My daughter is here with me during this COVID-19 crisis, and I could not be more grateful.
Regular readers of the blog may remember that my daughter started a study abroad program in Japan this past September (2019). The plan was for her to do a year-long program, but decided that it would be better for her to take the semester option. So after the winter break, she didn’t return to Japan.
So, last night I decided to sign up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I almost (but didn’t) signed up for the Slice of Life Challenge and then *waves hands* all of this happened, and I kind of regretted the choice. A global pandemic was (is) happening, and I had not committed to blogging during that time, which meant I was not blogging about it. Obviously, that could not stand, so here I am, blogging from A to Z.
When I signed up for the challenge, I said that my theme would be either gratitude or, you know, something related to living through the pandemic, so after giving it some thought, I have decided that I’m going to focus on my survival/coping strategies while practicing social distancing. What are the things that make it bearable? What helps alleviate my stress and fear–or at least what distracts me from both?
For today’s Something on Sunday, I want to give a shout-out to my pharmacist, Albert. The past couple of times I went to my neighborhood CVS (I know) to get my prescription filled they didn’t have it. And the last time I went, I said to Albert, I said, “You never have it.” I was clearly very disappointed in him and the store and life in general.
He apologized (again) and sent my refill over to another CVS (again).
So yesterday, I had on my to-do list to call the other CVS to get my refill sent to my neighborhood CVS. And this time I was doing it a week in advance to give them time to get it together.
Before I could call, I got a text from my neighborhood CVS saying my prescription was ready. This surprised me because I don’t have any of my prescriptions on autofill (autofill stresses me out), but then I remembered I probably just forgot to tell them to opt me out of it.
But no! When I went into the store, Albert said, “Hi, Ms. [LastName]. It’s ready!” (Yes, Albert knows me by name and by sight. This isn’t even the best part, yet.)
When the tech handed me the prescription, I let out a little gasp of delight. It turns out Albert had ordered my refill for me IN ADVANCE, and he also gave me a THREE-MONTH refill instead of a one-month one, AND he said that they have extra on the shelf now, so they’ll be ready for when I come back.
Albert rocks, y’all. May you all find a pharmacist like Albert.
Imma just go ahead and copy and paste my opening from last year to this post: It’s time for A Month of Faves, one of my favorite blogging events! I don’t know about you, but I neeeeeeed some cheer and joy in my life right now. I’m so so happy that Tanya, Andi, and Tamara are hosting this again. SO MUCH YAY.
As most readers of my blog know, I made a huge life change this year and moved from Florida to California. This was a year of big changes for many other reasons as well, one of which was my daughter’s high school graduation.
So here are my favorite things that happened this year (that I can remember; I’m sure I’ll think of more after I hit publish. Or wake up tomorrow):
1. I got a new job and moved to California where I have always wanted to live.
2. My daughter graduated from high school.
3. I am ibuprofen-free.
4. I scored AP exams.
5. I got to go to Jasmine’s for Thanksgiving, finally. (We had been trying to coordinate this for years!)
6. I learned to actually and truly ask for help.
Here are a few of my favorite things that I own/have that are new to me:
1. My new apartment is pretty baller. And it has a fireplace, which means I can actually hang stockings over a fireplace for the first time in my life.
2. My friend Maggie sent me a bike, and it is magnificent. The guys at the bike shop (where I took it to get put together) said that everybody who came in was eyeballing it and kept trying to buy it. Also, it’s a Schwinn, which means that every time I look at it, I think of the exchange from Girls Just Want to Have Fun between Drew and Natalie:
Drew: Nice car. I drive exotic wheels myself.
Natalie: What is it? A Schwinn ten-speed?
She’s being snotty, which is her way, but that was one of my favorite movies growing up so it’s nice to have the reminder.
As I mentioned earlier, I learned to ask for help this year, and I received it from so many people, and I am so so so thankful. I appreciate everyone who was so gracious and giving and kind. My move would not have been possible without them. I also got to connect with so many people in Gainesville before I moved, and that was wonderful.
Also, I have to give a shout-out to two women who really made my year so much better: my friends Holly and Amber. I really just cannot express how much they both touched my life this past year.
While I am naming names, I also want to thank my girl TNT for texting me almost every day and keeping me connected, especially those days I felt super lonely because I didn’t really know anybody out here yet.
Which means I also have to say how grateful I am for the new friends I have made here or the online friends I finally got to connect with in person (yay internet friends who are now RL friends).
So a lot in the world is terrible right now but so much in my everyday life is not. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Today, I am grateful to Jenny for starting this little gratitude exercise because the Sunday before going back to work is often hard. The Sunday before going back to work after a long weekend is often a little harder. I always have to figure out where to start with all I have to do and it gets overwhelming.
Along with that, I am also grateful for:
1. Spending time with my friend Jasmine over the weekend and getting to meet her family. Not only did we eat good food and have good conversations, we also managed to watch most of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I haven’t seen in a while. Also, and most importantly, her family is pretty great. A+, would hang out with again.
2. Roseanne, A Different World, and Golden Girls reruns. I got to watch a little of all three over the weekend (including the one with Dwayne and Whitley’s wedding–YES, CHILD), and they were all glorious.
And, of course, because I mentioned it, I have to post the clip again:
Diahann Carroll is a national treasure.
3. Being able to fly out of Burbank instead of LAX. #blessed
4. Figuring out some key stuff that I was blocked about re: this script I’m working on. That also led to me doing some actual (re)writing tonight.
5. Two weeks left of the semester. Although this is also a major stressor for me, the countdown to vacation is real.
I hope everyone else was able to find some joy this past week.
Well, tomorrow is Sunday, which means it’s back to reality. Which is just a depressing way of saying I have a ton of grading to do.
Also, it’s that time of the semester when grading is basically all I’ll be talking about because there are only two weeks left (!!!!).
I’m not ready.
I mean, I am definitely ready for the semester to be over, but I am not ready for the end of the semester–mostly because of all the grading. But also because I need to write final exams and rubrics and also, of course, grade.
Always with the grading.
I did have a lovely weekend with my friend and her family, and I did get some grading done and a rubric written (on Thanksgiving itself, no less). So I am definitely grateful for the time with delightful people and the space to get work done. Also, let’s be real: I got a much needed mental break by taking the past two days completely off.
But, as Shang from Mulan says, “Tomorrow, the real work begins.”
There are many things I loved about The Baby-Sitters Club, but mostly I love that it’s about all the things I still think are important: female friendship, girls getting things done, girls working together to get things done, and series fiction. Also, let’s be real: my desire to do a Disney Cruise probably all stems from the first BSC Super Special, Baby-Sitters on Board.
I definitely tried to emulate the structure of the BSC books as a baby writer. I was all about diary entries to start a chapter.
I can’t think of how to wrap this up, but I just want to say that these books were extremely important to me in elementary school. I read them voraciously. I would go to the bookstore just to find the next book in the series. They brought me a lot of joy, and I loved the characters very much.
Stacey was obviously my favorite, which is why I picked her first book as the image for this post.
My friend suggested I write about why I chose to use gratitude as my theme for the challenge. “Do a deeper dive,” she said, “and explain why it means so much to you.”
It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time focusing on what I didn’t have or how I wished my life were different. And because I was a student at the school of Oprah, I would suggest people do gratitude journals and such because she said they worked even though I didn’t really know why.
In the past few years, I have learned that gratitude is an important part of my life because, much like acceptance, it keeps me focused on the present and helps me to shift my thinking so that I see all that is good and right around me–even when it feels like everything is going wrong.
Gratitude as I practice it is, in short, keeping the focus on what I do have and what is going right in my life instead of focusing on what’s missing or wrong.
For example, one time I ran over the curb and blew my tire. This was not a good thing that happened. It was inconvenient, I don’t actually know how to change a tire, I knew it would cost money to repair/get a new tire, etc.
However, in that same day, I found a lot to be grateful for:
1. The blowout happened at the grocery store, which worked out perfectly because I had to pee so bad. Soooo bad. Like, I didn’t even care that much that the tire was blown out at first because I had to pee.
2. I bought what I needed from the grocery store and, as I was checking out, the cashier asked how my day was going, and I told her not great because of the blowout. I hadn’t even noticed, but standing in front of me at line were my friend and her husband. “Do you need help?” they asked.
3. My friend’s husband changed my tire. While he was working on it, a guy from a restaurant who ran to the store to get syrup saw my friend’s husband changing the tire and gave him some tool thing that made it easier. (Also, two or three other people asked if he/we needed help.)
4. I, of course, had no money to buy a new tire. I went to Sears and because I had such good credit, I was able to get a store card to put the tires on (all of my tires actually needed to be replaced). Not only were they having a special on the tires, but I was able to get them with 0% interest for 18-24 months.
Now, old me would have bitched about the fact that my tire blew and now I had this new bill. New me was able to see all of the good things that happened to me that day even while I was dealing with something that was a hassle.
Here is another, more personal, example of gratitude working in my life:
I hate Father’s Day. (I also hate Mother’s Day, but for different reasons, but that’s a discussion for a different time.) I mostly hate it because my (step)dad and I did not have the best relationship while I was growing up, and my biological father is an absentee deadbeat. There are other reasons for my dislike of it, but you get the gist.
One particular Father’s Day, I was feeling especially resentful and angry that the day existed. But I had learned to try gratitude as a countermeasure for those feelings. So rather than revel in my rightness at how I was done so wrong by these men, I got out pen and paper and started writing a list of all of the good things my (step)dad had done for me.
After I wrote the list, I felt so much better and I was so much less angry. In fact, I appreciated my dad and all that he had done for me. I acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, but he also wasn’t all terrible either.
In less than thirty minutes, my whole attitude had changed–and all because I practiced gratitude.
I wasn’t planning to do the A to Z Challenge this year. But ever since the election, things have been rough. The news has been terrible. It feels like the world is falling apart. Or at least that’s how it feels when I watch the news or I’m on Twitter. And that may be so. However, every day, all around me, small miracles are happening if I pay attention to them. And that’s why I chose gratitude as my theme for the challenge. Because I wanted to spend the month of April focusing on all that is good around me to counteract the large scale attention that all that is bad attracts.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in Monday to see what I pick for H.
I am grateful for acceptance because it lets me look at a problem full on and see what my options are for solving it.
I am grateful for acceptance because it keeps me from indulging in the what-ifs and should-have-beens.
Acceptance keeps me in the present.
Yesterday, after I balanced my checkbook and used the envelope system to allocate money for gas and food, I had to accept the fact that I had no disposable income.
This was after I finally accepted (again) that I have a lot of debt and need to live within my means.
Accepting that I had no disposable income meant that I couldn’t go see either Hidden Figures or Get Out, or do, well, anything else extra really. Before I would have been depressed or sad. But now I can say, “This is your situation right now. If you want more any disposable income, you know what you need to do.”
It also meant I had to fully face that I had <$20 for groceries for the next two weeks. And that I should have budgeted before I made a quick run to the grocery store. See, if I had budgeted before, I might have changed what I bought. But I didn’t. So I had to accept that I couldn’t change that decision because it was in the past. I could only focus on what to do next. And because I know using my credit card to buy food won’t help me get out of debt, I had to accept that I was not going to use that as an option.
When my mom reminded me that Farm Share was going to be in our town, I knew it was something I could do to solve my problem about getting food for the next two weeks. I had to accept that I needed help getting food and that help was available.
Acceptance allows me to ask for help, something I used to be unwilling to do.
Acceptance allows me to make the changes I need to live the life I want.
I am grateful for acceptance.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for B.