Sunday, October 30, 2022

Every day there is an affirmation

in the 10 minute yoga morning movement class my husband and I do. This is an online thing we have discovered after I did my goat yoga class and felt so centered and joyful that I wanted to bring it all home with me--

not the goat part, but the centering and joy--and we found it with Kassandra with a K on Youtube, and unrolling our yoga mats out in the living room and doing our deep breathing and bowing with our hands to our hearts and repeating the day's affirmation, something about peace or abundance or inviting calmness into your life or whatever, and so of course, we wanted to do this

on the day of our daughter's wedding. Not enough yoga mats, and the living room in the Airbnb was really too small for the four of us--husband and me, daughter and son--but we parked ourselves on the carpet and stretched and reached, down-dogged and warrior-posed, laughing at one point when our legs tangled up, reminding me of a Twister game, Kassandra with a K, all perky 

on my laptop, revealing her affirmation, which fit perfectly for the day ahead: 

I am a vessel of love, she said, and the four of us repeated it dutifully, and later throughout the day, when we dressed and posed for pictures, when we greeted family and friends, during the ceremony and after, the dancing and toasting, the evening, so long looked forward to and prepared for, and now whirling on, swirling past, 

until the final moments, a bride and groom run under sparklers, and teary hugs goodbye before all heading in different directions,

but back to the morning on the carpet, when we were all still together--

I know I know I know we can't make time stop, can't roll it back up like yoga mats to unroll whenever we want, light the sparklers again or button the tiny white buttons on the back of the wedding dress, cut the flowery cake anew, or fling open the doors and see the radiant bride for the first time, making her way down the aisle toward her groom, but listen

and repeat after me:

I am a vessel of love. Now bow your heads.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Stretch your legs and smile, as Louie the dog stretches his paws too and gazes at all of his silly lovely people. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Not pink sandals but

Yesterday I bought shoes.  

I had been putting off buying shoes because I don't like buying shoes. Or shopping in general. (See: my recent struggle to buy a mother-of-the-bride-dress.) But that turned out to be... not so hard, and I was thinking, Okay, maybe I can replicate that experience with the shoes. 

But then I got covid. (See: how I got covid) and that set me back a few weeks, and then, suddenly, this wedding is less than a week away!!! and I still had no shoes. 

Anyway, I bought a pair yesterday, and only a few stressful moments, trying on different styles and wanting to be the kind of person who could pull off the trendy shoes, the strappy shoes, the pointy-heeled shoes. The ones with the sparkles, the glitter, the color. 

But this just isn't me. Apparently, I am a nude-shaded, medium-heeled, pumps woman. Also, I require the cushion-y inserts for extra arch and heel support. For the record, the shoe salesguy approved of my choice and I admit that his approval gave me joy. 

The shoes have a little shine to them, a lovely glossiness, and that gives me joy too. I want more of that. Joy. 

I walked out of the store swinging my shopping bag, and for a weird moment I am years in the past, a young mother, my two-year-old daughter (soon to be the bride!) clasping my hand. We are walking past a shoe store and she tugs me toward the display window. A pair of bright pink sandals behind the glass. Another tug into the store, where against my better judgment, I let her try the sandals on. 

She doesn't want to take them off. I have a brief war inside myself. The sandals are 35 dollars! At the time, a lot of money for a pair of child's shoes. And up to that point I have never bought myself a pair of shoes that cost that much. But my daughter looks so adorable wearing them and pointing at her feet and saying, "Pink sandals" in her sweet high little toddler voice. 

I bought her the shoes. 

And now I remember how the rest of the day she kept stopping to bend down, to wriggle her toes, and sing out "pink sandals" so joyfully that I let go of any regrets I had about the pricey purchase and stopped whenever she did to sing it with her. Pink sandals pink sandals pink sandals

And what joy we both had that day.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Pandemic Diaries: Two Years and Seven Months In and it finally got me

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

I wake up with a sore throat

and think: Allergies. No big deal. The weather's gotten cold recently and we've had to turn on the heat, the house is dry, the leaves are turning, etc. I head off to work, wearing my mask, because I always wear my mask when I'm working, despite the fact that my husband and I recently had the new bivalent booster and cases seem to be down lately in our area (but... hard to know? Ohio no longer posts new daily case numbers).

The general feeling I have is that I am totally protected, but just to be on the safe side, I've continued with the masking. My daughter's wedding is at the end of the month! I've got no time to catch a virus! Work, and I'm fine. I do a shift in the youth department and am so excited when I notice that one of the eggs in our chick-hatching display has a crack in it. 

Tomorrow, for sure, I'll get to greet the baby chicks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

I'm sick. 

It hit me as I was going to bed. The sore throat, way worse now. A headache. And I am so cold I can't take it anymore. I get out of bed and throw my warm pajamas on, socks, my bathrobe, and burrow back under the covers. When my husband comes to bed a few hours later, he's sick too.  

In the morning we take covid tests. Mine is positive. His is negative. But we both feel like we got run over by trucks in the night. I call my manager and my doctor. The library protocol for covid is what the CDC recommends. Five days isolation. Back to work day six, if you're symptom free. I sack out on the couch. My manager drops soup and crackers and cookies off and I love her. Later, I do a telemedicine appointment with my doctor. She prescribes paxlovid, "because of your age," she says. 

I eat the soup and think, I have covid! How did this happen? My husband and I wrack our brains. The people we've interacted with. The minimal places we've gone. Do we know anyone who is sick? The truth is that all this time-- all the way back to March 13, 2020--I knew I could get this. I knew that eventually we were ALL going to get this, but still, 

I have to admit there was always a smug part of me that thought: 

Yeah, but not me. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The chicks hatched. My coworkers send me pictures and videos. Plus, there's a live feed where I can watch them hobble around, wet and weirdly dragon-like, bonking into each other and sometimes keeling over. 

I'm keeled over on the couch. My husband, still negative! but with the same symptoms I have, is back to work up in his office, taking naps between tele-meetings. One of his co-workers is from India and has had covid twice. He shares a tea recipe that he swears will help soothe our sore throats. 

It (sorta) works!

Recipe: Hot water, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp basil, honey and lemon

A friend sends an instacart order to our house and I love her. More soup. And also bread and lovely soothing-on-the-throat Italian ices. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

I'm fine, basically, except for the sore throat. I eat soup and drink turmeric tea and snack on Italian ices. The paxlovid leaves a metallic taste in the mouth that lingers, despite the soup and turmeric tea and Italian ices. My co-workers send more pics and videos of baby chicks, no longer dragon-like, but fluffy balls, cradled in their hands, cheeping adorably. I can't believe I am missing this! 

I read a book about a future plague. I read a book about the world collapsing. I read a book about racial and economic injustice. I watch a bunch of tik tok videos about people walking their dogs. 

I take a walk with my husband and the dog. The red and orange trees give off their own light. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Still, with the damn sore throat. It's like I swallowed knives. But otherwise, I don't feel sick. A friend shops the farmer's market for us and I love her. My husband and I watch a movie in the middle of the day. Everything Everywhere All at Once and we both laugh and cry and feel immense love for humanity. We slurp soup and drink tea and eat Italian ices and now, have added farmer's market honeycrisp apples into the rotation. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Wake up and no sore throat! It's cold outside and my husband and the dog are still sleeping upstairs. The house is quiet and warm. I make a cup of tea. 


Sunday, October 9, 2022

In which I lose my mind on a roving cleaning supply salesman (and possibly confirm NPR's theory about pandemic personality disorder)

I want to tell you it wasn't my fault! That the person who came to my door was the one who started it! That he was selling some crappy cleaning fluid that I absolutely did not want and he had interrupted my writing time by knocking on my door and freaking out the dog, 

who had been peacefully snoozing on the bed in my office, but upon hearing the door-knock, leapt off the bed and hurled herself down the stairs, forgetting momentarily that she is ten years old and has a bad hip and weak back leg, and so, therefore, tumbled most of the way down.

Also, the cleaning supply man was ON my front porch, knocking on the glass front door, and not on the steps OUTSIDE the screen door, where we have a clearly placed, perfectly working doorbell,

which gave me a brief scary flashback to the day three years ago when a social worker and two police officers were standing on the porch, peering through the glass door as the dog barked like a vicious hound from hell (instead of the normally darling sweet lovable Good Dog she is), because 

a guy who knew the previous house owners and apparently was using our address, had done something suspicious and the social worker and police were here to find him, and when I carefully slipped out onto the porch, trying to keep Crazy Dog inside so a police officer wouldn't claim he feared for his own life and had no choice but to shoot her, 

and explained that the guy they wanted didn't live here, that I didn't even know this guy, and the social worker and police officers kept looking at me skeptically, and I wondered for an anxiety-provoking moment if they might not believe me and would push me out of the way and go investigate themselves, and what if I hadn't been home, what if they broke down my door and and and-- 

(this is how my mind spirals out of control, even three years ago, never mind now, post Pandemic and Late Stage Capitalism and Downward Slide of Democracy and Fall of Roe and Women's Loss of Bodily Autonomy) 

Cut to, I was persuasive enough to the social worker and the police of three years ago, because they left, somewhat reluctantly, but score another point for privileged in-a-bubble middle-aged white women, 

and cut to-cut to, the cleaning supply salesman still standing on my front porch, emphatically waving his cleaning supply bottle. He was smiling and gearing up for his cleaning supply spiel, when I held up my hand and shouted, NO. I DON'T WANT THAT!

"But you don't even know what I'm selling," he said, smile faltering.

AND I DON'T CARE! GO AWAY! And then I slammed the door in his face. 

I felt terrible and wrung out after this encounter and kept replaying the episode, how I yelled at the guy and how I slammed the door in his face, and at the same time defending my own off the wall response and also playing the part of the guy (a hazard of being a writer, where you can't help but see the scene from his point of view, a guy just doing his job and some insane woman screaming at you, oh well, all in a day's work), 

until I read this article on about how maybe our personalities have changed since the pandemic, making some of us more distrustful and suspicious and wary and who can blame us, and I sincerely hope this is not true, and that most humans are still generally trusting and open and kind, and that I am the type of person who can politely say no to strangers without losing my mind, but in the meantime, 


(Excuse me. What I meant to say is, if you are trying to sell me something (and good luck with that LOL), would you please kindly stand outside of my house and ring the doorbell?)


Sunday, October 2, 2022

The chick eggs at the library

are supposed to hatch on October 12th, give or take a couple of days. How do you know this, the patrons ask me when I am working down in the Youth Department, the eggs sitting (resting? warming? percolating?) in the incubator nearby. 

I explain that the local farm that sent us the eggs included a helpful info sheet. In addition to when we should expect the eggs to hatch, they've also given us instructions on how to keep them warm and watered until the hatching. How to handle the baby chicks once they do break through. And what happens if one or two... don't. But I gloss over that part. 

In the meantime, we're inviting our young patrons to suggest names for the baby chicks. I am all about this chick hatching program and must confess that it is giving me an absurd amount of joy. Almost as much joy as the library's goat yoga program several weeks ago. I mean, how can you not find joy when a baby goat hops up onto your shoulders? Well, okay, it wasn't a total joy when one of the goats pooped on my yoga mat. But

that was easily cleaned off and we all went on about our goat-yoga-ing. But back to the baby chick eggs. Their arrival was a blessing that kept my mind off the hurricane that was bearing down on Florida, where one of my aunts lives alone. I talked to her the day before the storm made landfall and she seemed completely prepared and calm about it all, reminding me that she'd taken a direct hit from Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and 

did I remember how she called me frantically after hitchhiking with some strangers who happened to be riding past, lovely people who offered to drive her out and through and past the devastation until she could find a cell signal?

Well, yes, I did remember that. And I remembered asking her what I could do to help and how she told me to call a rental car place and have them send a car for her (hers was being repaired and now she was stranded with no electricity and no water, and if she had a car, at least she could get out of there.) 

This happened eighteen years ago and it actually seems more absurd to me now than it did then, but basically, I did call a rental car place (Enterprise, because I really want to give this company credit) and pleaded with the guy who answered the phone to drive a car to my aunt, something like 45 minutes away and in the middle of a disaster area, and no, he would not be able to call to confirm that she was there, and even as I was explaining all of this to the guy, I could hear how nuts it sounded. 

But crazily enough, he agreed to it, and he drove the car out to her and she rode with him back to the rental car place, where she paid him and took possession of the car, and that was when she called me to say, Thanks! as if she just knew he'd come through for her, as if we lived in a world where things like that happened and people did momentous acts of kindness for complete strangers, because I guess, sometimes, we do live in that world? 

So, thank you Mr. Rental Car Guy for reminding me of our shared humanity, our compassion for our fellow humans, especially now as I read terrible comments from people online about the storm survivors in Florida, how they chose to live down there and how dumb they were not to leave and what do you expect. 

Here's what I expect: that people who write comments like that maybe not write comments like that. A big ask these days, I know, but I'm putting it Out There. Meanwhile, waiting for my aunt to call and waiting for my aunt to call and waiting for my aunt to call, I eyed the chick eggs, none of them ready yet, but all of them (most of them?) sitting resting warming percolating until they are and then--

she called! She made it through unscathed, and this time with a working car and no need for anyone to call a rental car place. If we'd had to, I'm not sure a request like that would've worked this time. 

But in my Choose Your Own Adventure version of this story, I am going to leave you with this ending:

Every egg hatches, and the rental car guy always drives through the wreckage to save the stranger.