Five things right now – May 2021

I’ve written so little this year, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m feeling less clever or because there’s so much less variety in my days so I have nothing new to say. So here are five things right now. And maybe some entirely unrelated photos because I haven’t kept those up either.

Plants. I love this time of year because after such an incredibly long stretch of grey/brown cold seeing things come alive again is like stepping into Oz. It lifts my spirit in a way that few other things can. Also, being out in the yard takes me out of this incredibly messy house and lets me forget about that source of stress temporarily. While the boys enjoy picking out plants and love watering, Vivi is my real gardening partner. She’ll spend all morning weeding with me and won’t lose interest and wander away when I’m planting. Today we put her zinnia seedings and pumpkin plants, all grown from seeds in the window, into the garden. Here’s hoping that chipmunks don’t take them all down.

Kids being kids. Last night our nature center held a drop-off event for kids. All outdoors, all masked. K and I are both fully vaxed at this point and we hadn’t eaten in a restaurant for ages, so we took the opportunity to go out to dinner on our own. The kids were looking forward to this event for weeks, but when we dropped them off we were worried and felt fairly certain that at least one child would end up in tears. They haven’t been away from us much at all in over a year – they’ve kind of lost their tolerance for it. When we picked them up though, they were all smiles. Jonah said that he didn’t want it to end because they were engaged in an epic game of tag. Vivi shouted that she made two new friends. And Jude talked about the trails they’d explored. All three raved about the campfire and the s’mores, and as their energy buzzed I looked at Kristin and almost cried. They’ve missed this SO much.

Zoom lipstick. I don’t know who needs to hear this but it’s a thing. You can be even less put together than you already were 14 months into this pandemic and still look good in meetings. You’re welcome.

The rabbit hole of exterior home design. Having our roof done has been on our list for several years and we decided that this summer is the time. And changing the roof color made us want to re-think the colors of the house, because we’ve never loved them. Initially I wanted to leave the brick because painting it felt like a huge commitment to upkeep in the future, but after tons of research we came to the conclusion that the only trim colors that work with our peachy brick are cream, brown, and red. We don’t like any of those. So we decided to paint the brick, and we’ve been down the rabbit hole of paint and shingle colors for many weeks now. Is every home project just a cascade of, “well if we’re doing this we should probably also do that…”? Now we’re committed to roofing and paint and are also pretty set on wrapping the wrought iron column in wood and maybe adding more wood to the exterior, then we called a landscaping company to see about removing the two ugly yews in front of our front door. I’ve already bought two new planters for the patio because once we paint we’ll want a new style…it’s getting a little out of hand. But we’re excited. And we’re fairly sure we’re painting the house black, which we realize is controversial, but it takes me forever to commit to a paint color anyway so luckily we have some time. The painter can’t be here till August.  

We recently picked up Discovery+ which is perfect because it’s mostly just house shows and science shows. Jonah and Jude love anything that involves Adam Savage, and Vivi and Kristin and I love home design shows. Vivi has such a good eye for design at this point that she’ll say things like, “I wouldn’t paint the house black unless you can do the windows in wood, and we should probably have wood garage doors.” Sure V, we’ll just add $10K to that tab, but you’re not wrong.

Slowly thinking about summer. Normally after Christmas we start thinking about plans and putting things on the calendar to look forward to. We didn’t do that this year because life felt too confusing and uncertain, but eventually (thanks to K) we booked a mountain house in Georgia for spring break. It turned out to be a really lovely week, colder than anticipated, but still incredibly nice. Then we made the same sort of mistake and made absolutely no summer plans, and here we are four weeks out from summer and the kids are asking what they have to look forward to. So we’re slowly trying to figure out what we can do, booking a week of day camp here, a weekend trip to Chicago there, and today we booked the trip to Mackinac Island that the kids love so much. It will be the first year they all bike the island on their own two wheels since we skipped it last summer. We’ve gotten word that more than one long-time friend will be passing through town this summer, one from Seattle and one from out East, and we’re feeling hopeful at the possibility that we’ll get to see people we love a lot more in the coming months.

And my parents come back to town soon, which is always something to look forward to. So that’s it, five things right now. What’s on your mind these days?

Five things right now

I think that this is week four of school but I’m not entirely sure. Everything is tough to juggle right now. Today I was in the middle of a work meeting when a friend came to pick Vivi up for an outdoor play date and I realized I had no idea where she was. I excused myself so that I could yell her name from the front yard like a crazy person and eventually realized that Kristin told her she could go to the playground. Kristin then had to leave her work meeting to go to the playground to find her. A few minutes later I heard Jonah’s therapist say (as Jonah carried the laptop through the house), “Do you think you could find somewhere quiet for us to talk?” so I excused myself from my meeting again to suggest a new location. When I returned to the meeting a colleague asked me, “so where’s Jude?” and I had to admit that I had no idea. They’re raising themselves, honestly.

So for my own sanity, because reflecting on good things is grounding, I’m returning to Five Things Right Now.

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Five things right now: week nine of quarantine

Wow, when I counted weeks just now I was sort of taken aback. It’s hard to believe it’s been nine weeks since this all began.

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Kristin told me this evening that I’ve been surprisingly calm. So many people are falling apart in their own unique ways, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do right now, but I’m kind of settling in and somehow this whole crisis seems to have removed or minimized many of the things that cause me stress in a normal world. I’m also incredibly lucky to have access to emergency FMLA from 9:00-11:00 each morning, and that has made a tremendously positive impact. This week I feel like I’m in a period of focusing on the wins rather than the struggles. So here they are: Five things right now.

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Five things right now

The other day my sister sent me a belated birthday gift, a book called Moon Lists: Questions and Rituals for Self-Reflection. It’s basically a thoughtfully guided journal, which seems like something that I would take to immediately. I love clear instructions, parameters, boundaries, frameworks; that’s where I thrive. It’s also just the right amount of woo-woo to match my sensibilities. But as I flipped through it I had some big feelings that made me feel like maybe it wasn’t for me. There was just enough ambiguity to leave me unsure of the “right” way to proceed (I know, I know, but it’s a thing for me). On top of that, the book provides examples for a variety of the pages/prompts, and the examples are painfully and intimidatingly highbrow. I’ll give you an example: Continue reading