Mar 27, 2020

Quarantine - Week 2

3/27/2020 — cori

And the saga continues. I'm sure you've been anxiously awaiting news about our week. It looked surprisingly similar to last week with a few minor changes. The biggest change was the sun finally came out! Woo-hoo!!!

I was happy as the meadow larks that were sitting outside with me chirping away. You can just feel the warmth of the sun and all the happiness it brings.

 Since I literally had nothing else to do. I spent a large majority of the day sitting outside in the sun and reading. Granted. We only had one gorgeous 65 degree day. But I'll take what I can get (Minnesota taught me that!).

This week's book was called "The Darwin Affair." It was a fantastic mystery set in 1860s England. It centered around a plot to kill Prince Albert because he wanted to knight Charles Darwin. I had no idea how dangerous and problematic Darwin's discoveries were during his lifetime. Genius writing with many authentic historical character's woven in.

I was not the only one to bask in the sun. The girls tried to sun bathe the day before. There really wasn't much sun to bathe in unfortunately. But they sure enjoyed their time together social distancing. This was the first time they spent any time in one another's company in like 8 days. It helped rejuvenate their spirits.

And speaking of "rejuvenating", Chloe and her friends were using social media to help lift everyone's spirits. I was so proud of them. They were part of a "spread positivity" campaign on Instagram. Instead of focusing on all they were missing out on, they chose to find the positive. media for the win this week.

We got some deep cleaning done because why not?

And by deep cleaning, I mean vacuuming the sofa, something I rarely, if ever do.

We played Rummikub every single night. Sometimes multiple times a day. This is still the game of choice. I have no idea why.

There is also the daily dart game. I can usually beat Bennett if he plays blind folded and is only allowed to use his left hand. I hate to loose.

On the one glorious, sunny day. We broke out the spike ball and had us some good times! It felt almost like summer! 

We even Skyped Grandma and Grandpa and played a riveting rendition of The Dictionary Game. Good times!

We bought 4 puzzles. We started one. I think this pictures tells you all you need to know about how the kids feel about this puzzle business. But Chuck's having fun.

Another miracle occurred. I thought of meals for another whole week. I never cease to be amazed. And just for the record, pierogis were on the list last week, but we never ended up making them. We had leftovers that night instead, thus, pushing them to this week.

Which is exactly what Bennett and I are doing here...the pierogi making process.

Chuck and I have dusted off our old Duolingo accounts this week and have been busy learning languages. Chuck is learning Polish. His new job has an office in Poland and he actually has co-workers he talks to on a daily basis. He wants to show a deeper interest and learning their language is the best way. I'm back to learning Spanish. I'm just like my students, love to learn it - scared to speak it out loud. It's always super important to be learning a language while you're teaching one so that you better empathize with your students. I feel their pain.

Pilates is my ever present friend and "calmer-downer." It keeps me centered and helps ease my anxiety and nervous energy. Hmmm....that also sounds like Chuck. And Gavin. And Bennett. And Chloe. Wow! I'm so lucky. I have lots of people (and pilates) in my life that help center me. How thankful I am. 

Even though these are challenging times, I have to say I'm so incredibly thankful I get to "be stuck" with my favorite people. The extra time we get to spend together talking, playing, just is truly a gift.

Mar 20, 2020

The New Normal - Quarantine Week 1

3/20/2020 — cori
And by "Week 1" I mean the last 5 days. Life has been forever altered from this covid-19 virus. It's surreal. We will always look back at this defining moment in history. This will change the way life, government, money, healthcare, school, work is done.

The kids' school has been postponed until April 20. All restaurants, hair salons, gyms, theaters, etc...are all closed. Overnight it seemed, everyone started taking the deadliness of this virus and how rapidly it spreads seriously. We are happy to do our part. We have voluntarily self quarantined, meaning purposefully stayed in our house and not visited friends in person, since Monday. This has admittedly been much harder on Chloe and Bennett. At this age, friends are THE MOST important thing. Social distancing is the LAST thing they want to do. Thank God for social media and smart phones.

So I've decided to chronicle each week (since the monotony of each day would bore you to sleep). I know we'll make it through this and most likely forget all the crazy things we did to stay sane and have fun and still enjoy life and not get overwhelmed with being together 24/7. So, here's how this week has gone:

Thank God Chuck already works remotely. This is a huge thankful. He also recently (like 3 weeks ago) started a new job. The down side of that is, we have no health insurance during the month of March. 

As usual, we have our weekly meal plan. This really hasn't changed except for we sometimes go out once a week. Now we don't. The hard part is coming up with new meals for the indefinite future and having enough ingredients in stock. Grocery shopping has taken on a whole new meaning.

If you had told me that one day in the future that I would be standing in line outside Walmart (a store I typically boycott) at 5:45am in order to procure toilet paper and food to last us through the week, I would have laughed out loud. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

But it was worth it. There were exactly 20 packages of toilet paper on the near empty shelves. I was one of the lucky ones. I was also able to find some of the last butter, cheese, black beans, and sugar. Oh the things we used to take for granted! 

The whole experience would be a little easier to bear if this wasn't the weather we were quarantined in. I wish we were quarantined in San Diego. With winds gusting up to 40 miles an hour, snow, frozen mix, and below freezing temperatures in CO, I'm beginning to feel a wee bit discouraged. I want Spring weather. I want sun. I want to be able to go outside and hike or hit the tennis ball or just sit on the driveway. PLEASE COLORADO - have mercy on us!! Show us the sun. Cancel the snow.

One of the things saving my sanity right now is my online Pilates class I've been doing for the past year. It helps to keep me calm and I feel strong and healthy once I'm done. Plus, I love to pretend that I too am on the beach doing pilates in the sun. This is my fantasy right now.

Everyday for 15 minutes I catch Trevor Noah on IGTV  and can laugh off much of this insanity. This is social media at its best. We're in this together.

Tea and cookies can get me through anything. Especially homemade chocolate chip cookies. If I have to have snow and wind and freezing weather and be stuck inside, then I am having 4 cookies to make up for it. Every day if necessary. So be it.

I started and finished this book this week. Incredible! It's about a family who faces tragedy in Mexico and is forced to migrate to the U.S to flee horrific violence and save their lives. The prose is beautiful, the characters are deep, the reality she creates is alarming. 

And this is what I see every time I look up from my book. Ninja has me in her sights 100% of the day. Even while I'm exercising. We are apparently joined at the hip now.

This is a little difficult to read because it's written on a piece of glass. But Chloe wrote this out of her own volition. I was super impressed. I don't even have a daily plan in place...yet. This is how she is coping. I like it. And it inspires me to do the same.

Chloe and I made the cookies I can't live without together this week. But I must confess, I did a horrible thing. I rinsed out the bowl of batter before she had a chance to eat the leftovers. *wince*  Mom fail. I even remember thinking that she might want to eat the leftover cookie dough, but then my uber-efficient 'clean-as-you-go' cooking methods must have overridden my better judgement. This literally about ruined her day and I'm not over exaggerating. She had to go spend some time by herself to breathe and help her get over the massive disappointment I just caused. 

Obviously, we are playing lots of games. This particular one is Rummikub. Chloe and Bennett set me up for failure. Apparently I was out of the room when they were setting up the game. We each usually draw 14 tiles to start with. They so lovingly picked the worst possible combination of tiles to start me off with. So that was fun. However, I did have one whole day where all I did was win. That is rare in my life, so I'd like to share it and in doing so, document the event. In one day, I beat Bennett in 2 games of darts, 1 round of nertz, and a new board game we played that night after dinner. It feels so good to win. This is usually Bennett's territory, so it's new and uncharted for me. I hope to explore this feeling a lot more these coming weeks.

And lastly, let's talk about the hair, makeup, and the clothes situation. I'm finding it VERY HARD to care. This is my uniform most days (the only things you can't see are my leggings and slippers). It's an effort to actually do my hair, to want to put on makeup, to wear anything nice because WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Which is interesting. I didn't know that I was doing these things just to be seen by others. I'm going to have to meditate on this for a while. Anyways, I purposefully put on makeup two days this week and didn't put it in a messy bun for 2 days. We'll see how this progresses or digresses over time. Another digression I must mention...I was supposed to get my hair colored in 2 weeks. Now I must wait indefinitely. This scares me. We're about to get very real here people. 

Chloe and Bennett are doing good as siblings can do. They are antagonizing each other, taking pictures together for Insta, playing games with one another, and finding common things to do together such as re-watch the first two seasons of Stranger Things. So, that's good. 

They both also have their disappointments and fears over this whole situation. Chloe was scheduled to have 2 more "Behind The Wheel" driving lessons before she tested for her driver's license on April 6. Then the DMV shut down until April 18. Devastated is a good word to use here. You know the independence and excitement this right of passage bestows on every 16 year old. And now it's postponed indefinitely. It just plain sucks. She said her birthday (on Apr 5) was cancelled.

Bennett is one of the managers on the girls tennis team during their Spring season. He was quite popular with the ladies and loving it. He even clicked with one special girl and they got to enjoy a few short-lived outings together before coronavirus put an abrupt end to their fun. Thankfully, they are still chatting online and he even asked her out to Prom. We still have to plan and hope. But it's scary. Will there even be a prom? Will he still have a formal graduation? A party? Who knows at this point. And we will drive ourselves mad worrying about something we have zero control over.

Gavin is still tucked away in his little safe alcove of North Dakota, where the virus seems to be having minimal impact. So far. He's still able to work his on-campus job even though all of his classes have moved to on-line only. We had a little scare early last week when he was down with a bad cold for a whole day. Any fever, achy, coughing symptoms make all of us twitch with fear now-a-days. Thankfully, it really was just a cold and he was able to pick right up where he left off after another day or two. Whew! Disaster averted. Right now, he's choosing to ride this out with his friends. We'll see what the coming weeks hold for all us.

Mar 12, 2020

A Historic Closure

3/12/2020 — cori
This is where Bennett and I were supposed to be next Friday. We had tickets to watch a 1st and 16 seed as well as a 7th and 8th seed game in Greensboro, NC. It was supposed to be his special senior trip. It's been planned for months. We had everything booked over 6 months ago, hotels, rental cars, plane tickets. We even had a fun itinerary of other amazing things to do in the area: visit the Duke campus and basketball museum, visit the University of North Carolina campus and basketball museum (notice the theme we have going here?), go zip-lining, go to the zoo, go hiking, go to the Civil Rights Museum. 

And now in a completely shocking turn of events, all of that has been canceled due to the covid-19 virus pandemic that is sweeping the globe. People are taking drastic measures to curb the spread of this rapidly infectious virus. All NBA games and  NCAA games have been canceled indefinitely. This is the first time this has ever happened. And it also happens to coincide with the first time we have ever decided to go watch this in person.

I'm very thankful people are taking this so seriously. I'm also thankful we found out about this before we got there. I'm hopeful these serious precautionary measures will help subdue the virus and slow it's progression before more people fall ill. 

The only silver lining in all this is...I think you can guess where we'll be next March. 

Mar 9, 2020


3/09/2020 — cori
My sweet girl made this for me months ago. I picked up my phone one day and saw this love note hidden inside it. It's now my favorite part of my phone.

Last month, when Chuck and I were traveling, I had my e-ticket on my phone. As we were boarding, I put my phone over the scanner where the attendant stands before letting you walk down the ramp to the plane. As I placed it over the scanner, the note side was facing up towards him. He said, "Yes you are" and smiled at me. I didn't catch on at first. Then I realized he was affirming Chloe's note. How kind was he?!

Little acts of random kindness really do make an impact that we never really know the ramifications of. Who knows, maybe that attendant went home and made a little note for his wife or kids. Love is the most beautiful when it's given away freely.


Mar 2, 2020

Exercising Our Creative Muscles

3/02/2020 — cori

What else are you supposed to do when it's cold and gray outside? We thought it would be a perfect day to do some art. It's a very cool story how this came to be. I was waiting for a meeting to start at work. A co-worker and I were visiting. He was telling me about how he has started dabbling in art. I was so happy for him. I shard with him how I had just finished reading about how we in the West often become too cerebral and loose touch with the creative/emotional side of our brain. The following week, he brought me that whole palette of colors you see sitting in the middle of the table, some brushes and some canvases. He said, "It sounded like you would enjoy this." What a thoughtful, kind gesture!

 These were the fruits of our labors yesterday. We had a relaxing (most of us - Chloe, not so much) time letting our creative juices flow. Bennett did the Kobe jersey and Horsetooth Mountain. Chloe did the Be Happy Sunflower. I did the 4 mini-tiles that were supposed to look like a hand-painted ceramic tile. Chuck did the incredible moonscape. Can't wait for the next time! I need a lot more of this outlet for my brain. It's hard to try something you're not good at and be okay with it. I never want to stop growing and learning. This outlet will aid me in that goal.

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