Quarantine Check-In.

Quarantine Life. It’s been a thing. Here’s a round-up.

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Professional Life. I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It was initially a huge adjustment for me; I’ve worked remotely before, many times, but in a space where it’s happening 8 hours a day, 7 days a week–there were a lot of tough moments. Structurally, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t mind being in an office. I learn a lot when it comes to nonverbal cues and in-person conversation in general, so I think I struggled with not being in an active people space when it came to the day-to-day. Doing everything from behind a screen–from working on projects to discussions with colleagues–wasn’t always easy. But with time, it’s gotten better. And boy, am I thankful to even have a job with everything that’s going on and an option to do it from home. So yes, continuing to gratefully take things one day at a time.

Goals: have a more thoughtful workspace. Right now, I’m at my dining table with my desktop and laptop. It’s not the most ergonomically sound or practical space, but it works. I’ve been perusing Pinterest, naturally, to make some changes. We shall see.

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Personal Life. It’s been tough. Life pre-pandemic wasn’t easy for this singleton who longs for her Person and struggles with deep loneliness, so I’m sure you can imagine (or perhaps you can’t, and that’s okay; what words and sharing and hopefully empathy are for) that life during a pandemic and being on quarantine has been pretty hard for me. But there are always lessons. For one thing, I’ve learned–even more than before–that my peace of mind is priceless. I protect it fiercely. Which means the abundance of noise–social media, news stories, on and on–has become too loud for me, at times. So, I intentionally shut off and shut down. I need to. Another thing: videoconferencing is…interesting. Who would have thought that living in an age of so much connection would almost make all that connection so exhausting? Perhaps it’s because the power of choice isn’t there; pre-lockdown, we could choose however we wanted to connect. Now: it’s all on video and that’s it. Managing it. But I also say no a lot to invitations via video, all for the purpose of decompression. Overall, prayer has been key for me. Communicating my frustrations to a close, trusted, understanding friend or two really helps, as well. But I won’t sugarcoat it: the one day at a time sometimes has to be handling things one hour at a time.

Goals: I’ve been longing for a dog forever, y’all. Always put it on the back burner because, to me, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a dog home all day while I was at work. But now that I’ll be home for a while…seriously considering it and researching my readiness. I’ll keep you posted.

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Creative Life. I’ve been writing, actually. Working on my latest project, for one thing, and also managed to squeeze in a pandemic-inspired sci-fi short story that I’m pretty proud of. When all of this began, I didn’t even bother to wonder if a creative surge would come; after years and years of living this creative writing life, I recognize that, eventually, the ideas and desire to write will come. And as the pandemic days continued, they did. Ideas came. Stories came. Desire came. We’ll see how it goes.

Goals: finishing that project mentioned above. What’s it all about? Mum’s the word for now. Just know that I’m enjoying every bit of its creation. You’ll be the first to hear when it’s complete.

So, yes, that’s life for me so far. Hope you’re making it wherever you are.

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Singleton Photoshoots: The Quarantine Edition.

Singleton Photoshoots: The Quarantine Edition.

If you live alone like me and still have dress-up time during this quarantine (I happily put on makeup and shed the sweats for my weekly worship Zoom meetings and virtual ministry), selfies become a bit tiresome. Because all you largely do is selfie, quarantine or no.

Alas: I have a solution, dear Singleton. You probably know this stuff already, but sharing is caring. 

  1. Get you a tripod. There are awesome options on Amazon. I got this one and love it immensely. It’s basically a selfie stick and a tripod in one. Best thing is you can either landscape or portrait the photos/videos. (Yes, I just turned those nouns into verbs.) The one I purchased also came with a Bluetooth remote, so you can snap away from wherever you like in your home. Just pair it up with your camera/smartphone.
  2. Set up the tripod/phone accordingly.
  3. Photo. shoot.

I did this last Thursday before my Zoom worship meeting and let me tell you. I loved it. And can I just say, as you will see below: patterns mean nothing when you’re at home and no one can see your bottom half. *wink* Check out my slideshow below.

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I got that dazzling blouse from Amazon (are you shopping from Amazon yet? Because: amazing) and the skirt from my beloved Ross. The lipstick I’m wearing is a matte shade from Wet and Wild that I picked up during my Walmart essential item shopping trip last week. 

In all seriousness: as a woman who loves dressing up and looking her best for herself, on a completely self-blooming level, the beginning of the lockdown wasn’t easy. Even with my weekly meetings, I felt like a total lump. Add my baby-steps fitness schedule and yeah, I was down and out. But in time, and in trying to seek the brighter side, these little things–photoshoots, dressing up for no reason, which I prescribe, as well–have made a difference. Do whatever you need to do to feel better, to smile brighter, and to not feel like a lump. 

Tell me what you’ve been doing to creatively enhance your virtual life in the comments. Bon Monday. 

there, there, my little cabbage.

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

I’ve never actually believed in retail therapy. If you’re not into shopping anyway (hello, me), the idea of massaging a bad day or a sad mood by walking around a store or even engaging in window shopping wouldn’t be the first thing on the list. But the comedy of life is that retail therapy is almost always what I do when I need to massage a bad day or sad mood. (Barring a hunkering down in my apartment with a week’s worth of carbs.) I drive right to the store, park, grab a cart, and traverse the aisles moodily until I either leave with nothing or buy something I don’t really need. And that was me yesterday.

Yesterday, I was sad and blue and glum and humdrum and needed to do something. Something. Whatever that something was, it translated into leaving work and driving to my favorite Ross, where I parked, grabbed a cart, and traversed the aisles moodily, looking for things I didn’t need. In the shoe aisle, I tried on a bunch of shoes, of which neither ended up in my cart. I ventured over to the accessories, where I touched a lot of scarves and pulled them off the rack to examine them for whatever one looks for when you’re scarf shopping. One scarf ended up in my cart. I then sauntered over to the hats. I tried a few on (see above), which was interesting in light of the faux locs (I have faux locs! More in another post) on my head, but there was one hat that incited a high level of like and also, more importantly, fit over the locs. Perhaps because the color matched my mood?

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It ended up in my cart, as well. So did a pair of pants. The End.

I didn’t analyze my sadness and blue too deeply though. Mostly because 1) winter; 2) Monday; 3) single. You know what I mean by #3. The grays of this seasons and its accompanying doldrums seem to be heightened when one is going through it by their lonesome. And although, to repeat, this is a year-round desire, the fall/end of the year finds it all very pronounced. It comes and goes and it is what it is. I’ve long given myself permission to call a thing a thing (praise Queen Iyanla) and feel exactly what I feel. And I felt it all yesterday. It’s interesting how the mind finds a way, any way, to cope.

Nevertheless: here’s to distractions by way of hats and scarves, and other such things. Onwards…

self care

because I’m petty.

No other way to say it.

I just am.

Anywho, I wrote this brief essay/diatribe. Happy Tuesday.

 

Miss Petty Boots 2016

You don’t recognize me, do you? You’re doing that I’m trying to place that face squint with the head tilt to the side, as if the re-positioning of your head and narrowing of your eyes will somehow ignite the memory corner of your brain. Don’t sweat it. I know exactly who you are.

What was it: about three years ago?

We all have preferences and you exercised your preferential right not to be attracted to me. So you told our Yenta that you’d rather not and I said all right and we all moved on with our lives.

But who is this woman standing a few feet away from me? The face is somewhat familiar, but…the woman from three years ago was a bit…chubbier? The face was a bit fuller? The physique a bit more zaftig? (Let’s be real; you’d never use that word.) But this woman is really svelte. The face: thinner. But I know that face, don’t I? But this woman is different. I can’t stop pretending not to stare at her. Hope she doesn’t notice.

Oh, I notice. I see you pretending.

I’m going to be Miss Petty Boots 2016 for a second: it’s because I’m hotter than you remember. I worked on my health and my fitness, and one of the pay-offs is a leaner version of the confident woman you preferentially chose to not pursue three years ago. Back then, sure, I was low-key excited at the suggestion from our Yenta that she could introduce us. After all, you smiled at me, so… (what it took back then for me to be intrigued by a fellow: a smile. *Le sigh.) And yes, my active imagination plotted our entire courtship from initial meeting to wedding day. So when our Yenta informed me shortly thereafter that you weren’t interested, it was disappointing. Not hurling myself dramatically off a nearby bridge disappointing, but disappointing nonetheless. But I moved on. You moved on. And now here we are. Don’t worry, though. I’m only Miss Petty Boots in print. I’m not the kind of woman that will saunter up to you and publicly remind you of the past.

I’m the kind of woman that will continue her conversation with her friends and peripherally remain aware of your fixed regard and leave it all there. (Still about 75% petty boots, though.)whitpetty

*A smile may be lovely, but it’s just rows of meaningless teeth. Be prepared to impress me. 

So keep narrowing your eyes and tilting your head.

Maybe you’ll figure it out.

Tips.

As a singleton, invariably, 1) I’m offered someone’s murderous son/nephew/cousin/friend/random guy on the street as a potential marriage partner, and 2) I receive plenty of tips and advice about my future marriage. Here are a few of my favorites, along with a bit of commentary.

A good marriage consists of two forgivers. I’ve heard this more than once, and I like it. To me, it means that I can forgive him for forgetting that I occupy our home when a game is on and he can forgive me for reacting…melodramatically. (Think screaming “you obviously don’t love me” from our upstairs balcony.) marriagetip

Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. Another good one. I may be functioning at a third-grade level when it comes to Math and numbers, but this is clear: he will 100 percent buy me pretty presents and I will 100 percent love him for it.

The first year is the hardest; it can make you or break youMy mother said this to me. I believe her. I mean, yes, I imagined Idris and I just swimming in sunshine and roses that first year, but I don’t doubt that there will be some growing pains: what to name our yacht, pestering him to leave the outgoing message on my cell phone, reminding him about our weekly galas in the city (he can be so forgetful)…

Never go to bed angryTrue. But what about infuriated, incensed, and/or enraged?

All humor intended.

Happy Wednesday.

I’d Like to Marry for Money, Please.

Got your attention, huh?

When I was a teenager, I was like most young girls. I read Tiger Beat and BOP magazine TigerBeat BOP magazineand dreamed about Jonathan Brandis and New Kids on the Block and other movie/TV/music stars. Cute was everything. Whenever I imagined being married in the future–well, quite honestly, I didn’t want a husband; I wanted to be Angela Bower, work in advertising, have a home in Connecticut and a penthouse in NYC, and have a fancy, pretty boyfriend who worked in fields like I didn’t quite understand, like venture capitalism or investment banking or stocks and bonds. And moonlighted as a singer or poet. It was light and fluffy, as dreams should be.

How things change. Being in my mid-30s. Living an adult life with bills and responsibilities and choices. Now, when I think of marriage and the future, the first thing that comes to mind is the dollar bill. (Or the pound, or the euro, etc. Look, I’m an international gal. Anyway…)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those women that needs six figures in my life. I don’t care if my future husband is an accountant or a plumber. But I’ve got bills, ya’ll. And bills will come after we marry. As such, I need someone who will nicely fuse his paycheck with mine and make them eventually go away. Is that bad? Am I being superficial and money-hungry? I don’t think so. I’ve taken care of myself financially since I was in my early 20s. Dealing with finances won’t go away, but the idea of two people backing each other up financially is far more attractive to me than a cute face. Hey, physical attraction is important. Life would be extra, uh, interesting if the guy you’re sharing your life with looks like a resident of the Black Lagoon (or we look like that to each other). In the end, however, I just don’t have those particular stars in my eyes anymore. Share my faith, undoubtedly; love me, oh, yes; make the butterflies jump and dance in my belly, absolutely; be able to support our family financially, yes, yes, yes. And yes.

When people tell me about “available” menfolk in their lives and how they’d like to introduce me to them, the first thing I think about is whether they’re employed. This is a far cry from my 20s, when I was far more concerned with the way one guy’s hair seemed to curl so beautifully in the front or the dimple in that other’s one cheek or… You get my drift. Times and what I consider important have changed. Some say that when a woman meets a man, she looks past the moment and into the future at what their lives will be like. I agree with this because I do it. While I believe men largely stay in the present, women look ahead at what you will be, what we will be, and whether we’ll be living with your parents.

From time to time, I think back to those days of afternoons on the sofa in our basement, surrounded by my glossy teen magazines and reading them like they were historical tomes. That girl was not thinking about 401Ks and renting vs. buying and how that pesky school loan will never go away unless we donate our first child to the Department of Education. This woman is, though. Just saying.

The Thing about George Clooney.

Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.
Clooney and his boo, Amal. Photo courtesy of People magazine.

You don’t want to hear about the other thing about George Clooney, which is my undying admirating for this generation’s Clark Gable and his suits and that salt-and-pepper hair. And I won’t do that to you. However, it’s the present thing about him that has captured my attention. Rumors abounded this weekend that Clooney had become engaged to his latest girlfriend, Amal Alamuddin. It’s news because Clooney was the perpetual bachelor; the Lake Como villa owning playboy who asserted over and over in various interviews that he had no interest in remarrying (he was briefly married in the late 80s). That playboy image was repeatedly emphasized by Clooney’s revolving door of interesting girlfriends: models, more models, cocktail waitresses. (If you care, the Huffington Post has a pictorial of all the girls he’s loved before.) So this news about the engagement has gotten most medial outlets into a right tizzy, and I get that. What I find interesting and ultimately stinkin’ awesome, though, is that Amal is nothing like the girls he’s dated in the past. She’s a lawyer, an Oxford grad, an activist, older than the ladies he’s used to…It’s a win for smart, older ladies everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I’m sure the ladies of the past that graced the halls of that droolworthy villa were smart, intelligent women. But Amal is rocking my world, ya’ll. She’s a brainiac and she’s in her mid-30s. And that makes me happy. I’ll elaborate.

This past weekend, some friends and I had a long, enlightening, and hilarious conversation about the sassy single life that most of us live. In between raucous laughter and quiet moments, some of us wondered why it seemed that the younger set (like, really young, at times) are entering into matrimony like gangbusters when the majority of us in my age group and older who have a desire for marriage are not. There weren’t many answers to that Big Question. Who really knows? And that was essentially how we concluded our discussion.

But the fact that Clooney, who I don’t know and will never meet (I mean, unless I happen to find him in Italy, completely by accident and not as a result of an exhaustive search or anything), in choosing to officially make it 4eva with this apparently cool lady, speaks volumes to me.  Our lives are diametrically opposed–we in Normalville, USA, do not live the lives of celebrities and Oxford attorneys. And I certainly don’t believe that Clooney will somehow set a precedent for all men. I just think it’s stinkin’ awesome, and puts an interesting spin on the conversation I had with my friends this past weekend.

Now…can you find villas on Google maps?