I walk

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AMost mornings, the alarm on my phone wakes me up — but half those mornings see me waking up before the alarm rings. It’s the sun peeking into my darkened shades and which somehow triggers a switch in my brain that tells me it’s daylight and I need to get up. Still, I will usually look at the two morning news briefings I’ve subscribed to and read up on what happened around the world the six hours that I slept. Sometimes I just lay in bed for up to an hour before I convince my limbs to carry me off. Or sometimes my bladder wins and reminds the rest of my 54-year-old body that nature is calling. Such is my wake up routine.

I walk into the bathroom and wash my eyes.. I put on a special moisturizer, remembering age makes it imperative that I take better care of my skin. Then I weigh myself. A morning routine that can either be good news or bad news. Then I put on sunblock and change to my walking attire, brush my teeth and drink at a least a tall glass of water to hydrate. I put sunscreen on my face. Even before the pandemic, putting on a good facial sunscreen was part of my make up routine. You tend to take these things for granted in your youth, but hitting certain milestones remind you that taking care of one’s self takes more effort as the years go by.

I begin my exercise routine with a mini workout on the floor I picked up from Pinterest, of all places. I’m trying to work out my abdominal muscles with my pooch being a main problem area. That’s been a good warm up for me, too. After that, I fold my yoga mat and get ready to walk out.

Three weeks now, I’ve been walking every morning, or whenever I get the chance to, racking up not quite anything close to the 10,000 step goal, but still chalking up enough to make it back home sweating and feeling I did something good for myself. This is the first time in all my life that I have exerted effort for a healthier me out of my own efforts on a daily basis. I have even invested in a pair of running sneakers, although all I really do is walk.

I carry a pair of gloves — just in case I need to stop by the grocery or other store along the way, and a small container of hand sanitizer. I pick the mask of the day, put on my headphones (the airpods kept falling, so I have decided to go back to the wired ones), and I walk out.I walk

Often, I carry out something to throw in the garbage disposal. Bottles, cans and paper for recycling, or the trash when the bin is full. Then I choose a route to take. Going on three weeks now, I’ve sort of figured out the best routes to hit my minimum 5,000 steps.

I had taken to avoiding the park — being that I’ve encountered far too many like minded souls walking and jogging the paths, but without a mask. It was a lovely idea at the start, but I have come to realize that social distancing was more problematic because more people were there, and I really could do without the aggravation of walking past or after someone who felt that open air spaces meant a reprieve from the new normal of wearing a face covering. No thank you.

I walk I walk the streets around my neighborhood which are mostly empty. When I spy someone walking my way from afar, I calculate when to walk to the other side of the road or yield the sidewalk so that we can walk past each other with a minimum 6 feet apart. I also relish the empty sidewalks when I can lower my mask when no one is in sight. I pull it up when still a good distance from another who is walking towards me, not just as a precaution, but more as a sign of respect. Wearing a face covering these days is the new way to be courteous and kind.

I am aware how many steps approximately there are around the paths, so much so that I know 6-8 rounds of the field behind my son’s old elementary school will get me well past half my goal. I know when to start heading to the other side of the highway if I want to pick up a nitro cold brew from the neighborhood Starbucks, or if I need to pick up something in the grocery.

I like this new routine. Walking affords me a chance to be alone — and do something for myself. I usually listen to an audio book or a podcast. I listen to my breathing as I walk briskly — feeling the morning breeze on my face. I check my steps. I don’t just walk, I walk towards a goal. And yet it’s a means for me to unwind and relax, despite the exertion.I walk

I’ve explored my neighborhood like never before, going deep into a hiking trail in a mini-forest just blocks away from where I live. I’ve walked to places where I never would’ve gotten to without being driven there. The sense of adventure and exploration envigorates me. That’s something I really need after all this time that we’ve been cooped up because of the threat of the corona virus. Were it not for the prevailing scare, I’d be in the park walking with everyone else. But the virus has forced me to seek paths and trails where I can be alone.

Even as I walk my rounds around the field in my son’s former school, I worry that walking too closely behind someone might cause me to breathe in the air they expel. Paranoid of me, I know. But I take precautions.

I like walking. I like that I’ve somehow mustered the discipline to do it and keep on doing it this long. I’m already starting to worry about the winter months when this might be too difficult, or when we eventually find ourselves back at work when I wouldn’t have the luxury of doing this before logging on at 9am. I do have a gym membership at work — maybe I will find the time to do it.

I want to keep going and doing this — and hopefully, one day graduate to a jog. It might sound lame for a lot of people who are used to running or jogging as a form of exercise, but just getting myself out there is a feat at this point. More than anything else, I’m doing this for me, myself and I.

All the baking and cooking the last couple of months have caused me to gain 10 lbs above my weight pre-pandemic, and I’ve lost 6 of those 10. I’m hoping I can even lose more than what I gained, since I was overweight already even before the lockdown. The diet has helped a lot, but I know the walking has helped more.

I am one of those people who didn’t really give a care about exercising.. But the pandemic and the sheltering in place has forced me to look at ways and means to take care of myself, both physically and mentally. Now I know what it means to actually go out there and just let your feet take you where they will, and let your mind wander.

Here’s to more steps walked in the weeks to come.. as I work on getting to a better version of myself. Here’s to a healthier me.

Another shelter in place Sunday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI see the sun shining outside but I’m trying to make the most of my Sunday morning in bed. I slept at probably around 2am, yet I woke up at 6:30am. I got up and answered the call of nature and went back under the sheets. Sleepcast to try and help me get back to sleep from my meditation app didn’t help. I thought an Etsy webinar would, but even as I was proven correct it was not really free and just a pitch for another course, I managed to stay awake all throughout.

Now I have a headache.

I’m already planning my nap. I am still trying to make my mind up about breakfast. My tummy is arguing with my head because my headache is telling me to go for the banana bread I baked last week, and my tummy is reminding me I got some asparagus for my Sunday brunch omelette. Or I can even go for a ham omelette ..Hmmm..
My Sunday

Not exactly a picture perfect asparagus and cheese omelette, but my tummy was happy

Pending the decision about what sustenance I will take before drinking my headache drug of choice, I have at least made up my mind the laundry will have to wait. (Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday.). Or maybe not. I think the lack of sleep is making me jump from one idea to the next. No, the body wins. I’m taking it easy this Sunday.

I guess that’s one reason I decided to write here, just to help sort the fuzziness in my head. Writing has always been a source of clarity.

I’ve been working on several mask patterns from various sources. I’ve donated my sewingforlives masks and now I want to make masks for myself. I went out yesterday wearing one as I walked to the corner to do errands in 70 degree temps. It was a beautiful day but the mask was hot.

It took some adjusting like always, and I needed to vent the mask by giving it more space between the cloth and my face every once in a while, but I managed. For all the different patterns I’m trying, it all comes down to comfort. Breathability is important or your mask will do you more harm than good. It has to be something you can stand wearing for an extended period of time. I’n writing a separate series of posts on the masks and will share the resources I’ve found, along with tweaks to the pattens I have done.

One of those patterns actually kept me up last night, but I am happy I finished it. While one might think a mask is a mask, I’ve found that there are different nuances in each pattern that can be used together to tweak certain features of a face covering.  This particular pattern looked a little wonky to me when I saw it online, but working on the actual mask showed me a new way to sew the front and back pieces together.

Post coming soon on this mask

So I stitched and unstitched and stitched again, and came up with my first prototype of this pattern, and it might yet turn out to be one of my favorites.

I’m trying to steer clear of the sewing for portions of my day when there is some free time to do the things I want to do. “Me time” has been confined to mostly sewing the past couple of weeks. My art journal has been set aside for the whole month of April, and I will try to do an entry today before May totally slips by. My beads and tools are also waiting for me. I know I had promised to create some pieces in the last week or so, but there was work, and the masks.

So as you can see, I’ve been very focused on creating face coverings and finding one (or two or three) actual mask that I like, and producing enough for me to use when I get back to work. Whenever that may be. Still experimenting..

I realize now that I have to stop stressing about returning to work, and part of that is easing up on my focus on the face coverings. This whole business of sheltering in place and the presence of the threat of corona hanging over my head has been a heavy burden. We try to cope as best we can, and I think I have been doing well for the most part, but I am only human. There’s always that part of us that suffers through the stress no matter how good we get at coping from day to day.

This Sunday, I’m going to work on at least one jewelry piece, and maybe even come up with one item or two for the shop. I already know which section of my art journal I will work on. I don’t really want to plan beyond that, because all I can think of right now he’s wanting to go back to sleep. And after everything I have written here, I still haven’t made up my mind about breakfast.

My headache has also not abated. It seems to be intent on keeping me company today. I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I’m already planning my nap.

Sundays should not be so complicated. So let’s begin with my asparagus Omelette. Progress. At least breakfast is taken care of, and that’s one less decision to make today.

Dinner saw me baking a small batch of Pao de Quiejo using a different recipe from my first attempt a couple of weeks back. Simple enough. Headache crept away midday but I just didn’t have the energy for much.

My Sunday

I hope your Sunday went as well as mine. I hope that like me, you will take time to do something that you like doing, and find the time to just pause and breathe.

Another weekend sheltering in place– grateful to be safe at home and getting ready for the week ahead.

Daily Prompt: Never been mellow? Me?

DAILY PROMPT: After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

I work 5 days a week, and I usually don’t end my day until closer to midnight.  I do get a chance to unwind an hour or two (if I’m lucky) before I finally go off to bed after the dishes and the food left over from dinner have been taken cared of.  It’s Friday and I’m trying not to overthink the prompt, so let me just enumerate the things that I do to wind down, spend some “me” time, and just chill.

1.  I catch up on my favorite shows, and actually stop whatever I am doing to watch if I can.   From its inception to last night’s episode, SCANDAL has been a staple of my Thursday night.  It’s just about the only show I can watch an episode of over and over again, one after the other.  (Think about repeating a song on your playlist over and over again like one extended loop.)  I love Shonda Rhimes, what can I say.  And I love Olivia Pope and Kerry Washington who plays her all the more.  Criminal Minds, Elementary and Grey’s Anatomy along with NCIS (who doesn’t love Mark Harmon?) can be watched on demand.  (Thank you Time Warner Cable!)

2.  I pick up my tools and I try to create a piece or experiment with my beads.  I know, I’ve been talking about this a while now.  And while I haven’t quite picked up the pace, I’ve started to re-organize, expirement again (project of the moment is wire-wrapping which I am having a ball with!), and I’ve relisted some items in the shop.  (Even managed one sale.)

Art journaling: zen tangled face3.  I write/draw an entry into my Art Journal, or do a background further on in the altered book I’ve been using.  Two projects in one.  I try to write a sentence or so everyday although sometimes, I don’t have the energy even for that.  Last night, I scribbled a line.  It’s a line a friend had shared with me.  Gives me pause to think even when I’m just doing the lettering or fonts without actually scribbling an entry.

I like the way my art journal has evolved because now I dare to draw faces, and I am getting more disciplined in doodling — so much so that I actually make an effort to stay within the rather strict zentangling guidelines of sticking to “official patterns”.

But it’s the daily exercise of actually getting something down on the pages of the journal that provides me a release.

4.  I play slots online — but only for free, never for pay.  There’s something about the rolling of the slots that I find relaxing.  Maybe it’s hypnotizing me into playing some more?  I never click on the purchase credits, though, and I wouldn’t dream of gambling.  I just like going through the motions even if there is actually no monetary reward involved.

I’m not really a highly-strung type of person except when I’m upset.  No matter how busy life may get, I coast along and take life as it comes.  Emotions are a different thing, though.  When it gets rough and I am on the verge of whatever, I pray.

Happy Friday, everyone!