Stressful Day

I’m sitting in the dark, my glasses reflecting the light of the TV and the iPad screen.

I’m having what I call “a bad eye day,” when my eyes feel they’re being stabbed by hornets, and they run like Niagara Falls.  It’s another little quirk that came with my personal dosage of rheumatoid arthritis, and most of the time it’s not that bad.  But some days — like today — the least bit of light will make me feel like I’m trying to read in a car wash, sans auto.

It’s probably stress. The US election has got me in a bit of a knot, and stress tends to exacerbate autoimmune diseases.  Makes sense.  The body feels stress, thinks it’s being threatened, and it goes on the attack.  Unfortunately, in the case of autoimmune disease, the attack is on its own body.

I’m the sort of person who has to watch.  If I know what’s going on, I feel better than if I don’t.  It will probably be a late night for me.

The irony here is that I can’t even vote — I’m Canadian — but there are so many good friends in the United States, and I want them to be healthy, happy, respected, and safe.  If I haven’t recognized their country in the past four years, I can only imagine how they feel.

This is far more political than I normally get in a public space, but it’s all that fills my head and heart today.  I hope that this country to the south of me (just an hour’s drive away) comes out of this for the better.

God bless America.


Taking Stock

I’ve decided to do something a little different for this week’s Slice of Life.  Inspired by a post by Pip on Meet Me at Mike’s, here is a little snapshot of where I am right now:

Finding: that — three weeks into my hiatus — I’m missing the practical aspects of Facebook (community events, the Teach Write prompts) far more than the newsfeed.  I expect that when I return to the platform on November 11, my time spent there (as well as what has access to my attention) will look vastly different than it did on September 30.

Wishing: myself an uneventful day.  Yesterday’s flat tire adventure has disrupted today’s plans.  So far, this week has felt like organizing loose Jello with my hands.  And it’s only Tuesday.

Cooking: frozen entrées and pizza.  I like baking, but prefer to make meals that require as little little thought and effort on my part as possible.  I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d have a staff member whose primary job description would be bringing me food on a regular basis so I don’t have to think about it.

Making: a small (slightly sweary) cross stitch project.  (It’s like me: mostly sweet, but with an edge.)  I also need to start a new rughooking project.

Sipping: Starbucks black iced tea with raspberry, along with lots of water.

Reading: The Annotated Little Women (Louisa May Alcott and John Matteson) and Magic Lessons (Alice Hoffman).

Looking: forward to shopping for and sending a little care package to one of my writer friends today.

Listening: to CBC Radio, the Fleet Foxes, Duran Duran, and various Can-Con hits from the 1980s.

Enjoying: waking up naturally at 5 AM, savouring the quiet of the early morning, as everyone else in the house sleeps.

Liking: being inspired by the most recent issue of Uppercase Magazine.

Loving: the colours, smells, and rituals of autumn.  Normally I am very busy as a tour guide for cruise ship passengers at this time of year, and it all goes by in a blur.  This year I am noticing more, exploring more, photographing more.

Buying: not very much.  And I’m mostly okay with that.  When I do buy, I’m trying to shop local as much as I can, to support my neighbours and community in these “unprecedented times.”

Watching: YouTube videos of people being creative, as little news as I can while still feeling informed, and Coronation Street.   We just finished The Haunting of Bly Manor, and I enjoyed it.

Hoping: the pandemic ends sooner rather than later.

Needing: some quality time in the woods by myself.  And a tire repair.

Wearing: pyjamas, as much as possible.  😉

Noticing: how late the sun seems to be coming up these days.

Sorting: project ideas for NaNoWriMo.  I have two candidates and can’t decide between the two just yet.

Getting: itchy travelling feet.  I need to see different things than I’ve been looking at for the last month.

Craving: a trip to Walden.  When I go, it’s normally at the end of October, and I am feeling the pull so hard these days.  I miss sitting and writing on “my sit-stump” at Thoreau’s house site, and I miss my Thoreauvian friends.  I miss talking about Thoreau, Emerson, the Hawthornes, and the Alcotts in the town where they all lived.  I miss paying my respects in silent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and I even miss the giant catalpa tree at Thoreau Farm.  In the overall scheme of current events, it seems so small, but the sadness in my heart is so deep and so heavy.

Bookmarking: I’ve been playing Google Streetview Tourist a lot lately, including the Isle of Mull in Scotland, New York City, and Green Bay, Wisconsin (GO PACK GO!).

Coveting: This adorable (but pricey!) little house on my favourite island.

Feeling: up and down, and all around.  But still standing, and that’s the main thing.

How about you?




Finding a Routine That Works For Me

I am trying to get a sense of routine back in my life.  It is only recently that I’ve realized how important that is to me.

Between COVID-19, recovering from a concussion in July, and the ever-present autoimmune disease, I feel like I’ve accomplished very little in the last seven months of my time here on Earth.  And I’m the kind of person who needs to feel productive in order to maintain my mental health.

Mornings are generally my best time of day.  If I’m going to get anything done, then morning is when the magic will happen.  Sometimes that momentum will carry over into the afternoon.  But, all too often lately,  I will be feeling borderline-rotten when I wake up, and that will cause me to just go back to bed once my husband leaves for work.

So this week I am trying something new.  I am getting up when my husband gets up, and leaving the house either before or at the same time he does.  It’s a struggle, but I’m half-Viking and half-Celt.  I can do hard things.  I am “hard things.” 😉

Now that the university library (one of my favourite places to settle in and do work) is open once again, I have planned to come here most mornings this week.  COVID-19 contact tracing means that one has to book a seat in advance, and this has proven to be somewhat helpful.  Booking in advance means I’m making an external commitment.  I am saying “I WILL BE THERE,” and it’s interesting how something that small and that simple has flipped a switch in my brain.  I was here yesterday morning, and this morning, and I have also booked some time on Thursday morning.  I will be here.

The university library is very quiet, partly because of it being early morning, but mostly because of COVID-19.  Classes are either completely online or hybrid in most disciplines, and this is a commuter campus, for the most part.

The line-up at the closest Tim Horton’s drive-thru was prohibitively long, so I’m not sure how long I will remain upright on this tall stool.  But I got here, and between yesterday and today, I have already accomplished more than the previous two weeks combined.  So my plan is working.

Now the trick will be to not over-do it.  That is the part that often trips me up.

Karen J. McLean