At 7 pm, I was curled on a recliner watching a new show on Netflix with Kate.

By 8, I’ll be working out, Sophie watching from the sofa. When the music gets loud, she goes outside. I hope the rain holds off.

Sofie is still confused by all the activity in the living room, and wishes we would eliminate this part of our new daily routine.

At 9, I might be on zoom with friends, trying to figure about what I can add to the conversation- does anyone really need to know about my chicken meatballs?, on the phone with family, (who actually might like to hear about the damned meatballs,) or talking about payment plans with Sheldon.

This lonely feeling comes and goes, like an ice cream craving, or bliss during the drive to work on a beautiful Monday morning.
I am not alone. I have family here, and a touchscreen away, friends send texts, call, and we promise to see each other soon. Then there is a quiet moment, when we wonder how long it will really be. It’s not uncomfortable, anymore, it’s the way things are.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just the way I need to be right now.

If you’re feeling lonely too, you have company.

Stay strong, and amazing.

Love,
Julie

At 7 pm, I was curled on a recliner watching a new show on Netflix with Kate.

By 8, I’ll be working out, Sophie watching from the sofa. When the music gets loud, she goes outside. I hope the rain holds off.

Sofie is still confused by all the activity in the living room, and wishes we would eliminate this part of our new daily routine.

At 9, I might be on zoom with friends, trying to figure about what I can add to the conversation- does anyone really need to know about my chicken meatballs?, on the phone with family, (who actually might like to hear about the damned meatballs,) or talking about payment plans with Sheldon.

This lonely feeling comes and goes, like an ice cream craving, or bliss during the drive to work on a beautiful Monday morning.
I am not alone. I have family here, and a touchscreen away, friends send texts, call, and we promise to see each other soon. Then there is a quiet moment, when we wonder how long it will really be. It’s not uncomfortable, anymore, it’s the way things are.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just the way I need to be right now.

If you’re feeling lonely too, you have company.

Stay strong, and amazing.

Love,
Julie

Today, I was part of a conversation with some amazing women who do amazing things. My mom even said, when I told her about them, “you’re lucky they have chosen you to be part of their lives.”

I am blessed to know so many amazing people, and that these amazing people return my calls, laugh at my jokes, include me to their zoom meetings, and will invite me into their homes, for holidays, dinners, games, and just because. They have good wine, better snacks, and we get each other, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to know where I fit in.
I’m currently not working at Quincy College, currently unsure what my next steps are going to be, or where I want them to take me.

I bring to the table funny stories about life with Colin, and heartwarming anecdotes about Katy still letting me into her room, even flop on her bed, and sometimes, talk to me, (this morning, she told me I needed a shower. I’d just hiked the Blue Hills.) I bring to the table good table manners, excellent taste in music, a sometimes irritating and occasionally helpful cheerful demeanor, muted first thing in the morning for most of my friends, and I’m willing to be the one who decides which restaurant and what time- Not critical skills at the moment.

I know it’s not good to compare yourself to others, the doors that have closed will open to amazing opportunities, I have a house, a husband, beautiful kids and the very best dog.

I know all of us have been pretty close to where I am now, at one point or another.
I know this, in my head.

But in my heart, I feel like I”m running the Boston Marathon and, somehow, find myself alone, lost in Cleveland. Everyone’s talking about Boston, and I’m wandering around Cleveland hoping to get home for the

byForty-One Days- and not the best of them.
(The flute recital, not mentioned, which should have been mentioned, was amazing.)

Today, I was part of a conversation with some amazing women who do amazing things. My mom even said, when I told her about them, “you’re lucky they have chosen you to be part of their lives.”

I am blessed to know so many amazing people, and that these amazing people return my calls, laugh at my jokes, include me to their zoom meetings, and will invite me into their homes, for holidays, dinners, games, and just because. They have good wine, better snacks, and we get each other, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to know where I fit in.
I’m currently not working at Quincy College, currently unsure what my next steps are going to be, or where I want them to take me.

I bring to the table funny stories about life with Colin, and heartwarming anecdotes about Katy still letting me into her room, even flop on her bed, and sometimes, talk to me, (this morning, she told me I needed a shower. I’d just hiked the Blue Hills.) I bring to the table good table manners, excellent taste in music, a sometimes irritating and occasionally helpful cheerful demeanor, muted first thing in the morning for most of my friends, and I’m willing to be the one who decides which restaurant and what time- Not critical skills at the moment.

I know it’s not good to compare yourself to others, the doors that have closed will open to amazing opportunities, I have a house, a husband, beautiful kids and the very best dog.

I know all of us have been pretty close to where I am now, at one point or another.
I know this, in my head.

But in my heart, I feel like I”m running the Boston Marathon and, somehow, find myself alone, lost in Cleveland. Everyone’s talking about Boston, and I’m wandering around Cleveland hoping to get home for the afterparty.

I have the sense of direction of a ninety year old drunk from Medford, waking up alone in Los Angeles, who lost his glasses on the flight.

But I am determined as hell, so I’ll get there.

And if I don’t, I’ll jump on Katy’s bed until she makes me laugh or figures out how to throw me off.

Love,
Jules

 

Since this whole stay the #$$%^ at home thing started, my sixteen year old daughter has been assigned, from time to time, the occasional role of my Best Friend Forever.

(I don’t think she would agree with this label, at any time, ever. I rank below Maurice the cat and every single friend in her contacts on her iPhone. I would be concerned if she felt the same.)

I’m not going to go into details, she might catch me, not talk to me for six hours and I might die.

But I think it’s safe to say Kate and I have different definitions of time, and do not always share the same priorities.
We don’t agree on the amount of urgency required in folding clothes that have been sitting on the table for 32 hours.
One of us feels that sweeping is not important since no one is going to come into the house ever again.
These are not unusual battles between parent and child. and would typically be resolved just before bed, when Katy realized she needed a ride in the morning, or I remembered I needed her to go to a friend’s house after school.

But in the midst of Covid 19, this minor squabble meant I had to exercise alone in the living room. There is no one to ask me to make popcorn when I sit down to watch tv. It turns out, I don’t mind standing behind Kate while we work out, our tiny space felt kind of empty without her. And, without her company, I think I”ll sit down with a book.

We’ve been home together for a month.

For the first time since she was ten, I’m allowed to sit on her bed and to talk to her while she wakes up, even share a pillow. When my back went out, she scolded me about trying to go walk the dog, even though she knew she would have to walk the dog. It was pouring, cold as hell, with 20 mile an hour winds. (We love Sophie very much, but when the temperature drops below 30 degrees, and the wind howls, she’s the dog.)

Right now, Katy is upstairs reading Stephen King, and probably didn’t even notice I turned the music all the way up during the work out.

I owe her for walking Sophie, which is far more important than sweeping, because it’s definitely going to be a little while before we entertain. And honestly, no one has ever visited because I keep such an impeccable house.

I’m heading upstairs to initiate peace talks, but I’m keeping her cell phone until morning. Or that’s what I’m telling myself right now, though who confiscates the device of their BFF.

I guess a Mom does, but right now, I’d like to spend a little time with my friend.

I can wake her up with a list of chores, a healthy breakfast, and offer to listen to her point of view in the morning.

Love,

Jules

For those of you who are counting, we are on Day 30.

I’m in my kitchen, writing, while Sheldon makes an omelet for Katy. Katy is emptying the dishwasher, and probably putting everything in the wrong place.

I’m writing in the morning because yesterday, I did not. Yesterday, we gorged on pizza and pasta. We watched five hours of Dexter. We spent in the day in our pajamas from the night before. We napped. I didn’t look at my phone, the news, or social media.

This morning, I slept in until 9 am. I’m moving slowing thru the morning because my body aches when I spent a day on the sofa. I am not complaining, I recommend a day on the sofa to everyone.

Sheldon is screaming “Where is the spatula?” like there’s the possibility someone broke into the house and stole it.

Katy keeps asking me “How’s your blog?” like she’s humoring me. When I answer “Fine,” she says “why would you say fine? That’s an odd answer.” I am trying to ignore her, but when I do, she taps my leg with her foot. She is wearing my slippers.

Sophie is barking and Katy is complaining that the cheese in her omelet was not well distributed- “there is a thick block of cheese in the middle,” then moves on questions about the orange juice- was it shaken? “Are you sure you shook it, because I don’t know.” After breakfast, she jumps up from the table, and kisses her dad on the cheek. “Thank you for breakfast, it was amazing! I mean, next time, the cheese-” Sheldon answers- “Next time, I will make you an omelet with lima beans and pickles.” and goes onto label her “beyond fussy” before offering to toast her an English muffin.

Sophie is looking out the window, Michael and Maurice are sleeping upstairs.

We were mostly quiet yesterday, as we ate and napped and watched tv, and ate some more.

Maybe we had run out of conversation.

At the breakfast table, Easter morning, it seems like we’ve found our words.

Katy’s boyfriend visited this morning, and brought her an Easter basket. He stood on the sidewalk, she at the top of the stairs. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but his mom sent a picture.

They are happy, and laughing. They are trying to make things work.

I think we’re getting a little better at this.

It’s going to be a beautiful, weird, and wonderful day.

Peace be with you.

Julie

It’s Only Day Four?

March 21, 2020

Day Four
It’s only day four?
Almost forgot the 930 morning meditation, but remembered sometime after 10.
Meditation is easier for me laying down, it’s hard for me to listen to my breath while I’m worrying about my posture. I peeked at Katy a few times, she seems to have this meditation thing down. I’ll start calling her Buddha if she ever comes out of her room.
Then breakfast, and laundry. Lunch, and dishes.
I’ve been paying attention as the day goes on, in case I do something worthy, but, well, I flossed for an extra long time? I went online and fell in love with Conan O’Brian all over again? Is this worthy?
Long walk around Ponkapoag with Sophie in the rain. No need for any distancing, the world stayed home while we strolled in the mud. On the way back, stopped by the liquor store and picked up a large bottle of Screwball peanut butter whiskey.
I avoided getting groceries because I spent all my cash on alcohol but long to go to Shaw’s for a box of pasta the way I used to crave a night out.
I discovered half way into day one that ice cream isn’t a good idea. Someday I may want to wear pants agin, and button them.
I’ve heard 18 months and mid May, and sometime this summer, and next week, in terms of a return to normal, but a friend said, there will be no returning to normal, or not the old normal. This friend also said extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions.
I can not say I did anything extraordinary today. I didn’t buy ice cream. I did buy whiskey, but I don’t plan to drink it any time soon. I walked the dog, but that was more a favor to me than to her. I made Katy breakfast and lunch, but I’m pretty sure she’s in charge of dinner, and it’s popcorn.
I tried to convince my mom not to play bridge, but she went anyway, and I think I will let her figure out her social calendar without my input. I use any excuse to call her on the phone.
I’ve let go of normal, and will cling to gratitude for now-this moment, this breath, this night.
That is easy for me to say from this chair at this time, across from an unopened bottle of whisky, Sophie snoring in the next room.
I haven’t faced the laundry table since noon.

Afternoon of Day One-
A sock project created havoc in our schedule, but I can say with confidence, our socks all match.
Swaddled in layers, with a lunch bag of hand sanitizer, lysterine, and wipes, we went back over the beach and then the Marina.
Tonight, there are vegetables roasting in the oven, for vegetarian enchiladas. I’m washing my walls, and waiting to call my mom for the third time. I’m hoping Colin will call, and really hoping he’ll talk to me about more than whether or not I’ll wash his sneakers. I will wash his sneakers, but I like to keep him guessing.
I want to turn this time for reflection into something more than the opportunity to try out new mindfulness apps, more than frantic walks down the beach, dragging Sophie, who has had enough walks for the next six weeks, and field trips to the grocery store for honey and chicken.
I want to find a way to slow down, to settle in to our space and the state of things. It is time to be still.
Still is hard for me.
I think still is hard for all of us.
That is why I will start the day again tomorrow with a meditation.
I will put my phone away by 8 pm.
I will take Sophie around the block, and hike up a mountain.
I will recognize these are guidelines, and that things change.
I will recognize that when one is told by the universe to slow the #$$%^^ down, one gently applies the brakes.
There’s time to practice.

6:45 am Wake up
6:46 am Realize there is absolutely no point in waking up. Discuss the situation with Sophie, who advises the best response is to go back to sleep.
6:48 Nap
10:22 am Wake up, again. Struggle with guilt for sleeping so late. Struggle with knowledge that I might as well sleep late, the first thing on my schedule is morning meditation with Katy, and she is probably quite happy upstairs sleeping herself. She is quite good at sleeping in, I think, or maybe she just likes to avoid mom/daughter conversations about her feelings, and uses blankets and pillows as tools in avoidance.
10:40 am Morning meditation. This was not my favorite. It was all about healing, which of course made me think about the virus, which of course led to me spending my morning meditation laying in the middle of my living room floor trying to figure out where I might be able to find baby wipes and tonic water.
10:40 am Not a very good breakfast. Don’t try to put yesterday’s roasted sweet potatoes in today’s scrambled eggs. No amount of sriracha and Swiss will help the situation, sweet potatoes and eggs are not friends.
11 am Scrolled thru Facebook and Instagram. Trevor Noah seems depressed. I would like to cheer him up but I got nothing.
12 pm Nagged Katy about homework. Asked Katy if I could help.
12:15 pm Laundry. I put some away. Yay me.
1 until 3 pm Waited on Katy to go for a walk. Scrolled some more. Called friends. Went on Facebook to volunteer to walk dogs or run errands for anyone that needs help.
Stared at the phone waiting for the avalanche of people that need assistance with their dogs and their errands. So far everyone’s all set.
Will post again tomorrow. Katy is tired of me asking her if she has any questions about her homework, and I don’t want to rearrange the kitchen cupboards. Or deal with the closet.
Resolve to deal with the closet tomorrow.
Checked email. Would appreciate more spam. Deleted emails going back as far as 2016.
3:30 Met Alison at World’s End. We walked along the cliffs, watched the dogs roll in the grass, listened to Katy and Juiliana chat, talked to Kharson about his art and agreed that the world has a lot of assholes; it was like three years ago, and we needed that.
5 pm Dinner. We are trying to be mindful of the rationing thing- I don’t want to run out of food and be forced to eat the ramen noodles from 2017 that fell behind the refrigerator last week, the raisins Sheldon bought two years ago when he forgot that I do not ever eat cooked fruit, or the generic peanut butter that came with the house.

This has not been the best of days, but one thing I have learned is not to declare that it can’t get any worse. It can, and we are all learning together what worse looks like.
I am learning how much I rely on my family and friends.
I am learning how to get up in the morning, even when I’m not sure how to move forward, or where to go.
It’s coffee first, and things follow. Beautiful things will follow, I just need to take note.
Even for those of us who prefer tea, or don’t need a beverage first thing in the morning at all.
Day Four is almost done, though Katy has promised me an hour in front of the tv, and I think I’ll walk Sophie around the block. At the end of the day, it’s nice to take a moment to look at the beautiful moon.

Tonight, I packed my eighteen year old son’s stuff in two trash bags and a shopping bag and left them all in by a dumpster. I walked away and didn’t look back until just before I got in. He was standing in the middle of the driveway, looking around for the bags as if they weren’t right next to him. It was ten degrees, he was wearing a tee shirt, and somebody else’s sneakers. I don’t think he believed I’d actually drop off his clothes and leave. He looked up at me, and I don’t know what his face said. Fuck you, maybe. Why? Did you remember my toothbrush? What is going to happen to me now?

My son’s smile is warmer than the sun after winter. He is funny, and he can dance. He used to play basketball for hours, and if he wasn’t on the court, he always wanted to be connected to some kind of ball. If we went for a walk on the beach, we had to throw a football. If we took the dogs for a walk, he was in charge of the tennis ball. He’d dribble in his room. He’d play basketball in the driveway and eat dinner in between shots. My son stopped smiling about two years ago.

He still lived with me until today. In sophomore year of high school, sports and school were just hobbies. Drugs took over. Doing drugs. Posting pictures of doing drugs, or lip syncing to songs about drugs. Going to the woods, to the quarries, to whoever’s house was unoccupied by parents or belonged to parents that had their own stash and shared.

I’m not going to tell the tale of then to now. I don’t know how we got from early morning cereal before the game, to begging him to wake up to go to class at a community college because a judge made it a condition of his release.

I just know my son is not here tonight because I told him not to be. He is staying at a house with a dumpster in the driveway, that reeks like weed from ten feet away. He is staying there because last night on the phone he refused to come home. His words were slurred, and sloppy, his voice didn’t belong to him. And he’s been doing drugs for a while, so there’s something new on the menu.

He promised last night he’d wake up in the morning, and go to school. I was supposed to pick him up on my way to drop his little sister off at school.  “Mom, I’ll be ready.” He’d straightened up a bit by the time our last conversation.

I woke up early, packed his toothbrush, and a change o Read the rest of this entry »

At the end of the day, after so many days, it is my job to let them go, and wait for them to fly on their own.
Whether they smash spectacularly into tree, soar into the sun, or crash into the waves of the coldest of oceans on the coldest day of the year, my job is done.
I am the audience. The one who still needs thoughts and prayers, because both of mine are still here. Soaring, crashing, and trying to find their way, even when they have no idea where it is they want to be. Or maybe they do know, but keep smashing into walls because they’re too busy staring at some stranger’s Finsta account.
Be kind. Be loving. Watch out for low flying wires, people that tell you something is too good to be true, and dark alleys that reek of, you know what they reek of.
Try to remember a little bit of what I told you. If you forget every damn thing, know that I’m a phone call or a heart breath away, waiting to hear your voice, asking to hear the sound of mine.