Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, writing

Tales of Truth – The Covid Diaries

First things first. To all the health care workers, I don’t know how you’ve done this for over a year now. I’m in awe of you all. Thank you is not a strong enough sentiment.

In my part of the world, we have been in lockdown since Boxing day 2020. A stay at home order was imposed early January and fingers crossed it is supposed to be lifted February 10th. Although I work retail, our store sells shoes and safety footwear to essential/front line workers, so yours truly has been working the entire time. We are open by appointment only for front line/essential workers and for any other customer, we are offering curbside pick up. Yep, selling shoes curbside, in Canada, in the winter. Yep, it’s different to say the least. I try not to complain, for I am still working, shortened hours, but working none the less. My boss treats us to coffee, takes over any irrational customers, in person or on the phone, we can take as many breaks as we need, I am fortunate and I know it. That being said, it’s been, interesting. At the end of my 6 hour shift I feel as if I’ve come off a 12 hour shift. Physically I’m fine, mentally, I’ve hit a wall. Curbside sales are now handled via text, email, phone call or facetime. At any given time I have 3 phones on me… I feel like a cross between a stock broker and drug dealer.

The majority of customers have been great. Patient, kind and grateful for the service we are providing. Unfortunately, of course, being retail, there have been some customers that make Karen seem like Mary Poppins. Being me, I’m gonna let you have a glimpse behind the curtain and share some of the experiences of my co-workers and myself. I can’t make this shit up.

  • at least once a day we receive a call from someone wanting to come in the store. We ask them if they are working and when they say no, we explain we offer curbside and that instore shopping is by appointment only and for essential/frontline workers. Then they proceed to ask us to lie for them. Yep. They actually say “Can’t you just say I’m essential, I really want new running shoes and I always try on at least 10 pairs to find the perfect one.”.
  • We’ve had people come in for a scheduled appointment turn around and tell us they are retired, that they aren’t working. *Cue manager intervention and direction to curbside service.
  • We’ve been yelled at and the f-shot shouted at us over the phone because the customer thinks the “lockdown/stay at home order is bullshit!”. …sigh
  • We have to tell customers to put their mask on when we deliver their shoes curbside.
  • I’ve been told I don’t know what I’m talking about when I explain the lockdown/stay at home restrictions and regulations
  • Many products are on back order, because of Covid. At least three times a day, myself or one of my co-workers is yelled at because of it. My favorite retort is “That’s what you said when I called on Sunday!” …we are closed Sundays.
  • When we take the purchases out to the cars, it’s so much fun when the customers exclaim “Sure is cold eh? You gotta be freezing!” and continue to chat as they are in the warm car. Sometimes I inch forward in hopes of catching some heat from their vents.

As I said earlier, most of the customers have been great. Grateful for their new footwear so they can go to work and get the job done. Jumping out of their cars, mask on to get the boxes from us so we don’t have to be outside longer than needed. Tipping us for our service. Asking us how we are doing. I had a gentleman ask if he could go get me a coffee. Elderly customers telling me I brightened their day, staying on the phone with them for 30 minutes helping them replace their slippers.

I can’t believe it’s been a year that I’ve been writing about Covid retail. A year. Although it’s been tough, and dealing with the public hasn’t been the thrill ride of my life, I do have to say, every day, at least one person, a perfect stranger shines a ray of hope into my day. Genuine kindness expressed. Genuine concern and compassion has been shown. Yes, we need a vaccine. Yes, we need to wear a mask. Yes, we need to sanitize/wash our hands, and yes, especially now, a year into this pandemic, kindness can be a cure too. Kindness may not cure a virus, but it can cure a beaten down spirit. It can bring warmth to your heart and a smile to your face. One of my favorite quotes goes a little something like this, “Your kindness may be the only glimpse of god someone see’s today.”. A simple act of kindness can give someone the energy to keep going, give them hope of better days to come. Be kind, plain and simple.

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat, Women

Sunday Confessions

I have a confession to make. A confession of non guilt. I no longer feel guilty about putting myself first. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a woman, a wife, a mother and a daughter who no longer feels guilty about putting myself first and making my mental, emotional and physical health a priority. Before those who know me well call me out about “health”, yes, I still smoke, I’m working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Last night I had the gift of free time. No dinner to make – thank you left overs. An early out of my shift – thank you Covid. My daughter busy mastering her craft. My hubby driving out of town for his weekly check in on his Momma. As I sat down to Netflix and VegOut, I found myself thinking about caretakers. How as women, we are designated this position without any consultation. We are told that’s how we are wired, that it’s in our DNA. That it’s selfish to want, it’s selfish to fill our plate first. That a good wife puts her man first. That a good mother makes sure the needs of her children come before her own. I call bullshit.

I’m here to tell you, from personal and agonizing experience, putting others first and yourself last helps no one, least of all yourself. Sooner or later resentment sets in and BAM! Unnecessary arguments with your spouse, temper tantrum competitions with your children, tears and hurt feelings to all and from all who surround you. All you’ll be left with is puffy eyes, a headache, a sore stomach, feeling like you’re the worst person in the world and your loved ones walking on eggshells in fear of waking the beast and you all wondering “What the hell was that?”. You know what it was, because you know you didn’t make yourself a priority. Your loved ones have no clue, because they don’t know that to put them first you chose to put yourself last. Yep. I said it. You chose to put yourself last. Hey, I did it for 3 1/2 decades, no judgment. I’m here to tell you, don’t waste anymore time and emotional turmoil. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to put yourself first. The world will not open up and swallow you whole. Those who love you will not leave you. Mouths will still be fed and beds will be made.

Now before you declare to your family that they are “on your own bitches!” that is not the moral of this post. Take a breath. Again. Better? Okay. Those familiar with my blog know all to well how I adore lists. So being me, I’ve compiled some guilt free self care, put yourself first tips. PYFT’s if you will.

  • before you get out of bed, make yourself think of one thing you are grateful for. Just one. Let yourself begin your day with a grateful heart.
  • once the coffee is brewed or the tea is steeped, pour yourself the first cup every so often.
  • eat the last donut
  • have your shower first
  • light a candle or turn on your Scentsy warmer as you’re packing lunches. Surround yourself with your favorite scent, even if just for 5 minutes
  • put on your favorite tunes, past and present while washing the ever present dishes. For full effect – put your ear buds in and shake your booty.
  • get outside. Even it’s for 5 minutes. Every morning I make myself go outside and just stand in my backyard. Sometimes I take pictures with my phone. Sometimes I just stand there. I feel better and it gives my neighbours a hobby.
  • watch your favorite shows or movies. I don’t care if you’ve already watched it twice in a month. If it makes you happy, watch it.
  • start reading. Asks your friends if they want to do a book swap. Educate yourself. Enlighten yourself. Escape your reality for a moment. Even a page a day makes a difference. It does.
  • start using your fancy creams and soaps.
  • treat yourself to professional shampoo, conditioner and treatment. Trust me on this one. A good hair day goes a long way. If your hubby can spend $30 on his “phone game” and your kids can make you remortgage your house for Minecraft, you can have great hair.
  • create a vision board. Physically or virtually – gotta love Pinterest. Make yourself something that when you look at it, you feel joy.
  • make a Jello. When you open the fridge, you’ll see something you did, something you accomplished. My gramma Leah knew what’s what. … or a cake, or cookies or whatever your favorite treat is.

It’s time to become your own caretaker. No guilt. No shame. Putting yourself first and practicing self care makes you a better caretaker of others.

Merriam-Webster defines caretaker as “one that gives physical or emotional care and support.”. I looked up many other definitions from various dictionaries and not one definition reads “one that gives physical or emotional care and support only to others and not themselves.”.

communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat

Hindsight is 2020

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”. – T.S. Eliot.

Here we are. The first day of a new year. January 2021. I woke up this morning after sleeping through the night, a rarity this past year. I wandered into the kitchen, started the coffee maker, looked at the calendar with a sigh of relief, for 2020 was officially over. I ripped that sucker down and gently placed my new calendar in it’s place. Nothing quite like a new calendar, fresh paper and dates open to endless possibilities. As I went to throw out the old calendar, still in my “clean slate New Year’s morning bliss”, I was catapulted back to reality with a full garbage and dirty dishes all over the counter. … a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same, #momperks #wifeperks. I used to get so angry about that, an overflowing garbage can, dirty dishes piled up on the counter, now… not so much. Trust me when I say I still have my “I am the only one who see’s this?!” moments, they are becoming far and few between. Mostly I’ve taken to Instagram stories to get my vent on. I call them my “keeping it real” posts. There’s one today if you’re interested.

Anywho, back to the tale at hand. I don’t know about you, but wherever I turn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, text, zoom, facetime, TikTok, you name it, there it is. You have the “fuck you 2020” posts or the “thank you 2020” posts. Today’s post is a little bit of both. You know me, it’s all about balance. Here in Ontario, we are into our second week of a lockdown. It began Boxing day. I am still working, as my store is deemed essential since we supply safety shoes, etc. We are open by appointment only for essential workers and curbside for anyone else. Let me tell you, selling shoes curbside is a trip, a trip to the Bermuda triangle. Grateful for my job, not so grateful for the ever changing policies and procedures. Balance.

This past year has taught me patience and how to let things go. It took 48 years on this planet and a global pandemic, but I finally learned patience and thanks to Elsa, and Snoop Dogg, I have a new personal anthem. (Google Snoop Dogg frozen… trust me, it’s awesome). Beginning in March, I had no say in my job, my hours, where I could go or what I could do or when or if I would have time alone in my own home. Shops were closed. Quarantine was in place. No hugs. No visits. Nada. So, I finally took my own advice that I spew out to all those I hold dear, and controlled the only thing I could, myself. When I started to feel the tightness in my shoulders and chest about having to get things done, I took a deep breath, or twenty, and let it go. I couldn’t visit friends, but I could drop off a goodie bag. Like nicky, nicky, nine door for adults. Ring the bell and run like hell. I couldn’t have my parents over for dinner, but I could go to the grocery store for them. I couldn’t celebrate life’s great and small achievements of those I hold dear and the special moments of their children, but I could send flowers, or an edible arrangement as an unexpected surprise. I’m a fixer, by nature, I just am. This past year has taught me that sometimes the best thing you can do to fix a situation is nothing. More often than not, listening is the best tool to fix any situation. My daughter and my husband like their solitude. It took me a long time to respect that and not take it personally… I’m a Leo, what can I say? This past year, instead of worrying that something was wrong, I took it upon myself to enjoy the quiet and allow myself some solitude too. … Oh yeah, I still peeked my head in my daughter’s room at least once a day with a typical “How ya doin?” mom tone, or a “Hey baby” from across the room to my hubby. Balance.

The biggest personal realization about 2020 that I’ve had? I’m a little full of shit. Yep. All those years I said “I don’t have time!”. Guess what, I did, and I do. I finally got around to all those things I “didn’t have time” for, like framing prints, organizing my kitchen, getting paperwork in order, cleaning the garage… all of the above only took 4 hours. Guess what sunshine, you did have time, you just believed you didn’t.

The toughest realization was and continues to be that not everyone sees injustice. 2020 brought some ugly truths to the forefront of our lives, unfortunately many refuse to see it. I for one see it and will continue to try to help others see it too. I will continue to say Black Lives Matter. I will continue to speak the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. I will continue to share and speak of the injustice set upon the Native community. I will continue to share and speak of the inequality of those with disabilities, of women’s rights, human rights. I will continue to share and speak for those without a voice. I will continue to share uplifting news, motivational quotes from Oprah, Mel Robbins, Tank Good News and other personal favorites. I will continue to share music to feed your soul. For those who don’t agree with me, that’s okay. I get it. This is my journey. That is yours. I wish you safe travels. Balance.

The events of 2020 are to be remembered, not re-lived. We are more alike than different. We all deserve to be heard, to be seen, to matter. The actions of one can affect the lives of others, be it positive or negative. We may not all be in the same boat, we are all in the same ocean. Throw a life preserver when you can, and ask for one when you need one. Wear a mask. Seriously, wear a mask. At the end of the day, wouldn’t it feel great to know you that you may have saved a life. That you may have kept a roof over the head of a family because wearing a mask kept the breadwinner of that household healthy. That you thought of someone other than yourself. Trust me, it feels pretty damn good.

I came across a quote that fits me and this past year, “I’m mostly peace, love and light. … and a little go fuck yourself.”. Balance.

health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Golden Rule

Golden Rule (noun) – an important principle that should be followed when doing something in order to be successful; a guiding principle. – Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Matthew 7:12

I haven’t written in a while. I know, last month I wrote how I was going to get back to it. I wanted to be sure I could be as articulate as I could. You see, lately when I open up my laptop to write, all that comes through these finger tips is rage and profanity. Frustrated doesn’t even come close to how I feel most days. Between all things Covid, working in retail during a pandemic, worrying about my loved ones and their emotional health, let alone my own and the Cheeto that refuses to concede and the people that support his lunacy, lets just say fabulous isn’t my go to “f- word” lately. My biggest peeve as of late, is this whole debate over masks. Seriously. Masks. This is the biggest issue for people right now. Really? A piece of cloth covering your mouth ….and nose, is a problem. I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Now, before you troll me with insults, calm down and hear me out. Yes, I know people have medical reasons not to wear one. That being said, I have personally helped a young woman with Cystic Fibrosis, who wore a mask. I have also helped two elderly women with portable oxygen tanks, who wore a mask. These are people who literally cannot breathe, yet they wore a mask, because “it’s the right thing to do.” – their words, to me, when I offered they could remove their mask if it was too difficult for them to breathe.

For those who won’t wear a mask because of the belief that Covid is a hoax, well, it’s not. The numbers are climbing, plain and simple. I have heard people say “Well, I don’t know anyone who has it!”, to you I say, I don’t know anyone with Polio but I know it’s real. Those who say wearing a mask and Covid is a government plan to control us, just stop. Here in Canada the government offered $2000.00 a month to it’s citizens, for 8 months and counting. …. trust me when I say the government is not known for giving us money. Stating Covid is a hoax is an insult to those who have lost their life. It’s a slap in the face to all health care workers and their families, and it makes you sound like an ass. It just does.

Here’s the deal. This is not about you. This is about us. It is about doing the right thing. In life, doing the right thing is seldom easy or painless, except this time. Doing the right thing during a pandemic is to wear a mask. That’s it. For the majority of people, it means wearing a mask for 20 – 30 minutes if you venture out, no biggie. For many, myself included, it means wearing a mask for at least 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. No biggie.

At the end of all this, if we find out masks weren’t necessary, I’m fine with that. I have no problem knowing I did what I could with the information I had. If I end up looking the fool for wearing a mask, I’ve looked the fool for a hell of a lot more.

Merriam-Webster’s definition states the Golden Rule as a noun. It’s time to make it a verb.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Empty chairs

Today’s tale is for all the stylists out there. In the best of times, many struggle to keep clients in the chair. In the time of Covid 19, now more than ever, client retention is more important than ever. As you know, I am not a licensed stylist. I have (physically) been out of the Salon and Beauty Biz for more than 4 years now, and although I am no longer in the Salon, every day, and I mean every day, I receive a text, an email or a face to face question, “What product should I use on my hair?”. When I ask them “What did your stylist suggest?” more often than not, I’m sad to say, their stylist either gave them no advice at all or told them to pick up their products at, gulp, Walmart.

I have covered this situation many times in the past. The following blogs were some of the more popular ones;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2014/05/20/if-you-are-a-stylist-you-are-a-sales-person/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/05/24/my-stylist-said/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/05/28/a-conversation-between-two-people/

Here’s the deal. When your clients are sitting in your chair, they are putting their trust in you. Plain and Simple. Trusting you will help them like their reflection once again. Trusting you will be honest with them about which cut is best for them, how to manage and maintain their new color. Trusting that they will be taught how to achieve the same look and feel to their hair once they leave the Salon. The only way your client will be able to achieve this is with the proper products and the proper styling techniques, from how to blow dry their hair and how many products they will need. Some styles only need one product, some styles need multiple products and styling tools. As a stylist, it’s up to you to teach them. To educate your client on what’s what with products and the importance of using the correct one.

In the past 4 months I have personally spoken to 8 women who were looking for a new stylist because they did not like their hair, their stylist didn’t listen to them and just did what they thought was best, or because, I’m sad to say, their stylists made them feel stupid, or blamed the client for their hair being a mess. I told them to give their stylist one more chance, with a caveat. I give them a list of things to ask/tell their stylist. Remember, you are paying for a service, you are allowed to ask questions or give opinions, politely of course. Tell your stylist what you like and do not like. If you don’t like to use a blow dryer at home, tell them. If your unsure about styling techniques, ask them to show you. Wondering why you are never told what products to use? Ask them to show you what products they suggest. Ask them about the product they just used on your hair. If the stylist isn’t open to a conversation or questions, you now know it’s time to move on to another chair.

Business, communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Here we are, day whatever of Covid-19. Some of us are still on lockdown, some are self isolating, some are in Phase 3 of reopening, some are back in Phase 2. Many are sick, and sadly many have left this earthy realm far too early. Parents are scrambling for daycare and with every sneeze their child has, worrying if their child will be allowed to go to school that day, all with the ever constant worry if they will have a job tomorrow. Teachers are trying to educate and discipline via Zoom. The list of change is endless. The one thing that hasn’t changed is retail. Yes, I realize the nature of retail has changed, the one constant is the behavior of the customer. Many are great, but as always, there are always those precious few that explain why there are warning labels on detergent. Here’s a glimpse of what retail life has been like over the course of the last few months, pre and post mandatory masks.

  • Social distancing is a concept many cannot grasp. Keeping 6 feet away from each other seems too hard to comprehend. I mean, I understand that all our lives women have been “told” what 6 inches is, but come on.
  • I have been called a bitch because I asked a customer, who was not wearing a mask, to back up so I could get her shoe for her.
  • My coworkers and I have been purposely coughed on while being told “Well, you got a mask”.
  • I’ve been told I’m a hoax believing lemming because I was disinfecting surfaces that countless numbers of people touch.
  • I had a customer tell me “I’m a truck driver that goes to the U.S. all the time. I’m supposed to be quarantining right now, but they can’t make me! I got a life to live!”.
  • Before mandatory masks, I was laughed at, pointed at, smirked at, told to “Speak up! I can’t understand you!” or ignored by customers because I chose to wear a mask.
  • I’ve had complete strangers walk right up to me, rub my arms and say “It’s too bad no one is taking Covid seriously”. … six feet Karen. Six feet.
  • A woman kept taking her mask off to sneeze, then touch her face, then touch the product, then put her mask back on.
  • A woman clipped her toe nails to see if that would make the shoe fit better. I shit you not. Pulled out her nail clippers in the store and clipped away.
  • A woman continued to stand right beside me, even after asking her to move away. Then complained that she couldn’t sit beside a woman (who was 6 feet away) because of Covid. …sigh
  • Every day, I am asked when stock is going to arrive, and many woman do not like that I don’t know. Some even get angry, some pout, some even tell me “This and you are bullshit”. FYI – many products weren’t even made. …pssstttt, China was shut down for months too.
  • Grown men have yelled at our part time teenage girls who ask them to sanitize before entering the store. Literally losing their shit, waving their arms, yelling “masks and hand sanitizers are bullshit”.

I could go on, you have no idea for how long. There have been lovely customers too.

  • I’ve been thanked for working during the past 5 months.
  • I’ve had customers give me a cash tip for helping them.
  • I’ve helped make our elderly customers feel comfortable and safe.
  • A woman with a portable oxygen tank had her mask on. I could see she was struggling. I told her she could pull it down for a moment if she needed. She said “No. It’s the rule and I want to protect you and me.”.
  • I’ve had customers come to my defense when another customer isn’t being so nice.
  • My coworkers and I have each others back.
  • My boss and the owner have come to our defense with irrational customers. They will come and take over the sale for us.
  • My work place is doing their best to protect us.

Here’s the deal. Believe it or not (that’s your choice), Covid-19 is here, and it’s gonna be around for a while. Be prepared that you may not get the fall boot you’ve had your eye on. There are stock shortages everywhere – tried to get any Lysol wipes lately? I get it. It’s frustrating. It’s a royal pain in the ass. Wearing a mask isn’t fun – try wearing one for 9+ hours a day. I know you miss your friends and family, so do I. I too miss the days of my only morning thought on my way to work was “What should I make for dinner”. It sucks. Plain and Simple. How about trying not to make it suck more for yourself and others.

Be kind. Be patient. Think about others. Try to remember every sales person is doing the best they can, some days better than others, some days worse, no one is perfect. Try to remember, just like you, they have no control over what is happening. All we can do is control ourselves.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

So there I was, sipping my coffee, looking out the window at the grey and gloomy skies thinking “typical Monday” until I realized it is in fact Sunday. I don’t know about you, but losing track of what day it is, or what day something happened or something someone said freaks me out a little. It doesn’t help that Alzheimer’s and dementia runs in my family. So I find myself making myself recite dates, times and memories to lock them in my memory vault. Yes, I am fully aware that my anxiety and OCD is showing, but here we are.

I find myself checking the fridge and freezer more than I should. Not for snacks….not every time. I find myself double checking that I did in fact buy enough food the last time I went to the grocery store to last us 2 weeks. I try to only go every 2 weeks. Trying my best to stay home. This Thursday coming is my planned grocery day. I’m already feeling a little tight in the chest about it. I find myself planning my “aisle route”, double checking I have a mask and hand sanitizer in my purse, that I have enough cash in case the debit is down, how to get the food in the house, should I wipe it down first or wipe myself down first …and it’s only Monday…I mean Sunday. When I realize what I’m doing to myself, I try to calm down. I try to change my mind. More often than not, I find myself in my garage having a cigarette. … I know. I know! Smoking is bad for me, especially in these times. Cut a girl some slack okay? I don’t even know what day it is. … and although it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, there is no booze in my house.

Most days I’m good. More or less feel like myself, make the most of things. Do a puzzle. Bake anything. Clean around the house. Play a game with the family. Call up friends. Check in on those who need help. Share funny posts and good news on Instagram. Go for a walk. Stand in my backyard and feel the breeze on my face. Then there are the days that I’m just sitting there, literally sitting there, not reading or listening to anything or watching T.V. and all of a sudden my eyes fill up. I’m on the verge of crying. Usually first thing in the morning. I’m always the first one up, so the house is quiet = more time to think. I don’t even know what I’m crying about. I think it’s just a release. My spirit letting go of stress, of the should have and could haves, maybe even grieving a little bit. Grieving for changed plans, or plans lost. Grieving for my dear friends who have lost loved ones these past few weeks. Grieving for the families and communities in Nova Scotia. Missing my Gramma Leah and her words of wisdom and fabulous recipes.

The point of this tale is not to cordially invite you to my pity party. It’s written in hopes of helping anyone who is feeling the same way. To let you know it’s okay to feel like you’re losing yourself. It’s okay to be scared that you may bring something home with you other than groceries. It’s okay to be happy and it’s okay to be sad. There is no right or wrong way to feel. We are all in this together.

Wash your hands. Stay home as much as possible. Check in on your family. Check on your friends and neighbours. Laugh when you want to. Cry when you need to. It’s going to be alright.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Everyday is a new day. … not sure what day it is but it is a new day. I’ve been filling my days with household chores, errands for friends, surprise drop offs at the doors of those I hold dear – the adult version of Nicky, Nicky, Nine door … ring the doorbell then run like hell. Netflix, news, Facebook, Instagram seem to fill the empty hours. Watching funny videos on Tic Toc, seeing people make the best of their isolation/quarantine does give me hope for the coming days. Speaking of hope, today I decided to create a new Tales of Truth series, to help rid any guilt of feeling like you aren’t accomplishing enough, to let you know we’re all in this together and we all have bad days. That it’s okay to be bothered by the sounds of your spouse’s chewing. That it’s okay to be annoyed with your kids. That is is totally normal to lock yourself in your car on the driveway to escape your family.

Yes, I try to spread some joy everyday. Yes, I run to the store for those who cannot. Yes, I share inspirational videos and sassy jokes to make others smile. I also tell my kitchen mat to “Fuck Off!” when I trip on it. In the past days/weeks/months I have been known to;

  • Talk to the squirrels in my backyard. My hubby made them a picnic table and I wanted to know why they knocked the bowl off it.
  • Interrupt my daughter as she was trying to tell me something that inspired her. Yep. Mother of the Year over here. With her eyes glistening with delight wanting to share her inspiration I spoke over her “go down stairs and get some garlic bread out of the freezer.”.
  • Grumble under my breath about how there are 3 adults in my home but I am the only one who can see the full garbage can. I know they know where it is…they use it all the time.
  • I find myself going from room to room looking for my glasses (cheaters actually, was going to go get glasses then Covid-19 came to town), only to find them on my head. Yes, I am officially old.
  • I yell at the television, mostly when Trump opens his big mouth.
  • Ironed every piece of clothing in the house
  • Put my earbuds in when my daughter and husband are talking. IN MY DEFENSE, they have created new languages, no words, just sounds. Sometimes they sing silently to each other. Yes, singing silently is apparently a thing.
  • Take a picture of dirty dishes on the counter and send it to friends to see if they can see them. Making sure that dirty dish blindness doesn’t exist like full garbage can blindness does.
  • Rearrange my baking cupboard 4 times because it just didn’t have the right flow.
  • Go on Pinterest and pin recipes that I will never make…. just keeping it real people.
  • Literally jump up and down like a child in excitement that I found a site that still has jigsaw puzzles … http://www.jigsawjungle.com
  • Monitor the paper towel usage in my home…. who am I?
  • Scare the poor clerk at my local corner store. They had flour and when I saw it I sort of shouted “Yes!”. …I apologized.
  • Look at my exercise bike
  • Go through my 2020 planner and laugh and laugh and laugh.

So there you go folks. A little glimpse into my Covid-19 life. It ain’t all moonlight and roses and that’s alright. We are gonna get through this. We are. It’s okay to be down, it’s okay to be scared of the unknown days that lie before us. It’s okay to laugh and it’s okay to pout. Hoping this brings a smile to your face and reminds you that we are all in this together.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

Here we are. Day whatever of social distancing. This past Friday I ventured out to the grocery store. For the first time in I don’t know how long I didn’t put any makeup on. Didn’t even fill in my eyebrows… the nineties thin brow was not my friend. Who knew it would take a virus to finally be comfortable with my looks, to let go off whatever ideals I had created in my head. Yep. Sorry to say, I have been known to think of myself as ugly, fat, take your pick of self deprecating thoughts or phrases, I have used them. Hell, when we were first engaged, my husband took me to see Phantom of the Opera and I had a freak out, total meltdown thinking I was too ugly to go. … yes, I see the irony in this… I was about to see a show about a dude with¬† a burned face wearing a mask. So, going out without make up on is a big deal for me. Since the breakout of COVID-19, I have felt a shift. Sometimes anxiety, sometimes sadness, but mostly a true sense of what matters and what does not.

I used to wake up every morning thinking of my “to do’s”, my “gotta haves”. I would practice meditation and proper breathing, or so I thought. It wasn’t until this outbreak that I realized I never took a moment to actually check myself. I find myself checking my breathing everyday, throughout the day. I stopped focusing on my weight and am now focused on my health, mental, emotional and physical. *Confession – I am still smoking, keeping it real. I find myself waking up to thoughts of loved ones and friends and wondering what I can do for them, if they need anything, not the usual “I look puffy today”, “did I drink enough water yesterday”, “I really gotta exercise more” thoughts. I find myself finding reasons to laugh and spread some happiness instead of just going along with the status quo. I have always been someone to find the good… drives my friends and family nuts most of the time. This past week, I have made it my mission to find the good, all the time, and when found, share the shit out of that sucker. You tube video’s, my favorite songs, jokes, Sir Patrick Stewart reading sonnets on Twitter, Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello on Facebook, TankGoodNews fabulous posts on Instagram, you name it, if it’s joyful or positive, I’m sharing it.

I know things are scary right now. The unknown always is. The lack of control can be overwhelming. We may not be able to control what’s happening but we can control ourselves. Check on friends, loved ones and neighbours. If allowed, take a surprise care package, leave it at their door and call them to let them know there is a surprise for them at their door. Write a letter. Call them, many people are alone in this and would love to hear another voice other than their own. Send thank you’s to health care providers. When you are out getting ONLY the necessities, be sure to thank all the employees you see, ask the cashier how they are doing, smile and say hello at everyone you see. Social distancing does not mean ignoring people. Stay home if and when you can. It’s not about you as it’s about everyone else. Having trouble staying put? Think of it this way… when someone gets sick and has to be hospitalized, they are alone. No visitors or loved ones allowed. Stay home.

 

Social distancing is the new norm. Many are in self isolation. Many are in quarantine. No matter which country you live in, whatever your political view or your spiritual practice, all of that really doesn’t matter anymore. We are one. We are all in this together. We are all in the same boat and it’s time to throw some life preservers.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, writing

It’s been a time

Here we are. March 22, 2020. I work in the Ladies department at a local shoe store. The shop finally made the decision to close up shop last Thursday evening. Let me tell you, it felt like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think I’ve meditated or gotten “right with Jesus” so much in my life as I did everyday last week. Every morning I would be getting ready to go to work with a sense of dread… not the usual retail job dread. Trying to quiet my mind from all the what if’s, what’s happening, it is safe questions swirling around in my head. I cannot even begin to imagine how all our beloved health care workers are feeling. My hat goes off to them and my heart goes out to them.

Many people are abiding by the new social rule of social distancing, self isolating and such… and many, I am sorry to say are not. This past week, with every world leader (except for Mr. Trump… yes, I said Mr., the buffoon has not earned the title of President… don’t get me started), radio station, television network and social media site declaring the rise of Coronavirus and what to do to decrease the impact and flatten the curve, there are still people out there that just don’t get it. Here are just a few things I personally heard and saw this past week;

  • Families with babies that aren’t even walking yet coming in to look at shoes.
  • People bringing their elderly parents, that have oxygen tanks in tow, in to shop for shoes.
  • People walking right past our sanitizing station.
  • Lady comes into the store. There are literally no customers, just her. I ask if she needs some help. “No. I was told to work from home, but I got bored so I thought I’d look at shoes.”.
  • Lady comes into the store, carrying her dog. Walks through the entire store, touching everything in her path. We ask if she needs help to which she tell us “Nope. Just looking. Just got off a plane from out West. I showered though, so it’s all good.”
  • A couple comes in looking for men’s sandals. They ask if this is all we have. I tell them “Yes. We will have more in April. We are closing until March 31st. to help flatten the curve.”. “Oh, well that’s good” the lady says. “If more people stayed home, the virus would get under control.”.¬† … lady…you are out of your house.
  • A lady came in the store, freshly tanned bragging about her trip that she just returned from. My coworker stood 6 feet from her and the lady laughed at her, going on about “are you doing what the news is telling you to do?”
  • A father and daughter… I think it was his daughter, came in looking for tall black boots… I hope it was his daughter. I passed them the boots then stood back. They asked how late we were open, and I told them our usual time that we close then added “it could change at anytime because of what’s going on.”. The Dad… I really hope it was the Dad, looks at me and laughs “I don’t get what the big deal is. I’m a nurse and I’m not worried. Everyone needs to calm down.” …sigh
  • A woman and her daughter came in to “look around”. I didn’t have the size she was looking for. She said she was going to go to the mall. I let her know all the stores in the Mall are closed until at least March 31st. Her exact words “Really? How come?”. I shit you not people. I had to explain about the closures to non essential services…then had to explain what non essential services meant.

I have also witnessed many acts of kindness and courtesy. Customers keeping their distance, telling me they can help themselves. Customers asking if I was alright and if my family was alright. Customers thanking us for putting a shoe aside for them to pick up and go. Maintenance workers thanking us for getting them the proper safety footwear. Nurses thanking us for helping them get new footwear. I even had a customer ask if I had my own hand sanitizer.

 

These days we wake up each morning to new stats, new “how to’s”, new rules. We may not be able to control much these days, but we can control ourselves. Our actions, our reactions, how we treat one another. Check on your neighbours. Check on your friends wherever they may be around the globe. Shoot them a text. Your phone does more than host your apps and filter your pics, it actually is a telephone. Once and a while, call someone. Let them hear a voice other than their own. If you hoarded toilet paper, redeem yourself and give out some rolls to the people in your building or on your street. Donate food to the food bank. Wash your damn hands. Take a breath.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Plain and Simple.