Friday, December 31, 2021

Ah, New Year's Eve, we meet again

Happy New Year's Eve from our home in Washington, DC, current Covid hotspot. 

I mean DC is a hotspot. Our home is probably more like a warmspot?

So, last summer a friend of mine gave me a packet of CBD gummies.

They were little prettily-colored rectangles, ostensibly fruity but all tasting kind of like freshly mown grass, but most importantly, helpful for sleep.

In any case, I packed them in my Dopp kit but at some point it was a billion degrees in the car, and that night when I opened them to take a small slice, they were all melted together.

You could see the distinct colors but no physical delineation. They were firmly one multicolored glob.

And that's how this pandemic has been for me.

I can sort of attribute events to the first Covid year and the second Covid year, but as I have a tendency to think that everything was last month, even in normal time, I don't always get it right.

When was it that the kids and I were lying on the ground crying about online school, like, every day? Was that last year or this year? I honestly can't remember.

I remember wiping down our groceries and setting the mail aside for 72 hours (I think it was 72) and wearing latex gloves. I remember being scared of any and every molecule outside the house. 

That was early 2020, right?

I remember going to protests in front of the White House. Everyone was masked, and obviously we were outside, but I remember being worried about getting Covid. But feeling like it was important to join the protests.

(And when I say in front I mean about 500 miles away because so much fencing had been put up to keep the hoi polloi far away.)

After that, or maybe even because of all those protests and really no transmission, we learned that outside transmission is very unlikely. That was definitely 2020.

Vaccination was 2021. Hope that this would all be coming to an end. Seeing fully vaccinated friends inside. Only a couple, here and there. Not a party. No, definitely not a party.

But feeling confident in gathering outside, all vaccinated and maskless and in way closer proximity than we would have the prior year.

And then the news that people were getting Covid and transmitting it despite the vaccines. 

We'd still be protected, and we most likely wouldn't die, but we could still get very sick.

That was recently, right? I think before Thanksgiving?

So imagine my surprise to realize that it was nearly Christmas.

And now, as time as we mark it is linear, it is now New Year's Eve. 

Lo, 2022 is upon us!

We ended the first pandemic year without catching Covid.

We are ending the second Covid year with plague in the household. India brought Covid home from school. Honestly, it tore though her school.

They had everyone go online for the last day before break. They emailed to say 20 people had reported being positive.

India had a cough, and felt a little tired, but she was fine. Good appetite, good energy.

I gave her a rapid test, and it was positive. I hauled us all to Rockville for the only PCR tests we could find on Christmas Eve.

Then Betty caught it. Betty! Who we have worked our hardest to shield. My mama, who has COPD and has been my primary concern this entire pandemic.

She opened gifts Christmas morning, and then said she was tired and went to bed, and then didn't get up for several days.

Fortunately, DC has been giving away free rapid tests at libraries, and we have made good use of them.

So we knew.

She is doing OK, I'd like to report.

Saturday she got sick, and Sunday was scary. Her oxygen got quite low, but not emergency-level low. The doctor on call told me to buy a pulse oximeter, and gave me a number below which to rush her to the ER.

We flirted very near that number, and we set our alarm for 2:00 am and 5:00 am to check on her. Nick very kindly donned a mask and did the checking and let me sleep.

But her oxygen has been quite good since then. She now has a crazy itchy Covid rash. It's a thing.

And here's the part where I, after nursing my baby girl and my mama, also get Covid.

Which is hardly a surprise.

What is a surprise, a good surprise, is that neither Jordan nor Nick have contracted it. 

We hope to keep it that way.

India has already tested negative.

My mom's doctor assumes it's Omicron, because that's what seems to be going around DC.

Thanks to vaccines, none of us have gotten critically ill.

I feel like I have a cold. I'm exhausted, and have some joint and muscle pain.

But mostly I'm tired. And oooh, crabby. I don't think the crabbiness is listed as a typical Covid symptom. Anyway, it isn't on any checklists I've seen.

It is exhausting to be sick and taking care of another, sicker person. And making sure your kids eat. And making sure they walk the dog.

Although now Nick is on vacation and he has taken over, and I am glad.

Yesterday afternoon Nick came home and I stayed in bed. He fed the kids steak sandwiches, vegan crab cakes, canned fried onions, and ice cream.

They were delighted, though frankly, typing that makes my stomach all swirly.

God knows what their NYE feast might look like.

So we are ending 2021 in a quiet sort of way.

I mean, quiet but for the coughing and nose blowing and occasional bickering.

Who knew we could spend such saturated time together?

As 2021, a year with moments of extreme joy, and a lot of fear, and truly, the knowledge that I have so much to be grateful for.

I'm grateful for the people I love who love me back. I say regularly that I have many flaws, but I have excellent taste in people.

This is still true.

I'm grateful for Dr. Fauci, for scientists, for the many who believe in science, and for vaccines. I do hope they are made available to way more people in the world.

I'm grateful that we are safe and together, even if I have to wear a mask when I come down to the kitchen.

I'm incredibly thankful that my mom is well enough to be home, and not to be in a hospital, sequestered from everyone. This is not luck, or heartiness, though she is a very strong frail person. 

But let's be real: this is the gift of vaccination.

I also, however, believe in the power of prayer, the power of good energy, and so many friends have been praying and sending good wishes to my mama in this time. I am so thankful for those. I believe every single one of them help.

I'm thankful for our loving community. I do hope that 2022 is a better year for everyone. 

I have no predictions, and I have no resolutions.

Thank you for caring about us, and thank you for reading. 

I hope for health, safety, love, and joy for all of you.

Love love love to you.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Gift ideas from women-owned small businesses

Although I love Christmas, love the lights, love the cookies, love the color and sparkle, today I was all, "Holy crap, it's December!"

How did this year go so fast?

So maybe in this holiday season you need a gift or two for someone else or maybe someone who loves you needs to buy you a gift?

I don't want to be all food blog where you're just all get to the fucking recipe already, but I have stories, so I warn you in advance. Since I have a lot to say, I'm going to kind of tell this in story form based on things I own, use, wear, benefit from, love.

You know how to scroll if you'd had enough of the blah blah, so I'm not worried about you.

Here are representative suggestions of their wares, but really, you should visit their sites and browse and revel.

---

Earrings from PamChamJewelry

The link above is to her Etsy shop, but you should also follow her on IG, because she posts a lot there that she makes for local markets and so they don't make it into her Etsy shop. Also, if you message her with something you have in mind, she will make it for you.

Pam has a phenomenal sense of humor and her creations have a lot of whimsy and she's an incredible human on top of it all.

I lucked out with this jelly bean ring. A friend saw me wearing it, and Pam didn't have the exact same stone, but a very similar one, and now my friend has her own creation. So.

I met Pam because she lived in a group house with Maude, although I have to mention here that by group house I mean a number of unrelated people who lived in a large house to share housing costs. 

I say this because a friend thought I meant an addiction center or something of the sort. And while there's no shame in that, it's not what I mean.

So, I lived like six blocks away in another group house, and I spent a lot of time at Maude's. This was before I discovered antidepressants, and so I likely spent a lot of time languishing, moping, or openly weeping at Maude's.

And still, Pam liked me enough that we're still friends and I get to see her every summer when we head up to Maine, and sometimes I get lucky enough to stay with her family. 

Last summer, post-vaccination, Maude and I both stayed there, and I hadn't laughed that hard in years.

---

Stabby chicken mug from freemanclayworks:

Andrea ships a lot of her pottery to stores and doesn't yet have a personal website, but look her up at freemanclayworks on IG (linked above. That's where I contacter her when I learned (through Pam, because they are friends!) that she makes these awesome stabby chicken mugs. I had to have one.

And because the world is an odd and sometimes magical place, it turns out that she lived in Nepal in her youth and we have common dear friends. I love that.

Look at the back of the mug. It's perfect. Whoever Georgia is, I love her.

 --

Whimsical, stretchy, comfortable clothing from Jordan Piantedosi (who you should also follow on IG)

Yes, that's me. I wear a lot of her outfits and they seriously make me feel like a superhero.

And look, it's not all athleisure suits-- here's my mama in her lovely possum scarf. 

 (Also, I am hoping to receive this Strawberry Dragon puffer for Christmas. It will match my strawberry dragon athleisure suit. I just really need pink boots. Maybe lug soled or clog boots. Very pink. I haven't yet found any.)

The truth is, Jordan vastly improved my pandemic. I started ordering her clothing and my days got brighter. I walked around our neighborhood in these matchy-matchy tops and bottoms and sometimes this made neighbors laugh out loud.

And then I laughed out loud. It felt good. 

India and I started doing Jordan Piantedosi photoshoots around the neighborhood. We had a blast.  

Jordan and I started messaging about clothing, and then moved to sharing memes, and honestly, and aside from being an incredibly talented artist, she's just a really great human.

India and I met up with her for an afternoon in Boston last summer. The three of us wound up doing a photoshoot. This is possibly my favorite photo from it.

--

Jewelry, perhaps a bespoke name bangle or necklace made by English Norman at ESN artisan jewelry


I met English through Wendy. First we were in a workout group together. The group morphed into a work out but also talk about everything else that might be going on with our bodies or minds group. 

And then I got to spend some time with her in person. I love English.

Look at this bangle stack. I have one, but stacked is really cool.

I have a very special name bangle with my kids' names on it, and also an I DISSENT necklace with pearls. They're both so interesting and charming, and I always get compliments.

English is, in addition to being an incredible mom, hilarious person, and creative artist, a beekeeper, chicken keeper (chickener?), dog and cat rescuer. She rents goats to clean up her garden. 

When she finds insects that are already dead, she incorporates them into jewelry. I sent her a bunch of cicadas recently. I'm interested to see them in adornments.

---

And finally, for something lovely you can give or recieve nownownow if you don't have time to wait for shipping.

An energy balancing session from Alexa de los Reyes

Alexa is a dear friend of mine and one of the smartest people I know. She's kind and loving and she makes me laugh. She has this totally calming energy just speaking to you.

I've written before about Alexa, and how she has helped me with her energy healing. I recently had a phone session with her and while I don't understand it, I know it's helpful. She says it's not like Eleven going to that dark alternate plane, but she goes somewhere and connects with your body there.

I can't understand it, but I do benefit from it. Like how I explained to Nick, when I was trying to talk him into acupuncture, saying that you don't have to believe for it to work. Acupuncture works on animals, for example.

And then he was all hilariously, "Animals don't believe in acupuncture?"

And he wonders why I joke about stabbing him.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand.

Alternative treatments such as these aren't covered by insurance, sadly! But what a lovely, healing, calming gift during the stressful holiday period/endless fucking pandemic.

It's been fun to write about women I adore who create beauty and goodness in the world. I hope these are helpful.

Love to all, and to all a good night!

(Happy shopping/browsing. No stabbing.)

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Nero

Right now the world feels like a hopeless place

This is not a cry for help
Yes, I'm taking my meds

Although a three-day involuntary hold does sound
Kind of appealing, I must admit

I'm kidding
Mostly

It's sunny, and for this I am grateful
Yes, I'll take a long walk
 
A nap might help

But when I say the world is hopeless
I feel like this is more fact than opinion

Look

The world is alternately burning and flooding

And yet climate change is still in debate
Coal and gas are money
And money always wins

Why'd it take me so long to learn that money is power and power decides everything
For everyone else
And good people in power do not stay good

The world is gorging and starving

A college student choked to death during a hot-dog-eating contest
So much of humanity has nothing, literally nothing, to eat

I guess there are lots of ways to die

I read where a German Shepherd is selling one of Madonna's old houses
For millions and millions
Apparently it has a spectacular view of the water

I saw a tent in our park with a small table and plant placed in front
So maybe it's home now

DC is lifting the indoor mask ban
This makes me anxious
But what doesn't, really

If people died faster of Covid
It wouldn't spread as far
This is an epidemiological fact

Look at ebola

Turns out a horse dewormer will not cure it
Our brother-in-law took ivermectin and died
Of Covid
Though they lied and said it was a heart attack

Because masks are socialism and the vaccine is government control

People are the worst and also all we've got

The voice in my head keeps whispering, "Make bad choices"
Have a drink or three eat the whole box of cookies stay up all night watching Netflix

The opposite of a constructive playground mom

I don't do it but I want to

This is not a cry for help

It's that the rich white guys have the money and are the lawmakers
Or buy the lawmakers

They fiddle in outer space

While the world is burning and choking and drowning

I feel like this is more fact than opinion

Saturday, November 13, 2021

14 years of last-first-date-ness

Tonight is the night, 14 years ago, Nick and I met for the very first time.

A year later I wrote about my last first date.

In November of 2007, we had several dates in rapid succession, and then I went away with my fabulous friend Jen for our very own Thanksgiving in Mexico, and I have to say that I just now looked back on those posts, and there are not any photos but we did, very briefly, watch porn!

Honestly, my trip to Cancun with Jen was the funnest Thanksgiving of my life. I have many delightful memories and photos from that trip.

I returned from the trip and Nick was my boyfriend. Like, really, actually, solidly my boyfriend.

And then he was my fiance. And then he was my husband.

Which, I'm happy to report, he still is.

I typically write a schmoopy post about our meeting. I love the early anniversary posts I wrote. I adore writing the goopy, lovey blogs.

But I have to be frank.

This year, this anniversary, we're rather annoyed with each other.

Or anyway, he was initially annoyed, and then he was kind of a giant dick, and now I'm still annoyed, although I'm trying not to be.

I'm not saying alcohol is the answer but I am saying that a tequila kind of took the edge off.

Because here's the thing. Everyone in this house but Nick is pretty messy.

Not like spill chocolate syrup on the floor and leave it. More like leave your jacket on a chair, and also your books in a pile, and your backpack, which has no actual designated location, wherever you might drop it when you come home on Friday.

And the counters get kind of full. And so on.

I was raised in a tidy house, but we had servants. I was never actually tidy.

Nick was raised in a household where children weren't even allowed in the living room because they might mess it up.

Our kids are allowed in the fucking living room. And by the end of each week, entropy has won.

When it all gets to a certain point, Nick gets mad. I told the kids earlier today that we had to tidy up the ground floor or Daddy would get mean.

And then we didn't tidy up.

And then Daddy got agitated and super pissy about the mess.

Frankly, I feel like there are many things I deal with daily and many things I ask our children to do, and I am met with resistance with all of them. And I'm tired all the fucking time without struggling with our children.

So the mess piles up.

And this might seem tangential but in my mind it is gential, or whatever the word might be. (Because at this point I have had a little more tequila and frankly, I don't care exactly what the word is.)

So. Nick is trying to eat healthier. So I make these healthy meals, and for the most party, my mom and India and I eat them. Nick and Jordan might--might--eat them once. And then never again.

Which means I've put all this effort into something that isn't appreciated.

Recently Jordan got mad at Nick about something and said, "All you think about is meat and mayonnaise!"

Nick initially thought it was funny, and then when I was like, "Uh, he pretty much nailed it!" he got kind of defensive.

I didn't say out loud that he also mainly thinks about work and rowing and sex. Not always in that order.

But meat and mayonnaise are up there for sure.

Anyway, I feel like we are having the kind of day where neither of us feel like what is important to us is valued by the other. And our efforts aren't recognized.

The fact is, this is something that happens. It's extremely annoying. In the way that living with other humans and trying to get along most of the time is challenging, and frankly, often annoying.

This evening I said, "I think we're not having one of those 'I'd marry you all over again' kind of days." 

And Nick said, "I'd marry you all over again."

And I was like, "uh."

Which is not to say I regret being married to him. Or that I think I'd be in more harmony with someone else. 

More, just, this shit is hard. And it doesn't actually matter what calendar day it is.

It's our 14-year meet-a-versary. 

More like meat-a-versary. With mayonnnaise. (HAHAHAHAHA!)

He's not going to find that funny.

Maybe next year.

Still, I love him. And he still loves me. 

He is my place of absolute safety. My guaranteed laughter. My home.

Maybe at year 15 we'll once again have a romantic Tabard date.

And come home to a tidy house.

Ya never know?

Friday, November 05, 2021

And it's true that I stole your lighter. And it's also true that I lost the map...

When I met Nick, nigh on 14 years ago, he favored one foot just slightly.

He had an ankle injury, he explained.

Well. What it turned out, when he had it looked at like five years later, was that he had this wee sharp piece of bone that was gradually sawing off his Achilles tendon.

I can't even think about this without wincing. This proves to me he'd have been more stoic about pregnancy and childbirth than I was. 

Anyway.

Every so often I'd suggest that he might like to have surgery rather than being in abject pain when he walked anywhere. And I was told that he was entirely too busy for that nonsense.

Until this May, when that nonsense wound up really being the only reasonable option, given that a person who has legs and feet needs to be able to walk.

So.

I picked him up post-surgery and brought him home, totally loopy, on crutches and pain medication and with a bag of nerve blocker attached to a needle inserted into his leg.

He was not allowed to let his operated-on foot touch the floor, like, not even rest on it, for 10 days.

In fact, he only got out of bed to crutch to the bathroom the first couple days. I was feeding him in bed.

And he was CRABBY. Which was understandable. But very unpleasant. Because rather than recognizing it, he kept accusing me of being short-tempered.

Which I sometimes am but in this instance was not. I was, in fact, infinitely kind an patient.

So I did the only thing I could think of.

I started avoiding him. 

Which was easy because he was stuck in bed in our room. He was doing Zoom calls from bed. At one point he even put on a button-down and tie to speak to a judge.

So I just didn't go there except when I had to. Because he was so mean.

And then he got his feelings all hurt and accused me of avoiding him.

I fessed up: yes, I was. I totally was.

Several days post-surgery he went back to the office. I drove him. Prior to surgery he'd bought this leg scooter thing to get around.

I definitely recommend these scooty things. Way easier than crutches.

So he would crutch down the front steps and I'd carry the scooter to the sidewalk. Then I'd run through the house, jump in the car, and drive around to the end of our block, where there was a ramp for him to scoot down.

I'd park, open his door for him, wait for him to get on crutches, and then take the scooter and put it in the back of the car. I'd drive him to the office, get the scooter out and bring it to him, and say goodbye.

I would repeat this process in reverse at the end of the day.

And every day, when I pulled up to get him, he would say one of two things, neither of which were "thank you" or anything of a grateful nature. 

No.

They were:
1. You're too close to the curb.
2. You're too far from the curb.

And reader, I bit my fucking tongue every time. 

Until I really really didn't.

At the end of the second week he had an 8:00 am appointment with his doctor downtown. So around 7:30 we started the process of leaving the house. 

On my side, it was filled with complications, like a garbage truck in the alley and having to turn around our very tight urban alley and then having to navigate the one-way streets of our neighborhood to get back to our street and pick him up.

This kind of thing stresses me out, and I was flustered when I picked him up. He was at the end of the street, sitting on his scooter, chatting with neighbors.

I got his scooter in the back, pressed the button to close the back hatch, and jumped in the driver's seat.

Whereupon Nick said, "I think you put it in wrong."

"I didn't. I need you to stop criticizing me."

"I'm not criticizing you. The door made a noise. I think you put the scooter in wrong."

At which point I yelled, "AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHGHHHHHHHH! YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING ASSHOLE!"

But it was more like, "AAAAAAAAAAGGGGHGHHHHHHHH! YOU'RE SUCH A FUCKING ASSHOLE!"

And he responded with a big old, "FUCK YOU!"And we proceeded to denigrate each other, yelling horrible, vile things back and forth at higher and higher volume.

Until finally I yelled, "SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP! IF YOU DON'T SHUT THE FUCK UP, I'M NOT TAKING YOU!"

We have super sophisticated, reasonable altercations, as you can see.

And he yelled back, "FINE! JUST DROP ME OFF AND WE! ARE! DONE!"

Done? Like, done done? Huh.

So I was all, "Like, you want to get divorced?"

And he replied, "If you do!"

I took a deep breath, stretched out my arms, shoulders, neck, and said, "Well. I feel better now. Do you want me to come into the appointment or just drop you off out front?"

And he was all, "Yeah, me, too. I'd like you to come in, but whatever works. If it's too hard to find parking, just drop me."

There were a whole bunch of medical students in the exam room to watch Nick's gauze get cut open, because apparently Nick had a very interesting ankle issue. 

After they did what they needed to do, the doctor looked at me and said, "You know, recovery from this kind of surgery can be hard on everyone."

I laughed. I think. I probably made more of a dying goat noise.

And didn't mention the neighbor with the shocked face on the street corner, the one who could obviously hear every word we screamed through rolled up car windows.

Sorry, neighbor. 

Turns out Achilles issues are, in fact, Stygian.