. (That doesn’t mean men can’t make it happen, of course.) Since those first few bags I have also bought a few more to add to my stash. They are very sturdy, and I haven’t had to throw any of them away yet. I even bought a bunch of sets of constellation ones on Amazon* to do a giveaway for  marketing at my work. The bags were a hit, and we had more entrants than usual in our drawing.

Before I resolved to avoid using single use shopping bags, I used to throw grocery sacks full of wadded up used bags away on a regular basis. I hated doing this every time. Since my efforts to use only reusable bags, I have run out of plastic bags a couple of times. My family is still working on avoiding single use bags, and sometimes I end up forgetting my purse.  Still, Forgiveness, right? Better to try than to do nothing.

External Motivation

Do you ever read the news and just want to give up? I have been reading about the devastation in Australia currently, and the koala situation alone is enough to make me want to take a week off of reading the newsnot because it doesn’t matter, but because I can’t handle it.  Whenever I think about these environmental problems, I ask myself, Can I really do anything about that? I can’t fly to Australia. I’m not a trained firefighter. I can donate money to organizations who can do something, but donation is limited by my need to feed and shelter myself and my children.

When I avoid using plastic bags, I feel like I am DOING something.  At the grocery store today they gave me a 5 cent credit for each bag I used. That incentive would not motivate my five year old to pick up his dirty clothes off of the floor. When I use and reuse my bags, the benefit is intangible. I feel good. I may not be doing everything. But I am doing something. It is very small, but it’s better than nothing.

* These are not affiliate links. I just LOVE reusable shopping bags and want everyone to get some and use them and feel the joy with me.

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