Covid Silver Linings, Lasagne and ADD

I’ll start the list of Covid silver linings with two.

One, The first thing I hear every morning is, “I’ll go down and start the coffee.”

Do you now how nice this is?

Husband used to leave the house at 6:15, which meant he was up and out in full dark for portions of the year. I’d be so dead to the world I wouldn’t even hear his NPR-set alarm. I never minded making coffee but it is so nice to rise and shine with it ready to pour. His company is nice too.

Two, Covid has normalized my wardrobe choices. Ha! Most of what I wear has to meet a single criteria — is this outfit as comfortable as pajamas? The rest of the world has caught up to me I guess.

 

This is the time of year when my holiday timing clashes with my husband’s. That’s why I will begin to sneakily remove the smaller ornaments and put them away. Hope he doesn’t notice! Actually, this year he might go for full take-down before New Year’s because we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is dry.

I got a rice cooker for Christmas and we might just have rice every evening from here on out. It comes out perfect every time. I used to have one. Here’s a fun fact you probably don’t know about me: I ate nearly exclusively with chopsticks for about five years.

But what am I saying about rice? I have all the ingredients for lasagne. I really hope it’s as good as the batch I made for my brother the trip before last. They purchased some specialty ricotta which was creamier than what I usually buy, and I think that made the difference. Wish me luck! It’s a lot of work for a meh-meal.

Lastly, I get to congratulate myself (again) for sticking with the Paris Collage Collective’s challenge for the entire year, even with four trips to Los Angeles and one to Boulder. I doubt I’ll do it again in 2022. I am eager to make some collages fueled by more personal images. This week’s image was a hand holding a balloon.

If you don’t have ADD or don’t know anyone with ADD, you probably can’t quite appreciate why this is such a big deal.

Early Christmas gifts

After traveling to Los Angeles to see my brother and returning home yesterday, I have a number of early Christmas gifts to share. In no particular order.

One early gift was a negative Covid test today. I know, I know — perhaps not reliable and maybe I should test again tomorrow, but I’ll take that single pink stripe! Second gift was that our local drug stores’ shelves were well-stocked with the kits.

Another early gift was being bumped up to first class yesterday. Wahoo! A window seat no less. We’re talking Belgian waffles. We’re talking elbow room. I watched a movie and I watched the clouds.

With dismay, we’re watching my husband’s frequent flier miles diminish. For years we floated a balance of about a million miles (I kid you not). But naturally with COVID he hasn’t traveled in roughly two years. It looks like he’ll retire before there’s time to accrue more benefits.

Boo-hoo me, I guess, having to pay for airline tickets like the rest of the world. It’s not just the miles though. As a Global Premium customer you get speedy, white-glove check in (a glass-enclosed cubby at LAX, a dedicated lane at Logan, a private room in Denver). No waiting ever. And then because I don’t have TSA pre-check, one of the clerks walks me over to security and cuts to the top of the line. Again, I kid you not.

After security, one can enjoy the premium lounge which is less crowded than the general areas and also offers free food and coffee. This benefit was especially a gift this week since my brother watches a lot of CNN and all the coverage about omicron induced a mild panic about traveling. JEE-sus!

More early gifts: I got to watch my brother walk! He’s really working hard to become mobile again and it’s within reach. Also, twice he cracked such hilarious jokes I nearly wet myself. No, I will not share.

Got to see my older son and he seems so good. Without prompting, he offered to drive me to the airport at 5:30 in the morning. What a sweetheart!

Coming home is always a gift but yesterday it was amplified and I’m not sure why since the pall cast over Christmas by Covid is worse than last year.

I think I was moved by the comfort of the familiar. I struggled with my brother’s things — the can opener with a weird switch, the non-compliant bathtub drain, overheating hand-beaters, the lack of a secure stool in a tall person’s kitchen, FOUR TV remotes, none of which make sense to me. You get the idea.

K and I snuggled on the couch with Finn, clicked on a fire, ate Indian take out, and watched the finale of Shetland. It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.

Solstice poem

This is a poem I wrote two years ago.

Solstice Means Sun Standing Still

Even when lids shut, the tissue
aquiver — the scroll of light
rolling on, a form of damnation.

I want to go through my days,
my nights, like a rib cage.
Each curving spear connected
at a central pole. Sure
in form, sure in purpose,
protecting the two wind
lobes and the single beating
fist — lungs and heart safer
for the bony embrace.

Instead, a vibrato of uncertainty.

How has the non-tactile
flow of damage gained ascendancy
over sinew and nerve,
crowding out all the places
in the body that crave
silence?

One day those ribs will spear
dirt and crumble. Shouldn’t the body
being Hand Maiden to Death wake
us out of stupor now
and then?

Let me eat a cracker
with a smidge of butter.
Let me sweep the steps free of snow
and then sleep under a blanket
that whispers ‘hallelujah.’
Let the sun falling on tabletops
stir gratitude.


The Solstice is here.
Let ‘standing still’ mean something.

Personal update: the bad news is live-in caregiver up and quit. The good news is that I got to see my brother walk.

In the thirties

A good hearty soup for cold weather includes red beans, rice, and chorizo. I used homemade turkey stock.

Reading Bewilderment by Richard Powers. As you may know, he wrote The Overstory. This new novel features a young boy with issues, pretty severe issues. His widowed father struggles both to manage him and to avoid the pitfalls of diagnosis and medication. Naturally, the best scene so far took place while the two of them were camping (back to trees, in other words).

So far, it’s very, very good.

Too bad I can’t say the same about the week’s news. The SCOTUS decision about the Texas abortion law today released “the stench” that Sonia Sotomayor said it would. Yuck. What a bunch of partisan hacks! California declares itself a sanctuary state for women’s health.

We could write for days about all that is going wrong in this country, but I think I’ll go watch an episode of Top Chef (an old season I haven’t seen). Already watched this week’s installment of Project Runway.

This next Powers’ quote speaks to the moment.

To end on two positive notes: my brother walked 200 feet one day in PT this week; my younger son got an A minus in the writing class he finished today.

Well also: the 1/6 Commission seems to be gaining momentum. Good!

Boots, deck, and a poem

The boxes arrive like secrets
waiting to be heard. The beauty
of forgetting. Memory herded and
exploited the stuff of scholars,
but let’s not neglect the joy
of a blurred-out past. What
did I order, exactly?

The slicing of tape like
ripping cloth. One violent jerk
with a blade. Last time I jabbed
my thumb and bled all over
the fur of my new boots before
I knew of the wound. Some
injuries come like that, stealthily,
all consequence and no memory
of impact.

The time before there was
no blood, just mystery. What
did I order, exactly?

Opening, remembering
— a pre-ordered deck.
The American Renaissance
Tarot
. It winks in promise.
Remember? Remember?

It is still a stranger to me,
this collection of 78 cards
but already I thrill to
its character – American,
not Egyptian, not medieval
European. Say it again,
the breath rising, cresting,
enunciating with the power
of recognition, four syllables:

A-mer-i-can.

There’s Harriet Tubman!
Edgar Allan Poe! Oh, and
look, Moby Dick and Frederick
Douglass. One figure
teaches a young Black boy
to read, another upholds
a sacred root. Hawthorne,
Stowe, Harriet Jacobs. They’re calling
to me and they’re calling me
home.

Hello. Been writing a lot and editing even more and they somehow take away from showing up here.

We got a little snow last night. The cooler temps make it seem like December. Almost nothing else does. More on that in the next days.