Author Archives: Stacey Davis

About Stacey Davis

Mid-30's paralegal, crafter, unexpected step-mom - prone to existential crisis. Trying to keep life real simple and real authentic.

Week two of working from home due to the quarantine.

I’ve never worked from home before this COVID-19 pandemic. I went into it like “YESS all of my dreams are coming true!” – because I like home. I’m a homebody. If I can spent an entire weekend at home and not go anywhere at all I feel like I won the lottery. This quarantine hasn’t affected me in as many ways as it seems to have for those on social media – my feed is plagued with memes about boredom and insanity. I suppose I should feel lucky I don’t feel bored or as if I’m going insane.

For the past two weeks, I’ve *tried* to get up every morning earlier, so I can cycle before I clock in. I haven’t done it every day, but I have done it a few times and, on the nicer days, gotten my exercise outside in the fresh air as opposed to a stationary piece of equipment inside. I think that staying active throughout this chapter in our year 2020 is important; we need to be expending that energy!

On the mornings where I wanted or needed to hit snooze? I allowed myself to do so and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s been excessively gloomy outside lately, which is par for the course for the beginning of April. Resting is okay, as long as I’m not shirking the necessities of what needs to be done.

Whether I get up and cycle or just get up, I get ready to go to work as if I am leaving the house. This has put me in the mindset of “Okay, now I’m ready to get to work,” as opposed to simply rolling out of bed, walking the 15 steps from my room to my work station, and plunking down in my pajamas. While some people may be able to work from home this way, I didn’t feel it would be something that I could do long-term, given that this work from home thing IS so new to me. I do my hair, put makeup on, even continue to pick out my clothing and accessories the night before – just like my normal routine prior to the pandemic. Overall I don’t feel like my productivity was hampered much at all by my working from home. My connection is slower than what I’m used to in the office (oh, how I miss the speed of my work computer and my two big computer screens!), but overall, I feel like I’m moving right along with things and quite able to keep it all on track.

I did realize after week 1 that I sit a LOT more at home than I did at work, as I’m not walking back and forth to the ladies’ room or to the copy machines. So I brought my standing desk home and find I stand most of the day now. My body is thanking me for this ūüôā

The boredom thing though? This I don’t get. I feel like it’s been the perfect time to slow down and work on some outstanding household projects, as well as make some crafts for some extra cash. I ramped up my macram√© plant hanger production, as people really seem to like them on Mercari. (I re-opened a Mercari shop under the name of Davis At Home and it keeps me busy in a positive way.)

I suppose that is what it comes down to. There’s always things to do – projects to work on. We started our garden seeds and the kale is already poking up. I’ve gone through 2 big Christmas totes and re-organized. I’ve done the laundry and hung it out on the line during the days where it isn’t raining. I’ve picked up, eaten delicious homemade foods, and finished a book. I’ve buried myself in Shameless on Netflix and drank more wine than I used to (I’m having 1-2 glasses, as opposed to almost 1). It’s relaxing. I have nowhere really to be. No one does.

 

 

 

 

 

DIY dry laundry detergent

I’ve had this recipe kicking around for years now and started using it again months ago, when I realized how much I missed making my own detergents and cleaning supplies. With the inevitability of most of us having to tighten our belts and do things a bit differently, I wanted to share this really simple DIY dry laundry detergent formula.

You will need:

  • Box of Borax
  • Box of Washing Soda
  • Bar of soap – nothing fancy (I use Dove’s sensitive skin bars)
  • Container with a lid
  • 2 tbsp. scooper

If you’ve never used Borax or even know what Washing Soda is, you can find it in the aisle with the other household cleaners. They seem to be up on the top shelves.

Instructions:

Mix 3c of Borax with 3c of the Washing Soda. Grate the entire bar of soap and then mix it all together.

…and that’s it! I store my laundry detergent in a glass circular container that has a lid. You will use one 2 tbsp. scooper per full load, decreasing it to half for a smaller load. My detergent lasts over a month, with 4 people in the household, who also use cloth napkins for our meals and scraps of fabric for most of our every day cleaning. So, yeah, we do a lot of laundry!

Borax and Washing Soda can be used for other things, too, which is another reason why I like this recipe. Most of my cleaning supplies incorporate ingredients that have more than one purpose, making it an easy way to save money.

***Check out THIS LINK for other everyday ideas for Borax, and THIS ONE for Washing Soda!

Finances got very tight for me back in 2015 when I left a full time, steady job for a part time kickboxing instructor position. To say it was a significant decrease in salary would be an understatement, but it came with a huge increase in happiness. We made do and I learned how to stretch a dollar pretty far. I was happy to do it because I was doing what I loved, finally.

I can say now that re-entering the office lifestyle back in 2017 was the best thing I could’ve done. No gyms around us are open now and I’d be out of a job, without question. Leaving the law office I went back to in 2017 (which I stayed until October of 2018) was also a good choice because I don’t think I’d even be granted this work from home option I have now with my current job. It’s funny how shit happens – I am grateful for it.

 

In just two weeks – so much has changed.

It’s pretty astonishing how much has changed in just two weeks.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Manhattan visiting my parents. They remain there, despite everything, in order to continue my mom’s immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. We arrived late on Friday night and by Saturday, the cases of the COVID-19 had already doubled (or tripled, I can’t keep track at this point) and NYC was in a “state of emergency”. But we wanted to see my parents and spend time with my dad for his birthday.

Life seemed to go on as normal while we were in NYC although when we had to go to our local CVS for toilet paper, there were only a few single rolls left – no packs. That didn’t really alarm us because it’s the city and there’s a lot of people. Perhaps that particular store was just not as conscientious about inventory.

In that time frame, we’ve returned home to a world changing fast. Too fast. Will we be able to keep our jobs, our homes, ours and our family’s bellies fed? Maybe I’m getting too ahead of myself but really? The lack of toilet paper and other paper products here in Niskayuna heightened the state of alarm. It causes a ripple effect – we’re normal people, going about our normal lives the best we can, but when others are stockpiling up on one particular product, it makes it so when NORMAL people go to the store for their NORMAL things – they can’t get it. So what do we do? We grab it while we can, even if we don’t need it for another week or so, because we aren’t sure if we’ll ever see it again. Last weekend when my wife went to the store she sent me a picture of the empty paper product shelves* and indicated that there was no ground beef – hardly any meat at all. She grabbed what she could, which wasn’t a ton, but apparently this aisle had also been ransacked.

[*We try to limit our use of paper products anyhow, but toilet paper is something we can’t really get our minds around ~ this we don’t want to have to replace by using recycled cloth. Kinda ew.]

(Not really) Little by little, Courts, office buildings, businesses are closing their doors for the unforeseen future in an effort to keep the virus from spreading. I am a paralegal (I work in the field of estate and trust administration) and when I got a notice that the Dutchess County Surrogate’s Court was shutting down¬†without¬†a projected re-opening date, it was like – wow, this shit’s getting¬†real.¬†I work a lot in the Surrogate’s Courts in general (and yes, this particular closure does affect some of my files) and while I can continue to work and submit things, it will take a long time for those things to be reviewed and addressed. Which means there are going to be a lot of people out there in limbo.

Talk started around our office about what we would do. Plans were made and then hastily changed because the guidelines on what businesses needed to do changed – so no one got a chance to even get used to what our new “normal” would look like before the coin was flipped, yet again, and we’re on a new path. I don’t envy the leaders in my office at all for what they have to do and the decisions they’ve had to make. People whose hours were cut or, worse, temporarily released because things needed to be trimmed up and kept to essentials. It’s harder because jobs will be harder to come by in the next coming months with so many places closed. A lot of businesses won’t be “booming” enough to be hiring. It’s going to be a very rough time for a lot of people and no one knows how long it is going to last.

The talk around the office wasn’t just interior, it was also with clients, too. My clients have been clamoring for me to tell them how it’s all going to work – how it is going to affect their cases. All I can do is advise them that they can certainly expect delays but that we are doing all we can in order to keep things moving along. In many ways, sometimes I feel like I’m still a kid – I’m only 36. I’ve never been through what we’re all going through now; this is all unprecedented for me and I’m certainly not in charge. The older I get the more I realize I don’t know about the world.

When it came to staffing, we were on Monday “all systems go” on a pretty normal level. We were practicing social distancing with clients, taking extra precautions for cleanliness of common areas but by Wednesday, the more serious talks about some of us working remotely came up. For me, I said I’d prefer to work a hybrid in/out of the office type of scenario, as there’s a lot at my job that does make what I do easier. Now, I will admit, I’ve wanted to work from home for years now because I’m kind of a hermit, but for whatever reason, I really wasn’t too excited about this prospect given the circumstances. It is more of a crisis mode than a decision made freely, without duress.

Management was scurrying to cut down staff to 50 percent, then 75, THEN 100%. That took me from working in/out of the office to what’s projected to be entirely remote, except for stopping in to exchange/drop off files. Thank GOD I work close to home – there’s so many decisions I’ve had to make over the years that lead me to exactly where I am that I am becoming so very gratefully aware of.

Friday was crazy as I was packing up the important things in my office and all of the “on fire” files. My wife was an amazing help, bringing banker boxes out to her car. I have an office set up now in my home in an alcove in my upstairs and it’s bright, clean and sunny. As of 6 p.m. that night or so, I have remote access into my office computer, but it’s apparently going to be a very slow connection. I don’t know what to expect come Monday morning but I told our tech guy to expect problems because that’s just how it all goes.

The staff in the office is being staggered in such a way to comply with the guidelines set, but this new “normal” will take some getting used to. If we even have a chance TO get used to it.

It’s not even the COVID-19 that’s the scariest part, it’s the falling out of so much¬†because¬†of it that is changing our world minute by minute. It’s shocking how fragile our entire system seems to be ~ it feels like a big wake up call.

I will say one thing positive, because I don’t want this to all be sounding all apocalyptic – but when I asked people what they had going on this weekend, most of the answers were “not a goddamned thing.” THAT is amazing. NOT A THING. We really having nothing important to do and that’s pretty awesome in a world that has taught us to be busy, busy, busy. Friends of ours are going to come over today and help us install a new toilet and then we’ll make dinner for them as a thank you and just¬†visit. No time crunches.

Maybe time can slow down a bit, now that much of the extra distractions going on around us are beginning to quiet down. There’s no extraneous shopping to be done, no movies to go and see in the theater. No bar hopping to do. Most everything will be done at home and online. I bet you we’ll be seeing some super clean yards and stellar gardens this year. I bet you we’ll be seeing an increase of bicycle traffic and people enjoying the local trails and footpaths. We will need entertainment and we’ll have to find it in a more simple way ~ I’m here for all of that.

 

 

 

March Mimosas, travels, and overall good shit, dude!

The sickness of February is officially over. No more flu, no more head cold, and a better handle and plan for my stress. I met my new primary care doctor and I have a follow up in 3 months to see if I want to explore a different option for my anxiety, including speaking to a counselor. I’m not¬†against¬†speaking to someone; I just don’t know what I’d really talk about.

And then I proceeded to talk this doctor’s ears right off her head. So maybe I do have shit to talk about. Either way, a lot can happen in 3 months and I will likely be in a better position to make a better decision than the band-aid I chose.

[I just can’t help but feel that I don’t want to take daily medicine for my anxiety or daily medicine for my depression (my depression was not discussed at this consult because I’m not in that cycle currently) ~ I’d rather do what I need to do in my life to¬†change it so that I can live¬†without the need of medication, if at all possible.]

I described to her the things I do in order to keep myself as healthy as possible and then wondered if I don’t drive myself crazy in my quest for self-improvement and a more grounded life and mindset.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun this past weekend and got some things done. Booyah!

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I finished 2 more sets of coasters, bringing my current stash up to 6…but it’s really going to be 9 because I had 3 more sets drying last night that are ready to be tied up and labeled. This will part of my next delivery to the Schenectady Trading Company. This was part of my Saturday ~ in the creative zone.

lavender mimosa

My wife and I also went out to Perecca’s on Jay Street for brunch and mimosas, before we visited Jay Street for some shopping. It was such an unexpected and beautiful trip. It was windy and that wind was¬†cold af, but it was sunny and we walked anyway, getting some tea at the Whistling Kettle, buying a couple of books at the Open Door Bookstore, and then looking at pretty rocks and gems and sniffing artisanal soaps at the Crossroads Gift Shop (where you can also buy some air plants in my macram√© hangers!)

Friday night, I got out of my “norm” and went to the Vagina Monologues at Proctor’s Threatre. One of my friends, Ariffa, was doing a reading in it so she got me a free ticket and I really, really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the vibes, I enjoyed the stories ~ it was a very unique and cool experience. I felt like it brought people together during a time when there’s so much pulling us all apart.

Then Sunday my friend, Leah, and I went to Sharon Springs, New York, for the Rose Apothecary pop-up store! It was their very last day and man, that place was cool as hell!

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[I definitely took more pics than just two.]

This store (which is called “Beekman 1802”) was the perfect setting for this themed pop-up, selling locally made goods and body care created largely from goats milk. The place was artsy without being pretentious and the staff was lovely and welcoming. They even said I could bring Adam in:

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…but I know my boy and he’s not a fan of other people or dogs getting close to me while he’s on a leash. So to save the drama, Adam stayed in the car while we shopped and then we took him on a little walk down the small main street after. He was just happy being out and about for the day ~ he loves going places.

In my last entry I talked about possibly participating in the Jay Street Markets in Schenectady this year. After more research and pricing out the costs, I have decided not to. Breaking down the math, I’d have to sell a minimum of 43 items at $15 piece in order to break even¬†with just being a part of it.¬† It seems like a lot of pressure to do that in just 5 shows and I’m all about not putting undue pressure on myself. I don’t really want to shell out $600+ out of pocket for this opportunity at this time. Maybe next year, but not this one.

It feels good to be able to say ‘no thanks’ to things that aren’t in my best interest, as opposed to stretching myself thin.

Keeping up the optimism for 2020

I find myself staring into the month of February feeling a bit overloaded, stressed, but determined to be optimistic.

Even though I hadn’t talked about it publicly, I had a goal in mind to be part time (down to 30) hours at my job by June. I like having goals and actively working toward something and I was expecting that it COULD work. However, the attorney I work with, Christine, has resigned and will be leaving now in 2 weeks. I’m sad on quite a few levels because I really, really like working with her. She’s smart, she’s approachable, she takes the time to answer my questions and has always been very understanding and supportive. But…she found an opportunity she couldn’t pass up! So while I’m sad for me and my increased workload, I am also happy for her and want her to kill it. I also want to kill it on my end and rise to the occasion, but not to the detriment of my own happiness.

I haven’t been very happy this week. I’ve been tired because apparently now, instead of stress affecting the way I eat, it’s affecting the way I sleep. I’ve been waking up before my wife’s alarm goes off at 4:30 and I’m just kinda awake for the day, making it feel like 2 days in one.

But it’s the weekend and I have today all to myself. I am in my craft room about to get serious about some projects and let my mind wander.

I’m thinking of taking a chance and applying to the Jay Street Marketplace for the summer months. It’ll be a minimum of 5 Sundays through the season and it may be a fabulous opportunity for me to get more of my items out there for sale. It will require me to focus a bit more in my free time, but I really love it. I don’t want to lose track of the things I am working toward just because my full time job has gotten busier.

I’ve been plugging along slowly with new items, my latest being:

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You can find this in my Etsy shop HERE

I’m getting better at using my glass cutter and I was able to get VERY nice lines out of this wine bottle to make this candle. Wine bottles are the hardest because they are so very thick ~ check out the thickness in this close-up:

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This was one of my best cuts yet ~ nice and even.

I don’t want to lose sight of my own personal goals just because work is on my mind a lot more lately. I’ve done that many times in my life – lost focus of what I want due to distractions in relationships, jobs, conflicting goals…sometimes I wonder where I’d be in life right now if I hadn’t made much of my decisions based on the needs of other people. Would I be farther ahead in life? Would I have a higher education? Where would I be living? Who would I be today?

I do think that there’s a grand plan that I’m not in control of, so I don’t tend to focus a lot on the “what-ifs”, but sometimes I do wonder what my life would be like if I had stuck to my guns about more things instead of allowing myself to be swayed.

 

 

Heartache, Optimism, and then Sickness

I’ve had a hell of a week.

A week ago today was my wife’s grandmother’s funeral. Clementina DiCocco was 98 years old and was largely independent up until the turn of the year. Her passing was as peaceful as it could be and it was surrounded by her loved ones. We should all be so lucky to reach her age and live the way she did – on her own and on her own terms. I grieve for those she left behind because even though she lived a very long life, her family is now entering into chapters of their lives that do not include her.

Monday and Tuesday my sister and I went to Manhattan to visit my parents and to attend some doctor’s appointments for my mother’s upcoming new treatments (a different chemotherapy and the beginning of her immunotherapy). The doctors seemed very optimistic and matter-of-fact about the procedure and it’s side effects; I can’t help but feel very positive about everything. It’s a relief; part of the appointments were to scan and evaluate her cancer to see if anything had changed. Even though we didn’t really discuss it, likely I wasn’t the only one wondering if things had gotten worse – too worse for the immunotherapy. Luckily, that¬†wasn’t¬†the case. I swear, even though cancer’s a shit stick no matter what, I can’t help but feel like my mother has been blessed in all of the ways she could be despite having it.

Upon returning to the area, my scratchy throat had gotten worse and it became more evident that it wasn’t just an allergy (as Sunday I had swept the basement and stirred up quite a bit of dust), but something more. I worked about 4 hours on Wednesday before a fever came on that Tylenol didn’t touch brought me home and right to bed. Since then, life’s been a bit of a feverish blur. Yay for the flu and no; I didn’t have a flu shot. I’ve actually never have had one but I think I will do it next cold season.

I’m worried that I exposed my mom to it; had I have known it was something more than an allergy I would have postponed my trip. I’m glad though that she wasn’t at her most vulnerable state. I can’t tell my dad how sick I was because I worry that next time I want to visit, he will question what type of germs I may bring down with me when I am normally a very healthy person. I get one good knock-down, drag-out sickness a year and apparently this is it.

I’m also worried about the mounting workload at the office because I was out for 3 days and then an unexpected 2 and a half days more. I’ll be going back in to some irritated clients; confused as to why I haven’t gotten back to them when I am normally very prompt. I am trying to shake the fucks off about this but it’s hard – I care about people and I care about what I do.

Today I feel well enough to be in my craft room using my desktop, soaking up the heat from the space heater and watching some Netflix. It’s a change of scenery from the couch or my bed, as that’s all I’ve really seen the past 48 hours. I don’t know if I am actually up to working on anything but just¬†being¬†in a different room of my house feels a bit refreshing.

I will share some of the things I have finished and posted recently though!

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Serene Hanging Sea Glass Bottle РClick HERE 

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Lotus Flower and Newsprint Lighted Bottle – Click HERE

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This was created from the bottom of the Serene Hanging Sea Glass Bottle shown above.

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The flower is from a ladies’ vintage clip on earring.

 

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This I made specifically for the Schenectady Trading Company; it will be available there tomorrow!

No matter how I am feeling tomorrow, I¬†have¬†to get out of the house for a bit. Even if it’s just for an hour or two. I plan on going to the Schenectady Trading Company to change out some inventory and if I can go to work for a bit to push out some work that’d be great, too.

Holy moly though, does my head¬†ache. Moving my head, looking from side to side…my eyeballs feel like they are being pushed out of my skull. Adam’s really enjoyed having me around though. He has been my constant companion. That, and a glass of cold water.

Reap what you sow.

I’ve hit another really busy patch of life. Work is pretty busy and so is my real life. I felt super stressed on Monday, which may be why I wrote such a clipped blog post. I needed to get¬†something out, so I did! I also went home and furiously biked for a half hour and I felt a lot better. Yup – I’m still on my Peloton kick.

I’m feeling proud of myself! We’ve had the bike since mid-October and I’ve been using it regularly since, steadily increasing the frequency of my workouts. I’ve never been able to stick with working out from home until now.

2020 is the year of reaping what I sow. Since 2017, my life has been pretty challenging, but that’s what happens when you leave a “dream” job, get a divorce, lose people you thought were friends, lose a beloved animal, fall in love with a woman, come out to your conservative parents, handle a conservative parent on the other side, adjust to having stepchildren, go back to a former job, buy another house, move, start a new job, get married, realize you aren’t as amazing or unique as you thought you were, learn some humility, almost lose your dad, mentally handle a mother’s cancer diagnosis, start a couple of small businesses, fail a lot…

[I tried to put that all in some sort of chronological order but so many things were happening at once, it’s probably not right.]

So, the past 3 years have solidly been a lot of hard work. Good things happened in there too, but it was a lot of struggling. So here I am in 2020 and I feel like despite the fact that we recently just lost someone (Theresa’s grandmother passed away on 1/25 – she was 98), things are really headed in the right direction this year.

Financial things are getting sorted; my mom starts immunotherapy next month. I’m learning new art techniques and am having a lot of fun with that.

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I’m fully embracing my entrance into my late thirties.

I just finished the above candle and am really proud of it and excited about finally learning how to cut bottles after years of wanting to.

This candle is made from a wine bottle that I cut, sanded, then painted. The lightbulb was made from a worn out pair of jeans and a piece of a faux leather skirt. It’s surrounded in teal twine because I’m kind of obsessed with that twine right now. So, not only am I working on my glass cutting skills, I am also simultanously learning how to make candles and dye the wax whatever colors I need. I chose a light blue for this candle and kept it unscented because I’m a bit intimidated by choosing fragrances. My focus is more on the¬†outside of the candle – the actual decoration of it. I’d hate to put so much work into it and have someone¬†love¬†it, but ultimately pass it up because it’s a scent they either dislike or are allergic to. It just feels safer to keep them unscented.

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A plant hanger I made for a friend’s daughter recently.

I also recently learned that the “dream” job I left in 2017 so I could focus on my life¬† which was unnecessarily dramatic and mean-spirited behind my back afterwards is apparently shutting its doors next month.¬†I normally hate to be all petty and whatever but I am enjoying this.¬† It’s refreshing. That’s what you get for slinging mud – eventually it gets on you.

Maybe that’s why I had such a troubling 2017 ~¬† I was owed for past behaviors and actions. I can tell you I’ve been much more careful and considerate since then. Not perfect…but more aware…and am hoping that maybe that’s why things finally feel like they’re headed in a steadily good direction. All that work and hardships of the past few years is starting to noticeably pay off.