It occurred to me whilst sitting on the toilet in our downstairs half-bath that capturing a photo of this was something I needed to do. It’s a weird display for sure, but it really got me thinking.
First though, it got me feeling. Overwhelmed at the concept of visiting 1,000 places before I die. A ridiculously tall order. Fortunately, I have perused this book just enough to know that I don’t actually want to visit all of them, or even most of them. Just a small portion. Maybe 2.5%. So 25 places, right? That might be doable. “Might” being the key word here.
Anyway, then it got me thinking if there were 1,000 places in my house right now that I could “visit” and capture photos of. And make a whole blog post about it. I mean, besides my workplace, right now I’m just here at home, thanks to Covid-19.
Then I realized that would be bonkers, not to mention excruciatingly boring for any of the dear souls who happened to attempt to read that blog post.
So that idea was scrapped.
With my down time these days, I’ve been trying to spruce this joint up. Ordered a few decorative items on Wayfair. Currently pondering a purchase of a cool looking framed map of the world to hang above the futon in our office. Created a list of small home projects for Hubs to do this spring. I’m aiming to give this place some TLC; to make it more “us”. Make it feel more of a sanctuary that induces comfort.
But I’ve also been day-dreaming about how things might be, if instead of living here in our small-ish Colorado townhome, we were living in one of our previous houses during this stay-at-home order. Some of those houses had amenities that I loved but would appreciate so much more right now.
Specifically, the spots in the last two houses we lived in where I could retreat. By myself. To do my own thing. Sit and think. Listen to music or a podcast. Paint my toenails. I think these days, for those of us living with others during this pandemic, having a special spot inside your four walls all to yourself once in a while is necessary for mental well-being.
Maybe it’s your bedroom. Maybe it’s your home office. Maybe it’s your walk-in closet. Maybe it’s whatever space is available when you need it. It’s a place just for you when you need to think your own thoughts without being interrupted. To collect yourself and get reacquainted with your inner self. To indulge in some healthy daydreaming.
This brings to mind the cover of a great old Beach Boys song, which was performed by Fiona Apple and Jakob Dylan for the documentary soundtrack “Echo in The Canyon”, which I had the pleasure of watching a few weeks back.
Do yourself a favor and take a listen:
The first house we purchased in Wisconsin had a massive deck attached to the back. If we lived there right now, I’d be taking regular respites on it to simply soak up the greenery, the peace and quiet, and the sunshine.
If we lived in the house on 30th Street right now, the fixer-upper “Grandma” ranch style house we bought in Wisconsin after selling the house with the great big deck, I’d enjoy “me” time on that groovy 3-season porch. I’d open the shades up to let the sun in. I’d use the large floor space to do some morning stretches and a few yoga poses. I’d sit on one of those comfy deck chairs with my feet propped up and read a book. And I’d have the option to grab a “zero gravity” lounging chair to catch some rays in the beautiful fenced in back yard.
How about you all? Do you have a space in your home to retreat to all by your lonesome? I hope that is the case for each and every one of you in this wacky time.
True confession: I have been beating myself up for the past week because I didn’t publish a post per my usual schedule, on Wednesday.
Let me go through the reasons why excuses why this post did not materialize.
I had 13 different blog post drafts that I had started in the past, say 3 months or so, and while I made some progress on a few of them since the last post I published, I wasn’t gung-ho about publishing any of them. AKA, I was feeling indecisive. Not an unfamiliar feeling for me.
Life interrupted my trains of thought. Hearing news about my mom’s declining health and the subsequent worrying that has followed (magnified by feelings of guilt for not living closer to her). Lending an ear to others in my life who are struggling through some major changes. Having a busier-than-usual social calendar.
It was our youngest spawn’s 25th birthday and it didn’t feel right to focus on myself that day (that damn mother’s guilt).
I’m guessing that there are other bloggers who can relate, right?
One story I tell myself when I fail to publish on Wednesdays is that in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I likely don’t have any followers that will be crying into their coffee or adult beverage of choice because they didn’t see a post from me that day. They aren’t going to send out a search party or anything because I’m temporarily MIA. I will check my site and see that I still have 92 followers after it’s been 2 weeks since my last post. My world and the blogoshpere will keep spinning.
What a cop-out, right?
Now, while this story I sometimes tell myself is more fact than fiction, where on earth does it get me? Nowhere, that’s where. It puts me in a place, at least in my mind, of self-pity. Poor, poor, pitiful me-right?
What needs to happen here is I need to get off my self-imposed pity train and make writing a bigger priority in my life. Maybe instead of checking off my “to do” lists on Tuesday mornings (which is my most perfect time of the whole entire week to actually put my thoughts and feelings into words on this blog of mine), leaving me mere minutes for any writing before I have to call an Uber and get my ass to work (aka self-sabotage), I ought to do my writing first. Like I am today. That’s a start.
Maybe instead of publishing posts about my wishful thinking (btw, we still haven’t adopted a dog), I should spend my time and energy on improving my writing and my blog; search for new ways to express and improve myself in the blogging realm.
I recently read a great post by a favorite blogger of mine. She shared some great advice about blogging, some of which I am already doing, a portion of that I could be doing even better, and one particularly special nugget that I know I must act on: joining a blogger’s group online. Not that I haven’t already done this; it’s just that I’m not entirely certain the one I joined months ago is my bag. She suggested two of them. So I put in a request on Facebook to join one of them. They accepted my request yesterday. Yay!
I’ve got a truth bomb: I really really really really really really want to see more comments on my blog. I get why readers often don’t comment on other blogger’s posts: it is simply easier to click the like button instead. I mean, our time is valuable, right? We’ve got other blog posts we want to read, our own blog posts to write, and lives to live. However, to me, comments are golden. They make me feel heard, understood, appreciated. Isn’t that the main reason we are all here, blogging into the ether? It’s about community, camaraderie, and improving as writers and as people.
How about we make a pact? I will commit to more frequently commenting on your blog posts if you will commit to more frequently comment on my blog posts. I know that’s pretty forward of me, but I feel we will all benefit.
Now that my neurotic diatribe about blogging/writing is over, I have one question for my fellow bloggers:
One of my Facebook friends shared the address for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, urging everyone to write a letter to the students. I knew right away that this is something I could do. It’s actually the least I could do.
Question for myself is what will I say?
I will surely offer my condolences. Offer my support. Ask how we as adults can specifically support them. I want to urge them to not grow weary of the fight; to soldier on despite the crap the jerks of this world may try to throw at them. Urge them to practice self-care so they can stay emotionally strong. These kids have been foisted into the spotlight, due to an event that they never in a million years could have imagined happening to them. Heck, I read that Parkland, Fl was actually voted the safest city in Florida in 2017. I can’t imagine the shock this was to the entire community.
I believe with the right encouragement from their elders as well as their peers, fighting for common sense gun control could just be the beginning. Our society is sick; there’s an underlying mental health crisis that needs to be comprehensively addressed. Coming up with solid steps to address our nation’s mental health crises may just be the next thing these kids could tackle.
As I’ve been reading online, the kids of MSD high school-actually all the high school kids today-they’re smart. They are savvier with social media than the rest of us. Social media is the primary tool with which they work to affect change. I think it’s important to encourage them to continue to use this powerful tool in a thoughtful, strategic manner. Now this is obviously the parent in me coming out, but I worry what will become of these kids from MSD High School. Will some of them take advantage of their sudden fame and sell out to become famous douchebags with their own YouTube channel? Will some of them crash and burn in other ways due to the stress of trying to change the world? That’s the stuff I worry about. I want these kids to keep their wits about them. I wish for them to stay health, to stay strong.
Isn’t that what we should all be wishing for?
My letter may not make a lick of difference to these kids. However, perhaps if we, as their elders, all commit to penning letters, signing petitions, providing support in financial ways, and casting our ballots for political candidates who we believe will support legislation that actually advances these kids’ causes, great changes may come to fruition.
Please join me in writing letters to and for these kids. It’s a good start, don’t you think? And it really is the least we can do right now.
So I thought I’d have a little fun with lists again. It’s been a while. I could go with the obvious things that I truly could not exist without, like air, water, a beating, healthy heart-but where’s the fun in that?
Instead I’m going to focus on those things, excluding people, because people are not technically things. Duh.
Without any further ado…..here are the things I can’t live without I need to function in order to be the best version of myself.
#1: Coffee. Those 2 cups of strong black coffee with a generous splash of half and half, a teaspoon (give or take) of Truvia, with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top is the fuel in my my personal gas tank.
#2.Our personal computer. This blog wouldn’t exist without it.
#3. My DVR service. One of the best inventions in the last century, IMHO. I can tape whatever show or movie I fancy and watch it at my leisure. Fast forwarding through those pesky commercials is an added bonus.
#4. Zoloft. Anxiety, be gone!
#5. My heating pad. I have bursitis, primarily in my right hip. God only knows why. I turn on that puppy when I’m cozied up with Hubs watching t.v. at night. It relaxes and loosens my hip muscle and allows me to sleep comfortably in my preferred position, which is of course on my right side.
#6. Books. Since my “gap year” began, in July of 2016, I have had the blessing of time to read truly great ones. They have taught me lessons (about omens in Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist”). They have entertained me, like Amy Schumer’s “Girl with the Back Tattoo”. They have delighted me, like Amy Krause Rosenthal’s “Textbook Amy Krause Rosenthal”. Even once paid employment is part of my life again, I fully intend to continue reading.
#7. My crockpot. One can make some seriously delicious meals in these with minimal effort. And the way the house smells when I’ve got honey garlic chicken (like today) in that wonderful vessel is intoxicating.
#8. Since I’m talking about smells, I must include my love of candles. All kinds of them. Like the apple basil ones I recently got. Or the “home and heart” soy square candles that pop into pretty night-light thingamabobs (see above). Or the honeysuckle scented candle I got at World Market several months ago. I have candles lit every night whilst sitting on my heating pad.
#9. Post it notes and colorful pens. I am a writer, after all. Writing ideas randomly pop into my head when I’m not feeling motivated to haul my butt upstairs to our office to type them into a draft. And picking a fun colored pen makes me happy, like when I was in kindergarten and opened up a big box of crayons, delighting in the variety of colors I had to choose from.
#10. My yoga mat. Ok, let me be clear-I am not (at least not yet) a yoga gal. I like using it when I’m doing my morning stretches and other floor exercises because our house has almost zero carpet and my old-ish body appreciates that little extra padding.
I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.
My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway, only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.
I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.
It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox.
Here are a few things that I believe in my heartand mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:
We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans. And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?
Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this. We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies, such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.
It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.
I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.
There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.