the year was 2020.

And that year is over. ‘Yay‘ I guess? But contrary to what many seem to think, the clock striking midnight on January 1st didn’t suddenly send us to the comfort of the before times.

So…
I thought I’d try finding some good from the past year. I was going to write a list, by month, of good things from 2020. But then I realized that was ludicrous. In typical Sandra-fashion, every time I came up with something ‘good‘, my brain immediately said… ‘but‘. I guess it’s just my way. Might as well accept it.

January – 2020 is gonna be my year!
But… It was not my year. It hasn’t been my year since about 19##. Wait, if I fill in those digits, I’ll give away my real age. So yeah, 2020 was not my year. It was probably nobody’s year.

February – I got a new oven. I won’t go into detail as to why this was huge and life-changing. Just trust me.
But… I started baking like a maniac and probably gained ten pounds.

March – The kids are home with me all the time now.
But… The kids are home with me all the time now.

April – I had fun doing math I forgot I knew how to do. I even got on calls with a couple of my daughter’s friends in different grades to help them with their math. Math is my thing. One of my things. There’s also the coffee thing and the design thing and the whole darkness thing.
But… We had to have Easter at my house for the first time ever instead of at Mom’s with my sisters. It was sad and disappointing.

May – I noticed my finances improving because I stopped spending money since I barely leave the house.
But… I barely leave the house.

June – I had a birthday.
But… I have aged. Like, I’ve aged about a year per month since March.

July – I managed to sneak in two trips to visit Mom during lighter virus restrictions.
But… Who the fuck knows when I’ll be able to visit her again?

August – I read a bazillion books.
But… I didn’t do much else. And hearing about all the shit people are accomplishing during quarantine really gets on my nerves. Stop rubbing it in. Yeah, you’re super productive. Goody for you. Now shut the fuck up.

My final total was actually 159.

September – Back to school. Yay!
But… School is remote. And so… the kids are home with me all the time.

October – Why can’t I remember what happened in October? Was I in an isolation-induced haze? Maybe I was on a Halloween-candy-induced high?
But… Halloween was basically cancelled.

November – Biden won! Woo fucking hoo!
But… We couldn’t have our traditional yearly party at Mom’s for my kid’s birthday. And Thanksgiving was sad. No big family dinner. It just wasn’t the same.

December – Christmas at our home with just the four of us was better than I expected. I told my kids and husband that I was worried I would be inconsolable having to spend the holiday without my mom and sisters for the first time in my life. I told them they needed to stick a sunshine stick up their asses and make it a good Christmas—no kids arguing, no husband being Cranky McCrankypants. Yes, I used those exact words. And it worked! We even had game night on Christmas Eve! Haven’t been able to get the whole family to do that for years. We had fun. Plus Christmas cookies!
But… By some time on December 26th, it seemed that my family removed their sunshine sticks. And the cookies are gone.

           

Other thoughts…
I have not been in my house alone since March 12th. That’s nearly ten months, people! Ten fucking long months. When I have a virtual appointment with my MH NP, I sit in the car so I have privacy. Not kidding. I do that.

Explicit detail follows…
My vibrator isn’t quiet enough and my house isn’t big enough so we kind of broke up. It’s heartbreaking. We were so close. I miss him. I’m thinking of getting a newer model that’s quieter, but I’ll still be afraid to get caught and have to come up with some lame-ass explanation.

Kind of a big deal…
One of my sisters works for Pfizer. So that’s pretty cool what with the vaccine and all.

Words and phrases overused in 2020 that I hope to never hear again…
Mindful/mindfulness. New normal. The ‘rona. (Oh my god, fucking shoot me.) Sounds like a you problem. Zoom. Quarantine Pod. Spill the tea. Social distancing. (It’s *physical* distancing, people. We need to keep a physical distance, not a social one. Well, unless you’re me. I need social distance, too. But I sure as fuck don’t call it that.) Literally (used incorrectly). Extra (used like a tween). Remote learning. Mask. (And yes, I wear a mask when I’m supposed to. I just hate it.)

As for 2021…
Well, my egg yolk broke this morning when I was making breakfast so that ruined my day. This is not a good start.

Ugh. Is that how 2021 is gonna be?

p.s. — I love how it took me until January 5th… five days… to finish writing this post. And I’d love to tell you it’s because my life is so full of fascinating and wonderful things, so I’m just going to go with that.

         
©2021 what sandra thinks

Posted in holidays, humor, life, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

thought for the day. #2

I was looking for one of those ‘Snuggie’ wearable blankets as a sort of joke Christmas gift, and I came across this. I don’t know if this is funny to everyone or if my sense of humor is fucked up… but I laughed for probably a solid ten minutes.

p.s. — I hope this brought you a laugh… or at least a smile. I’m having a good day sitting by my twinkling Christmas tree… even though I didn’t accomplish a damn thing today. Except, obviously, for finding a Snuggie with a kangaroo pocket big enough for a small cat. 

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in humor, life, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

alive… and live.

I’m alive! Miss me? No? Well, I’m here anyway. Sorry. I can sense your disappointment from here.

I have a new and improved (hopefully you’ll agree) RedBubble shop. Which is live. It’s called first draft because, really, most of my stuff looks like it was my first draft. I’m just not that advanced.

first draft

It has taken me too long to move out of the old shop and into the new one, especially with a ton of new designs. Most of them are funny. At least, they’re funny to me. Unfortunately, it’s already December the third so I’m late for the Christmas rush [that would probably never actually have come to my shop anyway].

As usual, I’ve likely missed the boat. That’s okay, I suppose, since I do tend to get a bit of seasickness. But only on big boats. Is that weird? I always wondered if that was weird.

I hope to be back here more often. I have actually written a *tiny* bit of new fiction. It’s a Christmas miracle. And I should hold onto that because I’m sure it’s the only one I’ll be getting.

p.s. — Yeah, I know it’s horrible of me to show up here after such a long absence only to promote my shop. In my defense, I have to take advantage of any opportunity to let the world know my shop exists. So I’m sorry, but not really. 

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in art, holidays, humor, life, shop, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

yes.

Well, thank fuck.

p.s. — I can already feel the lines and dark circles on my face reversing.

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in life, writing | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

thought for the day.

If I find joy in nothing else today, at least I have the dude at the Dunkin drive-thru who has a sexy-ass voice.

 

p.s. — And this post just proves that I’m still alive. I know you’ve been spending all your time wondering. And you know that’s some serious sarcasm because I really don’t think that highly of myself.

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in life, writing | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

the anxiety of reading.

If there was ever a question that I have too much stress and anxiety, rest assured, there is no doubt.

I have a shit ton.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading. A lot. Thirty-eight books in about three weeks. Perfectly imperfect books about love, many complete with delicious sex scenes. And all with happy endings. Not that kind. Wait… yes, that kind. But the other kind, too.

How is this stressful, you may ask?

Of course, I’m going to tell you.

You can’t have a story without conflict. I mean, you can, but it will be significantly less interesting, captivating, satisfying, and realistic. [I use the word ‘realistic’ loosely. If these stories are anyone’s reality, my life is even worse than I thought.] So… inevitably, the conflict comes. It [almost] always works out in the end. Fuck, if it doesn’t, I just ditch that author forever. I can’t handle an unhappy ending. Stresses me out.

But well before the ending, I’m anxious as fuck. The conflict. I’m worried. I’m yelling [in my head, as it is usually the middle of the night or some shit].

Don’t let her go, you fucking coward!
Give him a fucking chance to explain, you bitch!
Fucking tell her how you feel, dumbass!
For the love of god, please do not sleep with that slut, you idiot!
Noooooo!

Just imagine that’s a book, not a laptop, okay?
Well, okay, a phone because I usually read on my phone.
And imagine that I’m Ice Bear.

As I’m reading through the conflict, I can feel my anxiety creeping up. I can feel my heart hurting. I can feel my eyes watering. I start to tell myself, “Don’t worry. It’ll be okay. They’ll work it out in the end.” Fuck me if that works! By the way, it doesn’t, so I guess I’m not getting any tonight.

Am I too invested? When I read during the day, I’ve had my daughter ask me what’s wrong because I look so distraught that she’s concerned. I’ve also been caught laughing at, as far as she can tell, nothing. Laughter and tears. That’s normal, though. It means the book made me feel things. Right? Fuck, I cry at the end of Tangled every time I watch it, and I’ve seen that movie easily a hundred times. That may not be normal.

All of this conflict-induced anxiety can only be resolved in one way: I must read to the end of the book.

Cue sunrise.

I’ve been up to see the break of dawn more times lately than ever in my life. I’m not waking up… no no no—I’ve not been to sleep yet. I’m sure it’s contributing to my anxiety because I’m not ‘postponing‘ my sleep—I’m getting less. But when I sleep is a problem anyway, so even postponing likely wouldn’t help.

Last night was particularly bad. Six in the morning. Daylight. I have trouble falling asleep during daylight. Even with the blinds drawn. Woke up at ten. Couldn’t get back to sleep. My head is pounding. Has been all damn day.

My lack of sleep isn’t insomnia. I’m not reading because I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I’m reading. I’ve tried to force myself to stop and sleep, but I’m too stressed over the damn fiction I’m reading. Fiction, dammit! I’m going to survive no matter what happens in the damn book. Yet I can’t put it down and sleep until I’ve made sure it’s all good in the end.

On the other hand, I’ve had stories that stress me out so much that I’ve abandoned them. They’re not bad stories. They’re quite good [in my opinion, anyway], but I feel like I can’t take anymore. My god, my heart hurts. I can feel the impending doom. I have to stop. What the fuck? Of course, inevitably, I can’t handle not knowing either. I end up going back to them eventually…

So here we are. The conflict… the loss of sleep… Even something as simple as reading stresses me the fuck out.

p.s. — So much for my assignment. I haven’t posted since 15 June. But… I haven’t talked to the NP since 11 June, so maybe it’s not so bad. But I’m still feeling isolated and lonely, so maybe it *is* so bad. I don’t think I’m getting the desired outcome here…

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in anxiety, life, reading, writing | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

my assignment.

I had an appointment with my NP last week and she left me with an assignment.

We talked about my parenting worries—specifically that I think I’m a terrible mom… and that my own mom was so much better.

How was your mom different?‘ she asked me.

It took me a minute, but once I started talking, it was easy. My mom is confident, friendly, and outgoing. She’s more laid back. She worries like all parents do, but not like I worry about every fucking breath. Even with four daughters, she has always had a great [and close] relationship with all of us. She didn’t work [because four daughters], but she still had [and still has] her own life. She has always had hobbies… she has always had friends… and until he died, she had my dad who she absolutely adored just as he adored her.

I’m not confident or outgoing. I am terrible at making small talk and making friends. I worry excessively. I often feel like I want to hide away in a closet instead of being around anyone, including my kids. [God, that sounds awful.] I used to feel close to my kids when they were younger, but I feel much less close now. I don’t have a job nor do I have my own life. All I am is mom, chef, maid, lazy fuck. I have hobbies but I never feel like doing anything so I rarely partake. I don’t have [local] friends… and I don’t have a great love story. [Or, all I have is a ‘story’… a fictional one. Not a reality.]

I wasn’t cut out for parenting. I wish I had recognized that before I became a mom. I’m just not good at it. Simple as that.

Maybe contributing to my crappy parenting is my lack of confidence and social skills… and in large part, my loneliness.

I’m not alone. The kids are here all the time. The husband comes home after work every night and is around all weekend. But, as everyone knows, loneliness and alone are not the same thing. Hell, I think not being alone makes me lonelier. There’s a level of connection missing for me. It’s the kind of connection you feel when you’re having coffee with your best friend or you’re cuddling up to [or doing other stuff with] the love of your life.

I don’t have a best friend locally. Or any friends. I have my long-distance best friend [and a few other long-distance friends], but we don’t ‘get together‘ regularly. I never met the love of my life. I am sure it’s too late now. He’s not coming. You know, if he even exists at all, which I highly doubt.

Maybe some people are just meant to be lonely.

My NP listened… took in everything I said… and made me think back on one of the things I said—the bit about having a few long-distance friends who I met here. [She knows about this blog—its existence, not its address.]

She gave me an assignment. A two-part one, kind of.

Part one: Post on my blog.
Part two: ‘Talk’ to [email, text, DM, back-and-forth comments, whatever] a friend [or two or more]. Doesn’t have to be a lot. Even just a little… maybe a couple of times a week.

I already told her I was still going to be a mess… still going to feel lonely… because—full disclosure [horrible as my honest thoughts are…]—it’s never enough for me. A few conversations? A couple of emails? It’s never enough for me. I need a constant.

I know… it’s wrong for me to give up and accept defeat before I even begin. But I’m just being honest… with her, with you, with myself.

Yet… here I am. Posting. Thanks for taking part in my ‘therapy‘.

 

p.s. — I just want to be clear that I do recognize that I’m not exactly a person who inspires others to say, ‘Wow, I want to be friends with her!’ So, no hard feelings if you run. If I could run away from me, I’d probably do it.

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in life, writing | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

throwing cake.

When did birthdays stop being fun? I think maybe it was after 29. Sometimes I still give that as my age. It’s a lie.

My family was going to throw a party for me at Mom’s… where we always gather for special occasions. [Aside: Why is the expression ‘throw a party’? What exactly are we throwing? Cake? That would be a tragedy! Never waste cake.] I’m [almost] always the baker, so I’d bake my own cake, and we’d have a late lunch, then cake… all while listening to my little sister talk and talk and talk. She never shuts up.

However, even though restrictions have been loosened a bit, we’re still kind of under a stay-at-home-as-much-as-possible order. And one of my sisters lives in NYC. Getting a train up to Mom’s might still be a problem. And we’re extra cautious about being around Mom since she’s older. She’s healthy, but who wants to take the risk, you know? But how long are we supposed to wait? This nightmare isn’t going to be over until everyone can get vaccinated… with a vaccine that’s not even available yet. I miss Mom. And she lives alone and misses us, too. Maybe at some point, we just have to take the leap and get together.

Party or not, I baked myself a cake. That is the highlight of a birthday, after all. I should probably say seeing my family is the highlight, and that’s nice, but it’s not happening this year. And I crave cake. Like, every single day. In fact, in addition to baking myself a cake, I sent my husband out to buy me a cheesecake. I didn’t feel like making one of those. So I’ll be treating myself every night after dinner until both cakes are gone. [Who am I kidding? Cake is also a suitable breakfast.] I’m really milking this birthday. Or am I caking it? [I know… that was really bad. Feel free to cringe.]

So… I made a cinnamon cake… with cinnamon frosting… topped with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I should have piped a pretty frosting border around the top and bottom edges, but I got lazy. And it’s just me and the husband and kids. They don’t care what it looks like. I should have done it for me, though, right? Yeah, that’s never a good enough reason for me.

And yes, it is sitting on a paper plate. I’m super fancy when it’s just for me. I wonder if I’ll even bother with candles. If I put one for every year of my life, I’ll burn the house down. Twenty-nine [wink wink] is a lot of candles. By the way, I cannot wink.

Maybe just one candle. I mean, I have to make a wish that will never come true, right?

p.s. — Just in case it wasn’t painfully obvious, today is my birthday. Yay?

         
©2020 what sandra thinks

Posted in life, writing | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments