It’s August so I’m fretting about summer ending, but this year the feelings are bigger and more complicated because of the (almost) year and a half we’ve had. Adjusting to having everyone at home took four to six weeks at the start of the pandemic, and I’ve used that memory as an anchor when faced with a potentially undesirable change – just give it four to six weeks and it will all seem normal – and I’m telling myself that now, but I don’t feel ready for everyone to go back to school.
This week the kids are at day camp and it’s an abrasive reminder of what it’s going to be like to have to pack lunches and backpacks and leave the house at a designated hour every goddamn day. I’ve loved our slow mornings, I’ve loved not having to get anyone anywhere on time, but mostly I’ve loved sharing a space with them and having the opportunity to watch the way they grow and learn and choose to spend their time when it isn’t being stolen from them by school. And I love their school, but after this year it’s hard to believe that they truly need to be there for seven hours a day.
Last night I was helping Vivienne make dinner. She loves to cook lately, and she’ll proudly go over to the meal planner on the fridge and write, “I cook” on a given night and then tell us all of the ingredients she needs. Last night it was sauteed mushrooms and white rice (always), a salad with spinach, hearts of palm, and avocado, a fruit salad, and buttered bread. I turned on a go-to playlist while I helped her, and when Rilo Kiley came on I immediately thought of an article about Jenny Lewis that I read a couple of years ago. There was this passage that I loved, not only because it was so well constructed but also because the punch line was wickedly funny and perfectly timed. As soon as I thought of it again I found myself wanting someone to laugh and relate with. I texted the friend of more than 20 years who I sent it to and laughed with the first time I read it. She’s way out in Seattle and I don’t even know when I saw her last. The memory made me miss her. Suddenly I missed laughing with people about something we all understood. I sent a text to my go-to group thread of local friends asking first if anyone listened to Jenny Lewis or Rilo Kiley, to see if the reference would land. No one responded. I remember when liking the same music was one of the major grounds for friendship. Now I don’t think I could name what kind of music any of the friends on my group text thread listen to. Isn’t that strange?
When we were on vacation in Clark Lake my sister taught me how to take beautiful long-exposure sparkler photos. Somehow I’d never quite figured it out despite the hundreds of sparklers we’ve waved through the night air. On that trip we also learned our school district’s official options for students and began to weigh the pros and cons of each. No matter which option we chose we would have a minimum of nine weeks of fully virtual school in our future, possibly more. Before the week was out I had a spark of inspiration for another long-exposure photo I wanted to take: I imagined myself sitting at the table in the mudroom where I work, this time with laptops and school supplies strewn about, with the kids moving about me as they might on any given day, blurs of motion and activity while I try (often in vain) to focus.
I was thinking of doing another “Five Things Right Now” post, but then I realized that I’m not sure there’s enough variety in my life right now for me to think of five unique things. I could try to summarize what a profoundly weird six weeks this has been, but that would be true for pretty much everyone in the world and nothing I could say would be remarkable or interesting. Instead, how about just some lists of highs and lows for me in particular. Continue reading →
Hi friends. We made it through week-one of social distancing relatively unscathed. While working from home (my norm) has become a lot more challenging with everyone else home, the kids actually seem surprisingly OK with this new arrangement. For the first time Jonah mentioned last night that he misses school (specifically his teacher and his friend Veda), and I suspect that longing will grow as time goes on, but for now things seem OK. Kristin is getting the kids out for hikes in the woods daily, which everyone loves. Continue reading →
I told Kristin today that I’m feeling just a tiny bit panicky about my lack of clarity for 2020. I generally give myself until my birthday (which buys me an extra two weeks) to think about any intentions I’d like to set for my year. Last year a friend suggested choosing just a few distinct words to focus on rather than traditional resolutions, and I settled on just one: open. It turned out to be a surprisingly lovely approach. While I didn’t begin each day reminding myself to be more open there were many instances and decision points in which I leaned on that intention to guide my actions. When I think about some of the things I’m proud of from 2019 many of them were driven (or somehow connected to) that intention: presenting at Pecha Kucha, adopting our first-ever pet (Ivy), and starting Karate (which might be the most humbling thing I’ve ever done).
I started 2019 with perhaps more intentionality than I have in any year past, and I think some of that had to do with it being the year I turned 40. This year though, I’m struggling to gain clarity on what my focus or intention ought to be. Kristin wisely pointed out that trying to force clarity is probably the opposite of what’s needed. So instead of insisting that inspiration strike, I thought that I might have more success writing out some things that have been floating around lately. Continue reading →
For 2019 my new year’s resolution was simply the word “open.” I was turning 40, and I wanted to be open to more things, more possibilities, more perspectives. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I wanted to say yes to everything (I’m too picky for that, though I know that exercise has been magical for some), I simply hoped to pause when judgment or old habits crept in and consider a new way of thinking.
Over a year ago I learned about PechaKucha when my friend Kara presented. According to the global website…
PechaKucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is the world’s fastest-growing storytelling platform, used by millions around the globe.
PechaKucha is what “Show and Tell” always dreamed of becoming.
20 slides. 20 seconds of commentary per slide. That’s it. Simple. Engaging. Spurring authentic connections.
I should warn you now that this is going to be a meandering post about many unconnected things with no neat wrap up to bind them all together. I apologize in advance. But it’s the first nice day we’ve had in ages (it’s been like All Summer in a Day around here lately), and I’m at home alone with a glass of wine and the sound of lawnmowers is buzzing through the open windows and I bought plants today and tomorrow I’m going to plant them, and I’m happy about that. Continue reading →
Last weekend we attended the 40th birthday celebration of my college roommate, a woman I’m incredibly thankful to have had in my life during some very formative times. It was a pretty good sized event (maybe seventy people or so) which was a significant contrast to the intimate dinner with friends I’d chosen to celebrate my own milestone birthday. The next morning we had breakfast with some friends who had been at the same party, and the conversation quickly led to their ages (39 this year) and what they each hoped to do for their own milestone celebration. Continue reading →