The sun was out for the first time in days.

Katy has not been a fan of hiking with me since I dragged her and her brother wandering the Blue Hills behind the Trailside Museum when she was five and we got lost. I didn’t have snacks, and we probably ran out of water five minutes into our journey, which, I think, lasted about two hours. I’m surprised she speaks to me, or agrees to go anywhere near any kind of trail with me.

Today, I guilted her into coming. She was tired, and depressed. I was wide awake and depressed. By the time we left the house, (guilt tripping takes time,) the sun was hidden, it was windy, it was already 3:30 in the afternoon.

She didn’t want to drive. She put her head on the dashboard, and said she was tired. I said we could just skip the whole thing and go home. She managed to put her head further into the dashboard. (I don’t know how she did this, and, yes, I know this is incredibly dangerous. And I’m not the best driver.)

I was going to turn around, but spotted Sophie the Wonder Dog in the back seat. Sophie doesn’t like fighting and she really likes ponds.

We went to Houghtons Pond. Katy kept her head in her hands on the dashboard. When I pulled to a stop, she looked up.

“I thought we were going home.”
“I need to walk Sophie,” I growled.
“I want to go for a walk.” she answered.
“You don’t have to. You can wait in the car. Remember, you’re tired.”
“Well, then, if you don’t want me to go for a walk, I’ll go that way,” Katy marched off towards some rocks.

I dragged Sophie out of the backseat. She wanted to follow Katy. I wanted to follow Katy.
We walked in the opposite direction.

I took Sophie to the edge of the pond, and went back to the car. Katy was nowhere. I called her name.

I put Sophie back into the car and ran to the rock and yelled loudly- “Kattttyyyyy” and went back to the car scared as hell because my first go to every time we have an argument is to take the phone. I will rethink that in the future.

She came back to the car.
We didn’t speak on the way to Target.
There was no one at the store The people who were there were all wearing masks. Everyone stood miles apart.

For a little while, we were able to pretend it was a regular mother daughter shopping spree, the only thing that made it different was all we bought were pajamas and frozen vegetables.

We’re going to wear our new pajamas tonight, in front of the television, when we watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
It’s another Saturday night.

Katy and I have made peace, probably because I’m leaving her alone for the moment.
I need to leave her alone, or let her stay home when she needs to.
She needs to come along with me, sometimes, without the promise of ice cream or nail polish.

This is too hard to do with my daughter’s head on the dashboard, or standing in the woods, screaming her name.

I think she agrees, because she’s upstairs cleaning her room. (At least, she said she was. I’m not going to check.)

Peace be with you.

Love,

Julie

Day 18 Also Known As Friday, April 3rd

Katy and I did yoga on mats this evening.
When the teacher called “child’s pose, Katy would say- “yessss”, under her breath, her response to plank the third time was “how much longer IS this?”

I was told I needed to face her during goddess, Kate didn’t want to look at my squatting backside a foot away from her front side. Sophie the Dog came over during shavasana and kissed in my foot. Even in the middle of yoga, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of the floor with my daughter, I am ticklish as hell.

After yoga, we had dinner. We’ve started eating salads more than I’ve ever eaten salads, to balance out the ice cream and the popcorn that’s become part of our weekly diet.

Also introduced recently are two workouts a day, also in response to the extra snacks and especially on days when there’s chocolate.
By two workouts, I mean dancing around my living room to pop music, and later dancing around my living room to hip hop music waiving three pound dumbbells in the air.
In other words, I’m not randomly doing side planks for minutes at a time with hip dips thrown in for giggles.

I’m searching for intelligent stories like a person on a first date or someone who just had their first shot at a party.

I think a lot of people are searching for intelligent stories, or even words. Given we are not able to do much, all many have to offer are memes and video clips from talk show hosts recording in their living rooms.

I don’t have any memes. I know the Katy yoga story isn’t that fascinating unless you are considering doing yoga with your teenage daughter. Go for it, just shower first, if your living room is small.

All I have tonight is a suggestion- if you don’t want to exercise, try moving a little. It doesn’t have to be running, or jumping jacks. It doesn’t need to involve burpees or barbells, burning calories or building biceps. It just needs to feel good.

You don’t need much time, any coordination, or shiny yoga pants with a really cute print, (I’m getting some when this is over if I can find them on sale.) My daughter closes the curtain when she hears I’ve turned on an exercise video.

It makes me laugh, and it embarrasses the hell out of Kate.

However, since she is, on occasion, is willing to join me, it’s probably a pretty good idea.

Kate is a very smart girl.

I don’t wake up in the mornings and then remember that things have changed.
It’s been more than two weeks.
I don’t cringe, and roll over and wish it was 20 days before yesterday.
I don’t immediately grab my phone, and check the news.
I don’t want to cry or scream.

I want coffee.
I stretch, talk to Sophie, wiggle my toes, and wonder where my slippers are.
I go upstairs, and scoop the dark roast, pour the water. I heat up oat milk, add coconut sugar, and pour the first cup while it’s still dripping.
I take noisy sips at the kitchen table and open the computer. I log into my work email, and check to see if anyone wants to have a zoom meeting, so I know I much time I have to stay rumpled.
I drink coffee and think about breakfast.

The world is really weird, but it seems that, mostly, during the morning I am still the same woman I’ve been for a while now.

But there are spaces between work emails, fitness videos, meal prep, and dog walks, where the worry creeps in.

I worry about the people who don’t have a voice, or have voices but don’t have a platform, or people to speak to. I worry about all of the people that aren’t on Facebook, and don’t have smart phones or people to call.

How weird is it that I said platform before people?

I worry about the people without coffee, or homes, who are sleeping in parking spaces.

Then my husband comes home from work, and he’s worried about bills.
My daughter comes downstairs, and she’s worried about her boyfriend’s birthday.

I make my husband spaghetti. His shoulders relax.

I make Katy do Zumba with me in front of the computer in our living room. She laughs when I try to twerk.

Every night, I allow myself one and a half glasses of wine, so that I can sleep without wondering about the people who slip in my thoughts, between everything else.

Tomorrow, I’m going to stop worrying, and find a way to help people in my corner of the world, whose problems are bigger than pasta or dance fit.

(Thank God mine are, for tonight, anyway.)

I have time.

Day 16 and what a day it was was.
Not really. Maybe, actually.
It didn’t suck.
Katy and I compromised on a six minute meditation.
I found paper towels.
Baked cookies and ate salad. And yogurt with granola. And some cheese. Brie. On an English muffin.
Wore jeans and mascara and a shirt with buttons.
Already did a mini barre class and tonight, tonight, there will be Zumba, though the cheese gave me a stomach ache.
I had the chance to speak to some current and prospective students, and text with colleagues. I do love my job, except when I don’t.

I didn’t spend hours on the sofa scrolling thru Facebook and Buzzfeed and Huffpost.
I didn’t look at Instagram and wonder why I am incapable of ever writing a caption, or adding a hashtag.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably be back on the sofa, for a while anyway.
I’ve got five pairs of sweatpants, and sweatshirts softer than cashmere.
I might sleep in, or nap. I might look at the rain, and decide to stay in pajamas. I might watch The Office Season 6 and only get up to make popcorn.
I’m not a pessimist, or smug after one day that didn’t suck.
I just know this is going to be a while, and there will be good days, horrible days, and days with a little of both.

I have the wardrobe, the toilet paper, the kid, Netflix, Hulu, comfortable shoes, people that listen to me whine, and make me laugh. I have a job, a love, and a dog. I have a dangerous past that makes me smile and my present is this- I had a pretty good day.

I’m not going to think about tomorrow. But I will remember that tonight, no more cheese.

It’s going to be a beautiful evening.
(I guess I’m an optimist.)

Love,

Julie

 

The high point of this morning was sitting on Katy’s bed watching her do homework.
It was not the best of days, though I will forever be grateful to Katy for letting me sit on her bed and watch her do homework.
I made a short list of what I’m going to do differently tomorrow-

I will not skip meditation to check out Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter feed.
I’m going to shower. And use moisturizer. I might even blow-dry my hair. Actually, there is no way I’m going to blow dry my hair. I will comb my hair.
I will not stalk my daughter. I would like to have a relationship with her when this is done.
I will do yard work. I might even plant something.
I will not watch Criminal Minds or the British Baking Show. Psychokillers make me stressed and pastry makes me hungry. I’m stressed and hungry enough. There’s some show about glassblowing Katy is excited about.
I can read a book.

These are my tiny goals for tomorrow, and I’m hopeful.

Today took me by surprise, I have followed all the advice- I spend time outdoors, I exercise, I talk to friends, I work as much as I can. I wake up at 7, I put on clothes.

I never thought I would share on Facebook that I get dressed each morning, and regard it as an accomplishment.

Strange times, my friends.

Love,
Jules

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

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

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