Sums it all up:
Went to the park today with one friend from school. They have a 3 month old baby.
It was nice to see friends in real life.
I'm really really really really really fucking tired of this shit.
Sums it all up:
Went to the park today with one friend from school. They have a 3 month old baby.
It was nice to see friends in real life.
I'm really really really really really fucking tired of this shit.
It's Wednesday and I've barely been able to get up the enthusiasm to write this blog post.
I was thinking of The Long Winter in the Little House series. They are trapped in their house with no food or trains or supplies. Day after day as the blizzards came and went, they ground wheat in the coffee grinder to make bread. That was literally all they had to eat for months. I know, we are not starving and it's not even cold. But the image of the daily grinding grinding grinding is feeling familiar to me. Along with the monotony of the weather here. Look. If I have to be stuck in my house every damn day, it could at least be raining. But no. (And I am not trying to be insensitive to all the people in Texas, etc, who are literally freezing without power and heat right at this moment. That is brutal and it's going to be a tough recovery.) I'm just going a bit f*cking crazy with the sameness day in and day out.
So here we go.
Harper attended a zoom birthday party on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon for her friend Violet. First there was the birthday girl stopping by to drop off the party things (and pick up her gift).
Then the virtual party and decorating.
The birthday girl's dad is a professional photographer so he put this together of Violet dropping off party supplies for all the guests. I feel like it is such a succinct image artifact for this pandemic era. (click for bigger if you want.)
Later that day was the Super Bowl, which I barely took notice of. But! I made a pot of chili and some cornbread.
In the middle of all the...fun? Our kind neighbor with an incredible veggie garden stopped by with this handful of greens. It was so pretty I just stuck it in a vase for a day or two, then got around to chopping some up for a salad lunch.
Later in the week I tried making this recipe. I only had frozen tuna, but what the hey. I had finally gotten a hold of miso paste so I was ready.
Cats are nice.
Did I include this in my last post? Probably. But I still love it and want to frame it.
Last year I signed up for the NIH (national institutes for health) study about covid. It's all totally anonymous and so I don't know what they do with or discover about my blood. But I sent in a blood sample last year and there was a follow up sampling last week. They send you about 4 times the amount of supplies that you will actually need.
Also got a mobile knife sharpening guy to come over to sharpen our knives along with scissors and our swiss army knife. Can't wait to pack that little knife on our next trip to Europe. Swiss Army knives will always make me think of Europe.
Tom dropped by with some treats - including three "Goose" the cat mini figs for Harper. We watched Captain Marvel again that night for fun. We've also been watching WandaVision which is crazy and good and there are three episodes left and we are waiting with bated breath!
Last Saturday I forced everyone out of the house again for a walk in nature. It's kind of like pulling teeth, honestly. But I'll keep doing it. We went to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. It was pretty busy/full, but luckily it's a LARGE park.
Harper said she LOVED the windy spot the best. And there were many birds of prey to watch swooping and floating.
Then it was Valentine's Day. We all gave each other chocolates and cards.
It felt good to do I guess.
And now it's another week. Grind grind grind.
Still here. Still in blah mode.
The mom guilt reared its ugly head this week and while burning this candle was nice, it didn't help with the guilt.
Harper has not had enough physical exercise at all lately and she needs it. I need to force myself and her out the door more often. Or at least make her do some online dance/fun stuff. It's hard enough to commit to MYSELF to exercise enough. Ugh. I do go out every day and walk or "run". But that's my ME time, my time out of the damn house, my time to listen to podcasts and be alone. I do well when I exercise in the morning, then can come home, shower, start the day. And that would be the easiest time to get Harper out, but then when do I go? I have to stop being so precious with my time I guess. Just get over it.
It's not like I have to get dressed and go into an office. I could be sweaty and stinky all day, it doesn't matter.
She's mostly doing fine, thank the gods/goddesses.
I'm constantly recruiting her to draw pictures in cards (as you've seen). This week she did a card for Gammo Jane...
Food this week was also kind of blah. I was working on eating out of our freezer, trying to clear it out, so the dinners were not very exciting. I did make spinach pancakes for lunch again one day.
A smattering of images to represent my week.
This was a small thing - a bit of tidying up that I'd been putting off for ages (this plus another inbox full of paid bills and other paperwork), but oh it felt nice. There is still a medium size stack of things to actually go through, but mostly it's all clean and NICE.
In all the cleaning out, I found these from a while back. Both make me so happy.
Then. Just to mix things the F*CK UP - I went to give blood. Grace had mentioned she'd just gone and I thought- YES! I could go do that! So I went to the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, where I've gone for years. But it had been six years since I last gave. Way too long between donations. Normally I'm 100% doing it for the good community spirit. This time, I'll admit I did it also for the free Covid Antibodies test you can get. I'm pretty sure it will be negative, but cool to find out. That will take about 3 weeks.
I've made another appointment to donate again in April. I will do better about donating more regularly.
There is talk out there in the media about opening schools again soon. I'm content to wait until all the teachers and staff and most of us parents are vaccinated. I don't expect school to really go back in person until the August start. (FINGERS CROSSED SO HARD FOR THAT!) but if they were able to go back in May even for the last few weeks, that would be so wonderful. Hard to know right now, though the signs are good. By the time I donate more blood, we'll know for sure, right???
Becalmed seas. No wind. Dead sails. Dry air.
That's what it feels like these days.
I hear bars and restaurants are open again (outdoor only) in LA. That sounds nice.
We are not changing our habits now. We have treated this covid lifestyle mostly the same since last March. We did do a lot more park action with Harper's friends from school last summer and into the fall, but then we pulled back as numbers started going up again. We were probably fine at the park, but why take a chance.
As mentioned last week, we bought plane tickets to Maui in July. That made me feel really good. Something really positive to look forward to and plan for. And so I made a big long list of things to do (lei making lessons, surf lessons, art camp, etc). And now we wait.
Six months of dead sails.
At Seabury Hall, my high school which I loved, I would get third quarter blues. Sometime in February when it was more than halfway through the school year, but not close enough to summer to get excited about school being done, I would get the third quarter blues. It was just a slog. Every day felt 48 hours long.
This is a slog. We have it very comfortable and it is a slog.
I'm tired of this house, of my roommates, of this neighborhood, this city. I want to rearrange all the furniture. Change all the rooms out - make the dining room the office, make the office the living room. Make the living room the bedrooms. Make the bedrooms the dining room. SOMETHING. SOMETHING TO MAKE IT DIFFERENT.
It was a quiet week of the normal routine.
Found this tiny apple on my walk.
It was pretty chilly one day so we all snuggled in bed after school.
It rained on Thursday night and Friday morning. That was interesting. Then it stopped and got sunny again.
That was the week.
So many more weeks to go.
*There is much work to do to clear a path forward from the wreckage of the last president, but damn if it isn't a great start just to have rational, responsible, smart people in charge.
Here I am, inauguration morning, under Kurt's cozy slanket, beaming about our brighter future. First it was Michelle Obama KILLING IT in her Inaug-Day outfit. Wow. Then Amanda Gorman stopping time with her poem "The Hill We Climb". Triple Wow. Oh and a woman Vice President. Oh and human beings with hearts and souls running the place now and getting right to work.
Not pictured - me weeping and clapping with joy.
Last week I got to work on helping my indoor plants. I had too many that were outgrowing their pots. I only had a little bit of dirt and I just barely made it to propagate a bunch of plants. They've been out there for a week and now I hope they are not dying from the shock of replanting...Also it was cold (in the 40s) these last few nights so that might not be good for them....!!! I'll have to move some inside.
Harper and I did some geocaching as well (with new bike helmet). It was a hot day so a water break was needed.
Then we rode past the apartment I lived in for a few years before I bought this house. (23 years ago!!!!!) This was my first really grown up place in that it was a one bedroom apartment and I lived alone. I loved this little four unit courtyard building.
We finished our Marvel Movie Marathon this week. We watched Infinity War one night and poor Harper was crying so hard! (I mean, so was I. Peter Parker turning to dust kills me every time.) Then Endgame made it mostly all better. We had the list on the fridge and some extra healthy snacks.
I got a delayed Bday gift from my mom - this amazing coffee cake (To go with the monthly coffee subscription she also sent!). I swear the coffee cake is 150% butter. Oy! We had some and then I put half of it in the freezer.
My little newsgirl drew a picture for friends who just had a baby.
There was avocado toast (with coffee cake chaser) for breakfast one day and a lentil soup I made for lunch yesterday. It looks kinda dull, but tastes yummy.
Then it rained a bit yesterday. Yay! As the clouds became more scattered and less rainy, we went to the beach for a lovely long walk.
Here's to better things to come! I felt optimistic enough about the next six months that I bought tickets to Maui for July...fingers crossed so hard we get vaccinated by then. Harper won't be (kids won't get it for a long while) so we'll take all the precautions when we fly. I hope it works out!
All of us will get a covid birthday - last week was mine. It was not crazy different than what a normal birthday might have been like. I'm pretty low key about these things. Biggest difference is we would have gone out for dinner not stayed in, of course. There might have been lunches or coffees with friends scattered throughout the week. It was a lovely day no matter what, filled with flowers and gifts and treats and sushi!
I got other lovely gifts of coffee and comfy pajamas and a Ted Lasso t-shirt! Love that Ted Lasso...have I mentioned? Ha.
The Sunday before my bday I was feeling like a trapped tiger. So sick of being here and nothing changing. So with inspiration from Grace, I bought (read: picked up curbside) some temporary hair dye from Target and Harper and I did some fun hair coloring. Pink for me, purple for her. She wanted it only on the bottom half. Hers came out kind cool. Mine came out kinda bleh.
Oh well. It will all be gone in a few weeks.
made some yummy food this week - homemade veggie cream cheese for the store bought bagels. It's soooo tasty!
Savory green pancakes were a delicious and pretty damn healthy lunch! Both "green" recipes came from Jamie Oliver. I love his cooking and especially the five ingredient cookbook.
After school online classes started again and Harper wanted to take the clay class again. Can't say no to that. Who doesn't love a Uni-Bunny?
There was also a run of wacky outfits this past week.
We pulled out the car seat pieces and Willoughby enjoyed that for an afternoon.
I can already feel the difference on these stairs - it's getting a little easier! I'm encouraged to keep going for more! Soon it will be multiple ups and downs, then RUNNING!
Lastly--we had our typical LA Mid-January heat wave. So we chanced it and went to the beach.
It was busy, but there was lots of space between beach goers and we mostly all had masks on.
Onward to the inauguration week. Onward toward making tentative summer plans in anticipation of vaccines being available to us in the late spring. Harper won't be vaccinated, not sure when the kid version will be available, but I hope the country will be getting closer to herd immunity by then. Fingers crossed.
The turning of a new year is symbolic, I know that. But maybe 2021 doesn't really get started until after January 20th.
Last week was BONKERS. Attack on the US Capital by a huge trump crowd, five people died. That was crazy weird and surreal and added even more of an unbalanced feeling to the world as we know it. I think I haven't really processed all that happened because it was so unexpected and cuckoo. Like how 9/11 was mind-boggling. You couldn't wrap your head around the things you saw. Well, I couldn't quite do it last week. Idiots just streaming into the capital building? Still can't. So many failures all over the place. I hope there are some kind of consequences for the "president" and the other trumpsters in congress for inciting and encouraging what happened.
The good news before the madness was that both senate seats in Georgia went to the democrats. The senate is now split, tie goes to VP Kamala Harris. That person, Mitch, is no longer Senate majority leader. YAY. But it will still be a challenge, but a much better challenge. So there is that to look forward to. But we have ten more days until things can really change for the better.
Last week here in Freyland, we had a pretty chill week. I though I would be back to work, but it turned out, no. So this coming week will be busy. Last week was instead was a nice week of getting some stuff done, cleaning up/cleaning out more and then having afternoons of watching Marvel movies. Harper is now working her way through Marvel Cinematic Universe. We would close the curtains and make popcorn and watch movies. It was so lovely and relaxing. I'm going to miss it. Her school starts again on Tuesday.
We have continued the geocaching fun, riding bikes around and searching. We found one near Harper's elementary school. Not sure why Kurt is throwing gang signs.
Kurt and Harper also had a bike ride and found a nice tree to climb.
I worked on expanding my cooking this week. Chose things out of cookbooks instead of just online sites or food newsletters. Browsing through my cookbooks was very relaxing and inspiring. I started with the new cookbook I got as a gift from a local Maui friend. Makes my mouth drool just reading through it!
Then I started making local style Mac Salad and had a minor disaster. Mayo all over. Good times!
I made a big pot of minestrone using up lots of veggies that seem to pile up on their own in the veggie drawers.
Popcorn in the making - tin foil with steam vents so the popcorn doesn't get "damp". Kurt likes it classic: melted butter and salt. I like how I learned from Grace: Olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a variety of flavors in the spice rack. I like salt, onion salt and something from TJs. SO good.
Willoughby has been coming up on my desk lately.
I stood by with my new Ted Lasso themed sweatshirt. It seemed to work, but we weren't sure until the next morning.
Mr. Biscuit also had a delayed one year doctor's visit. He did very well with all his shots and is in good health. Good Boy Biscuit!
I have a new challenge in my exercise routines. It's super challenging now to even walk up without losing my breath, but I'm inspired by RCL who tells me he runs to a set of steps and does the steps then runs home. So my goal is to do similar. So far, so good in that I am working my way up to both the running and the stair climbing. Currently they are separate work outs, but I plan on combing it next month.
Kurt used his power tools to break up the Christmas tree.
Harper got one last gift from Christmas, a box of CANDY! Jesus. She's going to have some serious withdrawals when it's empty.
On Saturday Harper and drove to Ojai to visit a friend. We hung out and chatted and played Harper's favorite: Mad Libs. There was a story about "interviewing" pizza that turned out to be "suspicious." It was a jolly time.
Of course we went geocaching to walk off lunch and also have an adventure around Ojai. We walked through a cool garden near our friend's house to find our first cache.
Harper and I found one more near the old Ojai Jail as we drove out of town.
But the most exciting thing we found this week is that Harper is such a big girl she no longer needs her booster chair in the car! FINALLY! HOORAY!
Her booster seats (one in each car) were from child seats that then turned into boosters. So now we can take the other booster out of our stored car as well as the rest of the chairs taking up space in our garage! Always nice to pass them along and make more space. Another family milestone!
Now holding my breath to see what this coming week brings...
TECHNICAL NOTE: Typepad has been having issues with images not loading so if you see gaps, that's not my fault...it's been frustrating.
In April of 2020 I was on a zoom hangout and someone asked everybody when we thought we'd be through this pandemic situation. People gave answers like "Summer" or "October." I said "2022." I'm not normally a pessimist, but even in April it seemed clear it would be a LONG time before we got back to anything like normal. Well. I mean for those of us who actually believe there is a pandemic and who stay home and wear masks. Also, the specter of the presidential election left so much up in the air at that point.
And now? I had been thinking - I could be happily wrong and we'll get back to a kind of normal by the end of 2021. I have been so hopeful that I started thinking about where to have a winter break holiday next year. (Italy? England?). But then, with the terrible numbers in California and elsewhere, and the equally terrible news that the vaccine roll out has been SO MUCH slower than predicted or planned, it still could really be 2022.
Dare I hope that with a new president in office, one who believes in science and who has a serious covid task force already working, dare I hope that vaccines will roll out quicker? All I can do is hope.
Of course there is also the Georgia elections coming up in two days. I'm not counting any chickens. I'm barely even counting the eggs at this point. If that goes our way, then things might be a little bit easier. But we'll see. And don't you worry, I'll be texting and moderating like a mad woman tomorrow and Tuesday! Fingers crossed so hard.
This past week was extra relaxing. I promised myself I would take two hours each afternoon and just watch tv. Something I never do during the day. We only have one tv so claiming it and the couch at the same time was so nice. I did time for when Harper was in her online camp, so that helped me not to be disturbed. I watched The Durrells in Corfu. It was just what I needed - a period piece in a fabulous location, humor, drama and British accents.
It actually rained on Monday (12/28) - full on proper storm with thunder and lightning! You might know how rare that is in LA. It was HEAVEN. Such a treat and refreshing change. Harper got to try out her new raincoat (thanks Gammo!).
Then we had cozy time on the big bed, watching it rain while listening to music and reading. Also HEAVEN.
The weather reports had shown it was supposed to rain more again this coming week. I check it just now and:
COME ON! So disappointed. One night and one day of thunderstorms wasn't even enough to wash off the flower from April. Shaking my head.
Though our rainboots got filled.
Moving on from my weather disappointment...
We finally put up the Christmas Banner that Harper made all the letters for! Yes, I do realize it was post Christmas. But it did make the room look even more fun and festive.
Aaaaand yesterday we took it all down. Except the banner. Kurt and I joked it would stay up all year. Or were we joking?
Mr. Biscuit communed with the post Christmas day tree.
Then I made olive bread egg in a hole. YUM. 10/10 would bake this bread again.
Eating apples one day, harper noticed this one looked unusual. "It's like a cylinder." Good vocab, Harper. Well done.
Harper and I went out for our first Geocaching adventure! We found two within easy walking distance of our house. Harper was into it!
We are n00bs so we needed the hints. But as we get better, I think we'll stop needing them as much.
We went with Kurt again a few days later, this time on bikes. We had three of them in our sights but only found two. Handy to have the tall guy along!
I did some tidying and found this stationery relic:
Biscuit in a basket.
I asked Harper to help with with a birthday card for a friend who is turning ten. The front of the card had an image of a slice of rainbow cake which clearly inspired her. She said, "what does he like?" I said, "Lego and soccer." And then she remembered they have two black cats. Boom! A+ This just makes me so happy.
New Years Eve came and with very kind gifts from Tom (Shout Out!) we celebrated well with disco ball cups, party favors. Then a sushi feast!
I started planning some dinners from cookbooks for the coming week and came across this almond orange cake recipe that sounded really easy. Starts with boiling two oranges for two hours. The boiling removes the bitterness from the peel and pith because then you puree it all.
Then you bake it. Now. The instructions said "about an hour" which to me means, "Start checking it at an hour." But I should have started checking at 45 minutes...Oh well. It's a bit dark on the outside, but lovely on the inside. It's almost really good. But I think the oranges needed another 1/2 hour of boiling as you can still taste just a touch of bitterness. The recipe also says "Serve with whipped cream." Well. Whipped cream makes just about everything better, doesn't it?
Harper got her next Crate Expectations box and the theme was penguins. Part of the box had fake snow! So we did that yesterday.
I'm writing this on Sunday (Jan 3) as I usually do. I might have blown it off till tomorrow, but with the election texting and work (did I mention I had two weeks of work before Christmas?) starting up again, there will be no time. We are going to go geocaching again this morning, then do housecleaning. Specifically Harper's room as it is a crazy messy place after birthday and Christmas.
Two things about Harper getting older. She still comes to our bedroom early in the mornings from time to time to climb into bed on my side. I love it and hope she never stops. Also, in the last couple of months I stopped checking on her in her room before I go to bed. Nine years of looking in on her sleeping face has kind of come to an end. If I'm going to bed pretty late, I'll peek in. But mostly not.
Lastly, my seven plan/goals for the end of 2020 didn't end on as high note as I hoped. I did have work/income, so that's actually a very good thing. I did write about 15,000 words on my next manuscript, so that's not nothing. I finished proofing the manuscript I wrote this year and actually sent it to the kind volunteer readers. That's a good thing. I did get some good exercise in, but the lazy holiday week hasn't helped. Though I don't mind as it was a lovely week of relaxing and fun.
I have new goals for the new year and will take some time today mapping them out realistically. I need to create a plan that doesn't get derailed when/if I get paying work. Will I share it all here? Maybe. Mainly I'm doing very small, very specific goals (Lose 5 pounds in January.) and will take my time starting some of them. No need to start them all TOMORROW. That's a recipe for failure.
2021 is going to be a lot like 2020 in many ways, but this year, there is a beacon of hope. Patience is critical, as are small steps. I paraphrase the movie Contact: "Small moves, Julia, small moves."
I forgot to tell you, dear reader, about the funniest thing on Christmas morning.
There we were, on the bed, opening our stocking presents. Some topic came up and I said to Harper, "When your dad and I were little--" and out of nowhere she yelled:
Kurt and I about peed the bed.
Oh those sassy kids.
Christmas week. Often melancholy as you get older. Having young kids makes it magical again.
This year was a combo of both, what with a raging pandemic but also with a nine year old who we think might have still believed in Santa...maybe? No matter what, she loved the magic of all the Christmas fun. She hardly mentioned the big man at all in the run up to Christmas day, but then let on that he would be filling our stockings. She did want to leave him snacks. But that was about it.
I remember being nine or ten and at Christmas I was pretty sure Santa wasn't real, but I remember feeling weird about just saying it or owning up to it. I kind of just played along and then the next year it wasn't a thing. So maybe next year it won't be a thing with Harper.
Kurt and I never really played up the Santa thing all these years. We just went along with whatever Harper said about it. I think we only ever did one photo with Santa and that was when Harper was one or two. I happened to be walking her through the mall in December and Santa and his elves were all just hanging out at their photo set up, no one else around. We popped in, did a photo and left.
My melancholy this year is, of course, pandemic lock down related. We normally do something extra or go somewhere extra - like take the train north or visit Maui. Harper has three weeks off for winter break every year, which is good and bad. Hard to just be STUCK IN THIS HOUSE. Winter break 2021/2022 is going to be EPIC.
Damn we better be much freer by then. I doubt we'll get the vaccine until late summer at the very earliest, if not later in the fall.
Ugh. Today is Tuesday 12/29 as I write all this. I'm just in no mood for upbeat happy thoughts. I'm not trying to be fake, but I'm also not trying to be such a downer.
Let's get to the pictures. That's easy to do.
For a full day last week, Harper wore my red high heels. At one point she mentioned "My toes get squeezed in these." And I said something like "Welcome to the world of uncomfortable shoes." Honestly though, I can't remember when I last wore those!
Kurt had a nice morning with his pride.
We did a drive around our neighborhood to look at lights. Something that is a tradition for us! I feel like we have so few.
After MONTHS of home bound life, Kurt decided to get super old school and make egg nog from scratch as well as pasta from scratch.
The egg nog tasted sort of like egg nog, but more like really rich melted ice cream. I had a couple sips and that was plenty. Glad Kurt only made a half batch.
Harper went to bed kind of early...funny that. Leaving cheese and crackers for Santa and egg nog (TJ's, not home made). We He enjoyed it. Biscuit looked on.
The day itself started early with stockings on the big bed. I forced Harper to look out at the beautiful sky to the east.
Kurt got a slanket from the cats for all his cold winter gaming nights.
Later he turned into Palpatine. Not sure what that was about.
Harper's big gift was not a phone, but an iPod Touch. So she can listen to music. Before wrapping it, I opened it and took off a TON of stuff and disabled a ton more. Left the music app, plus garage band, and a few more. But she LOVES the weather app. It's all based on my phone (joint apple account) so she happily reads off very detailed reports from Los Angeles, Seattle, Maui, St. Albans and Lucca. It's a treat.
We had cinnamon rolls and bacon and eggs after.
The menu was the exact same as Thanksgiving, down to the strawberry shortcake. I added some frozen cherries to mine.
We were very lucky to have all we did on Christmas.
Willoughby enjoyed the slanket on Sunday, not letting Willoughby have a turn.
It was a long busy week-I'm briefly employed-and I was so happy to be done with work on Wednesday and finally finish everything up and relax.
What will 2021 bring? Better news, I hope. Well. We'll see how it looks after next week's run off election in Georgia. Yes of course I'm texting like a madwoman for that!