Purging

I am embarrassed to tell you the number of bags of my own clothing that I just donated to a local charity. I think I lost count, actually. The fat, heavy, kitchen-sized trash bags filled up the entire cargo area in the back of my car. When it came time to unload, an employee was helping me and the look on his face as I kept magically producing more and more bags like a magician with scarves coming out of their sleeve? A mask wasn’t hiding it.  A week or so later, I did the same thing with the kids’ old toys and books. 

“De-cluttering,” “purging,” “Kon Mari.” Whatever you want to call it, it brings me great joy and satisfaction. Truly, I am still riding the high of my newly organized dresser and closet.

It makes sense to me that we would have a lot of children’s clothing and toys to get rid of as they grow, but I really wasn’t expecting to have that much of my own clothing that I didn’t want or need. Partly it was because my size has fluctuated so much in the years since the twins were born that I just have a lot of items that don’t fit me. Sure, I could keep some around in case I wear those sizes again, but honestly none of the items I donated was so great that I needed to waste the space and mental energy that storing it would require. If I lose or gain weight and need to re-purchase, so be it. 

But then some of the surplus seemed to come from what I can only refer to as yet another pandemic brain failure. I had a ton of clothing neatly folded and put away in bins under my bed that I had completely forgotten about. It seems I did this during the season change last summer/fall and then erased my memory. Could I have told you that any of those pieces existed in my home? I could not have. And then I apparently bought some of the same types of items this spring? 

I’m full of questions and I have no answers for myself.

Looking back, the stress and absolutely shattering overwhelm of the past year feels not dissimilar to the stress and overwhelm of the first 18 months of the twins’ lives. Both periods of time are blurry and the memories weighted equally with gratitude for the miracles of life and health, on the one hand, and low-key, simmering resentment on the other. 

Do you know what I mean? I don’t mean that I resented my babies during that time. But I resented members of our household who got to leave the house and take showers on a regular basis, for example. The sheer gall of leaving the house, right?! But the feeling of being trapped at home and unable to leave during the first months of the pandemic really brought back those feelings of being similarly* trapped at home and unable to leave when I had two tiny premature babies during flu season. 

*Similar only in terms of my own psychology and the way I have coped in certain aspects of these two periods of time. I’m not equating a tough season in my own life with a global pandemic that has caused us to lose, by today’s count, 3,409,220 lives world wide (WHO). 

I remember when the babies were little and I was overdue for a haircut and color appointment. It takes months to get on my stylist’s schedule and when I finally did, I later had to cancel the appointment to stay home with a sick child. Then, when I finally showed up for the rescheduled appointment, the receptionist didn’t have a record of it. I wanted to cry.  It took about 10 months to make it happen. I have never felt that emotional about missing a haircut during the pandemic, but I have felt the same sense of frustration and the exhaustion of caring for others while quashing my own needs.

How long did it take to move out of that new-babies state of being and to start to find space for myself again? What will that look like now — finding space for ourselves as we start to move into whatever this new season is?

Everything is Fine

Well hello there. Let’s just act like this is normal, okay?

As I write this, I am sitting in my office on campus, where I came to get a lot of course prep work done for my summer classes — until I discovered that apparently several of the videos I thought I needed to create had already been created in the fall 2020. And I forgot I had made them. I mean, thank you to past me and all, but …wow, my memory is not what it used to be. I suppose — in my brain’s defense — there was sort of a lot going on at that time.

Plenty of people have already made this observation over the last 14 months, but time sure feels difficult to apprehend, doesn’t it? As things start to open up again and vaccinated people start going out into the world more, there is this odd feeling that it has been either a decade or just a week or two since the last time. My husband and I went out on a date, to a restaurant, where other people cooked and cleaned up for us (y’all, it was beautiful) and it I felt like I had somehow stepped across some invisible boundary and onto another plane. 

Speaking of: last week, the twins had their “graduation” from preschool, a fact which has the natural consequence of inspiring moody ruminations on the very rude passage of time alternated with low-key anxieties about starting kindergarten in August. 

My brain: Will elementary schools still be masking next school year?  Will the twins be in the same classroom? How am I supposed to have them ready and at the bus stop by 6:48 AM? And, most importantly, am I really supposed to send my TINY BABIES on a BUS to a NEW SCHOOL we’ve never even BEEN INSIDE OF?

My brain: I’m sure it’s fine. 

My brain: Next thing you know, they’ll be driving! Is the next car I buy the one I’ll eventually pass down to them? 

My brain:  Of course not; there’s a new car shortage, so you’ll be driving this 2012 Hyundai until you die! 

Anyway, how are you?

Year in Review: 2020

I’ve been doing this annual blog questionnaire for so long now that I don’t think I’m allowed to quit it. I am extremely belated in filling out the survey for the year 2020; however, of all the years, I think it would be quite regrettable to skip this one, so here I am.

Previous years’ answers are available here: (200720082009201020112012201320142015, 201620172018, 2019). Over time I have modified and deleted some of the original questions, but here’s what I’m working with this year:

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Spectated at an Olympic Trials race. Went on a trip with my husband and left the kids at home. Made my own sourdough. Sanitized my groceries (remember when we were told to do that?!). Wore a face mask. Taught classes over Zoom. Attended a work meeting while lying in bed. Went an entire year without seeing my dad or brother in person.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, here’s what I wrote: “Dry January is happening again (we have been doing it yearly for a while now); I’d like to run a half marathon without getting injured in the middle of the training cycle (eyes on Magic City in November); and I plan to work with CW to organize our garage, donate some old furniture, and make better use of our third bedroom.”

The half marathon didn’t happen for obvious reasons, but everything else did. Except that the newly organized garage slowly descended back into a state of chaos during the pandemic. We shall re-organize! The bedroom became the site of not only a new desk & workspace for online teaching, but also the new bike. That room is working hard for us now!

For 2021, I am working on re-establishing a healthier, more moderate relationship with food and drink. Pandemic times led to coping with large volumes of both, and coming into 2021, my body is not feeling so great. That’s my main resolution. Note that this is not a weight-loss resolution or a fitness resolution. I have a lot of other hopes for the year, but we’ll see.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Internet friends and local friends. Two families among our local friends each had babies almost a year ago and we still have not met them, in fact. Eff you, pandemic.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Only about half a million of my fellow Americans.

5. What places did you visit?

In the first couple of months of the year, We traveled to Atlanta to spectate at the Olympic Marathon Trials, which was a super fun family trip. In March, right before everything shut down, my husband and I spent a week in NYC on our own. We came home and immediately quarantined. In July, when numbers were really low, we managed to swing a very cautious & limited family visit to Iowa.

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

WHERE DO I START. Number one wish is a vaccine. As I write this, I have my second dose already scheduled for next week. I want everyone to get theirs.

7. What days from 2020 will you always remember?

February 29. March 9-13. March 27. November 3. November 7.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Anything I did to get by in the months that my children were home and my husband and I were working from home. Those months are a painful blur, but we made it. I really nailed my pizza dough recipe and technique, too.

9. What was your biggest failure?

None. Nothing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

What a question for 2020. Back in January, L and I both had the flu. It was highly unpleasant.

My family was lucky enough not to have had any known exposures to COVID-19 or to have gotten sick with it, though. In the summer, after the kids had been able to return to school, a little cold went through the family — my first experience with a getting a COVID test — but it turned out to be just nothing. That was it.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Probably my Peloton bike or my KitchenAid stand mixer. Two real MVPs of the pandemic, I tell you what.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband and children. For the most part.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Daycare still takes the win here, even with a few months off.

14. What did you get really excited about?

I started out the year really excited for our planned trip to Xi’an, China, but when news came out about the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, that trip got canceled and we decided to travel within the US instead (at that time, there wasn’t any guidance not to do this or any known cases in NYC). So I then got really excited about our NYC trip. Honestly, it was a great time and a real highlight of the year. Then everything kind of crashed down the moment we returned.

Hamilton being released on Disney+ was a pretty fuckin’ exciting highlight as well. I feel like we all needed that.

Then the Biden-Harris win! When the news outlets finally called the election for Biden on November 7, that was one of the most pure moments of joy and excitement I recall feeling. Thank GOD.

I also got pretty excited for Christmas — the kids are at a great age for Santa, holiday movies, and fun gifts. They’re really into Star Wars, so light sabers and action figures and space ships were all big hits this year.

15. What song will always remind you of 2020?

“Don’t Stand so Close to Me,” by The Police. Ha ha. Look, I really had very little room for music this year. Stress and sensory overload are no good for my brain. If there was music playing, I probably wanted it turned off.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? sadder
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? the same

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I’m not going to list the things I missed here because I don’t wish I’d done more of them. Eating in restaurants or going to happy hours or having dinner at friends’ houses? I am glad I didn’t do those things but I missed being able to do them. I don’t know how to answer this question this year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking. Late night snacking.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas at home, just the four of us. We basically overdid it on the presents for the kids, so it took all day to open them. It was fun. Pajamas all day. Mimosas & Cinnamon rolls.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Ted Lasso and The Queen’s Gambit seemed to arrive at just the right moment and are each completely perfect. I also have enjoyed an Alias rewatch, the latest season of the Great British Baking Show, and The Mandalorian.

21. What was the best book you read?

I read a lot of garbage* this year, but here are a few hits:

  • The Great Believers – Rebecca Makkai
  • Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
  • Saint X – Alexis Schaitkin
  • Quit Like a Woman – Holly Whitaker
  • Here for It – R. Eric Thomas
  • Know My Name – Chanel Miller

*note that I am a professional and allowed to call books garbage. Note also that I am not naming the garbage.

22. What music did you get excited about?

None in particular.

23. What did you want and get?

A Peloton.

24. What did you want and not get?

A flattened curve?

A new car. Same as last year. I almost bought one in the year-end sale situation, but was talked out of it. It will likely happen this year, as my current car is having some issues that will be expensive enough to repair that it may not feel worth it.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I cannot think of any movies I’ve seen this year that weren’t animated (i.e. for children; I do not give a fuck about animated movies, SORRY). I am scrolling through a list of 2020 movies on Rotten Tomatoes and nothing is ringing a bell.

(I am not counting Hamilton as a film/movie.)

(But maybe I should as it is the only good one I saw?)

(NO. IT IS A FILMED STAGE PRODUCTION NOT A FILM OR MOVIE.)

Oh, okay, I saw Enola Holmes. It was fine. I saw Palm Springs and instantly forgot it. I feel like it was probably terrible? Oh. Yes. We did also see Wonder Woman 1984. Woof.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 43. I don’t remember precisely what we did. We’d had so much cake for the kids’ birthday the week prior that I decided to bake a pie instead (pumpkin).

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

Face masks.

28. What kept you sane?

My neighbors. Having someone to talk to safely outdoors as we stood around at the ends of our driveways was honestly priceless this year. I’m so grateful for my little cul-de-sac.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

The 2020 election — and all the attendant chaos and lies being spun by those who were desperate to hold onto their power. As I write this post in February 2021, the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is ongoing. What an absolutely maddening situation.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

“New person I met.” Ha. A ha ha ha ha ha. A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

weep

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Get the vaccine. Black lives matter. And, as I say every year, qui patitur vincit.

33. Quote a song lyric or poem that sums up your year.

There are too many poems to choose from this year. Here are two:

“When people say ‘we have made it through worse before,'” by Clint Smith

all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones
of those who did not make it, those who did not
survive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those who

did not live to watch the parade roll down the street.
I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorisms
meant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant to

convey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is no
solace in rearranging language to make a different word
tell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universe

does not bend in a direction that will comfort us.
Sometimes it bends in ways we don’t expect & there are
people who fall off in the process. Please, dear reader,

do not say I am hopeless, I believe there is a better future
to fight for, I simply accept the possibility that I may not
live to see it. I have grown weary of telling myself lies

that I might one day begin to believe. We are not all left
standing after the war has ended. Some of us have
become ghosts by the time the dust has settled.

“Threshold,” by Maggie Smith

You want a door you can be
            on both sides of at once.

                       You want to be
           on both sides of here

and there, now and then,
            together and—(what

                       did we call the life
            we would wish back?

The old life? The before?)
            alone. But any open

                       space may be
            a threshold, an arch

of entering and leaving.
            Crossing a field, wading

                       through nothing
            but timothy grass,

imagine yourself passing from
            and into. Passing through

                       doorway after
            doorway after doorway.

Baking Redemption

That loaf of sourdough that I overproofed really did turn out quite flat. And worst of all, I cut the shit out of my finger when I was slicing it. Has anyone else noticed a greater tendency to injure yourself during This Special Time? I have felt anxious and distracted, my mind reeling with lots of thought-fragments, and I keep hurting myself. Sliced finger, slammed thumb in car door, burned self just picking hot cheese off of a hot frying pan like some kind of cheese-eating ding-dong. 

At any rate, I have achieved sourdough bread redemption. On the advice of a twitter pal, I tried a different no-knead recipe. I had been using the NY Times Sam Sifton one, but I switched to the King Arthur one and followed the technique from Maurizio Leo’s blog (he is great on technique!) and I have done this twice so far and had good results both times. I also finally got my paws on some bread flour (as opposed to all-purpose) and I can see it made a difference from loaf to loaf. 

Here’s a little progression if you want to see the difference:

The first loaf is the overproofed one from the NYT recipe — not necessarily the recipe’s fault. I should have put it in the fridge overnight, but I didn’t realize. The second one is my first try with the King Arthur using AP flour, which is already much better. The third is my newest one from yesterday: King Arthur again and bread flour. Very happy with this loaf!

I also used my starter to make some sourdough cinnamon rolls for Mother’s Day and shewwwww:

They were good. Everyone has requested I make some again soon, which I absolutely will.

On the other hand, I’ve been having some issues with my chocolate chip cookies. I have had a go-to recipe for ages now — the one from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I’ve never had a problem with it ad they cookies turn out just the way I like: even thickness, chewy texture, minimal spreading. The dough is easy to work with. 

That recipe calls for tapioca flour, however, which I don’t currently have. I tried to make it with an egg instead, assuming the tapioca was a substitute for egg, but it turned out all wrong. The dough was too wet; I had to add extra flour; the cookies came out too cakey. Disaster. That’s what I get for assuming I know enough to hack a subsitution in a baking recipe!

phoebe

Next, I tried the NestLAY TollHOOSE recipe after lots of people said they loved it, and it was fine but not great. It’s an all-butter recipe, and while I like the taste of butter and the way it allows for some nice crispness on the edges, it can be tricky to work with. I know to keep the dough extra cold to prevent spreading, etc., but they still spread too much, got too thin in the middle, and were delicate where they should’ve been chewy. They tasted great, but the recipe just isn’t quite what I am looking for. 

I finally have some tapioca flour on order from Target (it has been oddly hard to find!), so I may just go right back to my vegan recipe, but I’m also interested in finding a non-vegan go-to for when that’s what I have, ingredient-wise. The quest continues, but I am suppose I am willing to take on this onerous research.

Baking & Books

It’s nap time right now and while I usually follow the popular advice of “sleep when the preschoolers sleep,” I am awake right now tending to the loaf of sourdough that is currently in my oven. It smells amazing but is going to bake up too flat because I think I overproofed it. Next time I will try something with a refrigerator rise. It’s fine. I will keep trying and keep learning. Until I run out of unbleached flour and can’t get any more, I suppose.

IMG_4987

Looks beautiful from the top but I assure you it is the shape of a frisbee.

Earlier in the week, we finished our family read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which was really fun. The kids are not quite 4.5 years old, so they are probably a little too young for the series, but I had bought the (beautiful) illustrated version when All This began, and they were curious about it, so we gave it a shot.

At first, they were mostly intrigued by the images but had a tough time staying focused for the length of an entire chapter, but as we went along, they got better and better at sitting and listening and asking questions at appropriate breaks in the narrative. They have a lot of questions, it seems, but really they just want to talk about it and they get so excited. They erupted into cheers after we read the chapter where Harry helps Gryffindor win the first quidditch match. They want to know why Professor Snape does not like Harry. What does it mean to get “expelled”? What does wingardium leviosa mean again, anyway? How does Prof. Dumbledore already know that the cat is really Prof. McGonagall?

We also put on the audiobook sometimes while they are playing or coloring, so they get a low-key review of what we’ve read recently.  The morning after we’d read the last chapter, they came into our bedroom first thing asking if we could read Harry Potter again, starting back at Chapter One.

We’ve talked about the book so much that it shouldn’t surprise me that when we finally started watching the movie they remembered so much detail. At various points, L yelled out, “This is Chapter Two, The Vanishing Glass!” and “That is Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys!” His favorite part of the book, by the way? Was the illustration where we finally got to see Voldemort’s eye peeking out from Prof. Quirrell’s turban. He’s really hoping that in the movie we will get to see Voldemort’s “WHOLE BODY.” Kids, man. (We saw the first half of the movie last night and will finish tonight — they don’t necessarily do well with watching 2.5-hour movies in one sitting at this point.)

It has been such a delight to share a book I love with them, I tell you what.  I have no plans to get the next novel for them any time soon — I’d rather move through the books slowly so they have time to grow up a little between the earlier stories and the scarier later ones — but I do hope they keep up their enthusiasm for the series and it becomes something we can enjoy together going forward. Please please please!

 

Rainy Day Dog & Deferred Worries

It’s been about 8 years since I have had a typically-abled dog who needed to be walked outside, so I had forgotten about the whole situation where the dog needs to go out and it’s the middle of a torrential thunderstorm. Surprise! That’s exactly the situation right now, in fact, and I am starting this post as a way of procrastinating a trip out into the deluge with Harriet, who strongly dislikes rain (and baths) and will be too scared to go, anyway. When I run out of things to type about, I will take her.

Here’s a photo from a sunnier day because she is just too cute:

5121E816-0F4C-4993-A873-93706B95CA90

This is the last week of classes (“classes”) for spring semester; final exams are next week. I’m just hoping I have managed to bring my students through the end of the semester adequately. I have really tried.

I will appreciate the brief interlude between finals and the start of summer classes. It will be nice to have a week or so when I am not constantly having to tell the kids that I can’t talk to them/help them/answer their questions/be with them right now because I am doing a work task and I will have to help them later.  Lately, that’s the only difference between weekdays and weekends around here — on weekends, I get a brief break from pushing my children away.

Just the other day I had to confirm with their daycare that we wanted to keep our summer camp registration — I said yes, because although I do not think daycare will be able to open again by the end of May, I don’t want to lose our spots for fall. If daycare is able to open again for fall. I mean, it might not be. Or, on the other hand, it might legally be allowed to open again and we might not feel safe to send them? But if we are back to face-to-face classroom teaching for work, we will have to send them?

Well, I don’t want to spiral down that way of thinking right now. I am going to have to wait to worry about that, as Swistle would say. I will go take Harriet outside.

A Few Quick Takes

BUNNIES: Last week, it came to my attention that the kids believe that the Easter Bunny is real, but is not a real rabbit. Instead, according to them, it is a “mascot” — an adult in a giant bunny costume — who comes to people’s houses and brings treats. They refer to all humans in animal costumes as mascots. Can you imagine? An adult in a rabbit costume coming into your home at night? The children are not even terrified about this?

SOCKS: The other night, my husband and I were up late watching Ozark, eating chocolate eggs, and musing about socks. He was just boastfully relishing the new pairs of wool socks he’d bought for himself somewhat recently as I started to complain about how every time I buy fancy socks for myself they don’t last more than a season without getting holes in them. Of course he needed me to know about and try his preferred brand of nice socks and I needed to warn him about the surprisingly crappy “nice” socks that had burned me in the past. Reader, can you believe we were thinking of the same brand of socks? He swears by them; I cannot make a pair last without getting holes like a slice of Swiss cheese. Meanwhile, my cheap socks from Old Navy and Target are going strong after years of wear. To what do we attribute this difference, friends? “User error.” My husband thinks my problem with getting holes in my expensive socks is due to user error.

 

SLEEP: Speaking of staying up late, I rarely stayed up late in the Before Time, but now it is an absolute necessity. After being around my charming and delightful children all day and engaging in conversation with them for every waking moment, I need to use the post-bedtime hours to mentally rebalance my. brain with some quiet. I used to be ready to fall asleep by 9:30 or so, but now I need to be awake in the quiet until at least midnight. As a result, I also now require a nap. Basically, I sleep from 12 or 1 AM until 6, when L comes in to get us up. Then I nap from 1:30-2:30, during the time when the kids are either napping or “napping.” The other day, I had to be on a work Zoom during what has become my usual nap time and it was a challenge. Oh my god this is a boring blurb; I’m sorry.

MASKS: Finally, a question: if you had a family member who was a health care professional (RN) working directly with patients in a hospital emergency room, and that family member offered to send you some of their personal stockpile of N95 masks, you wouldn’t accept them, right? I turned down such an offer because a) I only need a mask to go grocery shopping and I already have a cloth one, b) I wouldn’t know if it was my size anyway, and most importantly, c) if I, a civilian, had any N95 masks, I feel like I would be ethically obligated to donate them to my local hospital. So that’s my take on it, anyway. What would you do?

Locking Doors

I keep having the following brain malfunction on the weekends: the thought of doing some work starts to flit into my brain and I immediately push it out, the just-barely-conscious thought being, “I’ll get to that Monday when I have some time.”

A HA HA HA JOKE’S ON ME, MOTHERFUCKERS. I will never again “have some time.”

I have been mostly getting my job done in 5-10 minute increments, but occasionally I will find myself reading or typing the same sentence for what feels like half an hour while I answer 487 questions from the children or tend to a dozen urgent dog scenarios.

We just finally added a desk back into our guest bedroom so it can also function as a workspace with a locking door (our other “workspaces” are the couch, the bed, and the kitchen table). This morning, I had a conversation with my husband wherein I informed him that I would be using an hour a day in that room with the door locked in order to do my most urgent work tasks. The subtext was that I, in my extremely high self-evaluation, believe I can do my entire full-time academic job in seven hours a week. The subtext of his response was that he has to work all day every day and no matter how much time he spends working his work will never be done. We have very different attitudes and beliefs about work and our own efficiency as it pertains.

This morning I worked at the desk behind the locked door for about 30 minutes, during which time I had two separate conversations through the door with each of my two children (i.e. four conversations total) and three pieces of crayoned artwork were slid under the door for my inspection.

I got done everything I needed to do. Bitches get shit done.

But CAN you let that pass without comment?

Can I just tell you that now that we have adopted a puppy, all of my targeted social media ads have turned into ads for cute dog-related shit? I am here for it. Show me all the puppy ads.

In worse news, apparently our garbage disposal is broken and leaking and there’s water all under the sink and leaking through to the other side of the island and are we supposed to have someone in to fix it? Can we even have someone in to fix it? What if we can’t use our kitchen sink anymore? Worse, what if we (“we”) have to attempt some kind of DIY home repair??? I am feeling panicky just typing that out, so let’s move on.

Another thing that makes me feel …agitated right now is all the “I would never X” and “I can’t believe people are Y” that I’m seeing online. The advice keeps changing every day and everything is so conflicting. I’ve got people who can’t believe folks are getting carry out on the one hand and others who can’t believe folks aren’t getting carry out on the other hand. The germs! The local businesses! The virus isn’t food borne! The containers are germ vectors! Local restaurants are dying! And that’s just one of many issues. WHAT DO WE DO.

No, never mind. Don’t tell me.

I have been gathering some fun stuff for the kids’ Easter baskets and putting some key food and drink items in our grocery order. I’m not a person of faith and don’t celebrate Easter in a religious fashion, but I do like to celebrate spring, candy, cute animals, and Bloody Marys. So I mentioned to my spouse that I had been secreting away some Easter items and he started to launch into some commentary about how he doesn’t care about Easter and wasn’t even thinking about it, which I promptly interrupted with, “It will be something to do and I have stuff planned, so.”

My point: this is your biweekly reminder that if someone else cares about, enjoys, or is simply planning to participate in something that you don’t care about, don’t enjoy, or don’t plan to participate in, you can let that pass without comment.

Harry the Dog

Hi, so, yeah, we adopted a puppy. Technically we are still fostering her for a couple of weeks but we’re planning to make it official as soon as we can.

Her name is Harriet and we also call her Harry. We think she’s about 3-4 months old and she’s kind of on the large side, so she’ll probably be a big one. There’s likely to be some pit bull in her (almost all mixed breed dogs at the local shelters and rescues seem to be pit mixes?) and something with a short tail. Who knows.

She’s super sweet and comes right up for pets and hugs every time she gets out of her crate. She is eating meals and sleeping in the crate and will usually be happy in there for short stints during the day when we need her safely contained.

It only took us about 14 days of quarantine to bring a puppy into the mix, heh. It may seem sudden, but actually we’d been talking about adopting a dog for several months now, just sort of waiting for the time to be right. We thought maybe after our spring break trip, or maybe during the summer, or maybe after our summer road trip…but of course no one could have foreseen that we’d suddenly find ourselves working from home for several months. With everyone home, what better time to adopt a puppy, right? We don’t have to worry about coming home to walk her during the work day, or whether she will tolerate being crated while we are gone for hours at a time. We are simply never gone. We can walk her as many times a day as she needs it, and we can gently crate train her and can be here with her as she gets adjusted to our house and learns the rules. It’s gonna be great. Just a little bit of happiness during this weird, sad, and scary time.

It’s been so long since I have trained a puppy. I had sort of forgotten how some of the elements can be unexpectedly frustrating, like when you’re walking them outside and they just won’t go and then they promptly pee on the rug five minutes later. Just as an example and not to call anyone out, ahem. We’ve made some progress on nighttime crate training just by moving her crate into the bedroom at night. She seems comforted to know we are nearby and in the past two nights (that’s as long as she’s been in our room) she hasn’t whined at all. She’s also so eager to learn! We have been working on “sit” and “down” with some good success. As L is now fond of saying, “it’s going well.”