social distance diaries: days 141-147

in which we reach the cleaning frenzy stage of quarantine…

Day 141, Monday

So glad to be back home, but still tired despite getting a full night’s rest. Two days of sleeping on my mom’s couch with three of her colony cats to keep me company means I’m still catching up on lost sleep and dealing with a crick in my neck.

A slow start to my week and another return to the vet, though this time for a planned visit rather than another emergency.

Day 142, Tuesday

Slightly more rested today, so I managed to catch up on some of the project’s I abandoned during last week’s storm prep. Work writing, but no novel writing because the energy isn’t quite there.

Ordered some pizza for dinner with what I hope was vegan cheese (I really couldn’t tell and part of me suspects it wasn’t). My tummy will tell… Cheese aside, had a really weird moment where some random lady “literally” got up in my face before I could dodge out of her way—mask hanging from her ear and all. My anxiety could’ve done without a stranger invading my social distance bubble. In brief, it was a small pizza place, I was standing to the side, blocking the soda fridge so I wouldn’t block the register. Woman walked in, didn’t pause or give me a chance to shift before walking straight at me (it was three steps from the door to the fridge at most). I twisted away, but it was still too close for comfort on a day when the state reported more than 7000 covid cases. Not pleased.

Pizza was good though.

Day 143, Wednesday

Much more productive today. Managed to get started on several projects between meetings and chat. I’m not mentally prepared for the start of Fall, if I’m being completely honest. I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to continue working remotely (and that’s a privilege I don’t take lightly).

Randomly, decided to sweep on some eye shadow. It was unexpectedly invigorating after nearly 5 months of 0/minimal makeup.

Day 144, Thursday

Just tired today. Kitty’s random cough/sneeze turned into a series of cough/sneeze attacks that concern me, so off to the vet tomorrow.

Day 145, Friday

Kitty has to stay at the vet because they had too many appointments and she needs to be sedated to be treated (she vicious). My mind has been drifting all day and not having her around has me anxious.

On an ever-in-the-back-of-my-mind sidenote… I live in a tiny, privately owned apartment building that is attached to two commercial spaces (all under the same property owner). There’s been a lot of discussion about rent and evictions and everything that is happening in the world… I’m not in that situation, but I am constantly worried about the possibility that a) my landlords won’t be able to pay their property taxes (because 1 office and 1 apartment are currently empty, and they haven’t been able to keep their business going) or b) they die (because hello, hotspot). It’s a very real fear that rears it’s head at the worst moments and my “worst case scenario” personality has been spinning circles. I don’t feel sorry for my landlords — they definitely have more options than I do, but the possibility that they default on their taxes makes me nervous and definitely makes me feel sorry for me.

Sigh. Just praying for some good neighbors.

kitty had to spend the night at the vet’s because they were so swamped with cases(!). She’s so small, they just needed one xray (tiny nugget!)

Day 146, Saturday

Kitty came back home. She hasn’t sneezed or coughed since her treatment started, but we’re waiting on a radiologist’s report to see if anything is going on in her lungs. I’m hoping it’s a run-of-the-mill infection and not asthma or anything chronic.

Spent most of the day in a funk. Low energy and not much desire to get things done. I hate feeling this way, but it happens.

Day 147. Sunday

Started writing again, but it’s a VERY slow start. I don’t have the energy to focus and the mood I’m in isn’t helping. I don’t think August will be as productive as July. It’s also increasingly hot, which makes me feel lethargic.

To feel some sense of accomplishment, I organized the storage in my closet. Having one closet means that EVERYTHING gets stored in there and, while I don’t have that much stuff, it piles up when there’s only one shelf.

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social distance diaries: days 134 – 140

better late than never…

Day 134, Monday

Had a weird night with weird aches. Not gonna lie, I get nervous every time. My nightmare scenario is something going wrong and having to go the ER in the middle of this mess.

Went walking after lunch and took a path I haven’t taken in a while… I live near one of the nursing homes with the most covid cases in the state and lowkey panicked because there were two unmarked white trailers across the street. (update: they were gone the next day)

Day 135, Tuesday

Started my second week of running 🙂 Happy about it.

Trying not to panic about the storm that may be heading our way. There’s only so much I can panic about at one time, and I’m not going to freak out about this one (yet). It does, however, mean that I’m making an emergency plan and grateful that my post-cardiologist visit quarantine has resulted in no symptoms.

Rescued an injured bird… glad my mom has a cage just for these situations.

Day 136, Wednesday

It’s been a struggle to stay motivated today, but I reached my writing stretch goal for the month so I’m taking a couple of days off to focus on other tasks before the start of the new month. Also, charging backup batteries in case the power gets knocked out in my neighborhood because, let’s face it, it goes out during a strong rain storm and there’s a light pole in a precarious situation just down the road (and has been for at least a year while they repair other poles in the area).

As I write this, I have taken two naps and had 2 non-breakfast coffees. (I’ve scaled back while WFH-ing, so that’s a lot).

I am itching to do more cleaning and decluttering, but keep reminding myself that there’s not much I can do to pass it on if I do… decisions… In the meantime, I got nostalgic and ordered Fall candles and a retired fragrance from Bath and Body Works that I definitely don’t need. This will be the summer of my Cucumber Melon comeback. We’re going to spray it like it’s 1999.

Day 137, Thursday

Darn heart monitor woke me up at 2:30 am and I didn’t fall asleep until nearly 4:00 am. Sigh. Tired, but completed my morning run… Not sure what Saturday run possibilities will look like, what with the storm threat and all.

Watching my first virtual conference of the season. TBH, I feel like a I’ve “aged” out of these conferences. Everyone is doing the same thing they were doing back in 2009 when I attended my first one… Also, next year marks my 10th year in the profession… it all circles back.

Day 138, Friday

Another trip to the vet with the outdoor kitty, and the “watch and wait” game with Hurricane Isaias. I’m not too fussed, but I’m still debating waiting it out at my mom’s house or staying home. Pro: mom’s place is less likely to lose power, Con: I’d have to finish packing and stuff my cat into a crate that she hate. (There are some other issues too, including the always present threat of asymptomatic covid transmission, but the cat/crate situation is the most pressing and draining).

Day 139 and 140, Saturday and Sunday

Spent the weekend at mom’s, waiting out the storm that veered away (no complaints here). It’s always hard spending a significant amount of time at my moms—we get along and I love her and my gran, but it always reminds me why I left. I can only help so much and we work best when we have our own spaces.

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social distance diaries: days 127-133

surviving the summer of our discontent…

Day 127, Monday

Completed my writing goal for the month, which gives me enough time to start an extra chapter before July ends (if all goes well). My goals are super modest, but they’ve been keeping me on track for the last few months.

Day 128, Tuesday

Started my new running plan using Nike Run Club. Also gave in to an unplanned splurge (damn you clever marketing!) and upgraded my fitbit alta with a fitbit inspire, so I can finally monitor my heart rate.

Day 129, Wednesday

Planned to get started on a review, but best laid plans were unlaid. Oh well. If this strange period has taught me anything it’s to accept the unexpected with as much grace as possible.

Trying not to obsess over the possible hurricane churning in the Atlantic… I’m more prepared than ever because of my pandemic stock and excess of batteries from last year’s hurricane prep. Still… I really DON’T want to deal with another crisis on top of the current one.

Day 130, Thursday

IBS? PCOS? Who knows, but I felt pretty rotten. Hoping it’s a passing symptom and not a sign of something else. I’m one week into my post-Dr’s visit quarantine and feeling fine otherwise. And by fine, I mean low-key tired, but what else is new?

Day 131, Friday

Back to the vet. Mom’s outdoor kitty with the abscess has some sort of resistant infection, so he got a new round of antibiotics and the Dr. sent a sample to the lab. Same thing happened last time 😦

Met with one of my department faculty to figure out some plans for the Fall. Finding the motivation to plan activities for the Fall term has proven difficult. Not sure how successful we will be, but it’s a start and we both need the motivation.

Received my 30 day heart monitor. Maybe I’ll have some answers after this… maybe an inkling?

Day 132, Saturday

Completed my weekly running goal and a return to my old habit. It was hard. I can barely manage a few minutes without feeling like my legs are going to fall off, but it’s a start.

Writing and podcast recording in the afternoon. I completed my writing goal for the month a few days early, so I upped that goal by a chapter.

Day 133, Sunday

I planned to write but gave in to the siren call of a cleaning frenzy. Deep cleaned the bathroom, did the laundry, and sorted through my linen closet/supply cabinet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a darn sight better than it was before I went through it.

Spent the rest of the night reading, which felt pretty glorious.

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social distance diaries: days 120 – 126

wherein depression hits hard…

Day 120, Monday

Balancing work stuff and life stuff in this weirdness that is the WFH life while providing elder care from a distance… Picked up mom’s kitty from the vet. He looks a lot better than the last time he had an abscess (then it took nearly a month to heal, multiple trips to the vet, and several tries to find the right antibiotic to get rid of the infection. We thought he was going to lose his tail, but he didn’t). I’m not yet ready for another cat, but the possibility is possible…

Time to prep the special, multi-category grocery list for this month’s trip to Publix… where I will freak out several times and possibly have a nervous breakdown if the cart gets too full to push (again).

Day 121, Tuesday

Grocery time… and an epic migraine that knocked me out for most of the afternoon into the evening. Was it the weather? Was it tension? Was it hormones? Who the F knows?! At least it was strong but quick to leave fade.

Day 122, Wednesday

Back to the cardiologist for my results… I have a slight valve defect! Which might account for some of the weirdness I’ve been feeling for the last year and a half (and maybe more?). Waiting to be approved for a 30 day monitor to try to capture the events I feel. Like a wonky car, I had no symptoms during any of the previous tests.

Day 123, Thursday

I can’t even remember what happened… meetings?

Day 124, Friday

Back to the vet, which is a whole experience in lockdown. Kitty needed to have his wound flushed again and a new round of antibiotics. It’s been an emotionally draining week.

Day 125, Saturday

Writing for the first time since Monday. Finished the chapter I was working on — a long one that required more focus than I had this week.

Worried because more people are testing positive in my parents’ buildings (yes, plural, 2 separate homes). Started noticing the frequency of sirens over the last few days as well. I live on the same street as the local Fire Rescue/Police station, and the number of emergency calls is definitely on the rise.

Also worried about the boy and his risk at work and home 😦

Day 126, Sunday

Another morning of writing… I’m in a mood and it’s left me drained.

Boy changed the oil in my car, so I’m all set for future grocery and vet runs (although, please, no more EMERGENCY vet runs).

I want to start running again. I stopped when COVID started because I was anxious about getting hurt and needing to go to Urgent Care (not an unlikely occurrence), but I’m going to try short jogs and see how it feels. I’m months out of practice, so it’ll be a fresh start.

Also, not gonna lie… the days are starting to blend into each other and this “diary” is one of the only tools I have to make them feel distinct. Since visiting the Dr.’s office, I’m committing to a 14 day quarantine and hoping for the best. I debated getting tested, but I’m going to wait it out this time. There are so many cases, it feels futile to get tested right now. (It took 10 days to get my results last time.)

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social distance diaries: days 106-112

you know the drill… wear your mask.

Day 106, Monday

Kitty is still adjusting to being a single cat. Another weird, sleepless night where she kept calling for me.

Despite the tiredness, I was in the mood to dance. Spent an hour playing Just Dance and got a proper sweat session. I’m too anxious to run for fear of hurting myself and ending up in urgent care (wouldn’t be the first time), so my workouts have been limited to walks, yoga (when I can focus), and lately resistance band circuits. Dancing is a nice change.

Spent $75 on summer dresses to enhance the sans pants life. I’m tired of wearing the same three t-shirt dresses I’ve been wearing for three years.

Day 107, Tuesday

A quick morning laundry session as I struggle to find the best way to limit laundry time… it’s tough when you have to borrow your partner’s laundry machine because you don’t have your own and don’t want to risk the laundromat.

Learned that one of my aunt’s had a stroke last night. We’re not particularly close, but it’s still troubling to learn of a third person that I know having an attack in as many weeks.

Day 108, Wednesday

Learned my aunt’s stroke is COVID related and she’s been moved into a special unit for recovery. My uncle and cousins have to get tested. We’re not particularly close, but I hope they recover. Unfortunately, they’re the sort of people that were having house parties with more than the county-recommended 10 guests or less. They all probably got it at a Father’s Day party. Not surprising.

More troubling for me, my sister needs to get tested after one of her coworkers tested positive. She lives with my dad and her mom, both of whom are in vulnerable categories. I’m trying to remain calm and hope she didn’t have contact with that person.

Had to teach my mom how to use Zoom so she can meet with her doctor next week. Some of her chronic issues have been causing some concern. I hope it turns out to be nothing.

Day 109, Thursday

Planning meetings for future reopening of the university. I’m not going to stop working from home any time soon, but I’m part of the review committee to ensure a safe return for students and staff when we start to reopen.

My cat has been acting odd. Vet was closed by the time I called, so I’m going to have to call Friday morning and hope that they’re open. Otherwise, it’s going to be a complicated weekend… I really don’t need more complications.

Day 110, Friday

Took the cat to the vet and he couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with her. Gave her b12 and a steroid in case it’s inflammation or arthritis. Also gave her some fluids in case of dehydration and said to return on Monday if she doesn’t change.

Went to the cardiologist for myself in the afternoon… had an echocardiogram and stress test done (the tech asked “do you ever have chest pain?” while doing the echo, so there’s that… but the stress test was fine.). Sent home with a 24 hour Holter monitor.

Day 111, Saturday

Kitty is not eating much, though the b12 should’ve opened her appetite. I suspect she has a hairball again (there was a big one about two months ago). I have to monitor and see what happens this weekend. I am so tired of being worried about everyone lately.

Day 112, Sunday

Late to bed = late to rise. All the noise was hard to handle and I had a migraine that made it even harder to fall asleep. Finally, rolled out of bed around 9, which meant a late start for everything… A less productive weekend than I wanted, but I managed to have a few pomodoro editing sessions.

If my neighbors actions during the weekend is any indication, we’re in this pandemic for the long haul…

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social distance diaries: days 100-105

keep wearing those masks. make it fashion.

Day 100, Tuesday

Trying to get back into the swing of things after being out for two days. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but emails have a way of multiplying even under normal work circumstances… meetings kept me from getting much done TBH.

Day 101, Wednesday

Day off for doctor’s visits (for myself and mom).

One of my coworkers had a heart attack recently, and my mom’s neighbor had a stroke… that spurred me to finally see a cardiologist to discuss the heart palpitations, faintness/dizziness, shortness of breath I’ve been experiencing for a little over a year.

For the record – I’ve seen my GP twice (after the first time I nearly passed out and, more recently, when he prescribed anxiety meds), as well as my endocrinologist, and my gyno to check all my hormone levels… none of them found anything, but I’m not fully satisfied with anxiety as a diagnosis. For one, my mom has mitral valve prolapse; I don’t want a misdiagnosis if it’s more than anxiety (there was no pandemic when it started), or a regular part of my body being slightly different.

I have a followup scheduled for an EKG, stress test, and Holter monitor.

Day 102, Thursday

Finally catching up on work… It’s surprising how quickly things pile up, even when I tend to stay on top of tasks and prioritize.

We’ve finally hit the summer heatwaves and it’s been miserable being at home (I don’t have central AC and my wall units can barely cool the room when the sun hits in the afternoon).

Sunset was at 8:15pm FFS. The sun was unrelenting.

Day 103, Friday

It’s HOT. I ordered a second fan to try to cool my home office (ie, my living room) while I keep working from home. Kitty is as languid as I feel. I think she’s shed some of her undercoat because she looks slimmer. I feel ya, kitty.

Finally feeling better after a three day migraine attack. I’m pretty sure it was caused by my lack of restraint over the weekend (there was dairy and other stuff that doesn’t sit well with my body) and the heat.

No heart palpitations today, so that’s a plus.

Meanwhile, the state just announced 9000 covid cases in a single day. Wear your masks, people! I have zero tolerance for selfish disdain for human life.

Day 104, Saturday

I’ve felt decent for the last two more… more than decent actually, and I’m taking full advantage of the ability to focus and write.

Since I haven’t been going out to eat (I can count the number of times I’ve had takeout), I decided to take the plunge and try Daily Harvest. 1) because I’m tired of coming up with lunches and snacks, 2) because I’ve been eyeing their ads forEVER. If you want to try it yourself, I have a referral link.

Day 105, Sunday

Another good writing day. Using a timer and setting pomodoro type sessions has helped me reset my writing routine for the weekend. My weekday writing sessions are usually an hour long, but I’ve had a hard time sitting with the words when there’s so much to do at home. This is an improvement.

Listened to an excellent episode of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. Highly recommend. It was just what I needed to remind me that it’s ok to just take care of myself and stop. Episode 411. Caring for Tired Brains with Alexis Rockley

Meanwhile, the number of covid cases keeps hitting new highs. I’m still working from home, my risk is minimal, but I’m also an empathetic person. Between the fear and sense of collective grief, it’s been tough. YouTube videos from folks who’ve survived the virus are one of my weird ways to find hope.

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social distance diaries: days 85-91

yes, I’m still working from home and keeping my distance. cases are still on the rise.

Day 85, Monday

Interrupted sleep and another bout of whatever hit me on Saturday = a very lethargic day. Maybe it’s a migraine coming? Maybe it’s PMS? Maybe it’s whatever I had in March giving me second go? Who knows. Living with chronic issues is a guessing game.

My general fatigue manifested in some rather low blood pressure in the evening. 75/63

Day 86, Tuesday

Meetings that went on too long, nothing resolved.

Day 87, Wednesday

I’m experiencing empathy fatigue re: my parents. I can’t help them, but the constant barrage of negative emotions coming from my mom, and my inability to do anything for my dad (he lives with people who are actively out and about and bringing people over without a care) are wearing me out. I speak with both of them multiple times a day, but there are times (like today) when all I want to do is say yes, no, and hang up. TBH I have a lot of unresolved issues that stem from the f*ck ups of these two humans.

Day 88, Thursday

We had more than 1600 new cases of COVID reported in Florida in today’s update and, somehow, we’re opening even more places where people gather in large groups… We’re f*cked.

Right now, everything feels hopeless.

On a lighter note, I visited my dad for a distance date. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since quarantine and it relieved some of my anxiety. I brought him a bag of his favorite bagels (he calls them donuts) and he was very pleased by the surprise.

Day 89, Friday

Cue the latest migraine. I’ve been feeling it coming for the last few days — extra fatigue, clumsiness, inability to concentrate, and generalized achiness (also, wrist pain, which is one of my first warning signs). Two days of interrupted sleep and neighbors slamming stuff didn’t help.

Decided to whip out the smaller of my teapots for a renewed, reading time tea ritual. I’ve also started using a small coffee cup with saucer to slow down my morning coffee moment.

Day 90, Saturday

Laundry in the morning, weekend chat in the afternoon. Amused (and confused) to receive an email from the university telling my I owe $3.50 for tuition… I’m a faculty member and haven’t taken a class since Fall 2008. I’m hoping it’s a glitch, but emailed them to investigate. I had enough issues with records when I WAS a student. (as faculty too if we’re being candid).

Podcast recording. (latest minisode)

Day 91, Sunday

Writing and dealing with mom drama. She is the greatest source of stress in my life right now. Yes, including covid, because keeping her safe from infection is compounded by the fact that she has a million health issues and keeps needing to go to Urgent Care Centers with more frequency than ever before… ugh.

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social distance diaries: days 78-84

Day 78, Monday

Meetings and lots of them.

Started writing again. It’s slow going, but it’s a start. It’s been difficult to write in my current mental state, especially when trying to write a Romance that has some heavy angst.

Day 79, Tuesday

I don’t even remember what I did on Tuesday…

I wrote for an hour.

Day 80, Wednesday

Collected Cara’s ashes. They didn’t have my number on record, which is why it took so long. I called to ask and they already had him. They provided a ceramic paw print, which broke my heart just a little.

Meetings that I didn’t have on my calendar threw me for a loop.

Wrote for another hour.

Day 81, Thursday

Tired and feeling a little off, but I suspect mid-cycle hormone mess. I’ve noticed this increases my anxiety and makes my heart race.

Meetings and work on writing projects. I have ideas for future research that I’ve been mulling for months; I think the time is nearing for introspection…

Day 82, Friday

What would’ve been the uni’s chair’s retreat was hosted on Zoom. It was very informative. Our local infectious disease expert spoke candidly about the situation and what’s going to happen moving forward. Her conclusion: herd immunity won’t save us and vaccines (if/when we have them) will likely be annual.

I wore makeup for the first time since March…

Day 83, Saturday

Suddenly, incredibly sick with indigestion. Spent most of the morning feeling awful and the afternoon in a languid haze. Managed to get some writing done.

Day 84, Sunday

Donated blood for the first time ever. I’ve always wanted to but haven’t because of reasons (not least of which is my episodes of lightheadedness). It went well. Phlebotomist said, “Wow! You’re a bleeder.” Friends, I am apparently. It only took about 5 minutes to complete the donation. Part of my motivation was to donate, but the more selfish motivation was to 1) learn my blood type 2) participate in the covid antibody study that the blood bank is supporting.

Stay safe, wear your mask, register to vote!

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social distance diaries: days 50-56

social distance diaries

*in which we have a banner

Day 50, Monday

The inevitable migraine day. Spent some time working on a review, but had a hard time focusing.

Worried about the reopening process in Florida. Miami is still mostly under lock down, but public spaces have reopened and (of course) people have been irresponsible in their behavior.

Day 51, Tuesday

Woke up early for the first time in what feels like weeks. Got some writing time before settling in for work and meetings.

The boy came over for the first time since lockdown. I’ve been to his place to do laundry and have a couple of yard dates, but he hasn’t been over since day 1. He was surprised to find that my apartment is unchanged except for the tiny table I use as a work station and the art supplies on my kitchen table. TBH, part of me is anxious about being in close proximity. It’s not a good feeling and I hate that this is even a thought that I need to have.

Day 52, Wednesday

Another exhausting grocery trip. It’s so hard to get everything for two households, I decided to take a separate trip for myself. I have regrets. Also an increased level of anxiety. Every time I go out, I wonder if this is the time I catch the virus. Yes, I’m wearing a mask (2 layers of t-shirt fabric with two layers of polypropylene as a filter. Ordered some filters today); I wash my stuff, quarantine what I don’t need right away, but there’s no guarantee and it’s scary when people are not observing social distance measures.

Day 53, Thursday

Hard to focus today. I’ve reached a state where I’ve had to accept that my writing is definitely taking a backseat for the sake of mental and physical health. My lofty plans are not so lofty anymore and an hour of work 5-6 times a week (even if it’s not a particularly productive hour) feels like a major accomplishment. My goals for the year were upended as soon as I started revising my current project, and the rewrite I planned for the manuscript I queried last year is a distant dream.

Yes, after wrestling with the thought while working on other projects, I realized a rewrite is the best thing I can do for that novel. I started it when I was deep in grad school, finding my feet in a new career, and going through major life changes. It’s a project that has grown with me and one that I come back to again and again because I believe it’s worth the effort. But the effort is still going.

Day 54, Friday

Laundry, we meet again.

The university hosted a town hall to discuss the “repopulation of campus”. The current philosophy is no faculty will be forced to return to campus as long as they can continue working from home. We do, however, have our own number of “essential workers” and I hope we can continue to keep them safe when we do reopen. Things are going to look very different this Fall, with only 40% of the on-campus student population (and that reduced to a hybrid model to limit numbers).

Day 55, Saturday

Decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a day early and ordered lasagna from Olive Garden for my mom. She’s been talking about a lasagna craving for days, but I wasn’t feeling brave enough to go buy all the supplies. Take out lasagna it is. I also got her a tiramisu and soup. She was incredibly pleased. My gran isn’t really aware of what’s happening, so her presents are of a supportive nature to assist my mom with her care.

Day 56, Sunday

Another day at home. Even South Florida is feeling the effects of the polar vortex —- it’s unusually cool for May and it’s been raining all day. Spent a few hours writing, not that I made much progress. It’s as good as it gets. Worried about day, who had a sore throat this morning. Is it his reflux or something worse? My sister lives with him and her mom and isn’t doing much to isolate. I can’t do much other than wait and hope it’s nothing. I feel so helpless. Mom and gran are doing ok, but every day brings a new worry.

Did 30 minutes of Yoga with Kassandra. I’ve been doing her morning movement series (in the evenings), but it’s been some time since I’ve done a proper session. It felt good to get a deep stretch. Needed.

 

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