Hello from my house that I haven’t left in weeks.

A few family members enthusiastically suggested I start a blog during our pandemic quarantine lockdown. I don’t even really know what to say as most days look the same over here. I’d like to write about my trip to Europe last fall (3 weeks alone in Spain, 3 weeks farming in Portugal), but writing about traveling and adventures feels gratuitous and inappropriate while the world is locked indoors and those who aren’t are risking their own lives at work helping to keep others alive. Not to mention, my life at home is cushy compared to people who are working at home and those who are doing so while having children there to care for/teach/entertain. I do not envy those friends. I have the benefit of having had agoraphobia/social anxiety for a long time, so being at home alone for long periods isn’t something new to me or anything I am uncomfortable with, I do miss my Fitbit walks though.

I abandoned this writing space for a long time but have numerous drafts I’ve started and left unfinished over the years. I wish I had even periodically updated it on what’s going on in my life, as there’s been a lot of weird twists and turns since I was keeping up with this consistently. I just never know what this space is meant to be exactly. It’s no longer a blog about using the internet positively or an information source on productivity, largely because I left my jobs and lifestyles that required those types of things.

Currently, I am unemployed and trying to make the most of our pandemic lockdown. While I worry about the world and how many humans will die as a result of COVID, I am trying to stay positive and use my time wisely. Some days are easier than others. I’m trying to view the time at home as a gift to do whatever I want without distraction. I’ve had a gratitude journal on and off for years, and I got a new one and am making sure I use it every day to keep the positivity flowing. Admittedly, some days I have to really dig for something and I am often grateful for coffee. The first lockdown book I read was The Gratitude Diaries and I highly suggest it. It made me see that there are already a lot of small gratitude habits I have because of keeping a journal for so long, even if inconsistently.

I set a goal of reading a book a day and have succeeded most days (Books I’m reading can be found here). So far I am at 28 books in 30ish days. I initially thought I’d read a lot of self-help and career driven books (Book two of lockdown was Give and Take by Adam Grant, which I highly suggest), but that hasn’t happened yet. I’d like to use this time locked indoors without an agenda to self better myself and discover who I want to be professionally when this is over. I still don’t know. I do find that the more I read the more it unlocks memories and makes me feel the urge to write. I’ve been journaling every day since the beginning of the year and even more so during lockdown.

I’ve also been using this time to further my language learning. I’ve hoped to be a polyglot someday for several years but never put in the work to do so. Kicking myself for not being this interested in languages while I was in college and had access to classes. I started re-teaching myself Spanish before my trip to Spain and discovered I still know a decent amount, but I need to build upon it. I find that I have crippling anxiety when trying to speak other languages to natives, but when I would travel on the subway I could understand almost everything being said around me. I guess I need more exposure therapy speaking and listening.

I was supposed to start a job in Belgium in March (womp womp) so I have also been teaching myself French from scratch. I was able to teach myself 1000 words in one month on Duolingo, however my speaking is horrendous so I signed up for classes at Alliance Français just before we started our shelter-in-place. I am now attending online.  I use the books Easy French/Spanish Step by Step and find them to be really helpful for learning grammar. I recently got a little burned out and started German after hearing people speaking it in a movie and realizing I understood a fair amount of it. The beginning of language learning is easier and I also just wanted a change/break after hours and hours of French/Spanish.

Otherwise, I’m doing what I can to stay healthy which includes a fair amount of home workouts to keep my depression-prone brain in check and enjoying eating meals I actually cooked with my own hands (even if it’s just one bulk meal per week broken down into ten containers). I also haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in 78 days.

I highly suggest the following pages for home workouts:

  • @Larissattack – Instagram Live – Really awesome barre / yoga classes. The butt stuff videos are going to give me the best ass before this is all over. The Wednesday 2pm EDT is my favorite, but everything she teaches is the best.
  • Body Metamorphic LLC – Facebook Live – I used to take Kristen’s 45 minute ab express class at the now closed 12th Street Gym. Every time I took it I felt like I was on drugs after. It was an incredible workout. I have been attending her Monday 12pm EDT Core conditioning class and it kicks my ass. All prior classes are saved in the video section and focus on different parts of core which is really great. Kristen is also really wonderful at explaining proper posture etc for beginners.
  • @Susanbren123 – Instagram Live – Sue is one of my favorite teachers at Fitness Works. Because of her every time I hear the songs All I Do is Win (our wall sit song) or Wobble (walking squats etc song) my legs quiver. She does a mixture of HIIT, Slow burn, full body, etc workouts.
  • @LouisR4ever – Instagram live – Louis WERK classes will kick your ass. He does a lot of different workouts that will help with full body toning.

 

I miss taking walks and seeing my friends. I worry about my loved ones and about the world at large. I hope we can get a handle on this sooner rather than later but expect a lot more time spent indoors before that happens. Maybe I’ll keep writing things here, maybe I’ll write about that trip. Maybe I won’t. For now here’s this. Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far. Feel free to send book and workout recs.

Bonus (because I wanna see if this pic gets added to the blog blip on FB tbh):

Here’s the pic I’ve been using for Zooms, the background is a photo of the cave I lived in for a week in Granada, Spain.

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Hello from Washington!

“Wow, when I bought these leopard print pajama pants I never thought I’d be wearing them while doing yoga in a yurt on a farm in central Washington, where I live and work” is a weird/cool thought I had the morning I started writing this (weeks ago, now), along the same sentiment of many other thoughts I have had lately.

When I try to think of where I was in life a year ago, I can’t even exactly remember, but I know for sure I wasn’t expecting to be here. I had a lot of dreams and expectations, and one of them was to be living on a farm, but of all of the paths I was looking at this was the least likely to happen in my mind then.

Read More…

So Happy I Could Die – On 32 Trips Around the Sun (and my final days at Green String Farm)

This post is starting with a Lady Gaga song, but bear with me here it will make sense soon.

Just know when that glass is empty
That the world is gonna bend

The last time I remember listening to this song and feeling it this strongly on a deeper level was six years ago. I had just broken up with the person I expected to marry and grow old with. I was finally breaking through the sad part of the grief cycle and into the strong independent woman stage. It was New Year’s Day of 2010 and I splurged and took the train to New York City to meet up with my best friends from college. Life as I knew it was over, but a new exciting life was beginning and starting off with the people I loved most in the world.

I listened to this song repeatedly on the train and thought of all the new adventures I’d be having in the days/months/years to come. Just as the lyrics go we spent the weekend painting the town red, laughing until we cried, drinking ourselves silly, wearing all black in tribute to the recently deceased Brittany Murphy, and closing down bars at gay clubs. As silly as it feels to relate to a Lady GaGa song, this song will always bring back prominent memories of a really important and transformative time in my life (We won’t get started on “Monster”).

The past seven years certainly were an adventure. New loves and losses, changes in friendships as people grew apart due to distance/relationships/everything/nothing, (multiple) drastic changes in my career path, etc. The last of which brings me to where I am today. Read More…

On Our First Intern Chicken Harvest

[Written June 25, 2016]

Trigger warning: This post contains information about a farm animal harvest and may be upsetting to animal advocates/lovers and non-meat eaters. I’ll put another warning further in the post before the graphic parts for people who have a slight interest but don’t want to see anything too gross.

The internship day I’ve been dreading most was yesterday: our chicken harvest lesson. I overheard some of our supervisors speaking last week so knew it was coming this week, and we were officially told on Wednesday that it would likely happen on Friday. It was almost rescheduled due to a wedding taking place at the farm today, but when we told Bob about this his response was “Fuck the wedding, kill the chickens!” I really love Bob.

I was curious how this harvest would go considering there would be a wedding rehearsal/set up going on at the same time, but it turns out the groom was an intern at Green String and the couple didn’t really care. After our first chicken example, we walked back to the coop to get the first set of roosters for interns and a woman (a wedding planner maybe?) was out front of the wedding barn and smiled and said to me “It looks like you all are on a tour!” I awkwardly replied “Um something like that…” and the groom laughed and told her “They’re slaughtering chickens!!” I grimaced. Not the most ideal verbiage for something that feels so sensitive., even if it’s technically true.

Read More…

I’ve got 99 problems and all of them are chickens

[Written June 19, 2016]

TL;DR The chickens can be a pain in the ass. Before we get into why, here are some cute pictures of them, because I do love them when I don’t hate them.

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The pullets, or younger chickens who don’t lay eggs yet out in the mobile coop. These chickens are free-range in that they aren’t fenced in, but they are fed by us so not 100% real free range chickens (though they also do eat whatever is growing near them).

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Our older laying hens/roosters over at the intern coop (the one next to our house). This is a photo of them eating their 10am greens. The chickens eat grain in the morning and are fed greens mid-morning. They eat exactly what we eat.

Read More…