Needing A Mental Health Day

I could really use a Mental Health Day right about now. The constant din and noise from the outside world is starting to wear me down. I haven’t had a day off in months because I want time on the books for our upcoming move that is supposed to happen early in April. I remain optimistic, but the chances seem to be growing that we will not be able to move at the appointed time due to the Coronavirus situation. If we had more flexibility, we would have arranged to move early, but we don’t have that luxury.

In the meantime, I just keep going through the daily grind, over and over, and feeling more exhausted at the end of each day. While I am not the most optimistic person in the world, I keep hoping for the best. I am a realist which, I know, is another word widely associated with pessimism, and I try to do the best I can. Some days that is much easier than others.

I don’t know what I would do if I took a Mental Health Day right now. The weather is miserable and going outside is not an option because of that. We are not under any “stay at home” quarantine orders here……..yet. That is why I am concerned about our move next week. Things could change at any moment.

Everything seems to be moving in slow motion this morning. The only thing missing is a migraine, and I don’t want one of those to appear to harass me today. I am amazed that I have made it through until lunchtime without throwing in the proverbial towel and taking the rest of the day off. Staying busy does make the time go by much faster, although it does make me more sluggish as the day goes on.

And, at approximately 1330 in the afternoon, the migraine announces its arrival with several sledgehammer blows right behind my eyes that completely threw me for a loop. I have taken some Aleve but the bell is still ringing inside my skull and probably will be for a few hours at least. There is one more meeting that I have to get through before quitting time, so I should survive.

Cooking To Pass The Time

Sunday was the day when I finally stepped into the kitchen, determined to cook something that I hadn’t tried before. I prepared pork chops with asparagus and mushrooms and egg noodles in cream of mushroom sauce. Here is how I went about it.

First, I cut up some asparagus and set I aside. Then I opened a package of mushrooms to have them ready as well.

Next, I drained four center-cut pork chops and coated them with my seasoning, which consists of:

  1. 1/2 tbsp salt
  2. 1/2 tbsp pepper
  3. 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  4. 1/2 tbsp onion powder

The next step was to prepare the Instant Pot by coating the bottom with a thin layer of avocado oil (you can use olive oil if preferred). Then I started the Instant Pot and set it to “Sauté”.

Once the Instant Pot heated up, I put the four pork chops in and let them cook for two minutes on each side.

After the pork chops were finished with the “Sauté” setting, I turned the Instant Pot off to get things ready.

I put the asparagus over the pork chops, followed by the mushrooms. Then I put in a bag of egg noodles, followed by 4 cans of cream of condensed mushroom soup, and about 2-2 1/2 soup cans of water.

The beauty of the Instant Pot is that the egg noodles go in right out of the bag without cooking them first.
I set the Instant Pot to cook “Meat/Stew” for 20 minutes, closed and secured the lid, making sure that the pressure release was closed.

That was it. It takes the Instant Pot a few minutes to pressure up and then start the countdown timer. Once it completed, I waited about 12 minutes before releasing the pressure. The timer counts up after the cooking cycle completes. This is called “slow release”.

After bleeding off the remaining pressure by opening the release on top of the Instant Pot, I stirred the awesome meal before putting it into a serving/storage container.

Et voila, it was finished. It came out delicious. And the best part was very little cleanup afterward.

Sometimes

Writing isn’t always easy. There is nothing more disheartening than staring at a white screen, wondering why the words just won’t appear is if my magic. An idea that seemed so brilliant suddenly appears terrible and you want to start all over again. These are a few of the things that curse writers and bloggers each and every day. It seems to effortless to the outsider to just sit and throw some words together and call it a blog post. Trying to weave those words and ideas into a story is much more complicated and requires more attention and effort.

Another pitfall is repeating oneself. Original ideas are hard to come by, and even harder to capture and write about coherently. The fear of sounding just like everyone else is enough to stop some bloggers for good. There is an entire cottage industry dedicated to telling other people how to write. Most of the ideas are good, but they are not enough to get someone motivated without real-world examples to go along with them.

Sometimes the words just flow out of me and I am amazed at how quickly the screen fills up with words. These are the wonderful days, no matter what else is happening, or how I feel, the words flowing out of me bring me nothing but joy. Even if I am sad as I write, I rejoice in the action and the effort because it makes me feel alive.

Crisis Doesn’t Change Some Things

There is an old saying that difficult times bring out the best in people. I believe this is true in the general sense, but for some people, a crisis like we are facing makes no difference at all to them. My extended family is a shining example of the latter scenario.

For most of my life, I’ve known that my extended family on my Mom’s side are some rather unpleasant pieces of work. Long story, but Mom was orphaned as a child and wasn’t found by her older siblings until she was well into adulthood. The result is that there has never been a true familial bond. Mom was always the “outsider” and my Dad and myself were shunned as well.

You cannot miss what you never had. This is true in regards to a close relationship with my extended family. There is no surprise at all when I naively attempted to reach out to them last week to see if they were doin ok with the Coronavirus situation. Not surprisingly, I’ve had no response from any of them. I officially give up on them. They have no regard for, nor interest in me. I’m done trying to be the nice one. I don’t wish them I’ll, I simply just don’t care anymore.

This decision wasn’t arrived at in a hurry, or with any rush to judgement. I hoped that facing this common adversary called Coronavirus might enable us to finally connect and start to build some bridges over the chasms that have separated us for our entire lives. We know that each other exists, but that will remain the extent of our contact from this day forward.

I say all of this calmly and without emotion because there has never been a time to feel bad about the situation, at least in my life. I can’t miss what I never had.

Adjusting To Everyone Else Adjusting

Apologies to everyone for not writing yesterday. I had a migraine that lurked right behind my eyeballs all day long at work. It never morphed into the full-blown migraine, but that didn’t make me feel lucky at all. I managed to make it through the day at work and then I made some spaghetti in the Instant Pot for dinner. I’m glad to report that dinner turned out delicious, and after a quick clean-up I went to bed after a shower.

I slept most of the night and my blood glucose stayed in range. I woke up this morning with only the slightest tingling sensation in my head, a good sign that things will be better today. The biggest obstacle today will be making the adjustment to everyone else who is working from home. I wrote the other day with some tips on how to be successful at working from home. I never expected any of the coworkers to read that, and they haven’t. Now I am throwing up my hands and declaring that my Thursday meeting will not happen due to everyone having issues. I will send out my presentation and instruct everyone to comment back if they have questions or see any problems. That should solve the issue for this week. I hope that things calm down soon. The uproar is affecting other people so much more than myself, I hope that their coping skills are up to the challenge.

Something I Haven’t Tried Yet

I picked up my Writing Journal this morning and the topic for today is something that has no relationship to Coronavirus, and that makes a nice change. What is something that I want to do that I haven’t tried yet?

I have had a full life and this is a harder question than I thought it was. I have done so many things that I never thought I would as I traveled the world, especially during my time with the Navy.

I suppose that one thing I really want to do is to act on stage. I think that I would be good at acting, but I cannot produce any evidence to back it up. I can imagine acting for the first time and feeling awesome afterwards. I have never dreamed about failing as an actor, whatever that means. Perhaps I should explore community theater? I think that any chance of ever being in a movie are less than zero, but life is an adventure, a banquet where most people are starving to death.

Shortages

We have all heard about shortages over the last week. We have a shortage of kits to test for the Coronavirus, and that means we can’t get a truly accurate picture of just how widespread the problem is.

We have a shortage of respirators, and that means we can’t treat everyone properly who might or might not actually have the Coronavirus because we have a shortage of test kits.

We have a shortage of leadership from our allegedly elected officials. The Orange Nazi also has a shortage of personal responsibility because nothing is ever his fault.

There are some things that we don’t have a shortage of. Information and infoporn are all too available to us. This overwhelms our inputs and creates a sense of hopelessness and despair. We also have no shortage of those feelings.

As for feelings, I know that we have no shortage of compassion and kindness. That is something we make for ourselves in such quantities that we can always manage to spare some for those people in need.