Sunday, May 17, 2020

Shadows and Light

I guess there's nothing like a pandemic, sheltering in place, and caffeine-induced insomnia to get you back to your much ignored little blog. It's been almost two years! How is that possible? I had two drafts in the works, but one was Halloween-related, and I clearly missed the mark (boo! ha!), and the other never got off the ground.

So here we go again.

There's been a lot of loss lately (some for other posts later).  A lot of damage to many of us.  Living in the US and having a loss of freedom of movement is crazy and odd and unsettling.  

I've always been an introverted homebody and worked from home before it was required, but I miss the energy of going into our office once a week. I miss playing music in my car on my short commute; going into the grocery store; the occasional Target run. I miss the sweet woman who serves me at the chicken place I will not name because I shouldn't be frequenting their drive-thru as I so don't believe in their politics. Still, I think she's great (and damn, so is some of their food!). I miss seeing my best friend for dinner and a cocktail (it's actual therapy!) and going to the movies with my husband. I miss being able to see my family whenever we wanted to get together.

I miss going into and eating at restaurants! We've been getting takeout and delivery to support our local faves, but it's not quite the same. And Aldi! Oh, how I miss Aldi! I've been shopping via InstaCart at Aldi, but again, it's not the same!

And these are small things. 

I am healthy, my family is healthy, and for now, most of us are gainfully employed.  We are safe and sound while so many are not. I am grateful and know all of these things can quickly change.

I lost a sweet friend (not to COVID) the last week of February, and it was a shock as he was healthy and only 50. I am thankful his family was able to have a proper funeral (which was packed), and we were able to spend time with his wife and kids. COVID-19 was creeping in, but it didn't impact us celebrating his life and coming together.  I never thought I'd be so grateful for a funeral. I am also so happy I got to see so many old friends and celebrate a great man.

There have been positives too, of course. 

I can still work from home, which is enormous, and I work for a company that supports it - also a big win! I'm biased, but they've made it a positive experience and done thank-yous that have made a world of difference and boosted morale.  No small feat during this time! I've also been busy, which has kept me sane and "business as usual" has been a gift - normalcy and routine are A-OK.

My husband and I have been taking more walks and spending more time together as he's been working more from home too. Our dogs love the extra walks and attention as well. I've been baking more (a good and bad thing, I guess) and we get to have weekday lunches together every now and then. There's more time for the two of us to talk - not a bad thing.

It's been an extended Spring season weather-wise, and it seems like we've been able to really enjoy it this year. We talk to our friends and families more often as well - those check-ins have become even more essential and needed.  Small house projects and chores are getting done on the weekends - woo-hoo!

I'm listening to music whenever I can to keep my energy up (I get my money's worth on our Spotify family plan), trying really hard to keep a gratitude list every day, and messing around with paints, crayons, pastels, and pencils too. 

Is everything perfect? No. But it wasn't before the pandemic hit and it won't be after. If nothing else, it's been a reminder that change is the only constant we have and we can choose to focus on what's working and always pivot when it's not.

Please stay home, stay safe, and tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Be well and whoever is reading this, thank you!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Current Reads: The Little Paris Bookshop


Loved, loved, loved this book!  So much so that I plan to buy a paperback or hard copy edition (I read the Kindle version) of it so I can highlight so many of its beautiful passages.

It wasn't anything like I expected - I thought it would be light, cute, & fun.  And while it was some of those things, it had greater depth, knowledge, & emotion than expected.  It's about love, loss, life, getting stuck & how to get unstuck (you know, the universal issues :-) - there's a lot of beauty & wisdom within these pages.  It will also make you want to explore the South of France via the Seine (never a bad thing!).

This was my neighborhood book club pick for the month & I am so thankful for the recommendation.

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

I am part of Amazon's affiliate program - affiliate links above.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Currently Reading: The Storyteller's Secrets

So, so good!

After multiple miscarriages & a wounded marriage, Jaya travels to India for the first time as she learns the grandfather she's never met is near death.  In an attempt to escape her pain & learn more about her family, she meets Ravi, a trusted friend of her deceased grandmother.  Ravi's story of her family pulls the past into the present & Jaya learns more than she ever hoped to - about her family's history & secrets & most importantly, about herself.

The Storyteller's Secret: A Novel

I am part of Amazon's affiliate program - affiliate links above.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Currently Reading: The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty

A few years ago when we were visiting Hoboken, a dear friend grabbed (as in, borrowed) this book from the library - I snapped a pic so I would remember it & happy I did!

A trip to Casablanca goes awry - how to do you navigate a foreign city with no passport or money - no identity?  What if you don't want that identity anymore?  How do you get back home? What does home mean?

This book is emotional, beautiful, sad, funny, & creative.

Diver's Clothes Lie Empty

I am part of Amazon's affiliate program - affiliate links above.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Currently Reading: Still Alice

This was another heavy one!

It's worth the read though because although it's fiction, it gives excellent insight into Alheizmer's disease  - what it's like experiencing the symptoms, getting & processing a diagnosis, telling your loved-ones, & knowing you won't know when the day comes that it takes over your entire life. 

It's heartbreaking, to say the least (I think I had real nightmares while I was reading it!). I know this may not sound like a glowing endorsement, but I think the compassioned gained through Alice's journey makes this book a solid pick.

Still Alice

I am part of Amazon's affiliate program - affiliate links above.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Currently Reading: Lion

Since I am only really good (sometimes) about updating my "Read with me" page, I've decided to now park it on the main page & because my book page is getting ridiculously long (which is a great problem to have = more books read!) - so here you go.  If you are not a book person, skip these updates, but if you love to read too, please feel free to leave recommendations in the comment section.

And here's the needed disclaimer:

I am a part of Amazon's Associate Program -  affiliate links below. I have, however, read & purchased all the books listed - all opinions are my own.  

Lion, Saroo Brierley

I haven't seen this film yet (want to rent it now) - such an incredible, true story.  A lost child's amazing journey from India to Australia. Saroo's story is about family, love, hope, courage, survival, & finding the strength to keep going. 

Read this is if you need a kick of inspiration & believe in impossible odds.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Oh Hey, March!

So it turns out that I'm a half-ass blogger.  

Maybe I should change the name to "Shannon Reads & Writes Sometimes." ???

If interested, I do update my Read with Me Page the most. Please leave any recommendations too; I'm always adding to my Wishlist. #allthebooks!

Some notes from the field:

Ottawa is charming. We got to visit back in September (!!!) & I want to post more pics (one day).

I painted an old (so old!) china cabinet with chalk paint. These are not great pics, but I love how it turned out! This was my first time using chalk paint & now I am eyeing so many other pieces around the house.

(the pale gray is the after)

One of my sweet dogs got diagnosed with lymphoma back in October.  He is responding very well to chemo & the vet's office has become my second home.

My other sweet dog loves to dig holes/go mudding (sigh), but we still love her anyway.

Christmas = NYC & we walked the Brooklyn Bridge (my first time doing so) - it was so freaking cold, but she's a beauty!

I've rediscovered my childhood love of latch kit rugs & now I want to buy & make every single one! :-)

I have Hashimoto's (which I think sounds a lot worse than it is) but my thyroid is acting stupid, and it looks like gluten & dairy are a thing of the past for me. I've cut both out a lot over the past few years, but I need to get serious about it. (double sigh) My doctor suggested the book "The Thyroid Connection" & it's next on my reading list. The good news is that I take naltrexone (see here) & it may have been masking the Hashimoto's. Naltrexone can keep your appetite down, so my weight hasn't skyrocketed. 

Silver linings, Y'all, silver linings!