Day 15- I’m still counting, but I’m not holding my breath.

Every night, it gets harder to write. I do the same things- read Facebook, scrub the counters, eat too much, drink a little, talk to my dog about every little thing, wish I was my dog, nag and laugh with my daughter.

It did occur to me, while Katy and I were jumping around the living room, doing a dance class taught by an old friend from the Y, that when life gets back to normal, I want to appreciate it a little more.

I want to cherish the hug from a friend, listen to every note of live music, spend more time with students, laugh with colleagues. take my pile a bit lower in barre class.

We can live our lives from home. Everything I mentioned above, except for the hug, can be done from my couch.

Even though, it is possible, and occasionally, comfortable to live life from my living room, (tonight it’s expected to snow, tomorrow, there is sleet on the way,) this is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I want to get to the other side of Covid 19 and for as long as I can, I hope to cherish being able to stand next to a friend, and walk Sophie without being scared of the person a few steps ahead.

It is a luxury and a tragedy, to live a wonderful life and never pause to consider it’s a wonderful life.

I’m still living a wonderful life. It’s just a little hard to find the wonder sometimes..

Love,
Julie

 
I’ve had so many conversations with friends that are along these lines- “This is horrible. But of course, we are so blessed.”
It is horrible.
And I am blessed.
I have Amazon Prime. Plenty of toilet paper. A daughter who makes me laugh and two cats in the yard, a husband who watches Mrs. Maisel with me, ten books I haven’t read, and I located a big bag of active yeast at the health food store this afternoon.
Still, it is horrible.
The horrible part, for me, anyway, is not the staying at home doing work out videos and making bread.
It is not knowing how long I will be staying at home doing workout videos and making bread.
It is not knowing if someone I love is sick.
It is knowing that we are not prepared for what is to come, and have no idea what is to come.
But it will pass.
I can’t find comfort in this knowledge tonight.
It’s late, there was lightning this evening, and my daughter is mad at me because I take her phone at 10 pm.
I probably won’t get much sleep, but, like I said, I have plenty to read. I have a cup of tea, and a piece of toast on the nightstand. 
If anyone needs some yeast, I can share.
Toast helps, especially with strawberry jam and a little butter.
Good night, my friends.
Love,
Julie

I woke up happy this morning, a feeling I didn’t recognize at first.

I ate yogurt for breakfast, with blueberries and granola. I emptied the dishwasher. It felt like a Saturday, a normal Saturday. I hadn’t looked at the news, and I hadn’t been on Facebook. I did know it is going to rain tomorrow, so I asked Katy and her friend to take a ride to Nantasket with me. (Katy’s friend has been staying with us since the shelter in place.) I was surprised when they said yes before I resorted to bribery, (Wahlberger’s) or begging, (I’m not proud).

We arrived at about 3 pm. The girls wanted to walk on the rocks. Sophie did not.
We decided to stay close, (I decided, they acquiesced).
I would stroll the sidewalk, they would run around in the sand.
Within five minutes, I lost sight of them.


I called. Katy was going to meet me outside a restaurant a few blocks down.
Long story short, I didn’t see her again until we met at the car 45 minutes later.
So Katy chose to hang out with her friend, instead of her friend and her mom. Oh. My. God.

She tried to apologize. I insisted she needed to be quiet or talk to her friend, (snarky emphasis on the word friend).
At one point, when my sixteen year old wouldn’t stop pleading for forgiveness, I pulled the car over and put on my over the ear I’m-not-a-fan-of-humans headphones.
When we got home, I dropped her and her friend off, and snarled at her to clean her closet.


I took Sophie for a walk at Cunningham. Sophie didn’t want to walk at Cunningham. She’d already walked the boardwalk for forty-five minutes, and it was about to rain.
I came home. Katy asked me if I wanted to bake bread. They promise to watch tv with me tonight and aren’t going to insist on Criminal Minds or The British Baking Show.
It was kind of nice, having something to yell about and having someone to yell at.


My social life revolves around Katy, her friend, and my dog. That’s a lot to ask of all parties.


But we’ve survived Colin, learning to drive, and the interminable battle of the clothes on the stairs.


We’ve got this.


Love,
Julie

 

I’ve been exercising like a lunatic.

I cleared out my living room, the coffee table is now in the back of the living room. It holds a computer, a couple of free weights, and a speaker. It will not be holding coffee for a while, just glasses of water without ice because that is what someone recommended.

I walk the dog, or just walk, when the dog looks at me with those eyes, from the sofa, that clearly say, enough already. I leave her home then, because it is impossible to exercise when Sophie is surly and slow. I should, actually, I could use to work on my patience, and this would be an excellent opportunity, but it’ll wait.

I have climbed the Red Dot trail twice, Castle Island, twice, Houghtons Pond, Ponkapoag, went around in circles in the Cunningham woods for an hour until I was, honestly, sick of trees.

I have done dance fit, Zumba, Barre with no Barre, bodyweight strength, strength with cans and water bottles, way too many burpees, lots of side planks, and enough jumping jacks to power a blowdryer. I’m excited because tomorrow my gym is offering an online boxing work out. I can’t wait to punch something. Well, some air. Seems appropriate.

I meditate with my daughter in the morning. It’s easy right after I wake up, because I’m sleepy, because I don’t sleep much. It’s more a little nap near my kid, but don’t tell her.

I’m not exercising because I’m eating 12 meals a day, or because someone else recommended it will build my immune system. Hopefully, all this jumping around will help with the 12 meals a day, and, well, my immune system is probably the reason I’m doing all this damn exercise.
I don’t want to really think about the virus. I don’t want to deal with the fact that now we are supposed to wash our groceries. I don’t want to worry about my mom, or my friends with asthma, or friends in healthcare.

So I exercise, meditate, and watch tv. By the time, I’m horizontal, and taking in the news thru friends on Facebook, I’m tired.

I need to slow it down, like someone else recommends. Julie-As-Hamster probably isn’t the best way to move thru the world.
And Sophie’s getting a little pissed.
I’m going to taper, and try some yoga a friend posted just after I do a little works on the area some refer as abs.

Be well, my friends. Knowing I’m sharing this boat with you makes it a little bit better.

We are okay. We are healthy, Katy is upstairs coloring her hair, Sheldon is working, the dog reluctantly joins me for walks, Quincy College is going to let staff work from home next week, we have plenty of peanut butter and I am lucky to be alive but damn.
It’s really hard some days.
We meditated. Walked in the woods. Spoke to family and friends. Read. Talked to friends from work and reached out to some students I know from town.
It’s a beautiful day.
I’m sad and there is a glorious sunset outside.
I never thought I’d be nostalgic for a month ago but tonight, I miss picking out my clothes, packing my lunch, and negotiating with Katy over how she would get to school.
I miss needing coffee in the morning, parking where I probably shouldn’t, picking up the phone on my desk and knowing an answer.
I miss knowing an answer the most.
With love from a blue corner of the world this evening,
Julie

Ritual helps.
Katy and I meditate every morning. We’ve tried ocean breath, slow yoga, a guided visualization that let me found my own happy place, which was on the Cape with a cocktail in front of pool watching my daughter play in the water.
I’d really like to be on that lounge chair, holding a Pina Colada, wondering if I applied enough sun screen, watching Katy and Madeleine. In no time, I’d jump into the cold water, and twirl them around under the surface while they laughed.
Summer will be here at some point, I think.
It’s been incredibly gloomy, the weather in New England is far too appropriate for the current state of the world.
I don’t know what summer will look like, and I try not to think about it by gobbling up new stories and the Facebook feed, exercising to videos online, or tucking my ears between headphones, and TURNING UP THE VOLUME
to a ridiculous level so that there is no room to think about
what’s going to happen next.
At the end of the day, we find our way to the television. We make popcorn in the microwave and add butter and maple syrup. We watch Mrs. Maisel, and marvel at the beautiful clothes, sparkling actors, and shiny view of New York City in the 1950’s. We appreciate watching beautiful people kiss, hold hands, go to the store, share drinks, squeeze together in a cab.
Katy, my sixteen year old, has started calling me mamma, especially if she wants an impossible burger, or hair dye. Especially right before she goes upstairs to bed. She leans in and hugs me each night, presents me her cheek.
There are blessings in all of this,(I know, and I’ve counted the blessings, but I do need to remind myself of this,) and terror, and sleep is hard to come by.
I’ve got the days figured out, mostly.
Nights are long. We’ve taken to leaving the light on, and leaving the phones in another room.
Sleep well, my friends.

Julie

Comments

Last night, no sleep.
Today, I woke up around 10 am. I am sleepwalking thru everything.
is there a possibility that in future days I will look back on this as respite? As a moment with family, to indulge in watching tv and books and begin conversations I’ve been putting off for a million years?
At so many points, I’ve thought-
Once I get thru the baby years, I’ll be good.
Once Colin stops going to the woods, life will be perfect.
Once I lose 20 pounds, get a promotion, go on vacation, finish my degree, things will fall into place.
It’s hard to live in a world that is entirely defined by this virus.
Yet, my world is not defined by Covid 19.
Katy is coming downstairs to dance in our living room.
The birds are noisy, the air is warm. It is spring.
My house is clean, my refrigerator is organized. I actually gave a presentation to Sheldon and Katy about where to put the cheese, the hot sauce, the vegetables; and the importance of proper placement. (I can’t believe they actually listened, and pretended they would always remember to put the salad dressing in the door. Not a chance.)
I don’t really think it’s important that the cheese goes in the bottom shelf, my floors are shiny, and my blender looks brand new.
It’s important that this isn’t another time in my life that I spend waiting for it to be over.
It’s going to be while, and time is precious.
I need to know this in my head and in my heart.
I’m working on it.
Love,
Julie

We watched the first two episodes of Mrs. Maisel, did a workout class in the living room, and dined on fettuccini with asparagus.
I cried over a book of photographs of Colin as a child, then called him to invite him for dinner.
I was on the phone with Amy when it started to snow. I complained it wasn’t sticking, and remarked how beautiful it would look if the world was covered in white.
I wonder how long before we get back to where we can take things for granted.
I wonder how long the gratitude will last for being able to join friends for coffee, go to work, kiss someone hello.
The world is white now, and for a moment it looked beautiful. But I moved onto making dinner and it got dark, and I didn’t remember until now. I wish I’d made time to appreciate the view.
Now it’s time to try to sleep.
Sweet dreams, my friends.

Going forward, it’s a given that every day we meditate in the morning, or are interrupted meditating in the morning, I eat more than I should, I walk the dog.

I read, we watch tv, we visit the ocean, I venture into stores for necessities like art supplies, or tonic water.

Katy and I laugh a lot, about her choice of teeshirts, the way I can’t ever find the cinnamon, and the look she gives me when I suggest she feed the cats- a little bit of hysteria creeps in sometimes. We’ve also taken to dancing around the kitchen to Shakira, Chicago, The Romantics, whatever is playing on the radio, again. This irritates or arouses Sophie, depending on whether or not she’s had breakfast.

I talk to Colin every day. Every day, he tells me he is in the middle of something and rushes to get off the phone. Maybe he’s working with his buddies on building a pyramid,  he’s writing an opus, or training for the Olympics.

We gave his basketball hoop to a neighbor for her little boy. When she stopped by to pick it up she told me that Collie used to play ball with her son at the bus stop a million years ago. I loved her a little then.

Katy and I watched the ensemble comedy, “He’s Not That Into You,”. Movies feel weird since our reality feels more dramatic than Gennifer Godwin figuring out that if a guy doesn’t call, it’s not a good sign.

I’m heading out for dog walk number five. It is almost 10, cold, windy, and I just want to let my headphones swallow up my ears, and keep them warm. I want to run a little, I’m not a runner, so it’ll be more a sad jog, but I feel the need to do something a little different tonight.

Stay amazing. Be kind, to others, and to yourself.

Peace.

Julie

March 22, 2020

 

 

Mediation this morning was cut short. We didn’t make it the living room until 1130 and  by the time we negotiated on the instructor, (it was Katy’s turn, according to Katy. It’s always Katy’s turn.) and sprawled, eyes closed, palms up, animals watching, it was almost noon.

Within seconds after the teacher’s voice started to flow, Sheldon started a home repair project that involved ripping up carpeting on the basement stairs. He wasn’t that noisy. There were not drills involved, and the door was closed. But I found it impossible to lay in the middle of the living room floor, listening to my breath, while my husband was dealt with the reek of cat urine that has lingered for weeks. Katy agreed to try it again later, and given that is after 8 pm, we’ll have to get back on that horse tomorrow.

We had planned to meet friends at Worlds End again today. The place matches the name, and given the current situation, I’m drawn there. I think Katy was happy to return because she likes the veggie burgers at Wahlbergers. But we didn’t get there either.

Around 1 pm, after a 10 minute attempt at Zumba in the living room, we decided we needed some downtime. From all the downtime, I guess. Katy made brownies. We turned on Criminal Minds, a show about FBI profilers that my daughter is partial to, and  explains her recently expressed desire to study psychology. We ate brownies, watched tv, and catnapped for three hours. (I had not previously experienced this intense level of Netflix and chill.)

Afterwards, I did not feel chill. I’d missed calls from my friends. My leg was cramped, belly bloated with brownies, and brain disoriented by dozing thru stories of serial sex offenders and/or killers and the people that capture them. I almost let her talk me into one more about the cult and the Apache burial ground because my foot was asleep, but somehow, my inner mom rose to the occasion. I snagged the remote, stole Kate’s blanket, and sent her upstairs for warm clothes.

By 5, we were at Wollaston Beach. We walked far, and we talked about her boyfriend, if school would be back this year, why she’s a vegetarian and if she’d consider giving it up for quarantine, (no,) and why I always feel the need to talk while we’re walking. I would like someone to explain how I ended up with a Mona Lisa daughter, and why this mysterious one still likes me?

She might not. She’s mysterious, and she’s pragmatic. She recognizes I hold the car keys and the cash. And for right now, I’m the only friend she can see live and way too in person.

I asked her to think what I can do to help her thru this, and I’m going to try to make space for her to respond.

This quarantine allows me the opportunity to know my sixteen year old daughter, my Mona Lisa flutist with the messy room, passion for olive green teeshirts and hot pink nail polish. She is a girl of mystery that might not be mysterious at all. We both just might have been busy.

Tomorrow, I am going to clean the basement and read a book. I’m going to walk with my daughter, and make sure we meditate before Sheldon decides it’s time to empty out the kitchen cupboards. I am going to delete Facebook from my phone.

It’s time to take drastic steps. Here’s hoping our government steps up and does the same.

Peace.