The great and the wonderful

Wow! What a crazy week!

The library where I work was open as usual on Monday. On Tuesday 3/17 we closed to the public. Staff remained working. We have been checking in returned materials, sanitizing them, and shelving them. We have also been answering phone calls. Most of the calls have been “Are you open?” I am surprised that I haven’t taken any calls asking for information on Covid-19. We are prepared with websites and phone numbers about the illness as well as information on where patrons can go to make photocopies, send faxes, etc. We have begun the enormous task of wiping down all shelving, surfaces, and materials with sanitizer in preparation for the day we can reopen to the public.

On Friday 3/20 we started doing curbside pick-up of reserved materials. We have been calling patrons and letting them know how they can come pick up the materials. The system has gone pretty well and we are still tweaking it. Patron reaction has been amazing.

There have been so many announcements of free online activities, tours, concerts and more. I am going to try to start listing them here. I will also include some links that cost money that I think are worth it. I do NOT get any benefits from referring you there. I just enjoy them and want to share them. I will update the list on a weekly basis. If something really good has been announced, I will try to post it immediately. If you hear of any additional educational, entertaining, or just uplifting websites, please share them in the comments. Anything negative or snarky will not be tolerated.

Field trips

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips – there are some great trips on here

We Are Teachers 25 Amazing Virtual Field Trips for When You Can’t Be There in Person – by teachers for teachers

The Smithsonian – I’ve never made it to the Smithsonian, so I plan on doing this one myself

Activities and Crafts

Easy Peasy and Fun Crafts and Activities – this site has some free activities as well as a subscription. There are some really cute and fun things on here.

Entertainment

Garth Brooks – Garth will be giving a Facebook Live concert on Monday 3/23 at 7pm Eastern. Go follow him on Facebook and make a song request.

Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman’s website has free short stories and other fun stuff. Go to www.neilgaiman.com/Cool_Stuff

Digital Ren Faire – join the Lords and Ladies of the Court for a virtual Renaissance Faire.

Fitness

YMCA 360 – always free for members but they are currently free of charge to the general public.

Stay tuned for more as I find them.

FLATTEN THE CURVE!!! Wash your hands — for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face. Practice social distancing. Call your doctor if you have fever, cough or shortness of breath.

My observations during the Covid-19 pandemic (so far)

Some things I’ve observed as we adjust to our new pandemic reality:

THE BAD

  • Toilet paper apparently cures Covid-19 – NOT!!!  The fact that people were fighting over toilet paper in stores makes me sick.  Remember how we all came together after 9/11?  Shouldn’t we be sharing and helping each other? My heart breaks knowing that children are seeing this type of behavior. It’s bad enough we see it on Black Friday (or Shameful Thursday – when people go shopping after their Thanksgiving feast causing many to have to WORK on Thanksgiving).
  • If we are going to self distance ourselves and follow the direction of the CDC, why do you need ALL of the hand sanitizer???  When you are stuck with hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer and no food, what are you going to do?  Trade hand sanitizer for food?  Selfish.
  • Why do we all of a sudden need hand washing instructions?  What were you doing before Covid-19??? (Ew…I don’t want to know). Want go improve your hand washing and have fun doing it? Create your own 20 second hand washing song at www.washyourlyrics.com.
  • The store being out of toilet paper and ramen noodles is not the fault of the 17-year-old or 77-year-old cashier or bagger at your local grocery store.  Be kind to them for they have to hear the same demands and questions all day long.
  • While we are at it, why don’t we be kind to EVERYONE?!?!?!  Is it really that difficult?  
  • I’m tired of hearing people say things like “I’m not at risk so I’m going out” or “They just want to control us with fear”.  Guess what…just because YOU aren’t at risk doesn’t mean you can’t be a CARRIER and contaminate someone who then goes home to a parent, spouse, or child fighting cancer or asthma. Boom. You just killed someone with your selfishness.
  • People are actually STEALING MASKS AND HAND SANITIZER from hospitals, doctors offices, and public places (at least one library that I know of) that offer it to their patrons to keep them safe.  I’m floored by this.  The masks are needed by healthcare professionals that are taking care of the sick and putting themselves at risk to do so.  How much of an ass do you have be to do that???

THE GOOD

  • Internet companies have been stepping up and offering free internet service to those who can’t afford it so they can home school.
  • Online learning companies have been offering their services for free to help children keep learning during school closings.
  • Can’t go to the movies, the mall, the bars. Can’t watch sports because almost all of them are cancelled.  Guess what you can do:
    • Learn a new language (check your local library. They may have Rosetta Stone or Pronunciator for you to learn for FREE.)
    • Learn to play the guitar/piano/harmonica (check YouTube!)
    • Read a book – physical book or electronic. It doesn’t matter.
    • Write a book
    • Learn to crochet or knit (YouTube it or check out http://www.creativebug.com)
    • Write a letter and send it snail mail (You can even order stamps online to be delivered to your home or print your own label at http://www.usps.com)
    • Clean out your closets and prepare a donation box (thrift shops, goodwill, Salvation Army). They may even pick it up!
    • Check on your neighbors
  • Share a virtual trip or craft project by going online to:

    Monterey Bay Aquarium – https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

    McHarper Manor – https://www.mcharpermanor.com/blog

    Lunch Doodle with Mo Willems – https://tinyurl.com/wfkarpt

Metropolitan Opera – metopera.org

You can also google virtual museum tours, video story time, and many more cool things to keep your kids or yourself from going stir crazy.

Finally – some handy rules:

If you are sick – stay home.

Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.

If you are told to self isolate/quarantine – do it!!!

Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Be kind.

And because it is so important – STAY HOME!!!!!

Happy New (YOU – ATTITUDE) Year!!!!!!!

So 2019 is now a thing of the past. The fireworks are over. The resolutions have been made (or not)! On New Years Day I like to think of a list of words that represent the previous year and my chosen replacement word for 2020. Are you ready for that list?

Move over 2019

Resilience – Normally my first word each year is CHANGE but that one has been over used. I chose resilience for 2019 because was a year of change that I had no control over. I’ve handled all those changes (mostly good changes but some were tough) with resilience. The challenging changes made me a stronger person. The positive changes have made me a kinder, more patient person. For 2020 I will take this resilience and help others to find their own STRENGTH.

RESILIENCE

Divided – I am NOT a big politics fan. I will NOT talk about politics. What I will say is that ALL of our politicians are doing us, and the world a disservice by fighting and not working together. I don’t care which side of the aisle they are on, all of them need to grow up and do their jobs. That’s all! For 2020, I will work hard to be an example to my fellow humans and treat everyone with KINDNESS.

I wish they would GROW UP!

Hate – I was going to use the word anger but there was so much hate this year that I had to use hate, mostly due to the word above. I’ve heard so many people (liberals, conservatives, activists, regular folks, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, socialists, radicals – you get my point —EVERYONE!) say the word HATE this year that it made me sick. It’s hard to not fall into the same trap – and I have. For 2020 I plan to be more LOVING to all.

Haters gonna hate!

Humor – I needed to use my sense of humor a lot in 2019. It was part of my resilience! As long as it isn’t cruel humor, I find that humor gets me through a rough day, week, month, and yes — year. For 2020, I will continue to use HUMOR to make myself and others smile.

The best medicine!

And so…I am ready for 2020!

I wish you a KINDER, LOVING, HUMOROUS 2020 and the STRENGTH to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Please feel free to share your goals for 2020.

How my healthy journey is going on WW

Back in July 2019, I bared my soul to the world (at least those who read my blog) about an upsetting visit with my doctor. I had gained a lot of weight, by blood pressure was up, and was not handling the stress of my job very well. I went with the doctor’s advice and joined WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers). I wanted to give an update on how I’m doing.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, I stepped on the scale and had lost a pound. Now this may not sound like much but THANKSGIVING IS MY JAM!!!!! I love the food prep, the coziness, and most of all GRAVY! I was pretty excited to go to my follow-up doctors appointment to get the official doctor’s office weight. (Keep in mind that on top of Thanksgiving – we had gone to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and had Halloween (the candy holiday) in October. So what were the results???

My blood pressure was down and so was my weight. I lost 17.5 pounds since joining WW – and that’s with two food holidays and a trip to a FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL!!! The doctor was so happy with my progress. I asked about my horrible body and joint aches. He said this was normal. I asked about joining a gym and he told me to “save your money. Do yoga and Tai Chi to improve the joints. Just search on YouTube for some easy to follow videos.” Have I told you how much I love my doctor??

So, here I am contemplating baking some Christmas cookies, thinking of searching for some yoga videos, and pulling out the pants I couldn’t wear in June that I can now wear again. Life is good.

Thanks for going on this journey with me and thanks for reading!

16 week update

It has been 16 weeks since I bared my soul regarding my depression and lack of motivation. Since then, I have been on a very food centric vacation (Epcot Food and Wine Festival) and regained 5 pounds of the 15 I had lost. Once I came back from that trip, I got back on the WW track and have relost that weight plus two more pounds. I’m feeling pretty good and I’m hoping that I can keep up the positive momentum.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with support and even have joined me on my WW journey. We can do this!!!

Week 3 WW Update

So, I’ve finally hit the slowdown in losing. I’m officially down 14 pounds. Even with a few rough days this week, I’m still maintaining my weight loss. I started regular exercise (walking) yesterday. I added the 5 week squat challenge that I found on the WW website. Feeling pretty good.

Have any good WW recipes you can share?

Thanks for your support!

Two week WW update

In two weeks I have lost 12.3 pounds. I’m pretty happy with that. I knew that things would slow down a bit after the initial weight loss. I had two really bad high stress days where I got a little off track. But I tracked it and moved on. I’m back on track. I received my first two rewards today.

Next up…15 pounds!!! I can do it!

A short update

I have been following Weight Watchers since Monday. Today is Friday and I have lost 8 pounds. Thank you to everyone who reached out with support and encouragement. Your words helped me stay on track this week. I am looking forward to more healthy food, more movement, and feeling better every day.

Thanks again. Here is to seeing less of me in the days to come.

This is going to be difficult for me

On Monday, I had a follow-up doctors appointment that I was NOT looking forward to. When I saw my doctor in January, he told me to lose weight. I lost 9 pounds, started yoga, and was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then, work started getting stressful. I was trying so hard to deal with it cheerfully and just keep on keeping on. Then it got even MORE stressful and things started to happen to me. In the past month, even though I was eating ok, I gained that 9 pounds back PLUS 5 more. My blood pressure was up. My weight was up. The doctor said I had to COMMIT to do something about both. I could not agree with him more.

I then explained that I get home from work and I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to clean. I don’t want to craft. I told him I hurt everywhere and that I wanted to get happy Kathy back. So…we went through the PHQ-9 screening and bingo…Kathy is severely depressed. So, between the stress (causes weight gain due to high cortisol – the stress hormone), pain (stress and depression can cause physical pain), and my lack of desire to do anything much less get up and move – I’ve gained all that weight back and then some. Working with the doctor on the depression, pain, and stress part since Monday, and so far I’m feeling a lot better. Now, I have to work on the weight. The doctor told me to join Weight Watchers.

When I got home from the doctors appointment, I joined Weight Watchers online. I’m fully invested in getting healthy again. I have never done the before and after photo or posted my starting weight, current weight, and goal weight. EVER. I was always to embarrassed. I’m posting this to make myself accountable and to help me stay on track. This is my BEFORE photo and weight.

Starting weight: 315. Current weight: 310.3. Goal weight: 280

So there it is. Me in all my chunky monkey glory. Yes, I have lost 4.7 pounds since Monday. I’m darned proud of that. I’m feeling so much better and I really think I can do this.

Thanks for putting up with my long, involved, and overly personal story.

My Zen Zone

If you know me, You know that I am not svelt and lanky. I am fat. I can say that and smile because all of my other health parameters are excellent (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.). I am also one of the least flexible people I know. In an attempt to lose some weight and gain some flexibility, I began taking a chair yoga class at North Port Yoga and Wellness in the beginning of May. I love it and have seen a change in my body. I have lost 5 pounds and, so far, kept it off.

Last week I was sad to find out that the chair yoga class was being changed to a gentle and restorative yoga class. After emailing back and forth with my yoga instructor and the studio owner and reading a Yoga Journal article about this practice, decided to give it a try.

When I arrived at the studio yesterday morning, my instructor, Martha, explained a little about what we would be doing. She immediately put my mind at ease and assisted me with the worst part of the practice, getting on the floor. After some stretches, we entered rest and digest and began the gentle postures. Propped up with bolsters, bricks, and blankets, Martha put me into 5 poses that I remained in for 5 to 10 minutes each. I could feel the stress and tension completely leave my body. It was blissful.

I’m looking forward to next weeks class.  Speaking of classes, how did I find this yoga class? My employer signed up with a company called Peerfit. Each month employees get 16 credits to use towards different physical fitness opportunities. Gyms and studios who participate have classes you can sign up for using your credits. That is how I found North Port Yoga and Wellness and I’m so glad I did.

Namaste.