Before A.C. Moore went out of business, I purchased two beautiful journaling books. On January 12 of this year, I started using one of them simply as a journal. Mostly what I did was whine. And then whine some more. My life is normal. I don’t get to do all the fun things that FOMO makes one believe everyone else is doing. That was before a pandemic, so with a pandemic and watching people ignore the safety regulations and do the things made my life seem even more pitiful.

My life isn’t really pitiful. I live comfortably. I have enough financial stability to be able to purchase the things I need and even just the things I desire. I have enough physical wherewithal to be able to continue with my normal daily activities. I have family scattered across the country and friends from more than half a century ago. I’m extremely lucky.

And yet I spend much of my time whining. I don’t do anything about the reasons for my whining, I just whine. And make myself miserable in my whining and then whine about that, too.

So beginning on February 12, I started writing in my journal on a more or less daily basis, a simple one page list. I started to record “Things That Went Well Today” and then realized I’m so freaking lazy, that was too much to write, so went to TTWWT.

Each day, I write down three things. And focusing on three things that went well each day made me whine less. Most of the time. Some days it was really difficult for me to come up with three things that went well. Not because it was a bad day, but because I had done jack shit all day long. But I would struggle to find something to put on my list.

We used to do this at dinner each night when the boys were growing up. You HAD to have the best thing that happened to you each day and you were ALLOWED to share the worst thing, if there was one. We started this tradition because Craig was miserable in his new school without all his old friends. He cried, “Nothing good happened today!” So I asked if he wet his pants on the bus and he looked at me as if I had just grown a second head and said, “No.” So I pointed out that not wetting your pants while riding the bus was a good thing, so he could count that.

It wasn’t too long before he was able to find something good in each day. Friends who would dine with us loved playing the game as well. Each person at the table got to share their day and all the other people had to listen. It made dinner conversation better for everyone as well as giving support to those who did really have a bad day and make all of us search for the good in our day to day lives.

Yesterday, I finished my journal. I wrote on the last page. I started to feel a little bit whiny when I thought about all the days when I had to repeat myself. I love clean sheets. I wash the sheets every Thursday and many of my Thursday postings had as an item “I love clean sheets” because I love clean sheets.

Because of COVID, Sistercation didn’t happen this past summer. We couldn’t fly so we Zoomed. And we have been Zooming ever since. My sisters and I have met at least twice a week for hours on end. This is the most time we have had together since we were kids living in the same house. But this is even more fun than that. And so, on many days, one of my items was Sistercation.

My life is wrapped in routine. I love routine. I love having things planned in advance. It lets me feel like I might be in control. This was especially true when the world was spinning out of control and people my age were dropping over dead from a teeny tiny virus.

I wondered to myself if this was something I wanted to keep up. I have that second journal purchased. Do I feel better noting that things really aren’t all that bad? Or do I feel worse because my life is not a whirlwind of excitement?

There were some very special days in the last year. Dax was born. That was just totally awesome. Aiden turned 18 and is now officially if not really an adult. Everyone in my family has managed to remain COVID free or had just a light case. Both of my sons have been able to continue working. Our retirement is going along well and even though we didn’t get to Italy or Germany, we did get to take an isolated trip to the mountains.

My life is not as exciting as the excerpts from Facebook. My life isn’t Instagram perfect. My life is normal, comfortable, and routine which is much better than chaotic and spinning out of control.

I started the second journal.

The boy who cried “wolf” is a familiar story. We’ve heard it and understand it completely. When you lie to people again and again, they simply stop believing you. Conversely, if you repeat a lie often enough, it is held to be true.

I am unaware of a way to counteract the constant barrage of misinformation that is spread with lightning speed around the Internet. It is everywhere. It is legion. It is not going away.

I don’t remember this being such a devastating problem when I was younger. I understand that yellow journalism has been rampant for centuries, and perhaps it was just not as quickly disseminated. But today, the dumb shit gets passed around and around and around.

All sources are not equal. All “experts” aren’t expert. Your biases are not always based on facts. Your perspective is only one of many.

There are few absolute truths in the world. Every story has different angles and differing viewpoints. We know the ridiculousness of the Flat Earthers, but there are many out there who will eschew science because it is difficult to get past the biases they hold. So some truths are ignored or worse, denied.

I keep hearing how we need to teach students “how to think; not what to think” and I wonder how that works to combat Flat Earthers or Climate Deniers who simply don’t understand science and math and numbers and reality. They needed to be taught some of the more basic facts of life back in school.

Denying evolution as a “theory” tells me you don’t understand how science works. A Theory in science is an explanation of the facts. Hypothesis is the theory of the common world. I’m not sure why we have to use the same word in the wrong way out here in Everyday Land, but we do. No one argues, at least for very long, about the Theory of Gravity.

So how do we get past Fake News and Disinformation? It is so comforting to have one’s own biases supported. It is so uncomfortable to look for information that contradicts what you Feel by looking at what the experts Believe. So, we mostly don’t.

Algorithms might be great, but they are limiting our ability to see what is real. Anti-science biases lead to more free forming information and little to no science showing up on one’s screen and we all live by our screens. If we seek out the crackpots who disagree with experts, we see more and more of the crackpots and less and less of the experts and it gives the crackpots credence they don’t deserve.

The echo chamber of the Internet has actually reduced the ability to find what is true. There is opinion and outright lies next to facts and all are given the same weight until the algorithms determine you like or dislike the facts and if the latter, then the opinion and lies may take over your feed.

It is hard to know what is the best route in any situation. The Internet’s insistence of showing me more of what I’ve already looked for is not helping. The facts are elusive in the best of times and when unfeeling and uncaring algorithms take over the appearance of my searching, it becomes even worse.

I suppose these things were somewhat helpful years ago. They have now helped us into a state of idiocy and I’m unsure how to get a passport out.

The entire aging process is shocking. We all know we are going to keep getting older, day by day, year by year. But in our youth, it is so far away as to be just barely feasible.

As we head into middle age, we still feel young enough to manage and don’t really consider the possibility of aging into something less. But we do. At least if we are lucky enough to stay alive, we will incrementally and undeniably get older and older until we finally hit that spot where we have to admit we are “old”.

I am old.

Inside my head, I’m still in my middle thirties. But my body is creeping up on seventy (and it isn’t very stealthy what with all the creaking, snappy joints and such). It is surprising when I see my mother’s hands sticking out of my sleeves or inadvertently notice her looking out of my mirror.

The best thing we can do to stave off the indignities of old age is to live a healthy life before we get there. The best way to do that is to eat a healthy diet. Eschew (not chew) junk food. Stay away from too many sweets. There is never a good reason to drink a soda.

I have not always eaten a healthy diet. I have lived for desserts my whole life. I’ve never been a big soda fan, but I’ve had my share. I am not a big fan of fast food. I don’t mind cooking most days. But still, I’ve not always followed healthy dietary guidelines. I’ve also never been obese (according to BMI charts).

I started doing CrossFit when I was 59. I was pretty sure I was too old for that nonsense, but I gave it a try and the coaches were willing to work with me and scale everything back so an old immobile, unbalanced weakling could do something for each WOD. As long as I was willing to show up, coaches have been willing to work with me.

Then COVID struck and I was confined to my home gym. Luckily for me, I had a barbell set and some other things. When I was first banished from the closed gyms, I was also lucky enough to quickly buy up some more equipment so I could continue to work out from home.

At first, I went through all my previous workouts (and I really do have a record of each and every workout I have ever done) and pick out ones that I could do here at home with the equipment I had available. Eventually, I hired a private coach who writes my programming for me so I don’t have to figure out what to do with myself continually.

And so I work out five days a week. It keeps me healthier, but it hasn’t kept me healthy. The aging process continues. I am slowly and inexorably falling apart. My only recourse against this eventual end is to try to keep myself as active, as mobile, and as strong as I can here and now.

Many of my workout are difficult for me to complete. I try to push the limits. I add weight. I perform the movements to the best of my ability. I’m always proud of myself as I finish up – still alive and panting like a lizard on a hot rock (as Bill used to say).

I used to tell myself that the younger people at the gym were all doing things that were easier for them than the same things were for me. But that was inaccurate. At the end of the WOD, all of us were panting, sweaty, tired, and proud. We were all working hard.

The way to stay young isn’t to color your hair or get Botox. The externals will never do anything to actually help you stave off the guy with the scythe. What does work, is healthy eating and keeping moving. Doing as much as you can for as long as you can will keep your insides working as well as they can. This is so much more important than what the outside looks like. Being strong, being flexible, being determined, being committed, being proud is key. The workouts are just a measure of how committed to my long lasting health I have become.

It isn’t perfect. It isn’t a panacea. It is simply the best I can do. The earlier you start, the more you can do and the longer you can do it. But if you haven’t started yet, there are still things you can do – today – to hold on to the health you still possess. I can guarantee it will be hard – and worth it.

Everyone has a voice and we are encouraged to use it.

There are 1.7 billion (1,700,000,000) websites out there.

There are over 600 million blogs in the world. More than 600,000,000.

In the US alone, over 31 million (31,000,000) bloggers post at least once a month.

There are about 2.8 billion (2,800,000,000) Facebook accounts and 1 billion (1,000,000,000) Instagram accounts.

There are over 330 million (330,000,000) active users on Twitter.

There are over 430 million (430,000,000) reddit users with more than 2.5 million (2,500,000) subreddits to choose from and more than 130,000 active communities.

There are 31 million (31,000,000) You Tube channels. There are 30 million (30,000,000) viewers each day and 1 billion (1,000,000,000) each month. There are 1 billion (1,000,000,000) videos viewed each day. There are 500 hours of content uploaded to You Tube each minute. Only Google has more visitors each year.

I’ve written out the large numbers because when you see the word, the actual numbers seem less awe inspiring. But with the digits in their full expansion, it is absolutely astounding to see the numbers themselves.

These are only some of the more popular social media outlets and there are many, many more. Some are particularly suited to certain niches and have their own communities and advocates.

It would seem we have a lot to say. But not everything being said is of the same worth. There are more and more conspiracy theories out there getting wider and wider attention. Because of algorithms constantly curating the things we see, like minded people can lean into the thoughts that their very small community is much larger and more widespread than is actually the case.

The veracity of what is being said is always questionable. Even this is questionable. I did look up all the numbers, but I assumed the numbers I found were legitimate. I didn’t keep looking to make sure that each number was verified and I have no idea how to go about checking that my data is absolutely perfectly up to date.

So we speak or type or share or communicate. A lot. But who is listening? Who is reading this or anything else I or anyone else is writing? Who is looking to our brilliant missives for advice, inspiration, or even condemnation? How many hits or likes or looks or even glances do our writings get?

We are getting a feeling of significance as we hit post, publish, or enter. But what, really, is the purpose of all this jabbering? Who are we all writing for or to? Is it all just self serving? Do we actually make a difference with our words? How much influence does one need to become an influencer? And how important is it really, to apply one’s eye makeup perfectly?

Image is from: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-50-most-visited-websites-in-the-world/

Sure you do that. It’s easy for you.

No, it isn’t.

I have watched people at the gym come in and not know what was going on because CrossFit is really hard. And it didn’t take them very long to zoom right past me, the old woman who struggles with everything gym.

I watched as my amazing compatriots did many amazing things. All the things that I cannot do. Pull-ups, squat snatches, running great distances, lifting really heavy weights. I would tell myself that it was easy for them, but as I really watched, I knew it wasn’t. They were struggling to do the things just like I was. They did more of the things, but they, too, had limits.

I’ve been told I’m “naturally thin” and I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean. Babies are all born at pretty much the same weight (if full term) there is a ballpark figure there and we all start out pretty much at the same place.

I’ve struggled with this pre-diabetic diagnosis now for a couple years. I’m pretty good at limiting my carbs and trying to get proper nutrients. But I struggle. While it isn’t a constant struggle, it is a daily decision made choice after choice. My weekly trip to the grocery store no longer leaves me in tears, but it does leave me bereft. I WANT the food I love, but I want my toes to stay attached even more. So, I leave the delicious junk I used to love to eat at the store.

I’ve joined an online book club. I’m struggling. I have always eaten potato chips (out of the bag) while I read. I would curl up on one end of the couch with a bag of chips and a book and be content. I’m having such difficulty reading without eating the chips. Nothing else will work as a substitute. I know. I’ve tried.

As we look around us and see people muddling through their lives as best as they can, we assume it is the life they really want and it is going swimmingly. Things are easy over there. They are just breezing through and enjoying the world.

They aren’t.

They, too, are struggling. Maybe they don’t struggle with the same things you do, but they have their own issues and concerns and stones around their necks. No one, not even the most glamorous Instagram influencer or You Tube sensation is living the perfect life. There is no such thing as a perfect life. All we can do is choose to make one small step towards improving the morass we live in.

Facebook makes us think that everyone else is having the time of their life, when in fact, they have the same shitshow of a life that we do. Some days things work out and some days they don’t because that’s the way it works. The perfect meal photo or the hiking picture was curated. They had Kraft mac and cheese with hot dogs yesterday and it’s the first time out of the house in six weeks.

Life isn’t easy. But it remains popular. Make the hard choice today for a better tomorrow. The habits we create make the hard choices easier, but they always remain a struggle. I’m better at the gym today than I was eight years ago, but I’m still no ball of fire out there. I’m doing the best I can, and it is hard. And I really wanted to buy that pineapple. But, I like my toes. And the roof of my mouth.

As an aside and just to prove that nothing is easy, I would add some Tags but WordPress has forced me to update to a new and improved version that makes it impossible for me to find the damn things. I hate when they add all manner of shit I don’t want or need and take away the one thing that really mattered to me. I’m sure it’s in here somewhere, but after twenty minutes of searching, I give up. See? It’s not easy at all.

I have been doing a little experiment. I have not been using social media since the middle of September. Here is what I found.

I have a lot more free time. I’m retired and don’t really need a lot more free time, but I have had it in abundance. I have read more books and learned more things. I have made more baby blankets. I have not spent that time cleaning my house because I’m not that bored and looking for something to do.

I have missed seeing my great nieces and great nephews and even my not great nieces and nephews online. I have missed seeing the pictures of the kids and stories of the babies. I have missed seeing things about my own kids and grandkids. We, or at least my family, seems to have grown accustomed to the use of social media for updates and contacts.

I have missed the horrific diatribes from the political posts. This has been such a blessing. I doubt that one person anywhere has changed their political beliefs because of something they saw on Facebook. The kind and gentle friends who post horrible, malicious things about their political enemy has been vicious and nauseating. I know I can hide the most egregious of the lot and I have done so in the past. It is so startling when they come back just as acrimonious as before even though after hundreds if not thousands of posts, things remain politically the same.

I’m not sure if it has been an overall win or loss. I know it has been different. Facebook seems to change their algorithm with wild abandon and with each change I see fewer and fewer posts and less and less from the people I actually know and love or at least virtually know and love and more and more of the money generating crap. I know they need more money because Zuckerberg can’t possibly exist on the peanuts he has now. But I really would like to see the things my friends are posting instead of the 5,325 ad for MUSC a hospital I have never visited and is farther away from me than several others.

I miss the connectedness even though it is as best tenuous. I miss seeing the stuff my old neighbors are doing. I’m friends on Facebook with people from half a century ago, people I would be totally out of contact with were it not for that platform. It isn’t all evil. It is a time sink that doesn’t really pay off in dividends.

Perhaps what I need to do is give myself a time limit and allow myself to catch up on what my real and virtual friends are doing. I know I need to find out what my family is doing. I’ve heard that I’ve missed some truly unimportant and yet very family type things. Such as this: Owen doesn’t like socks. He is perhaps two months old now and doesn’t like socks. This is genetic since his dad doesn’t like socks, either. These are the stories that bind families together and these are things that make the thousands of ads worth it.

I know I get lost in scrolling, so I will need to set a timer to give myself a limit to my swiping. But I miss seeing what is going on outside my limited view in this limiting pandemic. I don’t really need to isolate more than I have been.

But honestly, not seeing the political rants and hate speech has been so lovely. I know which of you are fans and which of you are not fans of the sitting President. It has been made abundantly clear to all what your feelings are. It is unpleasant to see hate speech in any form. I may be forced to snooze a bunch of people when I go back.

But I’m going back. I miss seeing pictures of the babies. I miss wishing my friends a happy day for their birthdays and anniversaries. I miss seeing my gym buddies succeed at this and that. I miss the people I have come to think of as friends, not the Facebook kind, but the heart kind.

I hope I don’t fall down the rabbit hole and waste hours scrolling. I have been made aware of something called The Fussy Librarian. I get a daily email with links to free ebooks from Kindle (there are some for other providers as well) and have been getting a load of new, interesting books to read. So I have a lot do other than scroll past the ads and the vitriol.

I hope, too, that this is the right choice. Of course, I can always take a break again if I find a need to do so.

For almost eight years, my life has been circling around my CrossFit experience. I would get up early, work around class times, make sure I got my WOD done and then carry on with the rest of my day.

And then Covid-19 struck. The gym remained open and we washed down everything before and after a workout and then, bam, the gym was closed.

I started working out in the garage using the equipment I had here. I did my best with what I had and continued to add to my limited supply as time went on. I have more equipment now, but I still don’t have everything I would like to have.

The gym reopened with small class sizes (although not at the time I ever went). The idea of getting into a small room, even though while the gym was closed, the room we used was swapped out and we got a larger room to use, breathing on everyone and everyone panting and breathing on me was terrifying.

I’m not the normal CrossFitter anyway. I’m old. And frail. My pancreas isn’t quite up to par and my heart doesn’t play well with others. All I need is to lose my lung capacity, too. I’m in the category that is supposed to be at high risk for Covid-19 and my underlying health issues don’t make that any better.

When the gym opened, I realized I simply could not go back under these conditions. I put my membership on hold because that was all I could do over the phone. To cancel, you had to come in and sign papers. I don’t know what happens if you die and can’t come in and sign papers and I didn’t ask.

Many years ago, I bought a set of very small weights so I could add just a pound or two when going for a max effort. Sometimes, upping the weight by very small increments allowed me to get to the next “real” weight and even if it didn’t, I could do that extra pound or two. I left them at the gym because they are pain in the ass to carry and I don’t mind sharing. But I did want my weights back.

So today, I texted Coach and asked if he knew where the weights were and how I could manage to get them back. He was going to be at the gym by himself later and I could come by and pick up the weights.

I did. I got to make sure that he knew it wasn’t him and it wasn’t the gym and it wasn’t anything other than my own fear of losing yet another major bodily system. Dying would be unpleasant, but so would having my lungs join in the ever growing list of body parts that do not function up to par. I really do miss my people. I would love to be able to go back in time and just keep doing what I had been doing.

That’s not an option. While I was there, I completely cancelled my gym membership. It is sad. It is necessary.

On the plus side, my son is a personal trainer and does this long distance, not just for me but for anyone who would like to buy his experience and knowledge base. After coaching for maybe 15 years or so, he really does know how to program and how to individualize workouts. I have been doing his workouts for three weeks now.

There is something really nice about having a workout written for ME. Not for a group of people young enough to be my children or grandchildren, but for me. Craig knows what equipment I have and works with that so I don’t have to modify the moves. And he writes stuff that is appropriate for an old fart with a cranky heart. I don’t have to guess how to scale and then worry that I scaled too much or too little. I just do whatever the hell he writes.

The unhappy part to that is I do it alone. But at least all the panting and heavy breathing is me and I won’t give myself an infection of some sort or other. And besides, I get to play music I like while I’m out in the heat doing the things.

It isn’t perfect. Nothing ever is. I will miss the gym and my gym buddies. But I will not go gently into that good night, I will continue to work hard and do many things. And when my new equipment arrives, I will do even more of them.

black-and-silver-dumbbells-3931367

One of the nice things about the internet is that there is real time dissemination of information. Today, that information has been about the coming school year. Parents are eager, possibly very eager, to get the kiddos (God, I hate that word) back to school. They seem to have grown quite tired of their progeny and wish to off load them to the schools.

Because of the state of the economy, school budgets are getting cut. There simply isn’t enough money to go around. And education is just one of those places that seems quite easy to cut. The schools, however, are going to open, dammit. They just have to. Because … well, see paragraph above.

There are three programs being offered in South Carolina, Ohio, and Arizona (that I know of) and I assume across the entire country. Students and parents will opt into one of three options to start the school year, and will be able to change options as they see fit as the year progresses.

First is full time school with social distancing and all that stuff. It will be every day but with seating available for only half to one third of the students if that social distancing will be enforced. So we need more teachers and more classrooms. It seems like we should be building some more schools, if you ask me.

Another option available either to all students (Ohio and Arizona) or older students (South Carolina) will be daily virtual classrooms with set times. Schools will provide laptops to each student magically making them appear out of thin air and classes will be mandatory with teacher based lectures. This seems to me to mean that we need to hire some more teachers for this segment, although we don’t have to build more actual schools.

Then there is the combined version where some of the time will be spent at home and some in the actual schools. I have no idea where the room for this comes from.

Students will be provided some time for recess, but they shouldn’t get close to each other. They will have access to what in educational parlance is known as specials, but they may not share materials or equipment. I guess gym is going to be running laps and I have no idea what art class is going to be like. Music will be singing and more singing. I have no idea if libraries are even possible in this situation.

There will be lots of cleaning and hand washing with soap and water and lots of hand sanitizer. I’m unsure how meals are going to go, but the process states they will. Somehow.

I’m sure that the kiddos will be all over this social distancing and be very efficient in the hand washing and certainly no one will touch anything that another person has used. The younger grades that use manipulatives for hands on learning will be out of luck. Group projects don’t seem to be very promising, either.

Sports will still be able to be played and no one will be in the bleachers to watch, right? Or if they are, they will be scattered throughout the bleachers without any grouping together. I’m not quite sure how football is played if there is no touching, but I’m sure someone smarter than me figured this all out.

We shouldn’t worry about all this because little kids don’t usually die from Covid. And the average age of teachers is 41 and those people are pretty resilient as well. Of course, the way to get that average is count all the new grads who are in their 20s and match them up with the old and experienced teachers in their 50s and 60s and then average that out. So the old one are just going to have to … what? Are we sacrificing them? Apparently so.

What isn’t commented on in this rush to get back to “normal” even as daily records of new cases emerge nationwide, is that just because some people don’t die, it doesn’t mean they don’t get sick. And with all the congregation of the “distancing” students bringing in the germs they have gathered from their ever more active lives outside, there will be an increase in the number of cases.

It looks to me as if we need, regardless of methodology, as least twice the number of teachers, even as budgets are getting cut. So, when the teachers get sick and cannot come to school for two to three weeks, where in the hell are we getting all the substitute teachers from?

In normal times, when there aren’t enough subs, they cram the kids together in one of the classrooms. Can’t do that now.

How do you make little kids (and all this includes preschool to grade 12) aged 3 to 7 to actually wear a mask or not touch anything? How are you going to get a bunch of 3-5 year olds to wash their hands frequently and not just spend the whole day with kids washing their hands?

So, exactly HOW is any of this going to work? In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren’t. While this may, at least to some, look like a plan, there is no reasonable way to implement it. There wasn’t a way to make this happen before budget cuts and there surely isn’t a way after them.

Who is going to teach the remote learning? Who is going to make sure the kids actually remotely show up? (Pro tip: they don’t all show up.) Where are the laptops coming from? Who is providing the internet service? Who is going to keep my sister alive? Those kindergarten kids are Petri dishes in the best of time. This is not the best of time.

Anyone have a concrete plan telling me how this will work?

japan-classroom-school-preview

“I never go anywhere.” I say that quite often but it is really not true. I often don’t remember where the hell I have been, but I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled extensively.

I really didn’t think it was going to be all that difficult to stay home because you see, I don’t go anywhere. I found out over the last several weeks, that I go quite often.

While social distancing and staying home under mandate or heavy suggestion or whatever this is, I have not been shopping for stuff. I have been to the grocery store twice (with Dick going once a week picking up all the stuff on my list). I have not been to the library. I have not had a massage. I have not been to the gym. That last one was my most frequent place to visit.

I have been shopping online and have managed to keep the house going with all my needed unnecessary purchases. My home gym is much better stocked than it was back in March. It doesn’t have everything, but it has more stuff and enough for me to get in fairly decent workouts.

Still, I’m starting to go a bit stir crazy. Every time I think I’m going to lose my mind, I remember poor teen aged Anne Frank. I feel a bit ashamed of myself. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it makes me sink even deeper into this … not really sadness or depression. Maybe ennui. Just a gray lack.

I have spent hours and hours on the phone in these last weeks. I have spent hours and hours and even more hours in my chair either crocheting or coloring. I have watched endless classes from The Great Courses.

I have managed to continue to eat healthily. I’ve lost about 3 pounds during this hot mess. I keep worrying that is muscle mass and all that I’ve worked so hard for over the last years is withering away. That’s rather worrying which gives me something else to add to my list of worries.

Because life is better if one is laughing, I’ve tried to make light of things and make a joke about this situation. So, after dinner, it is SOFA time. SOFA is Sit On my Fat Ass. And I have mastered sitting and more sitting.

Now there is a new worry looming on the horizon. Certain states are starting to lift their restrictions. We may be allowed out in public again. And that scares the ever loving shit out of me. I know what is out there and it is trying to kill people.

I used to think I was healthy, but I have to admit that I am not. I am as healthy as I can manage, but I sit here with blood chemistry that is not all perfectly in that lovely normal black column. I have some red numbers out there and they are simply indicators of ill health. As far as I know, my respiratory status is unaffected so far. As far as I know, is the tricky part. Every trip to the doctor brings up one more area where I’m slowly dying and in slow descent to shut down.

So when things are open, will I be brave enough to head out there? Is there really anything I’m missing right now that is worth dying for? Is there something I should be doing instead of SOFA time?

I have a plan for the gym, the space I visit the most frequently. My plan is to go there when there is NOT a class, do the WOD by myself in the total luxury of ALL the equipment available, and then scoot out of there before all my friends show up. That does get me a workout, but I truly do miss my friends.

I’m not sure about all the other stuff. I rarely interact with anyone at the library. We even have a self checkout station there. I could stand having some new books available. I can go at some weird time of day and get some books and leave quickly.

I have mountains of stuff in this house, so I’m not really sure what sort of shopping I might need to do. I certainly have enough of all the things except some food items and those have been replenished throughout this lock down.

How am I going to find the courage to venture out of my safe house? Why should I venture out of my safe house? Is my house really safe? These are strange times. I wish I had some answers. I don’t even know if I have the right questions.

When this is over, it isn’t going to be all over, so stay safe. Ask yourself as you go forth into the world, if your mission is really worth the possible costs. And know that the possible costs might be zero. Or death. Pretty damn wide spread there on the costs. Uncertainty principle is running wild through the world.

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I was talking to my son today. He owned and operated a CrossFit gym for over eight years. He is a personal coach today. He knows some stuff about health and fitness. He also has worked long and hard on an attitude of gratitude. His day job is being a firefighter. I am quite proud of the guy.

My other son has been bewailing his non-essential essential status. But now, Case Western Reserve is turning some dormitories into housing for COVID patients who might need more space. He is working for the next two weeks to get these dorms patient ready. I am quite proud of this guy.

And here I sit. Old and retired. Making baby blankets for when this is all over. They will be ready to donate so little babies who don’t have a Nana to make them a blanket, will have one from this Nana. It is what I can do in this mess.

I also share as many funny memes as possible and try to share as many health tips as an old retired nurse can manage. Wash your hands. Wash the stuff your hands have touched.

What I am struggling with right now is restless legs syndrome. Not the kind that keeps you awake at night, but the kind where my legs would like to take me places and I know that I’m supposed to stay home and be safe and keep others safe by keeping my distance. I have always thought I was pretty much a homebody. Turns out, I’m not. I miss going here and there and all the minor little things I usually do without much thought.

Biggest thing I miss is going to the gym. I have been going to the gym, first three days a week, then four, and now five. I go and I work out with my gym buddies and we support each other and there is just all sorts of equipment available. Fun times. I can’t do this right now.

Fortunately, I already had a bar and some plates. I can get from 30 to 125 pounds. I had a kettlebell, which is too light but that’s what I’ve got. I had some really light dumbbells and I purchased some heavier ones before they sold out. I now have a box for jumping or stepping up to. I have a speed rope and some resistance bands. I have a fairly rounded out garage gym.

My house is situated on a T in the roads. Right in front of my house is a stop sign. If you turn, you are on the street and if you pull in straight from the stop sign, you are in my driveway. I am finding this quite disconcerting.

I am on display in my garage. I’m not a powerhouse athlete. That 125 pounds is sufficient for all my needs here. And I am finding it embarrassing to work out and have people coming up to the stop sign or walking their dogs along the sidewalk and seeing this old, pitiful woman doing really odd stuff.

I have suffered from feelings of ineptitude and ineffectiveness and unworthiness since I started CrossFit. I have always been the oldest person in the gyms where I have worked out. And I am always at the lower end of the white board and I’m just not that strong. What I am is determined and constant. Like the worst kid in some poor teacher’s classroom who never misses a day. That’s me.

I mentioned this to my son and he was appalled. Perhaps, he said, what they see is not some old, pitiful woman, but some inspiration. Perhaps they see someone with a gray ponytail doing more things than either driving a car or walking a dog. They see me and they might be impressed or inspired.

I’m going to tell myself that story tomorrow morning. I hope I’m not doing toes to wall and feeling like a complete idiot while I try to convince myself this is normal behavior for a senior citizen. I will try to face uphill as I do my double unders and hope I miss fewer jumps and perhaps I will be able to tell myself that I’m adequate in some small way. I will, as always, try to monitor my form on Olympic lifts if that’s on the menu.

What I do know for sure is that you should exercise to keep as healthy as possible. It does wondrous things for your body, young or old. Movement, purposeful movement, it great. Walking is good. Weight training is a bit better for your skeleton. All of it, all the movements, are good for your psyche. We need to feel some bit of control in a situation beyond our control. One way to do this is to take your old, fat ass out to the garage and actually succeed at some workout either as posted or as made up. But with integrity and purpose.

That and, of course, wash your hands. Don’t touch that. If you did, wash that, too.

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