life

A Little Miyagi Reminder

To continue off of Monday’s post a little…

My mom recently sent me a video of my brother from a few years back when he was speaking at our church. I wrote about it shortly after it happened in this post, but it struck a chord with me as I watched it again and thought it was worth bringing back up.

In his message, my brother talks about The Karate Kid—the original, not the remake, he makes sure to specify—and about the familiar scenes of Mr. Miyagi “training Daniel to fight” by making him wax the car, paint the fence and scrub the floor. And about how, when Daniel blows his top and demands Mr. Miyagi actually teach him how to fight, he realizes, he already had.

Applying this lesson to present day, for a few months now our lives have felt like they were essentially on hold. Many goals we had set for ourselves, dreams we were working towards and plans we had in motion were brought almost to a complete halt. And for many of us, this has not only been discouraging, but at times completely defeating.

I know I feel like I’ve lost a lot of momentum in certain areas of my life, and maybe even taken a few fearful steps backwards when I’d previously been trying to courageously move forward. Sometimes I worry that these months of doing what feels like nothing, learning what feels like nothing, and going what feels like nowhere, have put me on a path I can’t recover from. Like I’ve wasted my time, lost my way, and won’t find my way back in time do what I need to do in order to live a good and successful life.

But then, what if the things I’m doing or places I’m going or things I’m learning, maybe in books, movies, television shows, crafts, yoga, walks around the neighborhood, quiet mornings to myself, YouTube videos, late night talks with my sister, long, honest text conversations with close friends, anything and everything that I’ve been doing over these last few months—maybe it is those things that are shaping me and molding me and teaching me everything I need to know in order to move forward. In order to find that momentum again—maybe in a direction I wouldn’t have gone before, with a perspective I’ve never had before.

There are struggles to be had, both now and in the months to come, but there are benefits to that struggle. There are things we will learn that will help us become who we were meant to be and live the lives we were meant to live.

We are all being Miyagi-ed, even if we can’t see it yet.

It’s Not “My Year” but it’s Something

Over the weekend I saw this post on social media and it was very encouraging to me. It talked about how so many of us spent our last few moments of 2019 praying, hoping, wishing, demanding that 2020 was going to be “our year.” It was supposed to be a year of opportunity and success. A year that would inspire us to take risks and step out of our comfort zones.

Being the start of a new decade, for many of us it also looked like a fresh start—when the tides would finally turn and bring about positive changes in our lives. I know I was among this crowd. And I know I am among so many who now feel let down. Who wish this year would just be over, or to have never happened. To be back in the naïve hope of last December, or to be crossing our fingers in the final moments of this coming December, hoping—assuming­­­—it can only get better from here.

For most of all of us, 2020 has not been “our year.” Or at least, as Alexis describes it in her post, the year we thought it would be. But that doesn’t mean it is not impactful, important, or worth seeing through.

This year has been full of challenges, restrictions, struggle, panic, fear, and heartbreak, and we have all experienced them to an extent, but those experiences are all different. We are all seeing this year with different perspectives and working through it with different strategies. In 20 years from now, we will all have different stories, different moments that stood out to us, different obstacles we had to overcome and different triumphs we made a long the way. This year will be infamous for how it affected the masses, but unique in how it affected individuals. My year is and will be different than yours, and even my mom’s, dad’s, brother’s or sister’s.

I will remember how I felt, what I was afraid of, confused by, in doubt of, or hopeful for, more than anyone around me. And I will remember my behavior, my reactions, my stresses, worries and personal discoveries more than anything I might hear from a friend or read on the news.

Whether it’s what I imagined or not, I am in “my year”—the year I anticipated all those days and hours before the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2020. And while it might not be my year to accomplish certain things or meet certain people or travel certain places, it could still be my year to learn important lessons or heal long-standing wounds. To forgive, to discover, to reprioritize, to create, to accept, to do all the things I might have continued to put off if this were just another year.

So while this year is hard—for some impossibly so—and it’s definitely not what we all hoped for, it is not over, and it still means something.

Let’s find out what that something is.

March/April Favorites

Hello there! We are back with another edition of favorites.

I’ll warn you ahead of time, we are ALL OVER the map this month, but I feel like that makes sense.

I’ve been in the mood for a little bit of everything (read: ANYTHING) and so I’ve found a little bit of everything.

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Podcasts

Just like last episode, I’m kicking us off with a dark one. The Dating Game Killer is the true story of serial killer Rodney Alcala, who is currently on death row, and actually made an appearance on the The Dating Game in the 70’s. It is a wild ride.

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum: Everyday Decisions with Jo Firestone. I mentioned a specific episode of this podcast in this post, but I would highly recommend this podcast as a whole. In each episode, comedian Jo Firestone talks to one of her friends, asking them to recount what they did the previous day, from the moment they woke up to the moment they went to sleep. Not only is it fun to hear how people spend their days—because hello, I am nosy—but I also just love the simplistic conversation starter that can ultimately tell you a lot about the person you’re talking to.

And finally, in a spectrum all its own: Dolly Parton’s America. My sister is a big Dolly Parton fan, so when I found this one I was primarily excited to show it to her. But after listening to the first episode, I was hooked. It is such a fun listen that gives you a good look into an icon—highly recommend!

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Books

When looking for a new book, sometimes I’ll know exactly what I’m looking for and other times I don’t have a clue. On one of the latter days, I came across Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary, which was the “recommendation of the month” by the library and I’m so glad it was! This book is so funny, and full of great information, making it a great resource for both atypical and neurotypical people.

Next, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. I have long been on the hunt for a “favorite author” and this book by Mitch Albom pretty much sealed the deal for me. Not only is it an amazing, rich, beautifully written novel typical of Albom (see The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie, etc.), it is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. It follows the life of Francisco “Frankie” Presto, a prestigious musician whose life—chaotic and difficult as it was—was also full of goodness, wonder, and most of all, purpose.

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TV Shows

I was very very late to the party in watching Schitt’s Creek, but I’m just glad I’m finally here. The show follows The Roses, an extremely wealthy family who, after losing almost everything, move to a small town called “Schitt’s Creek”, which John Rose, the father of the family, had previously purchased as a joke.  This show is so funny and such a highlight to my day whenever I turn it on. (Find it on Netflix.)

Next up, Hunters! This one is definitely heavy, as it is set in the 70’s, 30 years after the Holocaust, and follows a group of Nazi hunters seeking justice for those lost. It is SO. GOOD. Very dark, at times very gory, but very good. The moment I finished season one (which, OH MY GOSH) I immediately started my impatient wait for season two.  (Find it on Amazon Prime)

Did someone say, John Krasinski? Hopefully, because that man is crushing this quarantine thing. But in other awesome things he is a part of: Jack Ryan. This is another show I was behind on, but I quickly caught up. (Find it on Amazon Prime)

And finally, Outer Banks. It is rare that you find that a show that you cannot stop watching and actively look forward to finishing your trivial responsibilities (like work, showering, etc.) so you can watch it again, but this was one of those shows for me. I just had to know what was going to happen. And while it’s hard to describe without giving anything away, one of the best descriptions I’ve heard is that it is what you would get if The OC and The Goonies had a baby. So, if that love child catches your attention, I’d give it a go. (Find it on Netflix.)

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Movies

I saw Emma in theaters (bless) with my best friend, on a Friday night at the beginning of March, which honestly seems like A LIFETIME ago. Nonetheless, I loved this movie and was delighted to learn that the book it is based on was also the inspiration for the 1995 classic Clueless.

A few weeks ago, my family sat down together for a movie night and watched last year’s Academy Award nominated Knives Out. It is the ultimate whodunnit movie that is smart, fun, and honestly kept me guessing the whole way through. It’s one of those that will be especially fun to watch a second time through to see where they dropped all the hints.

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Music

In the music world, I have been shuffling through all kinds of playlists and albums, but these are a few that I keep going back to:

The Dream by Hailey Whitters

kelsea by Kelsea Ballerini

Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan

We Were Thunder by Lilla Vargen

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Thin Fitbit Wristband

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At the beginning of this month, my Fitbit band got a rip in it, sending me on a frantic search for a new one so I could continue to track my lack of steps. I found these on Amazon, and really like the way they look and feel. Not only are they great quality, but I personally feel like they are a better fit for my wrist than the traditional thick band.  Plus, these come in a four pack, so you have have backups and/or options if you like to change up your look. (find them here)

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This Arm Workout

For the most part, my quarantine exercise routine has consisted of yoga, Dance Church and neighborhood walks, which it has been great, but I have also been on the lookout for something new. Enter this arm workout. It may be short, it may involve no equipment, but man does it BURN.

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Sweet Tea & Bourbon

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I made it a goal of mine a year ago to try every drink on this list of “Most Iconic Drinks in Every State”, and since we’ve had a little extra time, my sister and I have been working our way through it one by one. Among those we’ve tried so far, the Sweet Tea & Bourbon from South Carolina is definitely our favorite. It is made with one-part bourbon, four parts sweet tea, and then (if you are interested) mint and lemon for garnish. It is so delicious and refreshing, perfect for these hot days. (photo credit: Sugar & Charm, check out this post of theirs that also gives you a recipe for homemade sweet tea!)

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

My Quest to Find a Morning Routine (Part 2)

Just about two months ago I posted a blog explaining my want/need for a better morning routine, namely on weekdays. I have long been a chronic snooze pusher, and am often completing my morning responsibilities at somewhat of a jogging pace, and so I thought it was about time to do something about it.

To prepare, I did some research and found a handful of recommendations I could try and add to my routine in order to make it more productive, more efficient, and perhaps even *gasp* more enjoyable?

The suggestions were as follows:

1) Stop pressing snooze/try using “SmartWake” on Fitbit

2) Dream Journal

3) Stretch

4) Review your schedule/to-do list for the day

5) Do a crossword puzzle

So, let’s see how we’re doing.

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1) Stop pressing snooze/try using “SmartWake”

I won’t waste any time in telling you that I have absolutely not stopped pressing snooze. Which is a grim opener, I realize. I did turn on the SmartWake feature on my Fitbit, which is supposed to track your heart rate and use it to wake you up between sleep cycles by vibrating on your wrist. This is a very strange sensation, and it constantly confuses me. And while it was supposed to act as a bridge to no longer pressing snooze, it has instead become a bit of a crutch, in that if my alarm goes off before my SmartWake, I decide I can probably go back to sleep.

It should be noted however, that in the last week or so I changed my alarm tone from the obnoxious pre-loaded selection that came on my phone, to a song I actually like called “Tilted” by Christine & the Queens.  It has a slow, breezy start, and it wakes me up gradually rather than shockingly, and since I changed it I have not only pressed snooze less, but I find that I wake up feeling far less attacked, and thus, slightly more ready to start my day. So that’s something.

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2) Dream Journal

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a pen, let alone a journal in the opening minutes of my morning. In fact, if someone arrived at the side of my bed and demanded I write down what I dreamt about or face the pain of death, I’m honestly not sure if my morning motor skills would provide me the ability to stay alive.

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3) Stretch

I have been trying to do one big stretch as a way not only to start my morning, but tell myself that we are getting up now. I will admit though, this demand from myself usually makes me annoyed at myself.

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4) Review your schedule/to-do list for the day

I still like this idea, and I have been doing it as a part of my morning, but not necessarily the first part, and that’s okay with me. I am someone who will continue to remember things I want/need to do as I move around—it’s what makes me such a tornado when I clean. So I like getting to my to-do list after I’ve been up and moving for a while. Oftentimes once I get to work I will pull out my notebook and jot down some ideas for things I want to get done once I am off, and that has been working for me.

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5) Do a crossword puzzle

This one is just a no. I love crossword puzzles and I love the fantasy that I could sit up, stretch, let out a yawn and then crank out the LA Times daily crossword before I get ready, but that’s just never going to happen. I can add this one to my afternoon to-do list, and see if maybe I can get it done before/while I cook dinner, but it’s just not going to happen in the morning.

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So all in all, while I can’t say I have a solid morning routine, I have definitely taken some strides—my favorite being the alarm tone change. My brother is the one who suggested the change, explaining that his friend makes it a point to set his alarm to a song he likes because “it’s like your theme song and it’s what starts every new episode”—which slightly blew my mind and ultimately made me change it immediately.

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) Author James Patterson set up a fund to help Indie bookstores.

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2) This house had fun:

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3) This woman accidentally turned herself into a potato during a zoom call.

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4) This man survived the coronavirus and then celebrated his 104th birthday.

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5) This dad brought a birthday tradition home.

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6) The Getty asked people to recreate paintings with household items and they delivered.

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7) This Australian family simulated the 15 hour flight they would have taken for their planned vacation.

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8) This grandson organized a parade for his grandpa’s 100th birthday.

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9) After supplying over 20 million facemasks, Apple went to work on producing and delivering facemasks.

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10) This dad built a ramp to help ducklings out of his pool.

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11) This man made his last run of ski season from inside his home.

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12) Matthew McConaughey hosted a virtual bingo night for a senior citizen home.

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13) This:

View this post on Instagram

5 nuggets costs 1 smile.

A post shared by Good News (@tanksgoodnews) on

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14) This man played the trumpet for a woman on her 104th birthday.

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15) This man made art with food.

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16) People in Australia started dressing up in crazy outfits to take their trash barrels out.

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17) This bar owner took over $3000 worth off bills of the wall to pay her unemployed staff.

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18) This man went to get a coffee:

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19) This 99 year old veteran raised $9 million dollars for UK’s National Health Service by walking.

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20) This life hack was revealed:

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21) This delivery driver sanitized a package for an at risk girl.

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22) Coffee chain, Dutch Bros donated 100% of their April profits to first responders.

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23) Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis released a quarantine wine and 100% of the profits will be donated.

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24) This dog played volleyball:

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25) This 10 year old donated 200 gift cards to his local police officers.

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26) This boy 3D printed ear guards for medical masks.

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27) This boy said, “Good morning!”

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28) This couple got married in the middle of their street.

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29) This girl was sad about missing her prom, so her dad asked for a dance.

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30) And finally, if you haven’t already, please check out John Krasinki’s Some Good News.

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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200 Day Time Capsule Blog #5

I am usually prone to forgetting about the arrival of this letter arriving in my inbox, but about a week ago I remembered that it was getting close and I laughed out loud. While my last time capsule post was in October, I didn’t actually write my next letter until Januaryroughly two months before all hell broke loose. So it’s safe to say my answers and predictions are going to be slightly, if not horrifically, off.

But they should be interesting nonetheless.

To start things off, it’s clear that I was feeling a little feisty in January, because I start the letter with, “It’s a new decade bitch, make it shine.”

Okay, girl.

How about we relax?

Let’s see what else past me had to say.

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): January 14th, 2020 (YIKES, I’m so behind.)

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): It’s sunny, but a little on the chilly side (for Southern Californians at least). I’ve been living in my sweaters for the last month and it has been bliss.

Ding dong, the heat’s back. Your jackets have now been put away—save for the couple you still wear in the office at work because the air conditioning has started cranking full blast and turning you into a popsicle.

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3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): Today all I have done is work so far. But in a few hours I am headed to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth out. Bleh. I’m excited to receive this in the future when it’s all over and done with.

You survived, girl! It was a rough couple days of recovery, but overall not that bad. That is…except for the ongoing mystery of who the hell put your sweatshirt back on. 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): Pretty much anything by Maggie Rogers.

Still true. Maggie is a queen and her music is a lifeline I often turn to when I’m in need of a pick me up. Some of my favorites are “Burning”, “Love You for a Long Time”, and “Fallingwater.”

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): I saw Little Women on New Years Eve and it instantly became one of my favorite movies ever. Loved it.

This was such a good day! My best friend and I went to breakfast at one our favorite neighborhood restaurants, and then hit the movies for a $9 morning showing because we have reached a point in our lives when saving $10 feels like winning the lottery. 

Also, after the movie ended and the lights went up we slumped down in our seats and sat, with still damp tears on our face, unable to come up with coherent sentences to express how much we loved it. So needless to say, I recommend it.

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): I texted my sister “I’ve gotten three emails from that gym I noticed while we were driving yesterday,” to let her know that technology is officially taking over.

Later that day I got home and said, out loud, in the earshot of my phone and my Alexa that I was “NOT INTERESTED IN THAT GYM” and then the emails stopped. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it was 100%, definitely the robots listening. You decide. 

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): To finish writing a book.

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8) What are you most excited about?

I kept in my answer from last time just because I thought it was necessary to break down how hilariously sad both of them are. First we have this answer from March of last year, when I was excited about the start of the 2019 baseball season.

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): There are a lot of exciting things on the calendar for this year, but I think right now I’m most excited about Opening Day. It’s this Thursday and it’s the very first time Natalee and I have ever gone. I’m so excited!

-Then we have my response:

Note to past Kim: Good news, girl, the Dodgers set a record for most games won in franchise history! Also, we made the playoffs and are currently fighting our way through the NLDS. I can only hope the next time I hear from you we will have won the World Series, but for now, one step at a time. 

2 things:

1) GIRL, that playoff run was ROUGH.

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2) GIRL, the Astros AND the Red Sox were accused of cheating in the two previous World Series. Also this video was born, so there was still some fun to be had:

Now, on to my answer from January.

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): I’m excited about the potential of this year. If that makes sense. I have a lot of fun things planned on the calendar and I think a lot of good things are on the horizon and so I am feeling excited and optimistic about the potential this year (and hopefully this decade) has for me and those around me.

And again I say, GIRL. 

You poor thing. 

Everything on the calendar is cancelled. This year is a disaster. The grocery stores are empty and people are literally selling toilet paper like drugs on the dark web. I’d like to say that the decade can truly only improve from here, but I’m not looking to jinx us. 

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): To find myself at the end of this year (and ESPECIALLY) this decade in the exact same place.

Right, right, I get that, but how about the fact that we’ve been mandated, for seven weeks, to stay in one place, at all times, every day?

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from the last time capsule (1/14/20): Absolutely not.

Way to stick it to the man yourself two years ago. 

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You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: Friday November 13th, 2020

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Here’s hoping that when I read my next letter we’ll be on the other side (or at least our way to the other side) of all of this, and we’ll all be back at our favorite restaurants, finishing breakfast and heading out to catch those morning movie showings.

Meet Jimmy June, My Tin Can Robot

When I was 10 years old, my family and I drove to Arkansas to visit my great aunt. About ten years later, my mom, sister and I flew out to visit again, and then when my cousin and her husband moved out there, we tried to make our visits more regular.

Four or five years ago, my great aunt was moved into an assisted living facility where she would live for the remainder of her life, and so when we went to visit, we could no longer stay at her house. As a result, we often stayed with Jim and June, close friends of both my great aunt and my late grandparents—who we called Grammie and Papa.

When my great aunt got sick and eventually reached a point where she didn’t recognize us, and would often sleep through most of our visits, Jim and June (and my cousins! 😊) were the reason that our trips were still full of light and laughter. They are the reason why, when people ask about my favorite places in the world, I immediately think of their living room, curled up in one of their chairs, watching the sun set off the front porch. I think of simple drives to the store, or sitting down at one of their favorite restaurants, always giggling and talking and feeling happy and relaxed for what always seemed like the first time in a long time.

On one trip, while walking into a restaurant just before the sun started to set, I saw this tin can robot hanging on a hook and I immediately fell in love with it.

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“Do you think I could make this?” I asked my sister as I snapped a picture of it.

She and my mom agreed that I could try, and we decided to start saving cans as soon as we got home.

In the first or second week of this quarantine, I found that stack of cans, patiently waiting to be upcycled.  It was almost 11:00 p.m. but I couldn’t help it, I sat down, spread them out, and got to work. While the state of the world would prevent us from traveling anywhere anyway, we had recently found out that Jim and June moved to Texas to be closer to their family. It was the right move, a move that we supported and encouraged in our last few visits, but it made me sad to think that I would no longer find myself in that Arkansas house, walking around their property on a humid summer afternoon to go see the neighbor’s horses, or continually trying to photograph the house in a way that would show people the way it made me feel. And so, I decided it was about time I made my robot—to re-find that feeling.

While the original is screwed together with nuts and bolts, I worked with what I had (and avoided any trips to the hospital due to possible clumsiness with the drill) and I hot-glued him together. I also found some washers I could use for eyes, and an extra allen wrench to give him a smile.

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Call me crazy, but I have now fallen in love with two tin can robots in my life.

One is probably still hanging outside that restaurant we visited on almost every trip, where the five of us always ordered the same thing and talked about what we were going to have for dessert before we even finished our meal. And one is now sitting, smiling, in my house, reminding me about every time we pulled into that driveway, primed to hear stories about the neighborhood cats, and every time we pulled out of that driveway, praying there would be a next time.

I still hope there will be. Maybe this time in Texas.

Until then, I have this robot, who I named “Jimmy June” to remind me of who I consider to be my third set of grandparents, and of all the times we spent sitting on the couch, watching the sky go purple in a thunderstorm, and drinking margaritas until all hours of the night, giggling and plotting what mischief we could get into the next day.

In Case You’re Looking for Some Happy

These days I think we should all be on the lookout for things that bring us joy, peace, happiness, or just a break from everything else, and then share those things with our friends, family, or online acquaintances, so that they too can get a little piece of that peace, you know?

So, if you’re in the market for some happy, here are a few places I’ve found some.

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My Puzzle

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Yes, that puzzle that I wrote a fake article about last week. Sure, it brings me moments of great frustration and devastation, but for the most part I absolutely love sitting on the couch on putting it together. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and it lets me think about nothing for a while.

I’m not sure if my specific puzzle is still available for purchase, but there is an entire section on Amazon of the same brand and they all look great!

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Spring

My sister and I have been trying to go on walks at least once a week, especially now that the weather has been warmer. We’ve walked a different route each time, discovering different parts of our neighborhood and finding all of the pretty houses, gardens, and trees they have to offer. I’ve taken pictures on every walk we’ve gone on and forwarded our findings to our family, these are a few of my favorites:

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This Podcast

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I would recommend this podcast in general because the concept is so simple and so enjoyable to listen to, but this episode in particular is a true DELIGHT. It involves comedian and host Jo Firestone calling her grandparents and asking them to tell her about their day from start to finish, and it is just so wonderful and wholesome and I loved every minute of it.

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This List of Drinks

One of my goals last year was to try every drink on this list of “most iconic drinks in every state.” Sadly, with a busy schedule and, you know, just forgetting, I ended last year having only tried ONE. However, seeing as this is the perfect time to try new things, I pulled the list back out for my sister and I to work through at home. As of now, we’ve tried the “Copperhead” from West Virginia and the “Whiskey Ditch” from Montana, and I look forward to making our way around the rest of the 50 states!

If you’re interested in trying any (or all!) of these drinks, I typed them up in a list you can check out here.

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This Yoga Series

Before all of this, I was a very consistent yoga class attendee, usually trying to make at least one class a week. So when the gyms closed and that option was taken away, I quickly began searching for alternatives. Finding this channel and specifically this 30-Day series (ironically titled “Home”) on YouTube has been such a blessing. The teacher is super sweet and encouraging, and she always has her adorable dog close by. I’ve been doing one or two “classes” per week and it has greatly helped manage my stress and anxiety, and given me a reason to move my body off the couch.

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Dance Church

Speaking of moving my body off the couch: THIS. Dance church is a one hour dance class that you can stream to your living room. And seeing as dancing spastically around my house has always been one of my favorite pastimes, adding minor choreography and dance based strength-training exercises has easily made Dance Church of my favorite parts of the week. Classes stream online every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. (except for this week, the Wednesday class was postponed until Friday @ 5:00 p.m.) and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Check it out here!

Places I Miss

Among the many positive messages posted to provide encouragement and comfort throughout this tough and confusing time, one of my favorites that I’ve seen was a reminder that it is okay to grieve.

Looking at the world as a whole, it would seem there are thousands of reasons not only to grieve, but to set aside your own personal grievances, complaints, etc. Because with pain and suffering happening on such a grand scale, it might seem like having your own personal grievances makes you selfish or ungrateful.

I thought it was so important for people to be reminded that they are allowed to grieve the things they are missing in their own lives. Things like vacations, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, concerts, sporting events, etc. It is okay to be sad that those things aren’t happening. It is okay to be mad or heartbroken that they are being postponed or canceled or brushed over. It is okay to wish things were different, that things were back to normal, that you could leave your house, see your friends and hug your family. It is okay to feel sad, angry, hurt and lonely—that doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a human.

For me, I miss baseball and Dodger Stadium. I miss sitting next to my sister in whatever seats we found a good deal on, drinking a beer, eating a hot dog and trying to talk ourselves out of ordering deep fried Oreos, even though we know we probably will anyway.

I miss going to the movies. I miss ordering popcorn, guessing how many previews are going to play before the movie, and then finishing my popcorn before we find out.

I miss sitting on the couch at my grandpa’s house. I miss eating lunch and catching up with him on our favorite television shows. I miss watching the golfers go by off his back porch and then coming inside and reaching into the dessert drawer in his dresser for a mini Hershey bar for me, and a mini Twizzler for my dad and my sister.

I miss going over to my friends’ houses and sitting on the couch and then the floor and then at the dining room table as we talk and plan and laugh. I miss us deliberating over what we should do for dinner and taking pictures when one of the kids does something funny or cute.

I miss sitting behind the menu at a restaurant, taking in each and every option before I decide 1) what I want to eat most and 2) what I can order that I can make the least amount of changes to because I’m brutally self-conscious about coming off as a picky eater. I also miss saying, “it doesn’t hurt to look” when offered the dessert menu, and then ordering something—and finishing it—even when taking another bite of anything seems impossible.

These are only a few of the places I miss, but they are places I can’t wait to see again once this is all over. They are places that, when I find myself there again, I will take a moment not only to appreciate them, but to thank those who worked tirelessly to help get me back there.

Thank you to everyone on the front lines of this pandemic, to everyone working round the clock to heal the sick, calm the fearful, and keep the peace. We will forever be in your debt, and I hope we can continue to motivate you, thank you, and appreciate you throughout the remainder of this pandemic and long after.

Thank you.

If Someone Wrote an Article About Me & My Puzzle

By: Reporter Kimberlee K.
Published April 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES, Calif.— With days of heavy rain sweeping through the cities and suburbs of Southern California, many people quarantining and working from home have turned to inside activities to keep them busy.

One such individual, Kimberlee Koehn, a twenty (though nearly thirty) something in Los Angeles county, has turned her attention to a puzzle that she has called, “ridiculously hard.” But while she has deemed the puzzle “unlikely” to finish before the mandated quarantine is lifted— “or before I die, probably”—that hasn’t stopped her from spending hours on her couch, fitting piece after piece together.

Koehn is a longtime puzzle completer, and while she couldn’t come up with an exact number of the puzzles she has completed in her lifetime, she said she enjoys them because they keep her calm and give her something to focus her energy on.

“Usually,” she said with a laugh, as this puzzle in particular, a picturesque scene of a lakeside cabin at sunset, could very well, “drive her over the edge of insanity.”

“It’s the trees,” she said, pointing at a pile of pieces patterned with multiple shades of green leaves. “I’m ignoring those pieces for now and trying to put in work elsewhere.”

The 2000-piece puzzle sits on her low set living room coffee table, which currently stands a mere inch or two from her beige couch. “I like to be almost on top of it,” Koehn said, as she climbed over the arm of the couch to take her preferred puzzling position.

When asked about breaks—for stretching, snacking, trips to the bathroom, etc.—Koehn said she has found that the puzzle helps her from compulsively eating the chocolate covered pretzels she bought on impulse while quarantine grocery shopping, and has even aided in her quest to eat dinner later, rather than her preferred time of 5:00 p.m. On the negative side of things however, she explained that the puzzle has also caused minor pains in her neck and back due to the hunched posture she takes—one that is undoubtedly unrecommended by medical professionals. “I also have a bruise on my leg, from leaning my elbows on the tops of my thighs for too long.”

Our reporter did not comment on this because it is ridiculous.

For now, Koehn says she is trying to use the puzzle to her advantage. “It’s a nice way to wind down, and I’ve been able to catch up on some great movies while I work,” she said. When asked which current movies she would recommend to our readers, Koehn blushed, stating that by “catch up” she meant rewatch movies she’d already seen before, but for the 10th or 11th time.

“The puzzle has to be my main focus, you know? If I get distracted and put two pieces together that look like they belong but don’t actually belong together, I could derail the entire process, making hours and hours of my time ultimately a waste.” Koehn’s eyes grew wide and slightly terrifying during this explanation, but then after blinking a few times she was back to her friendly, if not slightly anxious demeanor.

In the coming days and weeks, Koehn says she will take it day by day, piece by piece.

“It’s a puzzling time,” she said, nodding, “which is why I will keep puzzling.”