Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The window is open, so's that door/ I didn't know they did that anymore...

My mom and I are sitting in the living room drinking Prosecco.

I offered her a glass when she came downstairs around 1:00 pm.

I popped a bottle right at noon, to celebrate President Joe Biden. To celebrate Madam Vice President Kamala Harris.

The kids and I have been talking about a new president since, well, I guess since Trump won the election in 2016.

But we didn't then know we'd have added the joy of a biracial woman as vice president. A woman with an Indian mother!

---

When I decided to have a no-sugar January, and then decided to join Nick in dry January, one of my rules for myself was that January 20 could be a free-for-all. A big day of celebration with whatever.

I didn't join the kids in French toast dolloped with ice cream and berries. I meant to make a protein smoothie, but I needed to get dressed and put on makeup and walk the dog, and there was the inauguration to watch, and then India and I did a photoshoot in my new and fabulous Hypervigilance dress.

All this to say, I never did eat breakfast.

Proseccos is grapes, though. So I guess I had fruit for breakfast?

---

A couple weeks ago, I happened across this amazing and adorable possum design on Instagram. 

I clicked on it, and it took me to the account of Jordan Pientadosi. Her words resonated with me and I  immediately wanted to buy one of pretty much everything on her site.

I believe in art, and supporting artists, and I also feel strongly in wearing clothing that brings me joy and/or makes me giggle.

So I ordered the Hypervigilance dress and as soon as it arrived, I put it on and decided I needed to wear it for the inauguration.

I mean, look! It has ten swords, including one on each arm! Powerful! It has so many eyes!


 It is comfy for sitting around with the dog!

And! I seriously feel like I could kick someone's ass while wearing this if I needed to.

I felt like that was appropriate for the occasion.

I'm lounging around in it all day.

Naturally, for Kamala Harris, I added pearls and Chucks. The only Chuck Taylors I have are gold, but that seemed about right, too.

---

India is all about fashion.

She offered to take multiple photos of me. Since I don't often put on makeup and get dressed in real clothes anymore, and since this is a momentous occasion, I was delighted.

I maybe got her to take more photos than she was all that interested in taking. But I'm still delighted.

---

Betty thought the Prosecco was so tasty that she poured herself a second glass.

She just turned to me and said, "Is Prosecco alcoholic?"

Yes, Mama. Yes, it is.

 ---

I believe in love and I believe in art. 

I also believe in democracy.

I believe we have to pull ourselves back from toxic capitalism, where the wealthy just get wealthier by taking advantage of the poor.

I believe that people like Nick's older sister, who keep calling us "Socialists", don't actually know that schools and roads and anything that benefits people as a whole is a socialist construct.

I don't know if I believe, but I certainly hope, that intelligence will prevail. Intelligence and kindness.

After more than four years, I once again feel hope. Here I am, watching the inauguration intently.

I believe that everything important comes back to love.

Happy Inauguration Day!

Love!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Covid vaccine and DC lockdown

Let me start by saying that I am so thankful that my mom got her first Covid vaccine. Truly thankful.

Perhaps more so because it almost didn't happen.

And I'm grateful that it was last week because getting across DC would be a nightmare this week. 

Let me add that I'd like to know why NJ State Police cars are parked around the corner from us.

I thought we were about a half a mile north of the designated Green Zone. 

And is it so crazy that we have red and green zones  and police and National Guard in DC right now because our politicians need to be protected from armed Americans?

I mean, we see a lot of police in DC. And we hear a lot of helicopters. But not like this.

A few months ago, the kids and I were out walking when a police car sped around the corner.

I said, "It's the po po!"

And India responded, "Act natural!"

So now that's what we say when we see them. We do our best.

But back to Betty.

I don't know if it's improved since last Monday, but the DC scheduling website was kind of horrendous. You had to enter all your data and fill in those annoying letters and numbers in Captcha twice before it would tell you that the location you selected didn't have any vaccine.

While I was on the site, I was number 125 on phone hold to speak to someone.

Finally I found a clinic in NE that had appointments available. I snagged one for last Wednesday.

As we drove across town Wednesday, there were lots of police cars and people putting up fencing and placing jersey walls.

I've only seen photos of the security downtown, but Nick goes to his office every day. He can't drive or take the bus because of all the roads blocked off. So he bikes.

I asked him to please wear flannel plaid so he kind of blends more.

We live north of the blocked-off area so up to now we haven't seen a big police presence in our neighborhood, but it's very disconcerting.

I am nervous about this week, particularly, of course, Wednesday.

And speaking of, I got a kick ass dress that I am going to wear Inauguration Day. It has 10 swords on it, and lots of eyes. Very powerful. I'm excited.

Anyway, for the shot we drove across town, which gives me anxiety, because driving places I don't know makes me anxious.

Which may sound odd, because I'm always proposing we jump in the car and drive somewhere like Colorado. But it's more cities that make me anxious. Highways are fine.

In fact, I got my first in-person speeding ticket on a highway in Indiana last summer. The officer clocked me going well above speed limit.

Fortunately, I'd slowed down before going by him. I'd been going rather fast.

Which reminds me. Nick handed me a photo ticket the other day. He was all prepared to lecture me. I could tell. He that look. He had a tone. 

He was starting to talk about responsibility and being careful, when I looked at the date and the location of the ticket.

I was all, "Wait, when was I in that neighborhood? What date?"

In fact, I wasn't.

So I suggested that perhaps he should be more responsible and pay more attention.

I will admit to feeling a little smug at that point.

But finally, back to Covid.

I got Betty this precious, hard-to-get appointment all the way across town. Nick printed out the confirmation, and she had her license and insurance.

I'd registered her with her name, her birth date, and our address. I gave my email and phone number so we couldn't miss the confirmation.

We left with plenty of time. We got there a few minutes early.

India and I waited in the car. We'd each brought a book, and were settled in reading. And after about 10 minutes, my mom came out.

I asked how it was and she said they wouldn't give her the shot. Because the information was wrong.

She handed me the paper with the confirmation code to scan and said they wouldn't give her the shot. Because the email was in my name. They told her she didn't have an appointment. 

When I knew for a fucking fact that she did. I was all, "Like hell you don't have an appointment. They're not giving you that shot!"

I threw on my mask and marched into the clinic with her close behind. I went up to the desk with the papers.

I very nicely but extremely firmly told the receptionist that they'd my mother out but she absolutely had an appointment. I said that it was under my email, but that's because she's 83 and doesn't email. I pointed out that the confirmation email was addressed to Betty. The name above the scanner code was Betty. They'd called me the night before asking for BETTY Jordan. 

 She. Was. Registered.

The woman took my mom's information and headed to the back.

A nurse came out to confirm the information. Then another one came out and said that the registration was under my name, but they'd switch it to Betty and give her the vaccine.

I didn't argue about the fact that they were mistaken and I had proof. I almost burst into tears, so relieved she'd be getting the shot.

I stayed inside until they called her back. I was super tense.

Honestly, I think that if an 83 year old person turns up in the correct time slot but there is some detail that is not correct, they should still give that person the shot.

The more people vaccinated, the better for everyone.

In fact, I think they should load up vaccines and medical personnel into ice cream trucks and drive through neighborhoods playing 40s and 50s-era music to entice senior citizens out and then just give them all the vaccine.

But that's just me.

Truly, my mom getting the vaccine is the best thing that's happened to me for as long as I can remember.

We return in February for her second dose.

What is happening with Covid shots (or police presence) where you live?

Monday, January 11, 2021

WTFness of 2021

Many of my friends, perhaps including you, expected 2021 to be a fresh new start.

Goodbye 2020 Dumpsterfire! Hello, 2021!

WTF, 2021? 

It's like Dante's Beatrice ushered us in, and we all popped pomegranate seeds.

I won't recap the terrifying goings-on in DC. But I will say that Nick's office is near the White House, and I was super twitchy about him biking to work because roads were closed and we'd all been asked to stay out of downtown. 

And he was all, "Lisa. I look like one of them."

Which...is true. 

In angry moments I sometimes remind him that he's part of the patriarchy.

---

Sometime in December, I read this article, and I decided that it was time for me to get my nutritional house in order.

My sleep is never restful, and much of this, I am afraid, is age and hormone related. But I was also eating like a kid in a candy store.

When I tell you that all through December I had peppermint bark with breakfast, and cookies and pastries all day long, and more treats well into the evening, I'm not exaggerating. Sugar and sugar and sugar.

So I decided that in January I would limit myself to sugar in my morning tea. 

Nick decided to do dry January, and I've since learned there's a term: Dryuary. Apparently scads of people do this after the excesses of the holidays. So I figured I'd join for support.

Alcohol, fortunately, is not one of my problems. It easily could be, as we have alcoholism on both sides of the family.

I think if they'd been medicated--or properly medicated, or willing to stay on meds--it could have been different. There was a lot of self-medication going on.

But I don't need to get all heavy here.

I had a tiny glass of prosecco on the first, really a few sips, to usher in what I believed would be a good year. I had a hard kombucha on the sixth, to celebrate the wins in Georgia and to recognize the terrifying nature of the attempted coup. 

I haven't yet turned to sugar, my preferred comfort, my snuggle friend, my favorite nighttime dance partner.

Honestly, I'm not looking for perfection; I'm looking to break habits and head toward healthier eating.

This is happening. We are having more vegetables--although let me be honest, anything is more, because many days in December we had zero, much to my shame. But we're again having vegetables at dinner, sometimes with lunch, sometimes as snack.

Friends suggested monk fruit and allulose as sugar substitutes. So far I've only tried the monk fruit, and it is the best not-sugar I've tasted. If allulose is even better, I'll be delighted. It's very very close to sugar and almost not at all weird.

I've kept to sugar in my tea, because milky sugary tea is a pleasure. I'm just lessening the amount of sugar in a teaspoon. Friends had warned that this would be a gateway to sugar cravings, and maybe it has, but I've satisfied them with fruit or dried fruit.

And maybe it's the dried fruit, or the upped vegetables, but something has been seriously giving me crazy gas. I told Nick that fortunately all these farts aren't all that stinky, and he was like, uh, yes, they are. 

Oh.

I guess this means I could live up to my imagined porn star name.

Anyway.

My sleep is still fairly fractured. So far I haven't started sleeping solidly and waking refreshed and ready to charge into the day. 

But it's like Nick says: "You never wake up and regret not drinking." 

This is how I feel about sugar. 

---

And I had an appointment with my psychiatrist last week. A check-in, since he'd upped my medication dose in the fall, after a long struggle with insurance to allow it.

(Can we get rid of for-profit healthcare already?)

Shortly beforehand, I asked Nick if he had anything he wanted me to tell my shrink. He and my mom keep an eye on me, as I recognize I'm not always a good judge of the state of my mental health. I know this, even though I forget sometimes.

And I still have to really think about how I'm doing instead of just automatically saying, "fine" when talking to a mental health professional. I believe I no longer have the urge to lie, but that could be because I haven't ditched my meds lately. 

Which I hopefully will not do again. 

So Nick, my beloved, said, "I think you're doing better."

I'm well acquainted with The Better. The Better annoys me. He'll say better as a compliment, which, I mean, it's preferable to worse. But it's something I don't know what to do with.

Now, the man was not raised with compliments or praise. It was more like criticism to motivate improvement.

As such, he's pretty reserved with praise. And I love to dollop compliments on people. Sincere ones. It just feels good to me.

So knowing our differences, and wanting to report accurately about the state of my mental health, I said, "Do you think I'm doing WELL? Or just BETTER? Because better than terrible might be better, but still is not so good."

He said, "You're definitely doing better. You can still be pretty sardonic sometimes."

I said I didn't really know what sardonic meant, and he said extremely sarcastic. And I was like, well, yeah.

So I said, "OK. I'm going to tell him I think I'm doing pretty well and you said I'm doing better but still a little too sarcastic for your taste."

At which point India piped in with, "Mama. You're getting so much better at driving! I'm very proud of you! You're less anxious about parking!"

I laughed and thanked her. Sincerely. I have tremendous anxiety parking our new car in the garage and I do think I've gotten better.

She added, "And you're very good at sarcasm, Mama! I'm working on it, too!"

May 2021 get so much better for all of us!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night 2020

As we here in DC wrap up 2020, I know many of you are already happily in 2021.

I don't know anyone who isn't glad to see this year put to rest.

For me personally, it wasn't the worst year of my life. 

But honestly, that's because it's very hard to compete with a year in which your dad dies by suicide. And you buy a house with no ground floor kitchen, have an emergency C-section and can't do stairs, have very limited support because your mom is understandably having her own breakdown, *and* you have post-partum depression.

Otherwise, this would totally have been the worst year of my life. I mean, let's be honest: it was a super suck-ass year.

Collectively, I think it was the worst year of life for our family.

We are all healthy, but we lost people we dearly loved. 

We've been out of in-person school since March. In October, India left DCPS to home school, because she was so unhappy being online. Jordan has been struggling with online school.

We agree that we love each other and have gotten closer, but we are also pretty sick of each other. My kids cannot wait to be back in in-person school.

Recently Jordan suggested that we regularly have days where we all do our own thing inside the house and don't really spend any time together.

This sounds good to me.

As I mentioned, I've been home schooling India and we spend A LOT of time together. And I don't know if 8 is a particularly hard age for everyone but I will say that India's age 8 is a brutal one for the rest of us.

Jordan, thankfully, has been incredibly sweet.

Also fortunately, Nick has gone to the office daily, which is safe because he is one of maybe four people who do, and he spends his days entirely alone.

If he were staying home, one of us would surely have stabbed the other by May at the latest.

I'd hate to go to prison, and particularly in a Covid time.

I don't have anything profound to say, but in this time I have learned something about myself.

First of all, I was quite sure that I'd be fine staying home all the time. I love staying home. I'm an introvert.

Well.

I'm not as much of an introvert as I thought.

Yes, I need alone time to recharge. But oh my gosh, as it turns out, I love a lot of people. 

I had so many more daily interactions than I thought I had, until I didn't have them anymore.

I missed greeting the school crossing guard and the guards at the door. I missed my yoga group. I missed the parents I would chit chat with at school drop-off and pickup.

There are more, and I won't go on, because I know you all have your own people, and it super sucks. 

I don't know how this has affected the non-huggers, but as a hugger, I hate it. In normal life, hug practical strangers if we make a connection. And I have made connections in the aisles of Trader Joe's.

I only recently shopped at Trader Joe's for the first time since the pandemic began.

But anyway. I learned that I need and enjoy so many more people in my life than I thought I did. This was a huge revelation for me. 

Also, and this did not used to be true of me, I can spend two to three days in the same outfit, unbathed.

Although now that I say that, I do recall that week closest to Everest base camp, when all I did at night was take off my boots and unhook my bra. Because it was just so cold. But that was an anomaly.

I used to be rather concerned about my appearance.

I wonder if that will happen again.

Anyway.

We are lucky lucky that Betty lives with us, as otherwise we'd probably never see her in this fucking wretched pandemic.

We are blessed to be able to stay home and away from others, and fortunately we have been healthy.

We see our good fortune, and we recognize our blessings. 

We've done a crap job at eating fruit or vegetables, and have kind of descended into a junk-food laden kind of debauchery.

Which ends tomorrow.

I decided to do a sugar-free January to hopefully help my sleep and my mood. Nick decided to do a dry January, so I am joining him in this. Also, he's going to try to lose weight.

The kids decided they were on board with no sugar. This will be a shock when they actually live it.

And Betty recently got diagnosed with high cholesterol, so I proposed she ditch the sugar and join us. So she's joining as well.

She and I are the biggest sugar fiends. We'll see how this goes. I think it will be good.

And January 20, which is marked on our calendar and toward which we have been counting down, is allowed as a bacchanalian day, should we choose. I imagine I'll mainline sugar and then do naked backflips down the sidewalk. Unless it's really really cold.

So, that new regime starts tomorrow. In whole new year!

Right now Betty and the kids are watching Stranger Things and Nick and I are sipping beverages and listening to music in the living room.

On a Stranger Things note, earlier today India and I were watching together. There’s a line where a dad says, “This is our government. We have to trust them.”

India looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, “As if.”

Jeez, is she growing up way faster than I did.

Anyway, I have a Zoom with some of my dearest friends from my youth at 9:00 pm.

Thank you for living through the hellscape that was 2020 with me. I wish you all such joy, laughter, connections, and good fortune in 2021.

Love love love,

Lisa

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The one for the strong of stomach

This is a rather revolting tale, so if you don't like reading gross stuff, stop now.

Really.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy schadenfreude, scatology and/or emetology, then do I have a gift for you!

You've been warned. On with the story.

The other morning I walked into the kitchen to find Nick shaking his head and scrubbing his hands with scalding water.

He said, "That dog is so disgusting."

Wanda, our scroungy hound, will lunge for any old rotting piece of pizza, tail of shrimp, or whatever else she may find in the park. Regardless of how well fed she is here.

She just can't resist the crust of an old bagel. She will not drop it on command. 

Nick or I can generally pry her mouth open and pull out whatever it is. One night she got something she really wanted and absolutely refused to open her jaws. So Nick held her head and I put my fingers over her nose until she had to open her mouth to breathe.

Ha.

Yah, so on this particular morning, she stuck her head into a bush and pulled her head out chomping something. Nick prised her mouth open to remove...poo.

That dog was eating poo.

Which he was vigorously scrubbing off his hands on that fateful morning.

And then he left for work.

Jordan went upstairs to get online for school, and India headed to the living room to open her books while I made tea.

And suddenly she yelled in utter panic, "MAMA! MAMA COME HERE MAMA!" 

I started running towards her.

"WANDA THREW UP!"

On the whole, I'm terrible with vomit, but dog vomit, I've learned, tends to not be so bad, because it's mainly a big blob of dog kibble. It's pale, easy to clean up, and doesn't soak into the rug.

Unless.

Unless your fucking dog has eaten poo.

I grabbed some paper towels and headed into the living room to find that Wanda had puked on my favorite carpet. One my parents bought in Tehran in 1979 while my brother and I climbed on piles of carpets as tall as mountains to us.

We spent the day in a carpet store, eating biscuits and drinking tea while our parents perused carpets and bargained.

I approached the vomit to find that it was larger and more spread out than normal. 

And. It smelled really, really bad.

For this I would need gloves. And way more paper towels. I ran to the kitchen and returned with such items.

I started working on the mess and immediately began retching. I got up, and, realizing I wouldn't make it to the bathroom, headed for the front door.

Yes. There I was, running for the door trying to hold in my vomit, clutching paper towels soaked in semi-digested, regurgitated poo.

I didn't make it.

However, I did manage to mainly vomit into my hands.

When India realized what was happening, she began to retch.

I yelled, "TAKE WANDA OUTSIDE!" Figuring that if there was any more puking done by anyone, at least it would be outside.

Then I yelled a bunch of profanity just to make myself feel better.

Jordan came running down the stairs to see what the commotion was. 

He, too, is a sympathy puker, and I was not about to add him to the mix. So I told him Wanda had puked, it was terrible, we were fine, and to go back upstairs.

Then I cleaned up my vomit and went back to work on the rug.

Some people, maybe most people, might be more concerned about the state of their dog than their rug. But I was mad. Ooh, I was so mad.

If you're going to be an asshole and eat poo, you'd better not puke on my carpet.

I was blotting and wiping with wet paper towels, and then I recalled that soda water takes stains out. I looked, but we didn't have any.

We did, however, have white wine, and I remembered reading that white wine will take red wine out of a carpet.

So I poured a bunch of white wine on the stain.

And it was only 9:45 in the morning, but I also remembered that 7:30 am is 5:00 pm in New Delhi, so that would make it whatever time of the evening there. 

I poured myself a big damn glass.

Then I let the dog back in.