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.
Screenshot from 2020-03-20 13-05-42Screenshot from 2020-03-20 13-05-24Screenshot from 2020-03-20 13-05-04

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.

IMG-7107

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.

 

Motor Bikes

IMG-5095As I was writing our family Christmas letter this year, I remembered back to the cruise we went on in May. We have been married for 15 years, and celebrated a little early because the cruises were cheaper then than our anniversary in the mid summer.

We ate so much food. I bought a journal in Belize to write detailed descriptions of the food to help me remember its beauty and bounty. My favorite thing was having waffles with blueberry compote and Nutella for breakfast the few days after I discovered this option. Every time we stopped at a port, we went on an excursion, and on our last excursion we decided to try those motorized bikesit seemed like a good idea after all of that Nutella for breakfast.

I like biking a lot, and though I lack skill, I make up for that in enthusiasm.  We got off of our cruise ship, took our Mexican taxi van, and stood in a group with the others who had signed up for the bike ride as well while we had a safety briefing.  Our guide showed us how to use the bikes, and then said we could try a little loop before getting on the road. I volunteered to go first because I was so excited. I had never tried a bike which had motors inside of the bars to help me along before.

I confidently jumped on, and pedaled straight toward the orange cone we were supposed to ride around. Since it was my first try, and since I was so enthusiastic, I took the turn a little too quickly, and gracefully slid my bike out from under me, landing flat on my face and scratching my knee.  It was a great learning experience.  For the whole rest of the bike ride I used the proper amount of caution, and no one else in my group fell off of their bikes.

It just went to prove that wise old adage that if you can’t serve as a good example, you’ll just have to be a terrible warning.

Oh Vanity

 

IMG_6840

I have a sister who has a talent for looking fabulous. She always has some gorgeously textured cream colored sweater, and a matching bag and shoes that go with that sweater. The whole ensemble will also  complement her complexion. She buys a lot of clothes, and many of her cast offs come to me.

A few months ago, she gave me the sunglasses pictured above. They have a hint of Art Deco style, which is one of my favorites as I love natural and dramatic styles. I have really enjoyed them. Normally I just use sunglasses for their practical purpose, and don’t think much about how they look, but these are different. When I wear them, I feel a little bit like a movie star.

The other day I was walking out of the dining area on campus, and as I stepped into the sunshine I congratulated myself on my beautiful glamorous sunglasses. I liked my outfit that day, too.  I had a brief moment of anticipation that I was going to look so smooth as I took my fancy glasses off of the top of my head and placed them gracefully on my face, covering it in large rounds of sophistication.  Unfortunately, as I began to lift them off of my head, they got caught in my hair, and I was still unceremoniously yanking, half way down the stairs. At last they came off, and I shoved them on my face.

Three women were walking toward me from the library. I didn’t know if they had seen the fall of my hubris. I smiled at them warmly, so that at least they would know I am kind hearted if not chic. Then I picked a hair off of my face that had got stuck in the glasses.  So much for my vanity. I guess glamour is not my destiny. I’m still going to wear those glasses though. They really keep the sun off of my face.

The Feeding of Children

I am lucky to currently have a flexible schedule. This means that most nights I fix dinner for my family.

Tonight, as I was busily stirring this and checking that, my five  year old came in demanding a peanut butter sandwich.

“No. I’m not going to make you a peanut butter sandwich right now,” I said, proud of myself for my firm boundaries.

“What, are you just going to not get me anything until I die?” he retorted.

That escalated quickly.

The Delicate Arch and Other Adventures

2D7F94AD-4E58-45CD-BE91-66E1BB16999FLast month I did not post, and that’s because it was hectic. Earlier in the year I had asked my sister if she wanted to go to Moab with me and see Arches National Park, and she said she would get back to me. She never did, so I thought we weren’t going. Then a couple of weeks before the weekend I had mentioned she checked in to make sure we were still going. I immediately reserved hotel rooms for us, and contacted one of our favorite cousins who lives there so we could visit her.

We drove the long and lonely road to Moab late Friday night, and Saturday morning we got up and dragged our eight children up the steep hike to see the Delicate Arch.  I knew it would be beautiful, but I didn’t know it would be a profound spiritual experience. When I saw it, I couldn’t speak for a few moments. I almost cried, and that’s not just because I had hiked 1.5 steep miles with a five year old past a hundred and a half chances to fall to his death.  The stark beauty of the arch just took my breath away. I had seen it in photos many times, but to see it in real life was to be transported by its grandeur.

I had breathed the fresh air, felt the sandy stone hard under my feet. The sun warmed me just enough in the chilly fall morning. It was majestical.

We had lunch at the Devil’s Garden, and then went down to the double arch area for the kids to play in the afternoon. We had dinner with my cousin, and I put the kids to bed at 9 pm in the hotel room. The next morning the sunrise wasn’t until 7:45, so I got up at 6:30, dragged my son into the car with me, and left to photograph it. sunrisearchessunrisearches2

I’ll bet I took a hundred photos. The stillness of the park in the dark morning really spoke to me. Cars still drove past, but it just felt more intimate. It was a long drive home after that much loveliness.

sunrise3sunrise4

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑