Frustration Post

Warning:  I’m frustrated.

I’m trying to set up a new blog / site here on WordPress.  I’m going to keep this one and keep posting in it but I want a different site for a whole different topic.

I find WordPress completely counter-intuitive and nearly impossible to use!!!  I remember having an extreme amount of difficulty when I started this blog.  There are still some things I’d like to change about it but I’ve got no idea how to and I’m worried about screwing up what I already have so I just leave it be.

I’m trying to set up my new site and I feel like somehow I wound up in “sites for businesses” or something rather than “personal blog” because all the layouts I can choose from are business related and I hate all the fonts and I don’t need “buttons” or a ton of contact information or any of that stuff.

Grrrrr . . . .

I keep thinking that WordPress must be fairly simple because a TON of people use it and they can’t all be super techy, right?  I’m super not techy but come on!!

I’m kind of at a loss.  I’ve blown the half hour I have to myself here this morning just trying to figure out how to change the font size on something.  Seriously, 30 whole minutes and I can’t figure it out!

That’s ridiculous.

So, does anyone have any super simple, clear, good WordPress help sites?  I find Word Press’ own “help” articles and videos to be confusing.


Update on . . . Stuff

Its almost 11:30 p.m.  Our beloved dog, Sam, is “not quite right” this evening.  That’s my diagnosis for our animals when I can’t specifically point to what’s wrong and I debate the degree of “not right”, which leads to calling / going to  the vet or not.

Sam has epilepsy and chronic pancreatitis.  His symptoms are mostly pointing to an upset tummy but he has some other symptoms that worry me – a little bit of trembling now and then and he’ll close one eye and then the other.  But gums look good, he’s alert, and respiration looks pretty normal.  The trembling could be pain.  So I’m staying up for an hour or so to keep an eye on him.  Although, I think he went to bed and is probably wondering why I’m still up.

So . . . there’s that.

Our shelter in place restrictions are sort of slowly being lifted.  And you know what, I’m honestly not really happy about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I want everyone to go back to work.  But, with quarantine, the world has been . . . quieter.  And I like that.

I haven’t missed anything I was doing before.  I don’t miss going to Scouts every week.  I definitely haven’t missed camping.  I’m just running around less.  We don’t have to get up at 6:15 to get kids to school and I don’t have to go pick them up in the afternoon.

Granted, we’re lucky.   Husband is still working and I didn’t really work anyway so our income hasn’t changed.  I have teenagers so I’m not trying to entertain little ones.  We have 4 acres and horses so there’s plenty to do and space to roam.  My kids actually get along with each other and we enjoy hanging out together.  They do their homework (mostly) and help out with stuff around the house (usually).  Neither of them are graduating this year so they’re not missing out on senior year stuff.  My daughter is changing schools next year so she’s a little bummed that she didn’t get to tell everyone in person and say good-bye.  But, overall, I’ve really got no complaints.

I’m pretty sure Scout summer camp is going to be canceled and I’m super bummed about that.  We were going to Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island.  I love Catalina and our previous experience at Emerald Bay was fantastic.  Plus, this is going to be my son’s last summer camp.  I was really looking forward to going with both kids.  I’m going to miss that.

We’re also really trying to decide whether or not to go on our summer trip in late June.  We’re scheduled to go to the outer banks in North Carolina and then slowly drive our way north to New York City.  We have just over a week in NYC and then will fly home from there.  Husband and I are discussing options.  We were supposed to take this trip last year but somehow, we just didn’t.  Daughter really wants to go and so she’s going to be upset if we don’t.  But we can find something else to do and maybe, if we stay home this summer, next summer, we’ll take another month-long trip.  We’ll see.

O.k., so this whole post is really not about anything.  I’m still working on getting back on my horse, Slewy.  We were making some progress but were interrupted by having to finish up my daughter’s year-long project for her AP class.  Then I spent all last week trying to catch up a little bit.  I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Which is why I didn’t write the last two weeks . . . remember, no whining in the blog.  I’ll be back on track next week.

And, next week, I’ll introduce our new baby chicks and our new goat.

I’d better go check on Sam the dog.

Coronavirus Monday Morning

Is it terrible that its 10:15 and I haven’t rousted my kids out of bed yet?  I have a good reason. . . . they don’t have “school” on Mondays so this precious time between when my husband has left for work and I make the two teenagers get up is really all that’s left of my quiet time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family.  But having the two teenagers home 24/7 is kind of wearing me out.

Quiet time by myself with a cup of coffee keeps me sane.  That’s hard to come by these days.

So I’m sitting here, surfing the internet, sipping coffee and watching hummingbirds stop by the feeder right outside my window.

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Hummingbirds are cool.

But surfing the internet, Pinterest specifically, and staring out at my front yard, has me contemplating contentment.  I decided my Pinterest boards needed to be organized.  So many ideas!  So many things to do!  So many people who are more crafty, more organized, have a better fashion sense, have a more beautiful house . . . well, you get the idea.

Maybe Pinterest isn’t particularly good for me.  Rather than inspire, it sometimes serves as a catalog of all the things I’m not.  Or, at least, I’m “not” in my head.

Wait!  When I started writing here in my blog again, I swore I wasn’t going to return to whining.

O.k., so I won’t.

This weekend wasn’t the easiest for me personally.  I didn’t sleep particularly well and, when I did sleep, I had funky dreams.  Maybe I’m more worried about cornoavirus than I think.  Coronoavirus often seems very far away as we’re here on our 4 acres with our horses and hummingbirds.

But life has changed, hasn’t it?  And I think I’m more worried than maybe I realize.  Are the kids going back to school ever?  Am I going to get to go look at colleges with our oldest?  Are we financially going to be ok?  How much weight will I gain if I try out all of the pins on m Pinterest “Dessert Recipes to Try” board?

O.k., o.k, I’m almost out of coffee and the two teenagers really do need to get up.  And the laundry needs to be folded.  And, maybe I need to make a fairy garden from my Pinterest “Garden Decorating” board.

Laundry and kids first.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

If I only knew for sure what day it was!  Is anyone else having trouble keeping track of whether is Tuesday or Wednesday, Wednesday or Thursday?  All the days just seem to roll together lately.  When Husband doesn’t go to work, I’ll know its Saturday or Sunday but that’s about it.

It is a beautiful day out though!  Its sunny and lightly breezy, even if its not exactly warm out yet.  Hummingbirds visit the feeder which hangs right outside my window.  The apple tree is blooming, as is the azalea.


Virtual school has started for my kids.  Honestly, its a joke.  I’m pretty disappointed in our school district.  And, now that in person school has been canceled for the rest of the year here in California, I’m worried about how this will affect their education.  My kids, of course, don’t care . . . they’re delighted to “attend” school only an hour (or less!) a day.  We’re only on day 3 of virtual school so we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, the apple tree has gorgeous blossoms.

I’m trying to focus on the positive and take a few minutes every day to notice the small things around me.  I’m lucky to live here in our little oasis.


Coronavirus vs. Fire Evacuation

Last October, we were under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Kincade Fire.  Despite this, we decided to stay put as the fire was (and remained) miles away.

The current Coronavirus “shelter in place” order again has us “hunkering down.”  In many ways, it feels similar – life is suspended, things are definitely not normal and it feels like we’re all sitting around, waiting for something to happen.

However, at the moment, I can tell you that I far prefer this “stay put” order over hunkering down because of a raging fire.  Here’s why:

1. We have electricity.  At our house, since we’re on a well, that means we also have water.  Or, conversely, no electricity means no water.  Let me tell you, when you’re cooped up at home with your family, hot water and showers, or really. . . just water at all, means a whole lot.

2. The horses are at home.  While we chose to not evacuate during the Kincade Fire, we did, out of an abundance of caution, evacuate the horses to the fairgrounds. IMG_20191028_184504_199

The above picture is the herd, safe at the fairgrounds.  Having them at home gives us something to do and lends some structure to the day (they have to be fed twice a day, turned out, etc.).  The barn gives me a place to “escape” to and spending time with the horses gives my 14 year old daughter something to do.

3.  We can leave the property, even if it is just for “essentials”.  During the Kincade Fire, there were manned police barricades everywhere.  We were slightly concerned that if we left home, we wouldn’t be allowed back.  So, we didn’t leave our property.

4.  During the Kincade Fire, not only did we not leave the property, we didn’t really go outside.  Why?  Because the sky looked like this. 20191027_154541

So no walking the dog, no enjoying lunch outside . . . we were really stuck inside the house, again, without electricity or water.  So. Much. Fun.

5.  We’re not packed to leave at a moment’s notice.  During the Kincade Fire, everything we deemed “important” was packed into three of our cars (our 17 year old drives – 3 drivers; 3 cars).  Every night we’d get our suitcases out of the car, unpack our toothbrushes, etc.  Every morning, we’d zip those up and put them back in the car.  Kind of exhausting and a daily reminder that we might have to leave.  And that leaving might be for good.

6.  Coronavirus is an emergency but not quite in the same way.  We aren’t huddled around the scanner, listening to the police and fire traffic.  My husband and I aren’t up every two hours (the first night of the Kincade Fire we didn’t really sleep at all), listening to the wind, going outside to see if anything changed, monitoring our local radio station.  Fire has a whole different level of stress.

Our Shelter in Place order was issued on March 18.  So, we’re 13 days in.  I’m not sure there’s an end in sight.  That’s another difference . . . we knew the fire was eventually going to be put out; it wasn’t going to drag on for months and months.  When this ends is anyone’s guess.

I’m grateful that our lives have not been upended as much as some.  My husband’s work is considered “essential” so he’s still working, although it has slowed down a bit.  I am concerned about our long term financial picture but I’m not concerned about how we’re going to put food on the table.  And, again, there’s a whole lot to be said for electricity and water!

Shelter In Place, Day 1

I’m sure a ton of people are writing these posts as the country shuts down, but I thought I’d might as well join in.

Here in Sonoma County, our “shelter in place” order took effect at midnight.  They put out a list of “essential services” that can remain open.  Of course, banks, grocery stores, doctors’ offices and vets can all stay open.  So can therapists – mental health is apparently essential.  That’s good.

Restaurants and coffee places can remain open for take-out only.  That makes sense.

But some of the businesses listed as “essential” struck me as a little ridiculous, particularly dry cleaners.  Is it really essential that you pick up or drop off your dry cleaning?  Laundromats can stay open.  So can hardware stores (I guess in case you  need a part for an emergency plumbing repair or something?) and auto repair shops / auto parts stores.

The one that really gets me is day cares.  Schools are closed but day cares can remain open.  What???

And I got a text from my Pilates lady this morning (we’re friends) . . . she’s pissed because she had to close (exercise facilities / gyms are on the “must close” list) but the smoke shop next door to her is open.  I suggested that if she took in people’s laundry, and just taught some Pilates on the side, maybe she could stay open then too.

I don’t mean to make light of this.  I know its serious.  And I understand taking precautions.  I just wish I felt like the rules made sense and that they were the same everywhere.

We’re also being encouraged to go outside, walk the dog, go on a bike ride!

So, here in my house, things haven’t changed a whole lot.  The kids are on spring break so they’d be home anyways.  I don’t really work so I’m usually home anyway.  We’re well set to hang out at home for the next few weeks.  Most importantly, we bought a 5 gallon tub of ice cream.


And, in the spirit of “Be Prepared” (I am a Scoutmaster, after all), I did fill my barn with hay, grain and other horse / chicken / bunny / duck  necessities.20200316_175559           20200316_175612

I made sure I have enough anti-seizure meds for Sam the dog and Cushing’s meds for Stormy the old horse.

We did not buy cases of toilet paper, water, or top ramen.

I won’t lie . . . I’m a little concerned about how this is all going to turn out.  I worry about the devastating effects on the economy.  I worry about all the small businesses (and am super glad I didn’t buy an ice cream store a few months ago).

My kids are supposed to start virtual school in a week.  I’ve got no idea how that’s going to turn out!  A Facebook meme noted “All these common core students are ’bout to learn ‘carry the one’.”  Totally true!  Gov. Newsome warned that school may be out for the rest of the year!  Really??  That’s worrisome.  What does that do to summer vacation plans?

So much is unknown.  I think that’s the real struggle.  So, I’m going to try not to worry.  Don’t worry.  Be prepared.  And try to not eat too many cookies.  That’s my motto on Day 1.

Virus Whining

Hi and sorry, I have to virus complain for a minute.  Or, maybe its just complaining and not necessarily virus-related.  Its kinda hard to tell these days, right?

The past couple of weeks have had a few disappointments come my way.  When I started posting again, I promised myself I wasn’t going to whine and I haven’t.  I’m proud of that. So let’s just leave it at the fact that the last week or so has been tough.

And now, Corona-geddon (stole from a friend).  Our county is waiting to hear if we’re going to be put under shelter in place orders.  Unfortunately, our county health officer seems to be only able to issue vague and confusing statements.  So, like many, many others, we’re just hanging out in limbo.

For me, for some reason, limbo today has made it hard to accomplish much of anything.  Really all I want to do is sit around and eat junk food.

We’re definitely ready (without hoarding) to hunker down for a few weeks.  I wasn’t really worried about the whole thing until I read this CNN article:  It says that something like 1 million people in the US could die.  Really?  1 million??  That’s a lot.  That makes it seem much more likely that someone I know will succumb to coronavirus.  Huh.  That kind of puts it in perspective.

O.k., but I still just want to eat junk food.

Shelter in place won’t change our life much – kids are on spring  break and I don’t work.  But I’d sure better put some sort of schedule or something in place for my life so I don’t gain 20 pounds.

I’ll do that tomorrow.  At the moment, I think there’s still some peanut brittle.  Enough whining.