Learning About Myself

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It has been 266 days since I started my official shut in at home. During the year, I have more time to get to know myself better and move into major observation mode. The last time I went through this phase was back in college at Michigan State.๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ I know I drove my best friend Marla crazy when I would provide commentary on the stupidest stuff.๐Ÿ—ฃ I guess you could call me a trend setter since this was pre-Seinfeld. If you ask me, I think it is an endearing quality and a good way to lighten up the mood as tension floats through the country these days. So here we go with some funโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅณ

  • Face Mask โ€“ There was something I always suspected but the face mask has brought it to the forefront which is my ears are attached weirdly to my head.๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿป I just cannot keep the elastic around my ears on properly even though I have tried multiple styles and options. One ear seems to fold โ€“ it is just strange and keeps me from wearing a mask too long without slippage. It is like you are going along doing your business than the elastic slides off and my face mask is hanging off one ear. It almost feels like I flashed someone โ€“ where is my trench coat?๐Ÿ™€
  • Tom Selleck โ€“ Robin and I had this agreement that if the opportunity presented itself, we had a list of stars that we could have a one-night stand and get a free pass in the marriage.๐Ÿ‘ปNo backlash just a fantastic rendezvous that would never be mentioned again. ๐Ÿคญ One of my favorite leading men on the list was Tom Selleck. He was just so manly, handsome, strong, and sensitive at the same time โ€“ he was the perfect person to be on the F-CK List. To my dismay, I was watching television and a commercial for reverse mortgages came on (it was long too) and Tom was the spokesperson and really trying to push this horrible idea. What a sexual turnoff, my crush is perfectly situated in senior citizen community now โ€“ why Tom? Why did you have to do that commercial? I guess the truth is I am free and clear to be with anyone now โ€“ no list needed (a little widow humor โ€“ ha ha) ๐Ÿค—
  • A New Sport โ€“ Since I have been home, I am intrigued with letting no food go to waste at whatever cost. Now this is a responsible move for the environment and the budget, however, I think I am taking it to the next level. The other day, I made a salad that I would have totally sent back had I ordered it at a restaurant. The lettuce was suspiciously browning, the onion had seen better days ( a little mushy), a cucumber with a slight amputation was well positioned amongst the other vegetables.๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿฅ’ I was proud of this salad; ate it and enjoyed every minute knowing I saved my produce. The other day, I used raspberry jam and noticed that the expiration date was November 2019 (it seemed fine). ๐Ÿ“What is going on with me? I think I have turned into one of those dumpster divers that find discarded food that has been thrown away. Yikes โ€“ but it is kind of fun. I am now exploring composting too.
  • Hipster – I like Kombucha tea and have fallen into that poser category. At first, I had a bad one and did not understand what the Generation Y community were raving about… But then I was listening to the podcast How I Built That (love) and heard an interesting story about the founder of Health-Ade. She actually was trying to invent a hair growth shampoo ๐Ÿ’‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธโ€“ itโ€™s a long story. I saw the bottles on the shelf and have been hooked ever since. I love Health-Ade Kombucha tea (Pomegranate or Pink Lady). It is so bubbly, light and uplifting and makes me happy. Who would have thought?๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ
  • I will do it myself! Through the pandemic, I have experimented with online grocery shopping and for the first time, this is where artificial intelligence needs to take this job over cause the humans are not cutting it.๐Ÿ‘Ž๐ŸปEvery time I order through the website and spend extra time to ensure that I am clear and specific of my needs, there is always a significant error. Usually it involves forgetting some of the key items that I needed to go shopping for in the first place. I was making the dogs their food and the store forgot to put in the meat โ€“ yet they did not forget to charge me. It does not matter what store I go to, always the same outcome. After delivery, I have to conduct a thorough inventory of the food and it is a sure thing that there is something not in the bag. Also, I think the store employees are encouraged to pick out the worst looking fruit and vegetables that are available in the stand. I received a cauliflower that had brown on the tips of it or a saggy looking lettuce.๐ŸฅฆI was like โ€œreallyโ€ this is the best one you could find for an additional $6.95? Little do they know that I have a new hobby (please see above). I have finally decided I will just throw on my mask and risk it at the store. Online grocery shopping has blown it with me.โ˜น๏ธ
  • Velour obsession โ€“ It is no secret that I love soft fabric and have proclaimed that I no longer am wearing uncomfortable material. Yet I think I am going a little too extreme with my new old friend velour. I was first introduced to this stretchy fabric (or my first memories) in seventh grade. My mom bought me the coolest pants from Ala Mode (the trendiest store in Oak Park, MI for teen girls) or at least what I thought. They were blue and soft and may have had a satin stripe down the side. I rocked them for bar/bat mitzvahs and school dances.๐Ÿ•บ๐ŸปI felt alive in them until they were cast aside because they were out of style. Actually, I do not know what happened to them. Anyways not important, well for the past two years, I have been dabbling in velour when available online. I even wore my blue velour outfit to Thanksgiving and my daughter Isabelle made a snarky comment that I looked very Juicy Couture. That was an insult I guessโ€ฆ still love them but need to slow my roll since I now have about 5+ pairs of pants and assorted tops. I think I went a little overboard.๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿ‘–

So that is what has been happening in November for me. I am glad that I was able to share the eclectic list of things on my mind. I know it is a deep and thought provoking or NOT! โŒ I guess self-isolation maybe getting to me or I can find humor in the situation and not take things too seriously. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I prefer the second explanation. There are still many months ahead of us as we get beyond the pandemic and need to lighten up and ride it a little longer. ๐Ÿ‚Everyone is getting crabby and we need to make it through home stretch. I hope I brought a smile and a little laughter to your day. ๐Ÿ˜œWishing everyone a happy December – stay safe and healthy!โค๏ธ

Cobwebs In My Closet

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As you may have picked up in the theme of my postings, I have been doing a lot of cleaning, reorganizing, and purging.๐ŸงนSo, it would not surprise you to hear that a few nights ago, I went into my closet and realized that it was filled to the brim with clothes, shoes, and accessories.๐Ÿ‘š๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿ‘ ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘ก๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿ‘“ I always prided myself on my style and that most of my pieces stood the test of time, however reality set in at about 10:30 p.m. last night, my clothing looked tired and outdated.๐Ÿฅฑ I decided it was time to tackle the closet as it made no sense that it was completely full and most of the stuff had been not worn in years. I mean… I wear the same thing every day. And that would be leggings and a sweatshirt (the official outfit of the COVID season 2020 โ€“ wait who am I kidding โ€“ it is just my official outfit PERIOD) โ€“ SOOO comfyโ€ฆ๐Ÿ’œ

As I pulled items off the hanger into a pile, every piece of clothes had a story.๐Ÿ“˜ Some represented my time in corporate America. I said bye-bye to conservative cardigans made of that weird fabric that felt kind of nylonl-ly and I think could have been water resistant.๐Ÿ’ฆ Anything from Talbots, J. Crew and J. Jill had to go โ€“ they were not part of my future consulting career.๐Ÿšซ I remember all those days where I was in the office for 12 hours, tired out of my mind and completely uncomfortable. Next went the suits โ€“ boxy blazers and wool pants that always made me feel like a man.๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ They reminded me of the times where I had to give presentations to the leaders, expecting challenging questions and reasons why not to move forward on creative solutions to differentiate our business and win in the market. Goodbye to dusters (long sweaters) that I thought hid my butt but mostly called attention to it.๐Ÿ” I cruised through my shoes โ€“ pumps that dug into my toes, pointy heels that I always fell from and twisted my ankle. High heels that made me walk like Frankensteinโ€ฆ that was sexyโ€ฆ.๐Ÿ‘  As a side commentary, why are work clothes awful?… no more for me, only stretchy and soft. Let us pray for virtual work forever โ€“ woo hoo ๐Ÿฅณ

After tackling the low hanging fruit so to speak, next came the more emotional decisions. It started with the dress I wore to Isabelleโ€™s bat mitzvah such a wonderful memory full of pride, family and fun and then the black dress I wore to bury my husband… a memory that is just a blur. ๐Ÿ˜ข Then there were the jeans I bought after beating cancer that I wanted to get back into and I was close, but I realized they are super dated, and I would not wear them anyways.๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ I vetted out endless black and grey sweaters that looked the same, as well as any material that I deemed not soft enough to my new standards. The pile continued to get larger and the tears kept streaming.๐Ÿ˜ญ I was not only cleaning out my closet, but I was clearing out my life.โ›…๏ธ It was the realization that my early years were gone, and it was represented through the clothes I wore. This wardrobe exercise was a talking to me, and I was finally listening.๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿป Boy โ€ฆ a joint would have been fabulous at that moment (I mean so I heardโ€ฆ not that I would know)โœŒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿšฌ

Yet I also recognized, hanging onto material things that are tied to the past is tiring and was starting to hold me back. I want to remember all the good times and just have less. The other thought is that maybe just maybe this is me closing a door on a chapter of my life.๐Ÿšช The truth is that Robin and I are a memory and being a corporate employee is also probably in the rear-view mirror… Although I am extremely excited as I am moving forward, it was a heart wrenching realization as I sobbed sitting in the closet. I was actually clearing out my emotional cobwebs that I had attached to my wardrobe.๐Ÿ•ธAlthough this turned into a much more of a weepy process than I would have guessed โ€“ it was cathartic. Hanging on to stuff does not make the memories stay or go away โ€“ it is just clutter.๐Ÿ™ˆ So, I stuffed 4 garbage bags that will be donated to Salvation Army tomorrow. Now, I have open space eager to be selectively filled with a few new items that will represent the future โ€ฆI am HOPEFUL and look forward to a little more color this time.๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงกโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š Peace out and do not forget to VOTE โ€“ it matters.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Yom Kippur – 2020

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Yom Kippur also known as the Day of Atonement is considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism. The gist of this holiday is that we review the previous year and ask for forgiveness for our personal sins. On Yom Kippur, our fate is sealed for the upcoming year. I have always taken this time very seriously for obvious reasons including – the stakes are really HIGH- ha-ha. ๐Ÿ™๐ŸปBut in all seriousness, I appreciated digging in deep and taking stock of the year and rectifying any wrongs along the way. ๐Ÿค” However, this year my priorities and focus were vastly different. I do not know if I am falling away from religion a little or it is just the 2020 Effect! โš—๏ธ So, here is my true confession, I spent Yom Kippur cleaning my cupboards and getting organized.๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธMaybe one reason could be that I was sick of buying diced tomatoes and then coming home to realize that I have 20 cans stashed in different places.๐Ÿ… I guess introspection this year of sins committed involved acknowledgement of my poor Kanban skills๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ๐Ÿฅซ (Lean manufacturing concept of keeping track of inventory โ€“ in case you were curious โ€“ I know you were!)

This new fascination with tidying up was inspired at first by Marie Kondo, a star organizer who helps you find joy with your possessions. ๐Ÿค—Her methodology got old fast with me as I held a can of mushrooms wondering if they made me sparkle.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿฟโ€โ™€๏ธTherefore, I transitioned to my next Netflix addiction called โ€œGetting Organized โ€“ The Home Edit.โ€ This team of bubbly celebrity organizers have a wide breadth of offerings like helping Rachel Zoe organize her overflowing closet (she had a lot of stuff โ€“ it made me hyperventilate๐Ÿ‘ก๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿ•ถ๐Ÿ‘—) or getting kitchen pantries in order with matching bins and calligraphy labels. I long for this duo to come over and help me. I had visions of running to the Container Store and buy their overpriced line of cannisters and Lucite shoe boxes. But then โ€ฆ reality hit me; 1. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and 2. There was no way I could afford their services. Reese Witherspoon and Risa Borr do not roll in the same socioeconomic circles. Yet being resourceful as I am โ€ฆ I quickly moved to OPTION B, which included ordering knockoff containers from Amazon, using my own penmanship on labels, and incorporating their concepts to recreate highly functional kitchen cabinets.๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿป

I have always struggled with organization, trying all types of approaches such as alphabetizing food, can size and color coding, which never survived more than 2 days hence deemed not sustainable. The Home Edit team helped me think about my needs and broaden categories like, tomato products, beans, rice, and it is working out brilliantly. ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ•It has been 72 hours and still being maintained. My 8 cans of garbanzo beans are lined up neatly and I only purchased items that I needed such as sliced beets. I would say that is a huge win.๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Ok โ€ฆback to the deeper question, why am I avoiding my religion and moving towards a new form of prayer meaning food organization and naming conventions? To be honest, there has been a gradual migration that began after Robin died. I just could not find the answers from Judaism of why such a fabulous young guy would exit this life so early. โ˜น๏ธI mean there is free will and we all know Robin did not have the best diet (he and I own that) and he was sarcastic as hell (in a cute way), โ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅฐbut all and all – he was a GREAT PERSON and deserves to still be here. It has been hard for me at times to really understand why the good die young. Billy Joel nailed it.

To fulfill my hunger for answers, I moved towards spirituality which has provided me the greatest clarity and direction. โžก๏ธโฌ†๏ธ I see that there is a bigger world and a connection with the divine, our deceased loved ones and nature. ๐Ÿ—It is very comforting to know that we are in this together and maybe Robin in a sense is just in another room and supporting Isabelle and I from a different realm.๐Ÿ˜‡This is what has given me hope and gratitude to move forward. I am inspired to continue to grow, explore and do better. Therefore, I try to be kind and helpful to others every day and hope that g-d in turn will forgive me for not fasting on Yom Kippur and choosing to organize my kitchen. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™„As an aside, it was super rewarding and felt divine likeโ€ฆ if that matters.๐Ÿฅณ

And then there is 2020 which has not really motivated religious pursuits or much of anything else. What a crappy year- no matter how you look at it. There is so much hate, fear and gotchas around every corner. Social media and politics have not helped by spewing narrow views and hate causing great divides amongst us all … Ugh. As I watch the world around me fall apart with the pandemic, a segregated nation, environmental decline, natural disasters and death, I believe this whole organizing obsession I have taken to is really a way for me to hide in my little bubble until this negativity passes. ๐Ÿ‘€ I pray for positive change and a true leader who can unite us soon (strategic plug for everyone to vote). ๐Ÿ—ณSo, I guess the best thing I can do now is to organize and make sure my pasta, tea and spices are in order because that is what I can control today.๐Ÿคž๐ŸปWishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all of you be inscribed in the Book of Life and may the 2020 Effect be behind us soon bringing peace, hope and many organized closets.โœŒ๐Ÿพโค๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿงน

Empty Nester – Temporarily Postponed

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Well another day in this crazy year called 2020. As many of you may know, MSU postponed freshman moving into the dorms and all the classes are online. This is not a decision that I disagree with as campuses around the country are experiencing surges in the virus. Nothing sounds like a bigger bummer than being in isolation in a small dorm room with no air-condition.๐Ÿค’ Obviously, it was a major disappointment for Isabelle and her fellow schoolmates. This was the one announcement I had dreaded being that she has been such a good sport about missing the last quarter of her senior year, prom, summer frolicking with friends etc… but feared this would take her over the edge. ๐ŸคฌLuckily, she has managed it fairly well. and I would say 85% of the time she was fine and 15% truly upset and becoming numb to bad news.โ˜”๏ธ This is hard as a parent to watch and still have the answers or encouraging words to make things better. I have stopped already and just keep saying – we have been through worse – it will work out. I want to move the sun, moon, and stars for her; ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒšโญ๏ธI want her to have an amazing germy freshman year as we all enjoyed when we were her age. ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’‹๐ŸŽธAnd of course, this story will unfold over the next few months

However, I also want to switch topics to another person affected – that would be ME and all the unrecognized parents of young adults who just continue to take it on the chin for our kids.๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธI love my daughter with all my heart, and she has been my greatest joy and I thank g-d every day for having her in my life. She reminds me of Robin, and I am so proud of her yada yada yada โ€ฆ but I WAS READY FOR HER TO GO TO COLLEGE.๐Ÿ–๐ŸปI had big dreams and visions of what the next chapter of my life would look like which mainly involved – interior decoration and cleanliness in my home.๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŽฌHere was my list on how I was going to approach her departure and celebrate my new empty nest status.๐ŸŽ‰

My List

  1. Make sure she was moved in well and her dorm room was cute, well stocked with all the things she would need such as cleaning supplies, storage, hand vacuum, nice bedding etc. ๐Ÿงพ
  2. Develop a communication strategy where I was not bugging her too much, but also knew she was ok and prepared to be successful in school and socially. ๐Ÿ˜
  3. Begin an intense cleaning in the home – focusing on her bedroom and bathroom. Box up childhood memorabilia (we talked about it and she was ok) and turn it into a big girl room finally.๐Ÿงน๐Ÿงฝ
  4. Fumigation of upstairs carpet or maybe even changing it since she had a few mishaps with nail polish and other unidentified stains. And recently I let Ella and Laura (the pugs) upstairs for about 10 minute which was not a wise decision that forever has wrecked my carpet.๐Ÿ’ฉโ˜ ๏ธ
  5. Purge all high school knick-knacks that I was unsure were important or not – such as notebooks, bent poster board invites to a junior dance, decorations for St. Patrick’s Day, key chains, folders etc.๐Ÿ‘€
  6. Rejoice in only having to run the dishwasher once a night and cleaning the kitchen less than 5 times a day. Not being surprised and angered with sticky finger residue left on cabinet handles and the refrigerator. Significant reduction in the purchase of Windex to help with monthly expenses and the environment.๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป๐Ÿ–๐Ÿป
  7. No more picking up empty water bottles and discarded towels left on the floor that were used for an intense workout – even after constantly pleading with her to stop doing that. ๐Ÿผ
  8. Date and be a total slut – bringing home strange men every night without judgement (well maybe from the pugs). Ha – just joking – wanted to see if you were really reading this or not โ€“ let me know. Well maybe just kidding a little – I mean Covid has been a long isolation.๐Ÿ‘ 

I have cherished my time with Isabelle as I have written previously but there is a process where your teens are ready to leave and they just do not make you feel great about yourself anymore.๐Ÿ˜• It starts with the eye rolls and then the flinching when you try to touch them. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฌ No longer are the days where you can snuggle and play with their hair without receiving an utterly repulsed reaction from them.๐ŸคฎIt is a sad state when I find myself hugging a kissing my elephant stuffed animal for my bed. ๐Ÿ˜To be honest, the pugs do not like the kissing and hugging too much either. ๐Ÿถ๐ŸถOk back to Isabelle and teenagers, they start talking back and not respecting you anymore and quite honestly it is bad for our self-esteem. ๐Ÿ‘…Isabelle tells me to stop being so needy of reinforcement of my parenting skills. The other day she said that she admires my career and work ethic. Initially, I thought that was nice then I was like… are you kidding me? I have been awesome at keeping the wheels on this bus. I have served as mother, father, confident, provider, emotional support, cancer survivor and most of all keeping faith and hope alive when we were kicked in the ass by life. ๐Ÿฆน๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ So, you know what… go fly my little bird ๐Ÿฆ…โ€ฆ. it is time!!! AND YET IT IS NOTโ€ฆ

Ok… I was venting a little – sorry about that…. but us parents of seniors in 2020 have taken a beating too. ๐Ÿค• All in all, it is going to work out just fine. I mean on the bright side, I now can relive my freshman year at MSU with my new roomie – Isabelle Borr.๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆWe can hang out, study/work together, play Trivial Pursuit and get drunk on Bacardi listening to the Go-Goโ€™s. ๐Ÿฅƒ๐ŸŽง๐Ÿฅ Those were the days – I wonder what they will be like reinvented in 2020. Yes, I am a 54-year-old freshman again and I will let you know how it goes.. Go State!!!๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿค

Two Years and Counting

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It is hard to believe that Robin has been gone for two years now. ๐Ÿ˜‡ In some cases, it feels like yesterday and other times it seems like a lifetime ago. When I look back, the pictures are outdated, and I am forced to revisit some less than flattering hair and clothing choices – ha-ha. ๐Ÿ‘ข๐Ÿ‘›The one thing I know for sure is that I am different person than I was even two years ago. Sometimes, I guess it takes a great loss to push you out of that comfort zone and evolve. Trust me if I could, I would bring Robin back in half a second. I am disappointed in myself that I took him for granted at times not realizing the hole in my heart it would leave when he was gone.๐Ÿ’”However, in other ways, I had to put my big girl pants on and make some long-term choices. I did not want to wither away and die, I was compelled to show my daughter that life goes on. While Robin is not with us now, we should be grateful for the time we did have him even if it was too short.โŒ›๏ธ He was special in that kind of sarcastic, smart, humble, funny, and charming way. Yet, the area he stood the strongest was possessing a moral compass that always pointed True North.๐Ÿงญ He was a good guy and pushed Isabelle and me to be the best we could be.๐Ÿฅ‡

Time does heal and I must say I have a different outlook on life today and it is for the better. However, I never really knew what it was in formal terminology until I heard a podcast discussing Post Traumatic Growth. I was aware of Post Traumatic Syndrome but was pleasantly surprised to learn about a framework around what I was experiencing. It sounds silly but there were times that maybe I was just going mad a bit – glad to hear that I am growing and not needing to be taken to a psychiatric ward.๐Ÿš‘ Ok back to the concept because I know you are in deep suspense. Here is the list of positive outcomes otherwise known as PTG.

1. Embracing new opportunities โ€“ both at the personal and the professional fronts. ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

2. Improved personal relationships and increased pleasure derived from being around people we love.๐Ÿ‘ป

3. A heightened sense of gratitude toward life altogether.๐Ÿฅณ

4. Greater spiritual connection.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

5. Increased emotional strength and resilience.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

Wow…. the professor went on to say most people do not experience all five … but guess what? …. I do!!!!! This is almost as good as my new FICO score (yes – I did it too- I have Excellent credit). Wait, I digress but needed to add that in and could not find an appropriate time. As I review my last two years, it is like I am a textbook case. For example, embracing new opportunities – I decided early on to enjoy new experiences including different kinds of exercising, floating in that water pod, studying spirituality, taking vacations, and just recently starting my own consulting firm. And did I mention…. I can do burpees now (immensely proud of that achievement).๐Ÿฉฑ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Regarding improving personal relationships – I have been selective on who I want in my life and in some cases NOT. It has been liberating and I find that I am much more present now and do enjoy those in my life. Many friendships have gone to a deeper level and honestly feel fortunate on how well I have been supported. The “widow-thing” has NOT been a big problem – thank g-d… I do not rock being a third wheel very well and luckily everyone has been super considerate. ๐Ÿท

Point three and four – a heightened sense of gratitude toward life altogether and a greater spiritual connection have been my most profound changes. I mean it seems counter intuitive but there is something so liberating and makes you really appreciate everything. I used to live in fear all the time and did not value what I had. I suppose that is a by-product of our society and community. In the quest to be the richest, smartest, best-looking etc… it is nice to be off that train ride to hell. ๐Ÿš€Today I enjoy quiet walks in nature, my friends, family, the pugs and having a lifestyle that is comfortable. I do not need more (well maybe a little more!).๐Ÿ’ฐ I think everyone gets my drift… ๐Ÿ›ณ I feel deeply connected to Robin and the universe which I know sounds strange to most folks. Isabelle and I are cloaked in spiritual protection and light – it is undeniably there and feels like a warm hug which I cherish.๐Ÿฅฐ

And finally, increased emotional strength and resilience. When you lose someone, you do not have a choice especially if you have children. However, I would say it is like a muscle and when you exercise it – you can shoulder whatever comes your way. ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I think this has especially been evident with both Isabelle and me during the pandemic. It really has not rattled us at all. Yes, it is getting a little long without not much end in sight, but I have been extremely impressed with the way Isabelle has handled it with a matter of factness and grace. We have decided to turn this into an opportunity to bond at a deeper level (with the exceptions of our fights over cleaning the kitchen).๐ŸณAlso, to get healthier by turning a portion of our house into a gym and in her terms “get shredded.“โš”๏ธ In complete honesty, she made that happen and I am taking up little less space but remain a work in progress. ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Well, it has certainly been a ride with many ups and downs, yet I feel more confident to maneuver this journey. I am hopeful for the future and believe there has been a purpose for all that has happened. I want us to step up to our potential and be better and do better. And at the same time, I need to honor my main man, who always had the faith in us before we had it in ourselves. Robin, I miss and am inspired by you each and every day… RIP and all of this is because of you.โค๏ธ – cue sappy music… ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽป

Forget It … I Am Staying Home

It seemed promising when the cases of Covid began declining and we were able to start going out again. I must admit that I did not have a burning desire to come out of the house, but thought a little interaction may not be bad for me. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ For more information about my weird introversion, please read previous posts.๐Ÿคช The thing is now that I get out a bit… I am so confused about the new social norms when it comes to interacting with others.๐Ÿ˜ฌ It baffles me the different interpretations of what is appropriate in public and how people assess the risk of spreading this virus. So when I am unable to make sense of my current environment, I look to what I can understand and that is behavior and patterns. Therefore, I started to categorize the people I have come across since emerging into civilization again.๐Ÿ“Š

Now before I share my list – please know this is just me poking fun at all of us. It is supposed to be entertaining … to break up stress and anxiety. So laugh, enjoy and maybe engage with me on where you fall on this mask spectrum or prove that you actually read the first two paragraphs . ๐Ÿ˜ทโค๏ธ

MASK CATEGORIES

  1. Stylish Maskers – people who have turned this into a fashion moment. It is cute – why not? I see camo, designer, color coordination and positive mantras to mention a few. I do feel bad for the lipstick, gloss and balm industries as our mouth was so….2019!๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ‘œ
  2. Half Ass Maskers – usually service workers (sorry but true) – people who wear the mask too loose or let their nose hang out. When Isabelle and I relunctantly stopped on the Ohio Turnpike while traveling to PA. I was appalled to see food servers who were wearing their mask improperly. Nothing screams catching a virus than a #9 Covid Special with a side of fries ๐ŸŸ icky… we could not get out of there fast enough. ๐ŸŒฌ
  3. Doomsday Maskers – friends who are completely covered from head to toe including sun glasses, hat, full sleeves, huge masks or scarves. They hesitantly come out for outdoor gatherings and sit in the corner looking miserable. They are trying really hard to be social but are terrified and regret they left their house.๐Ÿฅฝ๐Ÿงค๐Ÿงขโ˜‚๏ธ
  4. Try Hard Maskers – these are folks who try to stay in compliance and keep covered but then realize that they are wearing their mask upside down. There is constant fidgeting occurring with the ear straps, nose guards etc.. (that would be me) We want to protect others but there are always technical difficulties and a lot adjusting going on. ๐Ÿ‘€
  5. Political Non Maskers – these people believe it is their constitutional right to gather and not wear masks or they have causes that are of far greater importance than public health and safety. Nothing screams ignorance more than a large crowd without masks or social distancing – I am just saying. I respect the mission – please wear a mask!๐Ÿ˜‰
  6. Health Non Maskers – these people who won’t wear masks because they have a health issue. You hear them explaining to others why they are not wearing a mask – I mean why go out because the glears and defensive retorts must be more exhausting then not breathing?๐Ÿคช
  7. Conspiracy Theory Non Maskers – these are people who do not believe that Covid is real. They are also frequently found in turnpike rest stops and even recently attending out of compliance country music concerts (I had to…)๐Ÿค 
  8. Socially Deprived Non Maskers – they just can’t take it anymore and need to exchange saliva and bodily fluids – generally the young and invincible. Those were the days!!! These kids congregate in bars, basement parties and are quickly spreading the virus again. I think there was an incident at a bar near my alma matter. ๐Ÿ‘ฏ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ซ๐Ÿ‘ฌ

I guess I fall in the middle of the pack when it comes to wearing a mask. I want to be responsible, a good citizen and have the ability to breath.๐Ÿ˜ถI generally wear my mask when there will be people close to me and definitely in public indoor spaces (stores, etc.). I do not wear one when I am outside walking or exercising because I know I can stay far from others keeping myself and others safe. ๐Ÿšธ

Stores – I only go to the grocery store when I absolutely must. Although I did have slight deviation when stopping to pee at a few turnpike bathrooms – whoops. Back to the store story, I wear my mask and try to stay 6 feet away from everyone. I race through the aisles like a ninja picking up what I need quickly with one grab.๐Ÿ—กI do admit that there are always a couple people not wearing a mask and I may get a little judgy. ๐Ÿง I then move on. ๐Ÿ›’

When it is time to check out – it gets so awkward. I have found that wearing a mask has diminished my ability to think, hear and see. ๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ค The clerk always asks me the same question – paper or plastic ? And I react as if this is the first time. I reply huh or what and need the clerk to repeat it to me several times. During Pre-Covid times, I liked to make small talk and now I have decided with this mask – it is too aggravating to even attempt to engage. I just do my transaction without any additional what did you says?

Exercise Classes – I find it really hard to believe that working out in a small overcrowded studio with alot of sweat flying is going to be safe and fun anymore. ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ I suspect I may have caught the virus at a particular chain studio that involved rolling on dirty floors trying to do a burpie thrust jump lunge (ok – that was for drama – not a real move but sounded funny – kind of like the Triple Lindy – Back To School movie reference๐Ÿค—). So I am not excited to go inside a gym, but I will give the outdoors a try. It is just challenging, as you are trying to bust out the dance moves, burn mega calories, and see /hear the instructor from the front of the parking lot. I am open… OR I can just continue with a front row spot to my big screen TV with Zoom sessions. We have a great set-up in the family room and I have grown fond to jumping up and down in the comfort of my own home while my dogs patiently wait for cookies on the couch. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ

Outdoor get togethers – I pick and choose which social events seem to be safe and potentially fun. Lets be honest, no one is really inviting me anyways.๐Ÿฅณ However, the few I have come out for just feel out of place. I don’t know where to stand, sit, should I wear a mask or not? Yet, I always end up near a Doomsday Masker. I don’t know why – it just happens. I want to hang with the Outdoor Only Non Maskers but they are not drawn to me. ๐ŸคจAnyways I try to make the best of it, yet having a conversation is impossible. I cannot hear or understand a word they say under the N95 respirator mask. I end up nodding my head up and down like I am listening but in my mind, I am secretly plotting my escape plan. ๐ŸŽ

So the bottom line for me is … it is not worth it. I am going to stay at home and receive visitors in the backyard where we can socialize without masks. ๐Ÿก I have my own personal gym and easy availability to delivered groceries. I think I should just hunker down until this passes (I hope it will before 2020 is over). I am having a hard time adjusting to this new social reality and it does not inspire me to try to make it work. It just seems easier to cocoon, bake cookies and watch Million Dollar Listing (my new TV porn).๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿป

I guess, I will see you in 2021, unless you want to come over? I am taking reservations for outdoor seating – capacity no more than two – ha ha. ๐Ÿ“†Stay safe and Happy 4th of July. ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Striving For More

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Since Mother’s Day and Isabelle’s high school graduation, I have been thinking about my moms, my daughter and that missing link in the middle which is ME. When Robin died, I began to explore the meaning of life and wondering if I was living up to my potential and fulfilling my purpose. It has been a real interesting point in time as I watch Isabelle begin her journey to pursue her passion and wonder where life will lead her. It brings me such pride to see her thrive and realize that she is the best version of Robin and me. She is smart, funny, empathetic, independent, creative and shows emerging leadership skills. I think back when I was her age – and honestly – she would smoke the younger me – no question about it.๐Ÿ”ฅ This is a great feeling that she is prepared to be successful to maneuver her future. With that being said, as she is moving forward, I have been focusing on discovering the next stage in my life. I must say it is …exciting, scary, stimulating, paralyzing and peaceful. I flow through these feelings like a tidal wave with insufficient surfing skills. ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ

I think about the past a lot when both my mothers were growing up and wonder if they ever had non traditional dreams and if they fulfilled their purpose. Both Beatrice and Lillian were brilliant women who had careers as a French teacher and a Bookkeeper. However their main roles were wives and mothers because that was what the times dictated – and I think they enjoyed it. I mean would they tell me if they did not like being our parents – I guess not? That would be an awkward conversation. ๐Ÿ˜œ I have no doubt if they grew up now – these women could have conquered the world cause they were bad -asses and wicked smart ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป. Now don’t get me wrong, I have done well with my career and hopefully also with as a wife and mother, but I long for more. The problem is that I just don’t quite know what that MORE is…. ugh.๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ As many of you know, I have started to consult and that is fun, gratifying and hopefully has the legs to round out my career. However, I am watching people that are really stepping up during this pandemic either being a front line worker, spending time to solve how to make needed ventilators or vaccines and I am sitting her in my house baking unending chocolate chip cookies. ๐Ÿช I mean really Risa? ๐Ÿ˜œ Then, I get frusterated that I have limited motivation during a time where I should be kicking my full potential into high gear. Thus, the internal struggle between righteous ambitious Risa ๐Ÿ˜‡ and sluggish sleepy Risa continues.๐Ÿฅฑ And the later Risa is winning right now which doesnโ€™t make me too proud.๐Ÿ™„ I am busy everyday if it is exercising, cleaning the house, cooking, taking care of the dogs, meditating, working and managing our internal supply closet (still happy to report we have toilet paper). I try to do my part by donating to feeding the front line workers and other charities but that is all I am doing – which is lame, mainstream and what I would say as not leading edge action. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป

Well with all that weighing on my shoulders, where do I land? I know there is something that will spark my inner calling but until then I guess I continue on with my small and non- meaningful goals such as: 1. Completing Beach Body Workout 21 Day Fix in less than 36 days – which is where I am tracking ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ 2. Gardening and actually growing something this year – started late and everything was very picked over at Home Depot. โ˜˜๏ธ 3. Not getting Covid after going to Home Depot where it felt like the pandemic was looming as people strolled with ill fitting masks and sweat pouring down their face. ๐Ÿคง 4. Completing a book or even a chapter without falling asleep would be nice. ๐Ÿ“˜ 5. Positioning my business logo so it fits my LinkIn profile page properly without getting cutoff – harder than you think.๐Ÿ‘ 6. Cleaning out the garage and donating furniture that was bought in the early 2000 which is oversized, weighs a ton and takes up the entire square footage of my home.๐Ÿช‘ 7. Maybe finding a social life again so I donโ€™t end up being one of those widows that walk their pets in strollers (whoops too late). ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Well thatโ€™s all for now – stay safe and healthy and I will let you know when I figure out when my higher level purpose reveals more of itself … I know itโ€™s in me somewhere – time to bake cookies.๐Ÿช๐Ÿช๐Ÿช

Covid Contemplation

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Well, it is day 47? 51? 56… I think? ๐Ÿค”… who knows how long we have been in our home and not certain it really matters. ๐Ÿค— I am sure many of us may be clawing at the door to get out and back to normal but, I think we are all realizing that normal will be different than what is was before. However with all this time, I have been doing a lot of thinking and I really LIKE the slower pace. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ As a matter of fact, I can’t remember why we were so busy in the first place. I mean what was so important that we were running around like chicken with our heads cut off?๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฃ (sorry for this reference chicks owners – cousin Laurie and Kelley) With the exception of those who are sick, or have lost family/friends to this horrible virus, could this be a point in time for us to reimagine our future and get back to our true priorities? Life potentially can be better – where we are more present, spend time with family, cook meals together, relax and sleep soundly. ๐Ÿ˜ด What’s so bad about that? ๐Ÿ˜

With the shortages in food, paper products and basically everything else, we have all been challenged to become much more efficient in how we use our resources and identifying what we need. ๐Ÿงพ I am embarrassed to admit that before this pandemic, I did not really pay attention to my consumption of plastic or how much garbage I was producing or just that I have too much stuff in general (don’t judge me just sharing in an open manner).๐Ÿคซ Now, I realize that I have a responsibility to simply use LESS and protect Mother Earth. With that end in mind, I have moved to glass bottles, bowls, using dish towels and washable mop sponges instead of paper for example. I just now need to give up my overuse of Amazon. ๐Ÿฅบ Hello my name is Risa and I am an Amazon addict – ha-ha ๐Ÿ“ฆ They really need to move to reusable cartons to help my efforts – wonder if that is in the works with them? Anyways back to my point, when I go out and take walks, I notice the purity of nature and it seems happier. โ˜˜๏ธ๐ŸŒณ The birds are singing louder, the air is clean and a general sense of harmony outside that is much more profound than before. ๐Ÿฆ‹ Itโ€™s like the animals are taking back their territory cause those annoying humans are not hogging the space anymore.

It is obviously tragic times for some small businesses trying to survive but, I am definitely seeing the creative spirit emerging daily. ๐Ÿ‘ป Companies are figuring out how to get work done virtually or pivoting their business model to the need. It is so interesting for instance, how restaurants are selling produce/groceries or Hershey (my former employer) is now producing face masks. ๐Ÿ˜ท My fitness studio is offering virtual workouts and they are still kicking my ass. ๐Ÿ˜› I like seeing how everyone is stepping up to help each other – if it is for the frontline workers or the food banks. This is a good thing and I am certainly attempting to do my part. On a personal note, I am trying to up my game by reading, listening to diverse points of views and approaching my work in a new and fresh way. I have this great sign in my office that says .. Wake Up…Create… Repeat. Even though my daughter calls it โ€œsuburbia privileged art,โ€ I have found this to be my mantra. I realize that what gives me energy is producing something new… if it is through HR consultation, baking or writing a blog, this is what keeps me motivated and hopefully contributing in a meaningful way to the world. ๐ŸŒŽ The covid outbreak is a wake-up call and it is up to us how we choose to respond. I am using this as a lesson and learning from it.

Ok this has been WAY to serious and time to move on . As everyone is rising to the cause, I have found a passion with a deeper mission … perfecting the chocolate chip cookie. ๐Ÿช๐Ÿช Embarrassing to admit but practice definitely makes perfect if you know what I mean (wink wink). ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I may have or have not made like 8 or so batches of cookies – but who is really counting during these stressful times. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿคฅ I have finally achieved the right balance of chewy and crunchy for our liking in the Borr household (Robin would be so proud). To counter the increase in sweet intake, I have been able to improve my core strength through burpees and planks – still moderately bad but definitely noticed progress on this end (no seriously I am a lot more fit). ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป I am also getting my cleaning rhthym together. I have been able to reduce the time it takes to mop my floors by 25% and achieving the cleanliness standards I desire – woo hoo. ๐Ÿงน As all these activities are going on, I have come to an intense revelation too … I have only worn clothes containing stretch since the quarantine and I LIKE IT (athleisure forever- change.org)! And the biggest accomplishment… we started with 38 rolls of toilet paper (pre- massive hording episodes in March) and still have 32 unused rolls left. ๐Ÿงป I guess in fairness, there are only 2 tushies in our house – well actually 4 (but 2 don’t need toilet paper). ๐Ÿ™ˆ Ok that is all for now… stay safe, sane, go outside and take a deep breath – itโ€™s fabulous out there. ๐ŸŒž

Isabelle – 18 Years Old

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It’s hard to believe that my baby is turning 18 today.๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ I remember so clearly when she was born – trying to envision the future – who would she be when she graduated in 2020?๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ It seemed completely far out then, like the Jetson’s (old person reference ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿป) and yet here we are now. Well, I am happy to report that I am really proud of her and know that if Robin was here too – he would be kvelling (Yiddish term – gushing) about her too.โค๏ธ Of course, I never imagined there would be a global pandemic,๐Ÿคฎ we would be isolated in our homes and she would basically end school early without a prom, graduation or senior trip. (we will make that one up) ๐Ÿฅ€ Funny how you can anticipate some things but not others – luckily though – the important stuff worked out OK.๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป So, now that we are in lock down and it will be just the two of us celebrating her birthday, I wanted to share how special my little peanut ๐Ÿฅœ has been to me (and her dad)!

It was always our intention as a younger couple to have two kids because I always preferred symmetry. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ However, when it was time to make it happen … we just never pulled the trigger for a younger sibling. ๐Ÿ’ฆ But, Robin and I never felt that we made a mistake and really enjoyed most of our moments raising Isabelle. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ There were a few that were less than awesome. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป One could say – she was not a cookie cutter kid but I guess no one thinks their kid is – do they?๐Ÿช She moves to the beat of her own drum and that is something I always admired and still do about her.๐Ÿฅ

When Isabelle was a little girl, her Aunt Brandi bought her first baby doll. ๐Ÿ‘ถ Isabelle, of course named her Izzy (that always cracks me up when I think back). She loved her American Girl and we owned an embarrassing amount of doll clothes, shoes, furniture and accessories. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคซ The American Girl Corp.โ€™s sales projections plummeted when she outgrew her dolls.๐Ÿ“‰ This would be her most normal childhood interest. As Isabelle continued to grow, she was curious about many things. She became obsessed with water buoys and Robin, being the resourceful parent he was, ordered a catalog and would spend endless hours taking her through the various types of buoys. โš“๏ธ She stayed engaged like he was reading her a storybook.๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ We actually met someone whose brother worked for the coast guard and was in charge of water buoy maintenance. You would have thought Isabelle was told she was going to meet Beyonce.๐ŸŽค Marla (my childhood best friend) even made her a scrapbook with pictures of buoys. ๐Ÿ“•

Isabelleโ€™s interests quickly evolved, as most kids did, and we went through stages such as her obsession with North Korea๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ต (she was way in front of Dennis Rodman and Trump), swimming and geography. While living in Harrisburg, PA , Isabelle learned to roller-skate and the rink became our hangout every weekend. She would spend endless hours skating figure eights and routines. โ›ธShe had a great coach and mentor, Cindy who encouraged her to compete. Isabelle was a staple in the roller rink and quickly gave back by helping to teach skating and assisting with Special Olympics. Also, in seventh grade, Isabelle joined the basketball team and that became a love for her all through middle and high school. ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€ This was a shared joy between her and Robin which was nice to witness as their bond grew by talking strategy and technique.๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ง

Fast forward to now, Isabelle has really matured and become a well rounded wonderful gal. ๐Ÿ™†๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ I don’t like to admit it but I learn so much from her especially in the last two years. ๐Ÿค” We have grown closer even though we are very different. She has so many great qualities and it makes me very happy that she is like her father – in the best way possible.๐Ÿ˜ I feel very lucky and grateful to have her as my daughter and appreciate that she has been low maintenance and stayed on the straight and narrow. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป So in honor of her birthday and the incredible amount of time on my hands, I thought it would be fun to list my favorite and least favorite things about her (but you know even the least favorite things are pretty damn good). ๐ŸŽWishing my beautiful Isabelle a very happy 18th birthday and a wonderful healthy and happy future. ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ I am excited to see the next chapter of her life unfold and how she will contribute to the world.. ๐Ÿ’Œ Thanks for choosing me as your mom (you know you did!) ๐ŸŽˆโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Favorite List of Isabelle

  1. Funny and Smart – she makes me laugh and I am blown away with how knowledgeable she is about current events, global affairs etc.. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  2. Creative – she is clever and creates adorable videos, programming for BBYO, etc.. ๐ŸŽฌ
  3. Grounded – she doesn’t ask for much – not so materialistic – I have to beg her to buy a new pair of gym shoes that have a hole in them. ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ
  4. Curious – she is fascinated with off the wall things – like when she went to Israel her favorite part was seeing country borders (everyone else likes the wall – not her).๐Ÿ’ก
  5. Resilient – she has taken a licking and kept on ticking. She has had some setbacks in life including Robin’s death, has worked through them in a healthy way and has come out stronger on the back-end.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป
  6. Beautiful – inside and out – I love that she looks like her dad (but much prettier -ha) and she is a good person with a great morale compass.๐Ÿคก

Not So Favorite Things about Isabelle

  1. Bad Sleeper as a Baby/Toddler/Kid – I still remember those nights when I could not get that frickin kid to go to sleep. I lost major sleep time from 2002 – 2012. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿฅฑ
  2. Stinkbug Adversity – To this day, she can’t handle them and I have to be on call for pest control 24/7.๐ŸฆŸ
  3. Kitchen Clean-up – Our biggest fights involve her leaving the kitchen messy – drives me nuts and is my trigger. Everyday is the same argument – quarantine time is fun – not ๐Ÿงน๐Ÿงฝ
  4. Cuddle/Hair Touching Avoidance – I always liked when my mom would play with my hair and cuddle me. Not this one – she runs out of the room like I have the coronavirus. ๐Ÿงธ
  5. Freestyle Cooking – Isabelle feels following a recipe is lame and lacks creativity. I think cooking is craft and hate wasting food because of her aborted science projects without a recipe. ๐Ÿ›’
  6. Tease – She makes the cutest videos and will show me once and then will not allow me see them again or share with my friends. There is one where she is dancing to this song when she was 10 and then now that was so adorable – nope I was only able to see it once. ๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰

All and all – not a bad list, even the not so favorite things are no big deal – except #4. ๐Ÿงธ Ok gotta go .. I feel the need to go chase her down and give her a big kiss – talk to you later. ๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ‘„โค๏ธ

Social Distancing

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I really like this new term called “social distancing” because now I have a name for what Iโ€™ve been doing pretty much my whole life. Those who know me well are keenly aware that I love to stay home and tend to find it a struggle to actually leave my house unless it is for a run outside. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Therefore, with the new quarantine guidelines, I have to admit that I am really in a place of comfort. I would say this is a strength of mine and now I can brag about it. ๐Ÿค— In the past, especially after Robin died, I have been gently advised by friends and family that I needed to get out more. Who knew that I was a trendsetter? ๐Ÿฅณ

I had known about the coronavirus for awhile as my friends in China were being quarantined in February. However, I never thought it would spread around the world and we too would find ourselves in lock-down. ๐Ÿ˜ท The virus or at least the panic hit my community about a week and a half ago from my best estimates. All hell broke out and word traveled quickly that we better go and buy food and supplies for at least a two week quarantine. ๐Ÿšš My first thoughts were, this is ridiculous and secondly, who cares? …. we had already had a well stocked utility closet. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ You see, I hate going to Costco so when I do absolutely need to go, I mass buy everything in order not to return anytime soon. ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ›’Needless to say, I was feeling confident with my stash of paper goods, pasta, canned goods etc.. that we were going to make it just fine. ๐Ÿ˜›And in hindsight, I am also fortunate that there was still excess supplies from Robin’s Shiva (funeral reception at the house). Letโ€™s just say we did not get the anticipated turnout expected which led to a surplus of unwanted paper goods for nearly two years. โ˜น๏ธ I mean, is it a big deal to wipe our ass with a high end napkin with an embossed print of a flower – I say no!๐Ÿ’

I have been asked if I am scared of this virus and my answer is “no.’ ๐ŸงThe reason is that I have been through far worse. Losing Robin was terrifying to me and to figure out and manage without him in our life was a nightmare. The dreams of growing old together, raising Isabelle and having my partner in crime were gone. ๐Ÿ˜” Over the last nineteen months, I had to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. ๐Ÿ˜• I also needed to be ok knowing that I have to support Isabelle and myself emotionally and financially on my own. To me, that was frightening! ๐Ÿ‘ป Therefore, I am confident that we will eventually contain this virus and hopefully get through it with minimal human or economic long term loss.๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

However, I would like to share some words of wisdom and observations. First of all and most important, our communities needs to stay safe and follow the guidelines provided to us by our State and the CDC. Unfortunately, I am certainly seeing many people struggle to adhere to these very basic principles but that is another story for another time. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐ŸปThe real issue and challenge for all of us is to deal with change and adapt to a new set of circumstances which involves a bit of sacrifice of our personal freedom for a short amount of time. ๐Ÿค” Yet if we were all to do a little soul searching, I think this pandemic is a WAKE UP call for everyone. ๐Ÿ˜ต I think the world and our relationships with one are out of alignment. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Over the last few years, we have shown very little tolerance to differences in opinion, especially politically. ๐Ÿ˜ค I am very guilty of this one too. ๐Ÿ™„ People have short cords and we have seen an outbreak of violence occur almost on a weekly basis with innocent lives being lost because someone blew. ๐Ÿคฏ We do not respect the earth and our natural resources, we overuse, pollute, create waste which has led to very freaky natural disasters and weather patterns. ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ’ฆโ„๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ’จโšก๏ธโ˜„๏ธAs a society we are disconnected, obsessed with social media and any other distraction to avoid paying attention to the present and one another. ๐Ÿคณ๐ŸปI am not trying to get preachy, I am just stating a fact that we are not in harmony. ๐ŸŽผ MAYBE just maybe there is goodness that can come from all of this! ๐ŸŒˆ Maybe we can slow down, re-calibrate, get back to basics and start to appreciate one another and this world a little more. ๐ŸŒ Ok, that was deep – but needed to be said. We will now move on to the entertaining portion of this blog (at least I hope you find Isabelle and my mundane antics amusing)๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ

So what are we doing in the Borr house during our quarantine? Please let me illuminate our spiritual awakening here in West Bloomfield, MI. ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿป 1. Waking Up – Isabelle and I negotiate who will go downstairs first and let the dogs out cause they always seem to be barking before either of us are interested in peeling out of bed. I generally lose the argument but seeing their cute pug faces is hard for me to be annoyed too long. ๐Ÿ’ฉ 2. Making Breakfast – I have a little routine where I let the dogs out as discussed above and then I proceed to wake up the house which includes opening the blinds, emptying the dishwasher so the kitchen is clean and ready to go. Yet in our new situation, Isabelle has thrown my schedule off. She starts cooking breakfast, piling the dishes in the sink and messing up the counters before I have emptied the dishwasher. ๐Ÿฅฃ๐Ÿด๐ŸณThis makes me crazy and we end up screaming at each other and I ban her from the kitchen. โŒ She laughs as she knows my discipline never sticks. And yes, every once in awhile she actually empties the dishwasher for me.๐Ÿ™ƒ 3. Exercise Luckily the local studios have gotten innovative and are putting great workouts online. CelyFit host our normal zumba and weight classes which I am doing in my new gym studio (which is our converted back room). ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿป It is serving us perfectly. I am able to hook up my computer to our large TV screen and sound bar – and it is awesome. Isabelle and I do spend some time together as we exercise to the Beach Body Workout or Orange Theory. When the self quarantine breaks, we will be ready for our bikinis with our six pack abs (well at least she will be – not so much for me). ๐Ÿ‘™Also what has been amazing is the weather although a little cold, still a perfect alternative. Getting outside to run or walk is incredible for your mind and soul. Since the virus, I have seen Robins (birds) all over the place making me believe that everything is going to be OK. ๐Ÿฆ…4. Working From Home – Oh and then there is that. Probably not the best time to start a consulting group but I have been staying busy as I develop tools, marketing, contracts, networking etc.. It is nice to reconnect with former colleagues and friends and see how I can help out. I am starting to get traction and that is very exciting for me. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ผ 5. Podcasts, Reading and Learning – What a great time to learn new things. This is a once a lifetime opportunity to study stuff you never had time for in the past. I have been learning about marketing and maybe web design – who knows – probably not. ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽ“ 6. Meditation and Yoga – I have been meditating and doing yoga for awhile but find it especially comforting now. For yoga, it is my personal goal to improve my balance and loosen up. I find myself taking online classes with that dude who has been doing yoga forever – Rodney Yee (he is so zen). ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธAlso I have been going through the class “Hip Hip Hooray – to increase flexibility in my hips – funny title and a little embarrassing but what the heck. ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ 7. Emotional Isolation – This is what happens when you have a fairly large house and a teenager.๐Ÿง๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธI go for hours on end where I do not see Isabelle. She is sequestered in her room or some other part of the house. It feels a little strange so I try to suggest at least one hour a day for together time. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งShe rolls her eyes and tells me I am overreacting. ๐Ÿ‘€ We are still working on this one and our common ground has been about a 20 minute workout every other day together. More to come on this front as it is definitely an opportunity for improvement. 8. Inventory – I go to my storage room and count toilet paper rolls and towels to ensure we have enough supplies for the apocalypse. โœ๐Ÿป๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป Ha ha just kidding wanted to see if anyone was reading. ๐Ÿ˜›

Back to being serious, I know these are unsettling times and we need to find a little humor and patience as we get through this apart and together. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ I hope some good will happen as we take stock on what is truly important. โค๏ธ Enjoy spending time with your family, improving yourself mentally and physically, getting rest and following the isolation rules to lower the virus curve. ๐Ÿ“‰ Call a friend, mend a relationship, be creative, support small businesses and lets restore humankind together. ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง We can choose to live in fear or to THRIVE – I prefer the later. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Let’s innovate and create something new and fabulous from this situation.๐Ÿ’กBut most of all stay safe and healthy! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸปWishing everyone peace and love. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโค๏ธ