Posted in Quarantine Blogs

Still-At-Home: How Year 30 Starts

This summer, I took a break.

Like many of us, I’d spent the month of May buried in mountains of This is Unprecedented. Writing about it became harder and harder. Paragraphs of incoherent worry and capital letters strewn with confusion. My friend Amy said that one day, I”ll want them, so I’ve saved them.

But for now, whenever I stepped back to read what I’d written, I can’t see myself posting them. I could see my opinions and attitude was constantly shifting and evolving, and what I would write one hour would change from the next.

What I saw in my writing were people I didn’t recognize—other versions of me, people I recognized from my past and people I could see being in my future. Am I survivor? Am I a fighter? Am I a Christian? Am I to be a mother? Am I an activist? Am I to be a wife? Am I to be a leader, or a follower?

What am I made of? All of this because… when push comes to shove, and COVID circles closer to your loved ones, I want to rely on myself. Because who else? There were so many questions to answer, externally and internally. Many of which are still hovering in the air.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer lifted the Stay-at-Home Order in our state on June 1st. We slowed down. We played games, we went up North, we started planning for a fall where we might get married. We started to carefully, physically distantly, see each other. We did quiet math to count up our risks and even more quietly evaluated other people’s mathematical proofs to decide who we could let into our circle. We prayed for the lost ones and deliverance for the rest of us.

We were so optimistic and so careful in our pod, which made July a hot and bitter pill to swallow.

It was clear the first week into July that we were going to take two steps back, here in Michigan. We were still talking about masks and their effectiveness, even in our own families, and making a thousand micro-decisions a day.

Meanwhile, we watched as friends, cities and even entire states fall into a sort of alternative universe about what was Really Happening.

And now, we’re peering into August. I’m turning thirty. The pause button’s been pressed twice, and we’re looking into a school year of epic unknown.

But it’s not all bad news bears.

Certainly, there is a lot of bad news. Mostly bad, actually. I have so much yet to learn about how to process what I can, resist against and change what I can.

This is a new decade for me and all the 1990s babies out there. Beth likes to remind me that in some countries, we were 30 at the moment of January 1st, but these attempts to keep me humble and not declare a birthday month are woeful.

It’s my birthday month! So let’s start out with some gratitude.

I’m grateful for my job. I’m grateful for Beth’s job. I’m grateful for our home.

This should’ve been first! I’m grateful for Beth and all that she does for us.

I’m grateful to my family and friends, who have weathered these times with us. We stay in touch, we do our best, we care for each other… it’s been beautiful and extra meaningful.

I’m grateful for my medicine and access to what I need for my mental and physical health.

I’m grateful for all this time we’ve been spending in our home, making it a home. It’s not usually top of my priority list—I’m not a natural nester. But I’m growing more and more fond of our garden and the quirks of our home, which makes everything seem less like a chore.

I’m grateful for our church, which we found this year before the pandemic, and how they’ve helped me rekindle a faith in humanity, in community and in goodness and in God that I’ve been missing.

I’m grateful for all the essential workers who are making it easier to stay home and safer when we need to go out. They are heroes and as this stretches out longer, we need to remember to care for them.

I’m grateful for the time spent enjoying hobbies! I’ve returned to video games and writing, at first as therapy. I remember what it is to be very interested in doing something not because it’s productive, but just because it’s enjoyable.

I’m grateful for Naga, whose puppy energy brings us joy, and Scout & Jem, who test our patience, but probably do more to teach us about empathy and grace.

And I’m trying to be grateful for myself, too.

In my thirties, I would like to continue to dismantle self-loathing and anxiety about Am I Good Enough? I want to stop erasing my mistakes and acknowledge them instead.

I want to embrace what I see as “hypocrisy” in myself—there are many things I hold in my head as binary that shouldn’t be. A lover or a fighter? (Both.) A Christian or a scientist? (Both.) A career woman or a mom? (Both.) A leader or a follower? (Both.) Am I serious or am I fun? (Both.)

I want to view myself on these scales as spectrums, in three-dimensions, and like in meditation, accept myself as I am in that given moment.

This is how I hope Year 30 starts for me. Not trying to be everything or all of one thing, okay? And it wasn’t a bad thing that I tried to do be always loving, always fighting, always faithful, always skeptical, always working, always leading, always following, always always always. I enjoyed trying to be always.

But I have learned what I needed, I believe, and it’s time to move on. Sometimes. 💕

Posted in Uncategorized

Stay-At-Home Blog #4

Originally posted on Facebook with a few edits. 30+ days in Caratine and Bethantine but did not feel like counting. 

From city gal to frontier woman? (Or, at least, homemaker.)

Yes, I’m one of those asses who started vegetable gardening for the first time during the pandemic. 😂I ordered seeds online and had random bags of potting soil leftover from last year.

So the first attempt at an in-ground raised bed did not have good results. I had only attempted to plant peapods but…
#1. It was right next to a (surprise!) bunny nest
#2. Naga figured out a way to get around the chicken wire “fence” and decided to help dig some trenches for the war
But meanwhile, the seeds we started indoors are doing surprisingly well. Arugula, tomatoes, cilantro, oregano, parsley, cucumber, broccoli, and carrots. Oh, and black corn? Which may not even be edible. So yeah, some basic betch gardening happening right here.
Anyways, those seeds need to get the hell out of the the downstairs bathroom and go off to college outside soon so today I ordered some raised garden beds from Facebook marketplace – and he delivered them today!
The closest I’ll ever come to same day delivery from Amazon, but from a guy named Donnie 🙂 who also explained how I can grow potatoes and onions in a 5 gallon bucket.
We’re still a week or two away from transplanting. 🙂

My dad mailed me sourdough starter.

I started a garden. Rabbits also ate my garden.

My dog Naga brought me a baby bunny. Alive. It was still alive when she gently put it down and still alive when it ran out of our yard.

I am still shouting about it periodically.



Posted in Fun Stuff, Quarantine Blogs

The Facebook “Unpopular Opinion” Game

Unpopular opinion game // 10 things I don’t like that everyone else seems to like:

1) Tiger King – I watched one episode and thought “this should be a podcast”

2) Marie Kondo, except the thanking socks for their service part

3) the word “hiking” – unless you want to go for multiple days, just tell me we’re going on a long walk

4) White Claws and its friends – I gave myself migraines for a summer

5) texting – the least of all forms of communication, I understand its necessity but I’d rather voice talk to you

6) contact sports – all I can think about is are acronyms CTE, TBI, ACL

7) Fitbits – I don’t care about my or anyone else’s steps

8) the word “balance” – this feels like a trap

9) finales – I often don’t finish shows on purpose so I don’t know how it ends

10) tea – but I keep trying, I must be missing something

I also added round two.

Popular opinion game // 10 things I like that everyone else seems to hate:

1) When everyone looks at you when you walk in late — HI!!!
2) lukewarm-to-cold coffee / drinks
4) Subtitles/captions on every show, not just for other languages
5) McDonald’s french fries
6) remote meetings
7) public restrooms
8) Ron x Hermione relationship = OTP
9) making small talk with strangers
10) commercials


For your Cut & Paste pleasure

Unpopular opinion game // 10 things I don’t like that everyone else seems to like:


Popular opinion game // 10 things I like that everyone else seems to hate:


Posted in Quarantine Blogs

Stay At Home Blog #2

Originally posted on Facebook. Changed from Quarantine Blog to Stay At Home Blog to match Michigan’s language — we’re under a Stay At Home  order. 

Caratine Day 16 / Bethantine 9

How is everyone’s week going? Are we getting used to this or getting tired of it? I can’t tell. Attached are photos.
ETA—I updated the Quarantine Queue link, sorry it was so broken!

World Front

I’m going to end this on a positive note, but first, a bitter intro… (Skip to the if you don’t want to read the negative part.)
Hey, remember when everyone was posting this dumb meme?

Wanna hear a coronavirus joke?
You probably won’t get it.

Simpler times. It was just a joke and one that didn’t age well.

It also pretty much captures the essence of the United States Plan for Pandemic:

Tell People They’re Overreacting.

And isn’t this also like the essence of every shitty argument you have with a douchebag? “Hey little lady, calm down, this like the flu. Also, like, why are you freaking out about men making 20 cents more than women for the same job? 80 cents is basically a dollar—you won’t even miss it.”

That’s not a plan, that’s a distraction!

I’m not saying never entertain the idea that you or someone else is overreacting, but you better come prepared with some reassuring knowledge, verifiable facts and actions, a better idea, a convincing argument and an empathetic and compassionate attitude.

So, to the fearless leader of these united states: Step down. Pence holds bigoted views that I oppose morally and ethically, but he might actually not kill as many people as you with your trash facts (best ventilators? best tests?) and brain-dead policies (uh uh uh social distancing is tiring). The economy DOES matter and we need to support our [small] businesses especially.

But it’s not a zero-sum game (life or livelihood, pick one) and you might as well just let the states continue to do what’s best for their constituents, since so far your administration has committed and continues to commit health policy malpractice.

On the positive — human beings are being amazing. I’m updating this post link below as Beth and I hear of ways to help out!

We’re trying to look for the helpers because it’s starting to frustrate us that we can’t do more to help. And it helps to stay organized & optimistic!

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS (a link)this is a public Facebook post, mostly for Detroit Metro area. 

Take care of each other out there.

Home Front

Thank you to everyone who provided TV/movie recommendations — AlvinAngelaAmyPaigeTonyaBernadetteAllyChris and many more.
I made a Google spreadsheet here with all of them, and included things we’re watching or have watched in the past there weeks. ETA: Video games and books

THE QUARANTINE QUEUE:  this now includes a “current status” tab as well, and it’s in the sidebar on this site. 

Video Games — I got my own Switch! DM for the friend code!! Don’t Starve, Stardew Valley & Animal Crossing. These are all games where you spend almost all your time outside and two of them involve a lot of social activity so, yeah, therapy is going great.

Yoga — After two weeks of using worry as a primary form of exercise, I did yoga twice this week! Will record how Naga as my fitness coach but honestly I’m starting to suspect her certification from the School of Big Woofs is bogus.

Hobbies — I found a ruler that looks like a Tolberone! We’re rearranging the house to accommodate two people working from home, and I figured, why not spend 6 hours drawing the house to scale?

Work Front

Google Hangouts does closed captioning and it’s pretty good. First thing I did was see how good its censor for swears was — turns out, pretty good. Also turns out, Levi‘s closet office doesn’t have the greatest security and a child definitely heard words I’ve never said in front of anyone younger than 18.

91378105_10218750242440159_9047831797139767296_o copy

Our coworker Scott joined our standup from a freaking stationary bike.

Asking Evan questions has become much more entertaining. Evan is one of my best friends, neighbors AND coworkers, and he and his wife have an awesome baby who appears on video chat. 

Yesterday, we had a “dress up from home” day and it was so much fun for about 4 hours! And then I got back into my panda sweater.
That’s the update.


Stay well, stay safe, stay sane!
Posted in Quarantine Blogs

Quarantine Blog #1. Even though I don’t have a blog.

Originally posted on Facebook.

 12 days since Carantine began. Bethantine is on Day 5.

This is the first day I’ve haven’t been online to do work or getting the house ready for the long haul.

🎹😑Wish I had a child that can sing or that Rowena lived closer to me so Beth would stop prevailing upon me for concerts to all the new piano arrangements she’s perfecting. I got in trouble at 9pm last night for refusing to sing “For Good” (Wicked) and “Breathe Again” (Sara Bareilles). I am not very good, people, and I’m not being modest– humility confuses me.

Today on deck, we have “Tightrope” (Sara Bareilles version), “All is Found” (Frozen II) and “Part of Your World” (The Little Mermaid.

Send help or send Sara Bareilles. DM me for the address.

💻😎Lessons from WFH last week, modified for my own needs from all those articles about productivity.

1. Protip – Start your day by getting dressed for work. Modification: Start your day by staying in your comfy, bedtime clothes, and DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE. I give myself at least 3 minutes to stare out the window and pretend the email doesn’t exist. Then and only then, once I’ve had this 1-on-1 with myself and my anxiety, I dress up.

And sometimes after a particularly difficult conference / video call, I change my outfits. So far no one has noticed…

2. Protip – Develop self-discipline, strict routines, your own home office. (Basically, do everything you can to mimic the office.) Modification: 😒 WHATEVER. Just like dieting, you know yourself best. Sometimes these articles make it feel like we’ve failed if we can’t perfectly adapt quickly and make ourselves the same work style online as we had offline. The reality is that we’re all going to have to build fairly unique, fairly tailored schedules, routines and spaces, and deal with the fact other people made theirs bespoke to what they need, not what you need.

Anyways, our country lot of workplaces have annoying-to-toxic corporate cultures. Why replicate that at the home office if you can help it? You are more than your job. 🙂

So cut yourself some slack, especially if you don’t feel anyone else is. Even if you think other people are handling it better. Even if you think you’re handling it better than everyone else. You’re doing you, and you’re doing great. We can compare notes later.

🛍🛒🧻Supplies. Mom. We’re good. Mom, it’s okay. Papa, yes, I have hand sanitizer in the car. We have canned goods to last two weeks, dried / frozen goods to last 30 days, we go shopping once a week for perishables, we are getting no-contact delivery for dinner, we have TP/paper towels to last 3 months, we have cat & dog food for 1-2 months, we’ve got soap and Clorox for 6 months, and new air filters on the way. Et cetera. I used to carry around three bags (a backpack, a tote and a small purse/plastic bag) around high school, I’m built for this. But thank you for worrying 💕

I haven’t taken a serious look yet about what we can do to help our community in a separate thread. Oakland County/Detroit have been hit really hard. 😦

📝Tell me how you’re doing? It can be super long or super short. Send me an email or DM, even if we haven’t talked in a while?

I’ve been coping by making lists of all the things I could use this quarantine time to do — brush up on Spanish or the Japanese alphabet, teach myself the ukelele, watch that Masterclass on writing, write a short story, edit my book I wrote in 2010, pick up scrapbooking again, start a Tiktok, make an interior design plan for my whole house. After I make this list, I play Stardew Valley while ignoring my texts until I fall asleep.

I’m really grateful for technology, my job, my family & friends that I don’t text but really love, and all of the privileges my life has afforded me so far.

P.S. what the hell is everyone watching on Netflix?

/end blog

Posted in Uncategorized

First blog post

WordPress to Cara: This is your very first post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Jeezus, WP, can I get a word in? And do you need 4 examples of the same type of blog post? You don’t even give different prompts for each of them. I know I could and perhaps should delete these sample posts, but WP worked so hard on them and the stock photos are just too good.

I appreciate all you’ve done to help set me up today—it took less than hour!—but bye. It’s my turn to talk. No more surfers and rockets! No more Uncategorized posts!

Let’s start with the blog-like content I made for Facebook since COVID19.