Quarantine check in: How you doin?

Thought I’d take a minute out of my *cough* busy day and check in with you to see how you’re all doing in quarantine.

We’re on Day 13 in our house (voluntarily), and since Minnesota has issued a “shelter in place” for two weeks that begins tonight, I will have officially been in jammies quarantine for one month when — if? — we are able to resume activities mid-April.

I’ll be honest, as someone who prefers staying in, so far I’m not bothered by it. A friend once told me I was an “extroverted introvert,” meaning while I am social and (overly) talkative in group settings and often mistaken for being an extrovert, I recharge (and thrive) by being alone. So being in quarantine — the reading, the working with a cat draped across my keyboard, the hot baths at 2 p.m., the working out in my basement, the Netflix lunches — isn’t really any different than how I prefer to live my life anyway.

Except for the daily trips to Target.
God, I miss Target.

So, not that you’ve asked, but what have I been doing — besides eating my weight in Cheetos — for the past two weeks?

I’ve been reading:

I’ve read a few books, but these are the ones I definitely recommend:

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

The POV this story is told from is so unique; Fowler weaves an intricate story with layers you don’t see coming. I was immersed in the characters and this highly captivating twist on the old neighborhood feud plot line.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This one isn’t for the faint of heart. Very troubling account of a young girl who gets swept up in an abusive relationship with her much older private school teacher that defines her life well into adulthood. You’ll ache for Vanessa as she battles the demons (and demon) that rule her and you’ll want to shake her into realization and give her a hug at the same time. I was transfixed by this powerful, timely book.

I’ve been crocheting:

I recently finished this fun market tote I was planning to take on our spring break trip to the Keys to use as a beach bag, but now it’s just been hanging on the stair banister, mocking me. The other day I got out some fun, twisted yarn and started a small lap throw, but ripped out four hours of work when I realized it wasn’t quite the look I wanted.

So then last night I started my favorite ripple pattern with the yarn, and after an hour of crocheting the finger-cramping base rows realized I’d counted wrong and had to rip it out once again.
It’s okay, I think I’ve got plenty of time to restart it.

I’ve been working out:

Thank god for Obé Fitness, you guys. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen my lovely #sweatyselfies since I started working out with all the amazingly upbeat Obé instructors (who kick my ass) in late December, and now I couldn’t love it more for giving me literal strength to make it through these tough days.

I’ve been journaling:

For me, journaling looks like a lot of lists lately. I feel too overwhelmed to write a play-by-play account of what’s happening and all that’s on my mind, so I keep it to lists like:
• Things that suck about this
• Things I’m worried about
• Silver linings
• Things I’m grateful for
• Things I’m eating
• Things I shouldn’t be eating

I’ve been watching shows:

The Voice (watching this season live each week)
Little Fires Everywhere (liking it better than I liked the book)
The Bold Type (caught up now)
This Is Us (waiting to watch the finale because I can’t bear for it to be over)
Schitt’s Creek (ditto about season 6 — I’ve only watched half because I don’t want it to end)
Ozark (season 3 drops TODAY 3/27!)
The Outsider (Stephen King — super creepy — not my favorite)

And you guys, don’t even get me started on Love is Blind.
My older daughter tried to convince me to watch it for a few weeks and I resisted, and then the other day caved, because FOMO, obviously.
Holy hell, these people are RIDICULOUS.
This show is RIDICULOUS.
I can’t even believe how stupid the entire premise is … and now my husband and I are totally sucked in.
It’s been a while since we’ve hate watched a show together and I forgot how fun it is. Almost makes me want to get back into snarky, mostly-true recap writing again.

I’ve been getting outside:

Thankfully, this pandemic didn’t hit when it was the dead of winter here in Minnesota. While it’s still cold, brown, and soggy, at least we’ve had days where we’ve been able to go out for walks and get some fresh, cool air.

Hey, I didn’t say it was pretty.

Oh yeah, and …

I’ve been aging:

But more about that another day.

The past few days I haven’t felt like doing much of anything I need to be doing, though. I haven’t worked on any new content, haven’t written anything I feel like I should be writing now that I have the time, haven’t cleaned out a closet or the junk drawers that won’t open (anyone else feeling the pressure from all the spring cleaners who are busting ass out there?). I have been completely unproductive.
But that’s okay, right?

The intermittent insomnia that I beat back in the fall has returned, and lately I haven’t been able to fall asleep until 1, 2, or after 3 a.m. Even though my family is all safe together and I have made it a point to not read or watch the horrifying news stories, my brain is working overtime.

Keeping my focus on what I can control is key to staying positive. I absolutely love this image I found on IG the other day ~

Source: @thecounselingteacherbrandy on IG

We just have to take this day to day, my friends.
We have to take the naps.
We have to listen to the good (and bad) music.
We have to sing along loudly.
We have to get outside when we can.
We have to rip out the crochet and start again.
We have to eat the entire bag of Cheetos.

Now it’s your turn. Let me know what you’ve been doing right down there in the comments. Give me more book and TV recs, tell me a funny story about your kids, let me know what you’re overeating —I really want to know!

Just please don’t tell me you have a full bag of Cheetos in your pantry.


  1. Karen Hawkins on March 28, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Hello – Happy Be-lated Birthday.
    It seems we have similar TV taste. That This Is Us finale was great – left us with many questions and an epic Kevin/Randall fight.
    Really should I watch Love Is Blind?..I’ve been trying hard not too – but social media is all over it and well due to the “stay at home and screen time” I am all over social media. My 23yr old son said I should since I hate watched the Bachelor this season (did you watch? ugg worst Bachelor ever!)…my only recommendation for you to watch would be Tiger King along with the rest of the world..it is it’s own brand of crazy. Books – I read Dark Vanessa too but it just made me angry…so now I am reading a serial killer Thriller by Sandra Fox – that should improve my mood :). I wish I could knit or crochet…but I can’t so I do puzzles…but apparently LEGO is the new COVID pastime…maybe a nice change of pace. Long walks and podcasts are a daily event – any new ones you like? I think I have gone through all Dax Shepard and Justin Long. We’ve also started virtual card games (Code Names) which is fun. Anyway all the best to you and yours. Stay well.

    • Michelle on March 30, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Okay, much to respond to here (I love all your news, thanks!!) ~
      1. Still haven’t watched the This Is Us finale but will this week. We always save at least two to watch in a row so have the last two. It’s still so damn good that I just HATE for it to be over.
      2. Love is Blind — here’s the thing. We got to ep. 3 and haven’t watched again in like a week, BUT it’s definitely one we’ll pop back into. It’s beyond absurd. Entirely unbelievable. Total waste of life. But super fun to hate watch. I haven’t watched a Bachelor in like 3 seasons? I might watch the next one because Claire was SO bizarre on Juan Pablo’s season (I recapped that one and recently went back in and re-read my thoughts on her — go to the “Bachelor Recaps” in the categories and if you scroll back you’ll find them.)
      3. Dark Vanessa WAS infuriating, I agree. But I felt like it was a true portrayal of what many girls/women feel — that because they were willing they weren’t abused. So sad. I thought the author did a good job of painting Vanessa as both a sympathetic and unsympathetic character.
      4. We have a LEGO architecture set arriving this week!
      5. Podcasts — my absolute favorite is “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” — a HUGE collection of amazing guests, HILARIOUS interviews.
      6. Our family loves Codenames! Hoping to play a virtual game of Cards Against Humanity with our college roommates (also married) sometime soon! We’ve been playing Blokus, Gin (my husband and I have a corona-marathon game going), Ticket to Ride, and we dug out the old Backgammon board this past weekend, which hasn’t seen the light of day since about 1996.

      Take care! Enjoy your family! xo

      • Karen Hawkins on March 30, 2020 at 12:39 pm

        My e-book copy of A Good Neighbourhood arrived from my library today – so looking forward to starting it.
        I have read ALL your bachelor re-caps :)…I will go back and review Claire…I wasn’t going to watch hers…she seems annoying in all the previews…but what else is there to watch..
        I have listened to Conan..not all but a fair share…I’ve started Sibling Revelry…Kate and Oliver Hudson – not too bad as well as Oprahs 2020 tour – really good guests…Tina Fey – Michelle Obama – Amy Schumer…
        Also just realized “A Million Little Things” is not on your TV list ? hello? best new show!
        We recently (Christmas time) got Amazon Prime video – and they have Parenthood…I’ve restarted that – I miss the Bravermans – they can help with pandemic isolation.

        Take care,
        #stayhome and #washyourhands (my new parting words on all emails :))

        • Michelle on April 1, 2020 at 11:44 am

          I think I tried A Million Little Things when it was first on TV — it was one I’d looked so forward to — and it made me mad so I stopped watching but I can’t remember why! Typical. ha. Maybe I’ll give it another try! I’ve been thinking about starting How to Get Away With Murder but there are so many seasons now it seems overwhelming. Have you watched it?

  2. Karen Hawkins on April 2, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Well, I stayed up late and finished A Good Neighborhood – wow it was so good. That sad story will stay with me for a while. And I love how it was written – like someone was telling us the story. Thank you for that recommendation.
    Yes I am all up to date on HTGAWM – the FINAL episodes of the season start tonight. It is very good – lots of twists and turns and each season leaves you with questions. Viola Davis is amazing. But I know what you mean about so many seasons and it being overwhelming – that is the reason I haven’t watched Breaking Bad. It seems like such a big commitment. But have you watched Scandal? For me, that would be a better investment in your TV time.
    I am also enjoying Little Fires Everywhere – I read the book so long ago I forget what is going to happen (51 year old brain :))

    • Michelle on April 3, 2020 at 10:31 am

      I loved Scandal for about three seasons then got tired of it. And speaking of, I’m also watching Little Fires Everywhere — I’m surprised how much I like it because Reese Witherspoon isn’t my favorite actress (at ALL) and in LFE I actually think she’s great (perfect for that role) and it’s Kerry Washington who is bugging the hell out of me with her measured delivery of like every line she says. I really liked the book but like you, had forgotten things that happen! Love how they cast those four kids to look EXACTLY like they could be siblings and totally look like they could be the spawn of Reese Witherspoon and Joshua Jackson!

  3. Karen Hawkins on April 7, 2020 at 9:13 am

    I too do NOT like Reese Witherspoon as an actress – and this is not a popular statement to make – so it is nice to share 🙂 The only thing I have liked her in recently is the Morning Show. Even in LFE – I find she and Kerry’s performances …what’s the word….? bland…stiff? I keep watching because, well Covid boredom and I do remember enjoying the book. I never really thought about how well those kids were cast until you mentioned it and you are so right. The youngest could totally be Joshua Jackson’s daughter.
    How is the lego assembling going? LOL
    Stay well, stay safe.

    • Michelle on April 11, 2020 at 11:40 am

      OMG how crazy is that actress who plays younger Mia in LFE?!?!? Her speech patterns and mannerisms are EXACTLY Kerry Washington! I just watched that episode last night and was DYING. AnnaSophia Robb (young Elena) is freakishly Reese-like, too. The casting on this show is so spot-on! I’m already sad it’s going to end. I completely had forgotten some of these plot twists!

  4. Karen Hawkins on April 17, 2020 at 8:45 am

    So true – that young Mia was awesome, as is young Elena – better than their older counterparts 🙂 I too will be sad when it ends. But Killing Eve is back !- do you watch that one?
    While I patiently wait spring weather, I introduced my 21 year old daughter to Parenthood and now we have both become couch potatoes. Fun fact – when you binge Parenthood you realize Kristina cries at some point pretty much every episode.

    • Michelle on April 24, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Haven’t watched Killing Eve because my husband said only the first season was good – ?? So about that LFE finale – oh.my. Erase everything I said about not liking Reese Witherspoon’s acting because she KILLED IT on that episode. Emmy contender for sure. And the kids! Oh my lord. The girl who played Izzy was heartbreaking and so, so good. Super frustrating ending, but that’s life, right?

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