Slowing Things Down

Slowing Things Down

I need to slow things down in my life. From time to time, I pause to reflect on how I’m doing, and then I take steps to correct any problems. Over the last several days, I have been taking stock and evaluating, and I’ve decided it is time to slow things down and simplify my life.

This is a holistic effort. I’m making sure that I spend more time at home with what I have rather than being on the go. One of my goals is to lose weight, and I can do that by not eating carry-out food. I can prepare meals here at home that is simple and filling.

Taking that step will also help me to save money. One thing that studying and practicing meditation has taught me is that I need to be happy with what I have now and not worry about the future based on material things.

I mentioned losing weight. Hal convinced me to monitor my sugar intake closely. He warned me that this change would be uncomfortable and difficult. I know it is a worthwhile goal, so each morning, I set aside a few cans of diet soda to keep a steady track of what I consume. Once I can manage that comfortably, I will take one less can each subsequent week.

It sounds like a lot to accomplish, and it is. The key to success is my mindset as I begin this journey. Positive thoughts.

Inner Peace through Cooking

Finding Peace while Cooking

I spent the better part of this morning preparing a nice chuck roast for cooking. I made up a rub for the roast that consisted of salt, pepper, meat tenderizer, garlic, rosemary, seasoned salt, lemon herb seasoning, and Italian seasoning.

After making the rub, I put five potatoes, cut in halves into a pot with some avocado oil and water. I boiled the potatoes for 25 minutes to soften them up. At the same time, I cut up an onion, a green pepper, and some carrots.

Once the potatoes were finished, I mixed one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of beef broth to put in the Instant Pot with the roast. I also added some Worcestershire sauce over the roast. Then I layered in the veggies and potatoes, set the timer, and walked away to rest.

I quickly realized how much better I felt. Rather than wasting time on the internet, I had done something worthwhile. I found inner peace through cooking. I love that my mind was calm instead of racing out of control.

I need to cook more often.

Friday

A Warm Spring Day

It is 80 degrees this afternoon, and it feels awesome. I’m sitting on the balcony and soaking up some sun as the afternoon passes by. Hal is waiting for maintenance personnel to show up to work on some items around the apartment. If we had known the weather would be like this, he could have delayed the maintenance request until Monday.

I finally went back inside, but it felt good while I was out. The pollen is simply too much for me right now. I’m going to wait for Hal to finish whatever he needs to before going out. In the meantime, I’m making spaghetti in the InstaPot, so there will be more to eat here. I used the last box of spaghetti, well, angel hair pasta, actually, but there’s no sense getting more spaghetti pasta until after we move next Friday. In fact, I want to empty out the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible before the move.

In one week, the rivers will still be bringing things into the new apartment. I know to take things easy and to avoid any heavy lifting or exertion. The last thing I need is another hospital stay.

I’ll try to write more later this evening.

Loneliness

Loneliness

It had to happen eventually. Loneliness has set in, and I feel it keenly this morning. I attended a Virtual Happy Hour yesterday afternoon with people from my job I haven’t seen in months. It was a good time, but I know that the meeting sowed the seeds for the loneliness I feel now.

I’m sitting here typing and listening to Led Zeppelin while Hal watches TV and The Stooges take care of whatever they want to. I placed a grocery order that should be here within two hours. Once that arrives, I can start cooking in the kitchen. I have chicken marinating in the refrigerator and veggies to steam in the new large stovetop steamer that arrived yesterday.

I doubt that we’ll go out today because Hal’s back is sore. I might take a short drive later and gill the Fiesta with gas. If there is anything else we need, I’ll pick that up as well.

I started cooking the chicken while waiting for the grocery delivery because I got bored. I’ve got my Led Zeppelin playlist on in the kitchen so that it won’t disturb Hal. I need to stay busy right now to fight off loneliness and boredom because both feelings can be dangerous. Staying active also helps me focus as I write, so I stay on-topic.

A picture of the new steamer with corn cobs in the top section and fresh green beans underneath. I’m happy to cook/steam more things at once. I know that everything will be delicious.

I’ll finish cooking and then have a late lunch before a shower and decide about going anywhere.

The Day Before

The Day Before

Today is January 19th. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ll turn 57 years young. I feel old since my health took a turn for the worse about six months ago, but mentally I feel almost like a teenager. It doesn’t seem possible that I have been here for 57 years. That still seems old to me.

I wonder where I would be, or if I would still be alive, if not for Hal. We have been together for 21 years; over one-third of my life has been with him. We have known and loved one another longer than any relationship I have had, including family.

I am fortunate when I met Hal. I was on my way to becoming an alcoholic. I could throw down with the most hard-core drinkers imaginable. Within six months of meeting Hal, I almost stopped drinking altogether. I will still have a drink or two occasionally, but in 21 years, I’ve never been drunk since I met Hal. I quit smoking five years ago, as well. Hal did bother me about smoking, but he never said those first few months about drinking. I suppose he didn’t want to seem too overbearing.

Anyway, tomorrow is my birthday. There aren’t any big surprises after all these years. I don’t need a thing besides a nice birthday dinner. With the pandemic, and since Hal can’t drive anymore, I already told Hal what I want for my dinner. We’ll go to Bonefish Grill and pick up a salmon dinner and some shrimp to bring back home for my birthday meal. There’s no way in hell we are going to eat in a restaurant during the pandemic.

My birthday is also Inauguration Day, just like it is every fourth year. Getting rid of DumbShit Orange Nazi is a gift all by itself. I hope that the terrorists have been arrested and that there is no violence on my birthday. I never want my birthday to be marred by violence or terrorism.

So, Happy Birthday to me tomorrow.

Tuesday update

As I prepare to start Tuesday here at home, there are several things that I want to take care of. First of all, I want to walk this morning for exercise. I’m going to try and get back into shape as safely as possible. I’m going to browse for some new comfortable walking shoes later today. I don’t have a lot to spend, but I do want to take care of my feet.

I am not working today because I’m fighting the system to get approval for short-term disability. If I go back to work now, I’ll look be surrendering my chances to qualify for short-term disability unless I am hospitalized again. I definitely don’t want that. Therefore, I’m not returning to work this week as I go through o all of my follow-up medical appointments. I’ll submit all the paperwork after those visits and hope for the best.

I don’t miss work yet. I’m not sure when I will, honestly. I just know that I do need time to recover from all that I’ve gone through recently. I also know that work stress doesn’t help at all.

I decided against shopping for shoes today because that would violate my deliberate plan to avoid crowds of people. I can always order some shoes online and return them if they don’t work out for me. I just want some comfortable hiking shoes so I can start exercising again.

One last thing that is sort of related involves our new method for getting groceries. Placing an order and then picking things up curbside at the store is working out better than planned because it makes us plan more deliberately for what we need rather than just run into the store without a clue. Definitely a win for us.

A Much-Needed Break

Life has gotten out of control here over the last two weeks, and I have been struggling to find a way to get things back under control. Thankfully, these problems aren’t related to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Hal (person) and I are well. OK, not completely true for Hal since he is undergoing some extensive dental work, but that wasn’t totally unexpected.

Hal has been understandably cranky at times as he waits for new dentures to be fitted because he isn’t able to eat solid food and I’m making anything and everything that he thinks he can comfortably eat with extracted teeth and a sore mouth. Hopefully this will all be over with in a week, two weeks at the most. This must be awful for him, and I want everything else to be as perfect as possible for him.

This whole situation has worn me out. My yoga has lapsed, and I feel terrible about that. I am working several projects on the job, so I’m busier than normal there, but there aren’t enough hours in the day right now to get everything done and still have enough time to rest. The holiday weekend couldn’t have come at a better time for me, I have tried to deliberately detach myself from the distractions, my success rate is almost 50% I suppose.

We did get an air fryer this weekend, something we’ve wanted for awhile and now we have the room in our kitchen for it.

Because the air fryer made by the Instant Pot company, it should be very high quality and last for a long time.

Monday is dreary and cool. Exactly the type of day that matches staying at home. Only a trip to the grocery store will get me out today. My sinuses are giving me fits again today, with a severe headache. Hal (person) is resting and still recovering from dental surgery last Friday. I want to rest as much as possible today and try to start a productive short week tomorrow.

Irresponsible Behavior

Hal and I decided to grab dinner last night from the drive-thru at one of our favorite restaurants. We knew that the restaurant wasn’t open, but their drive-thru made it possible for us to grab dinner and bring it home. This is one of the repercussions of the pandemic. The important thing is to stay safe and to not put anyone else at unnecessary risk.

The line at the restaurant for the drive-thru was unbelievable. There must have been 20 cars in line ahead of us. We relaxed and eventually ordered, got our food, and then drove home. Our experience wasn’t bad at all, but we saw something that was rather disturbing while we were there.

Apparently, today marks the irresponsible attempt to reopen businesses other than drive-thru or delivery. Next to the restaurant we were waiting at was another restaurant where people were crowded at outside tables. Social distancing was obviously not being practiced, and neither was the wearing of masks except for the restaurant staff. The relaxation of rules states that outdoor dining is allowed. I personally don’t know what the capacity percentage or protective mask rules are

Honestly, seeing those people made me nervous. Were any of them carriers of COVID-19? Would someone contract the disease by being in a large unprotected group? While Hal and I take every precaution to limit contact to protect ourselves and people we have to interact with, such as the drive-thru workers, or the employees at the grocery store and pharmacy. What about the restaurant staff who had to interact with the people ignoring rules and protection?

I can’t see anything that justifies relaxing the rules so quickly while the number of cases and deaths are still rising. I see nothing to celebrate now. The celebration comes when we finally have the pandemic under control, and not before. It is irresponsible to treat some political stunt like “reopening” prematurely as something worth celebrating.

Everyone misses what we all took for granted before the pandemic, but we cannot wish reality away because it doesn’t fit with our desire for convenience. The experts are trying to warn us about this, but political pressure is driving the decision when science should be guiding us. I am afraid that these irresponsible actions will produce more cases and deaths, and will just prolong the pandemic.

Chicken Souvlaki For The Soul

After a long day at work, and then celebrating our new water heater that was finally installed in the apartment, I decided that a small celebration was in order. We ordered from a pizza place we hadn’t tried yet after I noticed they also served Greek food.

We got chicken souvlaki platters and brought them home. Each meal included a small Greek salad and fries. Thankfully everything was delicious. I predict that when things return to almost normal we will have dinner AT the restaurant. Here’s to better days ahead.