Airplanes and Shared Negative Nostalgia

I actually Googled whether there was a corresponding negative word for “nostalgia” and it turns out I am not the first person online to ask.  There isn’t one.  “Flashback”  “Dragging up memories”.  Meh.  There are too many nuances.

I saw my chiropractor last week.  Yeah, yeah.  Not essential.  I am not in terrible pain but it’s not like I’m getting any less screen time right now.  He has a ton of protocol going on to keep everyone healthy, including only having one patient and one staffer in the building at a time.  So after he adjusted my back, he did my ultrasound treatment and we got to talking.  He asked if I’d noticed the air traffic.  Meaning the lack thereof.

Why, yes.  I had.  “Does it remind you of 9/11?”  Why yes.  It does.  A thought I’d had several times before and not uttered out loud because comparing anything to 9/11 seems so very wrong.

You’d have to be a certain age and lived or worked in a certain place for this to be a thing.  But since 9/11, planes in the sky = The World is Working.  In my brain, anyway.

It is such a subtle thing because first you have to notice the quiet.  Between pets and trains and landscapers and the county tornado siren drills at 10am on the first Tuesday of each month, one does not always catch the quiet.  After you catch the quiet, it takes a minute to recognize the quiet is wrong.  And another minute to make the connection.  The World is Not Working.  Then a wave of something that I can only call despair.

It only lasted a minute.

Anyway.  It was a relief to have someone else say it out loud.

Is Cruising Allowed?

This morning, after virtual yoga, I left the house.

Starbucks, bank, drop off supplies at the bird rescue.

I pulled into the lot of my local Starbucks drive through.  The line snakes differently every time I am there but after three weeks I can estimate.  It looks like a good 30 minutes to me.  There is, however, a sign that says they are doing curbside pick up if you use the app.  So I parked.  I have never used the app before because I always have my own mug.  It took a few minutes to pin down my regular order but I got it, and Favorited it, and walked across the lot, through the drive through line, to the curb.  It took a couple of minutes, standing in the cold, but it worked.

Drive through line at the bank was no different.  And then I dropped the supplies – a ton of newspaper and some toys – at the rescue.

On my way back, I was stopped at a light and drinking my coffee and a Doors song came on the radio.  Transport to high school.  And I thought that maybe I’d like to just keep driving.  Is cruising around allowed in a pandemic?  I’m not breathing near anyone.  But where would I go?

I wondered if the Mars Cheese Castle was doing curbside pickup.  Oh!  Or Fair Oaks Farms.  Someplace that would take a good chunk of time to get to, but have some kind of purpose.  As in, “We’re on a Mission from God.”

The light turned green and I cruised home.

Incidentally, The Mars Cheese Castle is all closed up at the moment, but Fair Oaks Farms is a possibility.  Maybe next weekend.  Now I guess I’m supposed to work on getting a mask?

We’re Not Supposed to Call It a Lockdown

I refer to March 16 as Day 1.  It was the first day that I worked from home under my kind employer’s “strong encouragement” to all staff.  I had done the grocery shopping and gone to yoga over the weekend.

We felt like we knew it was coming but it wasn’t really here yet.

We were told to plan for two weeks.  Our techies were about five minutes ahead of the curve in that they had deployed laptops to all employees late last year.  We had a demo on the VPN two weeks before, but we hadn’t done anything close to a “live conditions” test.

Day 1 went fine – Cheers to the techies.  I had planned for a couple of projects and knocked them out right away.

Day 2 was the Illinois Primary, so I left the house to walk to my polling place.  There was no line.

I went into the office on Day 4.

I had a pretty serious conference call to manage around mid-day and was presenting at a pretty big meeting that afternoon and was just more comfortable being at my own desk.  There were four of us present that morning, out of..90ish?  And I was the only one still there by mid-day.

The guy from Accounting stopped by before he left for a “really, how long is this going to go” with HR.  I told him the truth – officially I don’t know any more than anyone else but if I were guessing I’d say we’d be out for as long as the federal government and they were scheduled to be working from home until mid-April.  He agreed that made sense.

As he was walking out the door, I actually said, “See you on the other side.”

Sometime that week, my esthetician, Marilyn, called to say that she’d heard that the state was going to declare “shelter in place” so if I wanted to see her, I’d better move up my appointment.

I did that on Day 5.  (Note:  she has a private suite and is a stickler for disinfecting anyway.  I was safer there than in the grocery store.)  And we watched the governor’s address while she was waxing my legs.

By Day 6, I was doing virtual yoga with my regular studio.  “How are you?” the instructor asked each person joining.  I wasn’t ready for reflection.  I’m still not ready for reflection.  “My people aren’t sick and I’m getting paid, so I am fine.”  That was considered a healthy attitude.  And that was the day I dusted off my blog.

According to my Facebook posts, on Day 11 I had a Shamrock Shake for breakfast.  (That was the day I ran supplies in to the city for my grandfather.) Day 12, “strong encouragement” to work from home became mandatory.  Day 15, my pets were breaking into my Skype meetings.  Day 16 we were told this would last until the end of April.  And I actually pasted pieces onto a Jewel Monopoly board.

Day 17, I woke up to the news that Pete Sakas died.  I had known that someone in his veterinary practice tested positive and they were closed to do the required cleaning.  I hadn’t know he was ill.  I’m not ready for this, either.



Getting Some Damn Exercise

Illinois’ stay at home order will go through at least April 7 (and I have been already been working from home for a week).  The Chicago weather is not cooperating and I happen to be stockpiled with Girl Scout Cookies.  I’m not ready to talk about COVID for real yet, but can we talk about how the hell to get some exercise?  Most of mine this winter has been yoga.  There is a studio I use regularly, Evolution.  I just found an emergency back up studio, Samadhi, where my first ever yoga instructor now teaches.  And the church where Project Linus meets has hired one of my favorite instructors to do a once weekly gig.  All required to close up.

I subscribe to a streaming service called The Yoga Collective that I meant as a travel tool but haven’t really used.  I figured I would try that.  And then Evolution said they would hold online classes with the regular instructors at the regular times.

Last week, I tried using Yoga Collective for real.  I’m already paying for it, after all.  And it was ok.  There are a lot of programs that focus on different areas and many are of a shorter duration so I could piece together a program that would suffice.  But by the end of the week, it became certain that we were going to be in this for awhile and I’d better go back to supporting my regular studio.

I registered online as I normally do.  Then a few minutes before the start time, I received an email to join a Zoom meeting.  And there was Debbie.  Doing my very regular, one-hour, well-rounded class.

I don’t have all of the regular props at home, but I have a block and a strap and I don’t normally use much else.  It wasn’t always easy to see what Debbie was doing, but her cues are good enough that it wasn’t a problem.  You can’t shut up my dogs or my birds, but that only kills shavasana.

It was such a relief.

Since all of my other extra-curriculars are on hold – Project Linus, library, book clubs, theatres – I might even start adding classes.  So I am doing this one small thing to try and take care of myself and support a local business.  Which reminds me.. I should order a pizza today.



Product Review – Blueland Cleaning Kits

It started with an ad on Facebook.  Or maybe Instagram – I’m certain that both have me tagged as being particularly bougie.   A company called Blueland is trying to reduce waste and the shipping of water-based products by developing cleaning products of the “just add water” and “reuse the bottles” variety.

I went to the website.  Non-toxic, which is important for my house with dogs and birds.  There was a whole explanation on the “anti-bacterial” thing which I understood was true for hand soaps but is apparently also true for household cleaners.  The short version is that “antibacterial” is trying to kill the bacteria.  The normal stuff is trying to remove it.  Removing it is more efficient.

The starter kit contains a bottle for hand soap, one for bathroom cleaner, one for glass cleaner, one for multi-surface cleaner, and a tablet for each.  The kit cost $39 and shipping is free over $35.  I went for it.

The kit shipped quickly and arrived like this:


The packaging is all cardboard and the little brown pouches contain the tablets.  I started with the hand soap.



Fill with warm water and drop in the appropriate tablet.  It seemed like it took an awfully long time to dissolve, but I am not particularly patient.  So I started on the multi-surface cleaner.


Yeah, still took awhile.  I tried the hand soap.  When I use the foaming hand soap from Bath and Body works, I use two pumps.  With this, I use four.  But the effect was the same.  The standard scent was “Iris Agave” which is  But the other two scents available, lemon and eucalyptus lavender, are perfectly pleasant.  They need more scents.  (Edit:  I just saw they have added a few more.  I should be specific.  They need Vanilla.)

I don’t know any thing about household cleaners, but I asked my residents experts (my mother and the kind lady who helps to clean the house) and my feeling was validated.  We like it.  There are no harsh fumes and it doesn’t hurt the skin or eyes.  Seems to work just fine.

We used the stuff for about a month and went to reorder.  The refill tabs are $1.56 – $2.00 depending on how many you order.  Because I am a complete sucker for the Free Shipping trick, I ordered more.  It took a bit longer to arrive, which I am blaming on COVID, but that wasn’t the trouble.  When I went to refill the Bathroom Cleaner, I found it was leaking.  The bottle was cracked, which is really not supposed to happen, even if you drop it.  So I got to try the Return policy.


I sent an email last night and received a response this morning – a Saturday.  They will replace the bottle, but asked me for a picture first.  To “share this feedback with our team to understand your issue better”.  Also, they want me to send the bottle back, at their expense, so they can “responsibly recycle it”.  That sounds like BS.  They are all into reducing shipping, but want me to send back this cracked bottle so they can recycle it better?  Mm.

Overall, I am happy with the product and expect to continue using it for as long as the bottles hold up.



Project Linus 2019

I was going to use IG to post these, but the pics are cutting off so:


Project Linus 2018

Wow.  I have not posted in a long time.  Just popping in to post my Project Linus blankets for 2018: