Each Covid-ing in Their Own Way

SpringPaysCovidNoMind

Here we are at forty-something days into social distancing and doing pretty much the same. (I am better from my stupid cold from hell though!) I feel bad posting photos of us doing well and enjoying the nice spring weather when so many others are cooped up indoors and doing badly.  Things could be so so so much worse. But I thought I should check in anyway with a catch-up for my own documenting posterity.

The weather has been extremely nice. Spring is here with a flourish. Flowers are exploding and birds are going bananas. I’m just waiting for the other foot to fall and the bugs start coming out. So far, so good.

I’ve taken to walking the dogs in the early morning and chatting with my dad through our earbuds. We both have been remarking at how much we notice the bird sounds that we can hear from each other’s ambient sound. Earbuds are amazing. That’s one thing that this pandemic has really helped. We are all learning new ways to stay in touch with new technology and it is awesome.

My dad has discovered Zoom and is the new self-designated AV guy for his church, bringing God’s word to all the shut-ins (of which there are many, naturally). It’s just as awesome as it sounds. I think he’s found his calling.

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The girls are managing through long-distance learning with ease. Again, we are stupidly lucky compared to so many and I feel guilty. (Is this a thing? That I constantly feel like I should be suffering more? I should just shut up and enjoy it but I do constantly feel guilty.) The girls are both self-motivated and get good grades without much antagonization from us.  It’s great. They are not taking advantage of all the links to extended learning that their uncles are sending them neither are they visiting virtual museums. They are not helping around the house or sewing masks for the homeless. They are becoming really good at gaming, binge-watching Netflix and occasionally baking.

To each their own.

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We are getting used to masks. I need to step up my sewing game but I am severely side-tracked because I started sewing some wide-legged trousers out of some old sheets. The project is going very slowly and I am hating it. I have never followed a pattern before (outside of that one dress in home-ec in 7th grade) so I thought I’d take this time to teach myself. It’s taken a few facetime calls to my mom and I’m stuck at the bias tape stage. I should finish soon but I don’t let myself work on them during work hours so it’s slow-going.

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I’m getting really good at snail mail though. I’ve added it to my daily routine with my daily coffee.  I need more routines like a hole in my head. I spend probably half of my day doing little routines and rituals and never really getting down to work. I doodle and glue and tape and send off little messages of love to whoever wants one. I’m not sure if it brings me more joy or the recipients. Right now I’m focusing on creating art with recycled cardboard and bits. I never look at a cereal or pasta box or cardboard from a pack of sparkling seltzer water without thinking about how many postcards I can cut out of it. It’s kind of silly but fun. I mean, why not, right? Who needs to be buying chip board right now when our recycling bins are over-flowing?

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We have fallen off the Die-t wagon pretty bad. There may have been a few nights where pizza was ordered and chips and salsa were devoured. I am feeling pretty crappy about it. But I’m vowing to get back to it. It’s a marathon, right? Not a sprint. Slip-ups happen and we have to not give-up. I love making up meals ahead of time. I make big batches of lentils and coleslaw and pack them away in individual serving containers. It definitely helps with lunches and dinners when the kids just want mac and cheese or worse, take-out.

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The other night we actually barbequed outside and it felt like a field trip. I miss traveling and planning camping trips. It’s terrible that my Little Hoo Goes Camping book is coming out soon and I can’t even promote it because it just doesn’t make sense right now. But when this is over I am throwing the most fun camping-themed book party EVER!

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How long will this be the new normal? One year, two years? I miss the old normal.

Whoosh! It’s Christmas already.

Whoosh! It's Christmas

This happens every year. I close my eyes in August and I wake up in December, buried under a pile of holiday stress. But I love the holidays so I’m blindly swimming through it with a big fat smile plastered on my harried face. Bring on the fussy decorations and cheery music. I love it all.

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Especially everything pink. I think pink is my official color of Christmas this year. Remember when I thought buying a pink tree was a risky decision? Eight years later it is still my favorite thing to set up. And speaking of setting up, our usual faux Christmas tree bit the dust this year and we made the scandalous decision to buy a fresh one. Oh, it smells so good.

Us with Norman, the tree

Meanwhile I am desperately researching the pros and cons of fake vs. real so I can debate my eco-friendly friends. It’s a lively discussion.

In other news right before Thanksgiving Bug and I went out to the sticks to hang out with my family AND go to Oak Glen to get apples.

Apples in the sticks

Of course we stopped at Snowline to get mini apple cider doughnuts piping hot off the conveyer belt. We discovered them last year and now it’s tradition. They are sooooo good!

I am so sadly off my healthy-eating journey right now. I have lofty plans of working out every day and eating kale regularly but at every turn I find some meaningful treat that I cannot pass up. And have I been getting up early to work out or walk the dogs in the rain? Nope. It is a losing battle. I’m hoping come spring I somehow shed this habit.

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And speaking of eating, I cooked a perfect turkey again! I brag because I used to be such mediocre cook. Yes, I’m getting better as the years go by but every time I don’t ruin Thanksgiving I feel like I should get a trophy or something.  I think next year I will stop bragging. It was nice to have family over and Payam finished the great piano bench! I will have to do a whole post on it with proper pictures that I do not have right now.woosh-its-christmas-6

You know what time it is? The annual Christmas photo time. We are so basic. But now that I’ve started this tradition it’s not like I can stop. This year my friend Clio took the pictures and they turned out great against all odds. She’s a great photographer but we had so much going against us this year.

We drove all the way to LA to take them (she lives there) and somehow took opposite directions than the ones she gave us. Neither of us knew that the park had two separate entrances so we spent about an hour trying to find each other with spotty cell coverage. It was horrible. We ran out of daylight AND we almost ran out of gas. It was highly stressful.

But Clio is a professional and she went ahead and shot us in the fuzzy after-golden-hour light and guess what? They turned out pretty good! I’m not sharing our favorite shots yet because I’m saving them for the Christmas card.

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In other news November is our official anniversary month so Payam took me on this crazy adventure to Neotropolis, a Blade Runner-themed experience. It was silly but also super cool because I love surprise adventures AND I love historical buildings. The bar was located down a dark alley in the back of a pizza restaurant that used to be an old bank building. It was like walking into the future and back in time. We explored the boiler room and some secret passageways that were used as vaults for the bank and for smuggling alcohol during the prohibition. There were even bullet holes in the wall from when the police busted a speak-easy that was set up down there.

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Can you see the hastily-done victory rolls in my hair? I was trying. It wasn’t properly done but I think it’s sort of is reminiscent of Rachel. Anyway, I had a great time. I love to dress up!

I shall try to get back here and write more holiday snippet stories but who am I kidding, I’ll probably see you after New Years. Which, by the way, we are NOT having a NYE party this year. I know?!! So unlike me. But I’m taking a year off to save money. I had dreams of renting a cabin instead but it looks like that isn’t going to happen either. It’s okay. Not spending money is sometimes almost as exciting as spending money.

Hope your holidays are going well!